Friday, October 30, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I am grateful for…

T. Bone having enough confidence at 8 years old that he was comfortable wearing his tidy whities on the outside of his flood pants to complete his nerd look for Fall Festival. I am also thankful for his sense of humor. Incidentally, he won for most original costume!

Uno…a game we can all play and enjoy.

Reading the Bible with the kids before bed.

Spotting a wolf in our yard this week. It was beautiful and majestic, and for sure not a coyote no matter what anyone else says! HMMMM...I can't hear you.

A long weekend thanks to teacher’s convention.

T. Bone saying on the way to church last week, “My favorite part of church is the home-ily especially if it’s Father T.” He’s listening! Nevermind that it's the homily.

Carving and conversation during last Friday’s pumpkin party. Of course, all the adults were the ones busy turning the pumpkins into jack o’ lanterns while the kids ran around playing ghost in the graveyard and ding dong ditch.

Spending Saturday afternoon shopping, and then we went out to lunch. T. Bone picked out a new winter coat, Miss Bit got some new brown fashion boots, I got some new snow boots and my hubby got some new shoes. Something for everyone!

After Miss Bit got ready for church the other day she said, “Let me go look in the mirror to see just how beautiful I look.” Another kid with confidence.

Homemade chili, chicken noodle soup and mac & cheese this week.

Another almost t.v.-free week.

My brother came to pick up T. Bone Sunday so he could put him to work in his yard. Rumor has it that they tossed around the pig skin a little too. Oh, and they talked about the facts of life...religion and where babies come from. T. loves spending time with his best uncle. T. was none too pleased when I told him that the $ he made was not just for Legos or skateboard ramps or snow boards.

My mil was rear ended this week, but she is ok. We found out on Facebook. Sometimes i'm even a tad thankful for Facebook.

The out of control car that careened out of the ditch Saturday night did not hit us, or any one else, for that matter. T. Bone has thankfully stopped talking about it and fantisizing about becoming a crime scene investigator...FIL let him watch an episode of CSI Miami the other week.

No swine flu and a firm decision not to vaccinate.

We just found out that our old neighbors are now our new neighbors.

Self realization. Miss Bit threw an absolute throw down temper tantrum when I said no she could not go to her friends right before dinner the other night. She stormed upstairs wailing, ranting and raving. After about 5 minutes and 40 blood pressure points (for me), she came down and said, "I'm sorry Mama...I'm just wild tonite."

The belly laugh I got when T Bone threw himself on the floor and whined, "I hate haircuts! Haircuts are just a big waste of money!" Guess who is the proud owner of a handsome new haircut?

I'm not thankful that Gourmet is going away, but I am grateful that I have kept every issue I have ever gotten as a subscriber.

Michael Scott's costume on lastnight's Office. Remember ?

A Halloween party tonight. I am going as myself because last year I was the only guest besides a few kids (2 of them mine) that dressed up. And I'm not talking mask or hat or animal ears...I was a full blown green witch with warts and rotten teeth.

Reading Miss Fiona's Stupendous Pumpkin Pies with Miss Bit lastnight not only because I like the story, but also because she was very in tune with the whole rhyming thing. She also "read" me Pinkalicious almost verbatim and with emphasis and expression and pride.

An afternoon at the movies with my kids yesterday. We saw and all very much enjoyed Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It is safe to say that it exceeded all of our expectations.

So many people are praying for sweet Stellan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Close Call

I really don't have anything substantive, witty or thought provoking to say. I'm just happy to be here because you see...when I went to turn on my computer last night...I was greeted with a lengthy, cryptic error message. I tried to restart my computer in various modes all to no avail. Then my hubby, who is much better friends with hardware and software than I am, tried and also had not a stroke of luck.

I took it to the IT guy at work who rendered the nasty diagnosis....BSOD. That stands for Blue Screen of Death. I said, "huh?" He said, "Basically, you're screwed." He clearly underestimates himself because I am back in business in less than 24 hours, and I am beyond thankful.

