Friday, December 21, 2012

Soybeans and Daddy

At some point in the last few months, Sami has decided that Jay is her favorite over Mommy.  Now, she still loves me a lot.  Just not QUITE as much as her Daddy.  Basically every night, this is what they look like at our house:

Tonight we planned to have our "at home" Christmas celebration after getting Sam from daycare.  While we were driving home the girls asked what we were having for dinner and I said, "Addi asked for shrimp cocktail and pizza, and I bought some edamame."  If you don't know what edamame is, it's steamed soybeans with salt, and it's pronounced ed-a-ma-mee.

Sam said, "Yum!  I love edamame!"


"But I'd love it more if it was called "ed-a-daddy."


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last year's Christmas, Sam-style

I know this story will live on long after Sam is an adult.  And for good reason.  It's a great recap of a sweet, loving, innocent three-year-old who has just one wish for Christmas.


Monday, December 17, 2012

My thoughts about the shootings in Connecticut

I wonder if I had children when 9-11 happened if I'd feel like I do today.  When those planes hit, I felt scared for myself, and for the world, and about what might happen to the world.  But I didn't know anyone who died, and it was easy at the end of the several days to think, wow, thousands of people died, what a shame.  And eventually move on.  Even after the Columbine shootings so many years ago when I was still in school myself, I shook my head, was sad, and moved on.

Many less people died last Friday at that school in Connecticut than in the attacks on 9-11.   And it has shaken me in ways I couldn't imagine, ways I don't remember being shaken that September.  Maybe it's because I didn't have kids of my own back then.  Maybe it's because I'm almost 35 and so much wiser.  Or maybe it's because I could finally put myself into those families' shoes and feel the terror and pain they must feel.  I can't look at those kids faces on TV.  I can't look at the pictures of kids who made it out alive walking single file to safety.  I can't even think about it without feeling that punch to the gut. 

This past weekend I purposely didn't watch TV.  I didn't do my daily check in on  I just couldn't.  What I still did was check my Facebook account, and after a few minutes shut it down.  People are just nuts and I couldn't take the arguing, the blaming, and worst of all, the pictures of those sweet kids who have died. 

I did, however, come across two articles that made sense to me and spoke to me in ways that I feel are reasonable.  If you are like me, these might be good reads for you too. 

'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America

I Won’t Yell About What You Want Me To

Now, I'm off to hug my kids, tell them I love them, and pray for other mothers not as lucky as me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

30. I'm Grateful for Patience

I learned long ago not to pray for patience.  God does WAY too good of a job with that one, giving me a lot of opportunity to practice being patient.  Lately, I've asked for calmness.  We'll see how that goes!

Even if I don't pray for patience anymore, I am very grateful when I have it, and when people show it to me.  So even though this is 12 days late, I'm grateful for patience!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

29. I'm Grateful for my Mom

Our girls are ridiculously lucky to have my mom as their Grandma.  She's fun, she loves to hang out with them, and she loves them enough to be at every important event in their lives.

Of course, sometime's the "event" is something really cool no one would want to miss - like a trip to Disney World - but sometimes it's just an afternoon in town.  Either way, Grandma is there and ready to spend time with two of her four grand kids.
And as lucky as the girls are to have such a loving Grandma, I've even luckier.  Because I get to have her as my mom. And for that, I'm eternally Grateful.

28. I'm Grateful for healthy kids

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again. Somehow, some way, God blessed us with two children who are healthy.  We got pregnant easily, they were born healthy, and today they are tucked snug in their beds, smart and sassy and ready to take on the world.

It's hard to not be humbled by this when people I know are not that lucky. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

27. I'm grateful for Jay

Yes, he's loving, caring, and a great dad. But he also knows when to laugh with me. Like when he came inside to eat lunch on Sunday and asked where the sandwich I made him was, and I remembered I had put it in the sandwich press... 15 minutes earlier.... He just said, who knows, it might be good! And then ate something else. Oops.

26. Grateful for working from home

I'm lucky that on days like Monday, when a certain blond is running a fever, I can work from home. And surprisingly I got a lot done. Lucky me, Sam likes coloring and cartoons.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

4 Times Grateful

The past four days since I last posted have been filled with many opportunities to be grateful.  Five full days to spend lots of time with the kids, including getting pedicures with Addison and observing her being way too grown up for my liking.  Thanksgiving Day, filled with family and more food than we could eat.  A Friday morning shopping trip with Jay where we got all of our Christmas shopping done in stores that were empty, strangely enough.  A Saturday filled with Christmas decorations and dinner with great friends.  And a Sunday where Addi finally felt better after six days of sickness and Sam and I took a three hour nap, laying around and resting when we weren't sleeping.