Seriously...I had a hard time sleeping lastnight worrying about files I haven't backed up, lost pictures stored on my hard drive and being cut off from the WWW. I think my adverse reaction speaks volumes and makes me realize that I am a little too attached to my lap top.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Week

Lil Bit lost in the leaves.
Scary BIG sweet treats.
Boo Hoo! Bzzzz...Yes, that bee Tigger.
Professor Peanut.
My nerd and my kitty.
Someday these 2 jocks will regret posing for this photo!
Miss Bit loves her friend M.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for…

Fourteen years of marriage.

The way Miss Bit says “I’ll miss you,” even when I just tuck her in bed for the night.

An almost 70 degree day this week. It was so wonderful to be able to open patio doors and windows and let the warm breeze blow through the house. I love listening to the rustling leaves too.

Maples. My world is goldenrod right now…and glorious.

Taking the scenic route to work this morning. Today you could have surfed on Lake Michigan. I parked by the lake for a few minutes and was mesmerized by the waves rolling in and soothed by the driving rain. There were a few runners that were bold enough to brave the elements. I scarcely remember when I was that driven, but today I was happy to be warm and dry in my car listening to Nora Jones. Despite my detour, I was only a few minutes late for work.

Pumpkin muffins for breakfast today.

While we were cleaning up after dinner one night this week, we were all jamming to the Black Eyed Peas…family dance party in the kitchen!

Twice this week the kids snuggled up in our bed and T. Bone read stories to Miss Bit before bed.

A new Hanna skirt.

Leftover turkey for sandwiches all week.

Carving pumpkins. Last night Miss Bit and I turned her pumpkin into an owl. The pattern was a little challenging for her, so I had her cut some stars out on the side and she bejeweled it - that made her feel very proud. She’s convinced that she’s going to win the jack o’ lantern contest at the school’s fall festival tomorrow with her creation. Tonight some new friends invited us to a carving party.

My hubby is feeling much better just in time for the weekend.

T. Bone decided that he wants to be a nerd instead of a mummy. I love costumes that you can put together by raiding everyone’s drawers and closets.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Fourteen years ago yesterday was the day I married my love. I can still remember the happy happy day like it really was only yesterday. I know I am a bit biased, but it was one of the very best weddings E-V-E-R, and we have my Mom to thank for that. I have my hubby to thank for the double digit years we have spent together creating this life that makes me feel blessed to be a part of day after day.

Mine was a typical day as far as Wednesdays go. My hubby’s not so much as he was home sick in bed most of the day. I signed up to chaperone the annual trip to the pumpkin farm. I love field trips, pumpkins, hay rides, kindergartners, but I could have done without the mud. I was happy three of my charges had to use the potty upon arrival because I had not one, but two cups of coffee for breakfast. I had to laugh because one little boy soaped up his hands at the outdoor sink and then stood there singing Happy Birthday not once, but twice through. The irony was that then he submerged his hands in the icy cold water and minutes later was groping pigs and cows.

We loaded up the wagon for the hayride and set out to the patch. One of the Dad’s, an acquaintance for years, was kind enough to ask how my Mom was doing in the midst of many small ears. I couldn’t even answer him. I’m still struggling with saying the words. They, frankly, just escaped me, but he used the look that came over my face to gauge his response, “Oh, not so good.” That was that…the end of that conversation.

And after that I was thankful the wagon stopped. That is until the moment I stepped off only to be sucked into the digusting depths of the sticky, gooey mud. Thank you angels above for not letting me give up on my quest to buy Miss Bit boots Tuesday night. She absolutely needed them yesterday. We trudged around the patch getting muddier, and more miserable by the minute in search of the perfect pumpkin. Miss Bit needed one round as can be, T. sought out a B-I-G one, A. wanted one with a stem, N. did NOT want a muddy one (?), and little N. wanted one he could carry (?). Somehow I managed to make everyone happy and we were on our way back to the wagon when the tractor started up and off it went. I didn’t hear the part about how we were going to have to hoof it back to the bus carrying our loot. Just guess who ended up carrying all five pumpkins? I literally worked up a sweat and thought that my arms were going to fall off. (I hope the fall trip for first grade is the apple farm.)