When it's all said and done, nothing extraordinary happened over the last five days.  For that, I'm grateful too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21. I'm grateful for stretchy pants.

I'm pretty sure I will be thankful for this tomorrow too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

19. Grateful for medical care

Addi came home from a sleepover yesterday morning with a little cough and by last night she had a fever. This morning she was wheezing so bad I thought she might need to go to the hospital.

Luckily there's a med-check place right down the street, so Jay and Addi headed there first thing this morning. An hour later they were picking up meds for an ear infection and croup. Not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Lots of rest today and she's on the mend.

We are so lucky to have healthcare.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

18. I'm Grateful for Blasts from the Past

Have you noticed the nifty boxes at the bottom of each post now, courtesy of "LinkWithin"?  I saw these on a few other blogs I read and thanks to my doctor Google, I found out how to put one on my blog. 

And, because of that snazzy thing, I've managed to get stuck reading old blogs every night, cracking up at how funny my kids are.  And, shaking my head at how things really don't ever change.

Seriously, THIS happened, and I lived to tell the tale.  I'm definitely grateful for memories.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

17. I am grateful for crafting

I love crafts, or really anything creative. For a cookie exchange I went to today I made these cookies, and they are so cute!

16. I'm Grateful for Dates with my husband

I'm pretty impressed with myself - I am generally horrible at sticking with things but since I started this Grateful thing on my blog, I have actually stuck with it and posted every day on the actual day. 
Well, except for yesterday, the 16th.  I was busy on a date with Jay and missed posting.  We tried a new restaurant, met some friends, then went to their house to hang out for a bit.  It wasn't overly romantic considering it started with a trip to WalMart but it was great time together, and that's what's important.
This picture is from a few years ago -
but we were skinny then so I'm using that one as motivation for us ;)
They say it takes something like 17 days of doing something to make a new habit, and I almost made it.  Hopefully you can skip a day or two!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15. I'm Grateful for Google

Seriously, what did we do before Google?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

14. I'm Grateful for Catholic schools

Jay and I both were fortunate enough to attend Catholic school growing up, and I believe it shaped us in some way to who we are today.  We were married in a Catholic church and are raising our girls as Catholics.  I won't sit here and act like we are in a church pew every week or we are super religious, because we don't go to church as often as we should and we definitely could live a holier life.  But now that our kids can sit still for more than 20 minutes and actually enjoy going to church, I have my fingers crossed that church will become the norm for us.

Aside from learning about God and values, I loved going to Catholic school because it was like an extended family.  If I got a call from a friend to spend the night, my parents knew who their parents were, and you almost always knew every other kid's birthday, middle name, and siblings.  That closeness continued through high school, where I graduated with most of the same kids who I started kindergarten with.  Jay was the same way - the best man at our wedding was in his first grade class.

Today, a boy I started in kindergarten and graduated from high school with was buried after a fight with cancer.  And as I read his obituary, I knew instantly when I saw his middle initial that the "F" stood for Floyd.  I could picture him looking devilish in our first communion picture and I remembered what his house looked like.  Even though it's been a decade since I've seen or talked to him, you can't erase 13 years of knowing every detail.  To me, that is a huge part of a small school family.

Addison is in her second year of Catholic school and next year Sami will start kindergarten there.  I love knowing the principal by first name.  The principal knows my parents by sight and asks how my dad is doing. I know almost every parent in Addi's class, and I know every kid's name.  More importantly, Addison has a love of God that is deep and wholehearted and our family is more involved in our parish than we'd be if she wasn't in school there.  We pray as a family before meals and it isn't awkward or forced, and for the first time in my life when I tell someone that our family will pray for them, I don't feel like a phony.  We really DO pray for them. 

So, even though we could send our kids to public school for free and our city has one of the best school districts in the state, we feel like our little school is worth every penny.  And for that, and for a closer relationship with God, I'm extremely grateful.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

13. I'm Grateful for Farms in Central Illinois

When people ask where I'm from, I can easily tell them, Indianapolis.  I lived there until I was 24 and will always consider it home.  So when people say, Oh that must be where your family lives too! I have to laugh and say, Welllll...

My brother in law lives in Charlotte.
My brother lives in Atlanta.
My other brother lives in California.
My sister in laws live in southern Indiana.
My sister in law and OTHER brother in law live in Illinois.
My father in law is south of us in Illinois.
My dad lives in North Dakota.
And my mom and uncle live in Indy.

Not exactly Indianapolis, but it gives us some cool places to visit!

My dad moved to North Dakota after I got married and has been there for almost nine years.  And although it's pretty for those few months weeks each year when the weather is nice, it's 18 hours away from me and a few days away from my brother.  Way too far to just come visit for the weekend.  Having my mom and Jay's dad less than 4 hours away is about as far as I'd like close family to be.  So after a few health scares this spring and his house being 4+ hours from the nearest hospital, Dad bought a 17 acre horse farm in central Illinois, and is now 45 minutes away.

It's definitely interesting having him THAT close after being so far away for so many years.  But after his heart attack this August, I'm definitely grateful for the close proximity.  And the girls are very grateful too.

Monday, November 12, 2012

12. I'm Grateful for Great Eaters

We are very lucky to have two kids who eat almost anything.  Case in point: dinner tonight.  Addison said, "Daddy, can I please have some more cabbage?"  When we corrected her and told her it's sauerkraut, not cabbage, she said, "I love sauerkraut!"

Seriously, I am very grateful for that. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

11. I'm Grateful for Veterans

We live free because of them. And i am who I am because of one. Thanks Dad.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

10. I am Grateful for electronics

Yes. I'm grateful for my new iPhone. And my iPad. And high speed Internet. And I'm grateful for off switches.

Friday, November 9, 2012

9. I'm Grateful for Tylenol

It's been a long day.  'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8. I'm Grateful for Employment

This has been an interesting week.  With the election and non-stop chatter at work, I am very ready for the weekend.  But even after the most stressful day, I know how lucky I am to have a great job, one that I'm good at and one that helps provide for our family. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7. I'm Grateful for Healthy Kids

I can't even begin to know what it's like to have sick kids.  Like, really sick kids.  But because of the internet, and Facebook, I've read about a lot of families who've had to deal with this.  And of course my boss's son has leukemia, so I've seen it happen to people close to me.

So this, on a day where so much hate has been spewed all over the internet, I'm grateful for healthy kids. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

6. I'm Grateful for Democracy

We are free to choose our President.  That is pretty amazing, and I'm not eloquent enough to wax philosophical on all the goodness that brings.

Truth be told, I'm also very grateful for a return to TV with no political ads.

Monday, November 5, 2012

5. I'm Grateful for Clean Water

I kind of stink at drinking water.  Sometimes I'm great at it, outdrinking even Samantha.  Other days, I barely manage to down 24 ounces. 

This morning I had a breakthrough, in the form of a lecture with myself.  I said, "Self! Drink more water, it's good for you!"  Then I said, "Blah, water is stupid.  Drink more Coke Zero, it's the nectar of the Gods!"  Back and forth, until I said, "Look.  You are so lucky to have fresh, clean water at your fingertips.  Drink it!"

I was right, of course.  Here are a few facts about water in the world.  After reading this, I not only felt very grateful for what we have, but ashamed at the water I waste each day. 

Drink more water.  It's good for you!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

4. Grateful for Holidays

Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, but if you check my blood sugar these last few days you won't be able to tell.  Darn candy... Pretty sure it's mocking me on a regular basis.  But no matter what, the girls love it, so I'm very grateful for these chances to create traditions.
Addi helped me decorate the front of the house.  After we put up the caution tape I drew her outline.  I think she was right when she said it "looks like a gingerbread man with a broken leg."  She added the "I am Sam" and headstone.
The girls picked their own costumes this year - Sam was Belle, and Addi was Batgirl.  This was the hardest year yet for picking - I swear, every costume that would fit Addi looked like she was working in the club on a pole.  I am already shuddering at the thought of shopping next year. That's PopPop with the girls - he dresses as Santa Claus all winter long.
While Jay took Addi around the neighborhood, I stayed home to man the door. In true Sam tradition, she didn't trick or treat at a single house.  Instead, she helped me hand out candy. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3. I'm Grateful for Sisters

I always wanted a sister, and because I never had one I was really excited when we found out our second baby would be a girl. And even when these two spend an entire Saturday together, fighting one minute and crying the next, they still end their day cuddled up together, hugging each other tightly.  I love that they have each other and can only hope they are always friends.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2. I'm grateful for creativity

There are lots of reasons to be grateful for my kids having a creative side.  I love to be crafty, so I love the kids to be crafty too.  It's awesome to see their creative talents mature year after year.  And, to be honest, it's nice to have SOMETHING for them to do that doesn't always require adult supervision. 