Wouldn’t you know it…the sun started shining as soon as the bus got on the highway, and by the time we were back at school it was a balmy 65 degrees out. I spent the afternoon washing the mud off our boots and making Halloween cupcakes. After snack, T. Bone disappeared outside with his band of boys while Lil Bit and Miss O. joined me for crafts. The girls made the most adorable, imaginative Halloween cards adorned with thumbprint black cats, bats, spiders and pumpkins. The kitchen table was covered with glitter, colored glue, googley eyes, stickers and foamies…good stuff. Miss O. has always been quite the artist, and I love how Lil Bit looks up to, and tries to emulate and impress her older frister with her creations. She’s become quite the budding artist too.

My hubby felt well enough to join me in the kitchen to whip up some homemade spaghetti and meatballs for the anniversary dinner we enjoyed together as a family. I set the dining room table and lit the candles. We all toasted – the kids over Welch’s and the adults over Montepulciano – fourteen years. Fourteen fabulous years. Another great day. One very special evening. It all adds up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Table Talk

At dinner tonight, my girl asked my boy...Did you like it when I was gone this weekend?"

And then when the only answer he gave was a raised eyebrow she said... Dude, it's ok. You can say it.

To his credit and proof of his sweetness, he never did.

All The Difference

Being down a child makes all the difference. Friday night I came home from my in-laws where the kids had happily spent a couple days off minus Miss Bit. She was picked up by her other grandparents for an impromptu sleepover. It was quiet mostly because there was no sibling rivalry going on. Hubby, T Bone and I settled in to watch HGTV show after HGTV show. My almost 9 year old son is surprisingly entertained by the decorating dos and don’ts.

Walking with someone with long legs makes all the difference for this short legged lady. My friend J. and I went for a nice, long hike Saturday. I had to jog to keep up with her from time to time so I definitely got my workout.

Making bars instead of cookies with the Tollhouse recipe makes all the difference. Everyone always prefers the soft, gooey bars to the chewy cookies. How can it be that the same ingredients can yield such different results?

Eating dinner in the dining room instead of the kitchen makes all the difference. Setting the table with nice place mats and cloth napkins, and lighting candles even makes grilled cheeseburgers fancier and more special. Trust me…we did that Saturday night and the food really tasted better.

Moving toys from one room or shelf or basket to another makes all the difference. The kids actually believe they are new and find them all the more entertaining. Rearranging them brings them new life.

Making dinner in the crock-pot makes all the difference. I cooked a turkey breast in mine all day yesterday and it was so moist and tender and easy. The house smelled like Thanksgiving a month early.

Getting up an hour early makes all the difference. This morning I got in the shower before I am even thinking about getting up most mornings. I was able to have a leisurely, stress free morning.

Listening to music instead of talk radio or talking on the phone makes all the difference during my morning commute. It clears my head and makes my soul feel lighter...I am relaxed instead of agitated.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I am grateful for…

Encouraging conferences with both T Bone’s and Lil Bit’s teachers this morning. They are both star students.
Hard work.

A date with my hubby last night at one of our favorite restaurants.

Refinancing our mortgage so we can pay off our house faster.

2 peaceful hours at the Audubon this week. I heard a couple school groups, but crossed paths with nary a soul except a yearling. As I made my way around the grassland loop, I came upon a deer. She looked at me all doe eyed and actually started walking toward me. She came within 10 feet of me before she was spooked into the brush. I have to confess that it was both thrilling and scary. A mole ran right in front of me not long after. I almost stepped on it. Poor things are blind as bats.

The confidence my son possesses. He is a new recruit to the minors, but one would never know it. He’s trying out new positions…catcher and pitcher. He is quite a pitcher too throwing more strikes than balls.

Miss Bit is aso quite a swimmer. She was the only student to pass to the next level in her class of 6.

Pat Conroy’s latest novel is in my possession.

A quiet weekend ahead with lots of time to read and relax.

Squash with lots of butter.

Retired in-laws who enjoy spending random days off of school with the kids.

Studio quality school photographs of both the kids.

The way my girl doted on my cousin’s 19 month old daughter. She was completely smitten with her dimpled cuteness. T Bone was attentive to little Miss Maggi too.

Fall arts and crafts. Miss O and Miss Bit are in for craftmania Wednesday after school. I’m heading to Michael’s tomorrow to get me some supplies.

Term limits.

T. Bone not sulking or balking when I told him he couldn’t play with friends after school on Monday. We worked on his homework, baked (and ate) warm, gooey cookies and played a game of Life together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn a.m.