Of course, there are times when they get a little TOO crafty with glitter glue and a couch or something equally messy.  I take the blame for that one.

Recently, the girls have taken their drawing/coloring/creating energy and kicked it up a notch.  They've started drawing less in the abstract (read: scribbles) and more pictures of things they see happening around the world. Here are just a few of the hundreds of examples.

1. Sam's "Elephant"
Medium: Construction paper, tape, and black pen.
Created entirely by Sam, with no help from parents or sister.  She's quite gifted with the scissors I must say.

2. Sam's "Mommy and me at the park" drawing
Medium: iPad meets finger
Sam is still in the drawing phase where people have arms and legs, but both sets come straight out of the head.  Noses (and clothes) are optional.

3. Addi's "Crying Mouse"
Medium: White board and marker
Addi's newest skill is the "thought bubble" over all heads.  This mouse is saying "AAAAAAAaaa!" while tears pour out of one slightly enlarged eye. Her people (and mice) have progressed to wearing clothes and having noses most of the time.

The girls love to color/draw pictures for me, so I bring some of them to work and proudly hang them at my desk.  They keep my Grumpy sign company.  I also use the "I'll take that to work" excuse to quietly get rid of a few of their treasures, so I get both decorations and peace and quiet at home.  Win win!

Last night Sam gave me a new drawing to take to work.  First glance it appears to maybe be a shout out to those in NYC who've lost their homes, a la the Statue of Liberty?  Perhaps a nod to the Incredible Hulk? 

I asked Sam to describe this piece to me so I could explain the amazing artwork to my coworkers.  And she says, "Oh Mommy, that's YOU!"


"See?  You are peeing in the yard."

Hmmm.  This is definitely one where art is NOT imitating life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude - Ralph Style

For those of you on Facebook, you might have seen the posts about 30 days of gratitude.  I admit, I do feel bad that it takes something like this to 1. get me to blog more and 2. (and more importantly) pay closer attention to all the amazing things in my life.  So, with that, here goes 30 days of gratitude.
Day 1: I'm grateful for my amazing husband, who's an amazing cook.  It's not a surprise to anyone who knows him, but Jay can turn ANYTHING into an amazing meal.  Because of him our family is well fed almost every day. 
I saw this today and had to laugh:

Not to compare my husband to TP, but he's on a business trip and the kids and I really, really miss him.  And only partially because I don't know how to cook.

Friday, October 26, 2012

An Open Letter to Addi - Three Years Later

I LOVE my blog.  I love how it gives me a chance to tell my story, how it gives me a chance to keep up with friends, and how I capture memories I would most likely forget in the day-to-day hustle and bustle.  I also love that years later I can go and read a post and see how things do (and don't) change.

Here is an open letter I wrote to Addison exactly three years ago.  Now, at age 6, it's remarkable how many things are exactly the same.  You might wear pants on a more regular basis, but deep down you are the same person.  And I love that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too much TV

Sami loves her TV.  Since she possesses the skill that Addi lacks of being able to sit still for more than 12 minutes, she gets more TV time in than we probably even realized.  Often we'll realize she's quiet, and unlike when Addi disappears we don't run straight for the Poison Control number and the Magic Eraser.  We just go look for her in our room, and most likely find her curled up, watching a show.

Before you get all up in arms, please note that she cannot turn the TV on herself, which used to be our surefire way of monitoring what she was doing. However, she's a PRO at the iPad.  Disney Junior app, anyone?  Luckily Disney Junior is a pretty safe choice, so we don't worry too much.

A few mornings ago I was helping Addi get her bag ready for school when I heard Sam mutter something.  And it sounded a lot like "Get off the couch, deadbeat!"

After the record screeching sound stopped going off in my head, I asked her what she said.  She looked at me, innocently, and said, "Get off the couch, dead feet?"

After correcting her insult (I don't want her calling someone deadfeet - that would just be embarrassing) I talked to her about how that was a mean thing to say and she couldn't say it anymore.  She got all teary-eyed and said, "But the birds said it on ANT Farm [a show on Disney Junior]."

Seriously, can't a kid watch too much TV without negative repercussions these days?  Geesh.

Monday, October 22, 2012

33 things for an almost-35 year old

About 18 months ago I put together a list of the top 33 things I wanted to do while I was 33.  I’m creeping up on 35 now and not only have I still not completed the 33 things but I haven’t moved the link at the top of my blog.  In order to wrap up the list and redo my blog, here’s a recap of what did and didn’t happen.  Maybe I’ll do another list when I turn 35… Juggling, anyone?

1. Spend one day with Addi the week she starts kindergarten, getting a mani/pedi, lunch, and having some mommy/daughter time.

2. Meet up with my great friends I made while prego with Sam – Also known as my birth board friends.

3. Run a race with jay. Jay likes running about as much as he likes my cooking. 'Nuf said.

4. Get a new pet for our family.

5. Go to Disney with the kids.

6. Run a ½ marathon.

7. Go to a parade.

8. Drink a dirty martini.

9. Support a charity.

10. Plant a garden.

11. Go on a weekend trip with just Jay and I.

12. Buy a new swimsuit.

13. Take a personal day and only do things for myself. Done.

14. Cook an entire meal for my family, and serve it all fancy like a restaurant. See #3 above.

15. Detail and wash my car by hand. By MY hand. I realized, I hate cleaning. So I bought a new, clean car instead.

16. Go see Oprah. Learn to sew. Why sew when you can tie knots? New post coming soon...

17. Do something selfless for someone else.

18. Take my cat to the vet.

19. Have a date with just Sam and I.

20. Play in a sprinkler. Hmmm... Maybe I SHOULD have done this. I did get sprayed by the hose a few times...

21. Have a cookout.

22. Actually read one of the Charles Dickens books I claimed to read for Oprah. I read the Cliff Notes. Does that count?

23. Paint a room in my house.

24. Join a gym.

25. Teach the girls how to swim.

26. Clean out my jewelry box. Done - but didn't take any pictures.

27. Go on a spontaneous road trip with the family.

28. Clean out my Facebook friend list and delete the bad apples. Done, and now I need to do it again!

29. Bake an apple pie from scratch. I made an attempt at this - well, I looked up a recipe. Then Jay informed me that Sam's pies are better, cheaper, and less messy than doing it myself. And it got him another trip to Sam's. Win win.

30. Buy a fancy purse without apology.

31. Go to a movie alone. Ha.... Yeah, this was a stretch goal if I ever heard one.

32. Clean out all four bedroom closets in my house.

33. Blog as I hit these milestones. Done!

2. Meet up with my great friends I made while prego with Sam

One of the best decisions I made when pregnant with Sam was to join  Yes, they sent helpful emails on all kinds of fascinating topics – morning sickness, sore boobs, weight gain, but they also housed a forum for women to ask questions and talk through their pregnancy.  Through that forum and subsequently (several) iterations of private boards, I have a group of 10+ women who offer support, open minds, and friendship on a daily basis, with an extended network of 35+ for advice (and the occasional bout of drama).  Our friendships have blossomed from online only to face-to-face meet ups, and after the husbands and relatives get over the fact that we all met online, most people think it’s pretty darn cool that we are as tight a group.

This year I was bound and determined to attend the meet up.  Jay planned on joining me (since we have friends in Minneapolis too) but bailed when he realized he’d be the only guy around.  So at 5 am on a Friday in September, Sam and I boarded a plane and headed north, joining five of my friends, nine kids, and one very patient husband.  You would think it would be awkward… Nope.  Not at all.

Lots of kids and almost four of the six moms...

Me and Sam, enjoying some "us" time...

Me, Patty, Kathy, Krystal, Mickey and Kim
(no bottles of alcohol were hurt during this picture)

There is no way I could do the weekend justice in a few sentences.  For most of it, you really just DID have to be there.  I can say that I came home with my cheeks hurting from laughing and smiling, a sad Sam (she missed her friends!), a pretty sweet trucker hat and a heavy heart knowing I wouldn’t see these amazing women for most likely at least a year.  

Sad or not, it was worth it.  And I know deep down Jay is jealous of my awesome hat. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Beer Fridge

We bought an extra fridge for the garage once we moved into our house six years ago, mostly for drinks.  And even though it has tons of juice boxes and Coke Zero in it, it's always been known as the beer fridge.
One of Addi's jobs each week is the fill the fridge up with whatever drinks were purchased on Saturday.  And it turns out, having a kid with ADD has it's perks.  We have a REALLY organized beer fridge. 
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