I'm just waiting for the sun to warm the chilly air up a bit before I head to the Audubon for what will, no doubt, be an exhilarating and beautiful hike/run. It's the calm after the storm in my house. Kids are woken, breakfasts and lunches made, spelling words reviewed, homework signed, hair and teeth brushed, backpacks filled, hats and gloves found and the bus has arrived. I am savoring the silence and what's left of my cup of coffee as I plan the day ahead.

This is my favorite time of an autumn day...the morning. It's when the whole crisp, colorful day stretches out before me with its endless possibilities that I feel punch drunk and energized. This is exactly the kind of morning that makes me want to celebrate every moment to the mantra on rewind that I hear in my head: I am alive...thank God, I am alive!

There's no mistaking that mornings like this make perseverance possible.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lazy Day

The Survey
1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Dirty
3. Your mother? Angel
4. Your father? Call
5. Your favorite food? Today Pizza
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee/Water /Wine
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Family
10. Your hobby? Writing
11. Your fear? Cancer
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Warm
15. Muffins? Miller's Bran
16. Wish List Item? Time
17. Where did you grow up? Shorewood
18. Last thing you did? Played ponies
19. What are you wearing? Comfies
20. Your TV? Badgers
21. Your pets? Napping
22. Friends? Gifts
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Chill
25. Missing someone? Always
26. Vehicle: Dirty
27. Something you're not wearing: Socks
28. Your favorite store? Depends
29. Your favorite color? Pink
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? 3:00 this morning
32. Your best friend? Hubby
33. One place that I go over and over? Pick n' Save
34. One person who emails me regularly? Ashley
35. Favorite place to eat? Poco Loco

I am moving a little slow today. See #31. I stayed up until 3:30 catching up with my cousin, and today I am paying the price. She had a 5 hour drive and a wedding tonight. Her only saving grace is that she's still in her 20s. Today Miss Bit and I did some crafting, turned the family room into My Little Pony World, read and I snuck in a short nap. Now we are ordering dinner...see #5.

My Grandma is at rest. The funeral was oddly uncathartic. It was a private ceremony just for immediate family. There were no elaborate eulogies, and there were few tears. Father T. spoke to the importance of maintaining family ties and that seemed rather appropriate for a family that is spread across 4 states and shrinking. Not for long though...I suspect my other cousin is pregnant with her second baby. Next time we gather it will be for the happy occasion of a wedding and maybe even a baby shower.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Today I am Grateful for...

  • My Grandma being at peace. Her suffering has ended. My Uncle was able to be with her in her final moments and she knew it. Right before she passed she woke up, looked at him bright eyed and smiled. She went with a smile on her face.
  • The beautiful bald eagle that flew through my yard earlier this week. I have never seen an Eagle in the wild. It was awesome!
  • Grandpa's beef stew. The whole family loved it...even the cats. T. Bone took his first bite and said, "Woo hoo for beef stew!" Usually what I serve for dinner isn't met with such enthusiasm. Gramps was pretty much the topic of our dinner conversation...the kids wanted to hear stories of their great grandpa.
  • Tuning into Oprah twice this week. Her guests reminding me to always give thanks for what I have and really what I don't have. She interviewed a family with a 7 year old schizophrenic daughter. They live in 2 separate apartments in the same complex in order to keep their baby safe from his older sister. The sacrifices that they make for their sick child, and they don't complain. The other day Oprah had Stephanie, whose blog I frequent, and her husband, Christian, on to talk about their lives since their tragic plane crash a year ago. What a lesson in unconditional love she and her family are. She is scarred, yes...but radiantly beautiful both inside and out. Check her out for yourself.
  • My hubby bringing me a bouquet of birds of paradise in sympathy of my Grandma's passing and to remind me of happier times shared just a week ago.
  • An unforgettable week at Disney World making memories to last a lifetime with my family. My hubby says we'll go back again in 4 years, but I am on the 2 year plan. Now it's time to start firming up our trip to Vail this winter.
  • My T. Bone had the 8th highest in popcorn sales for the whole county. He was #1 in his Pack. That boy...I'm telling you...he never ceases to amaze me.
  • Looking down the river today, I was taken aback by the sea of color. I love fall. October is my bestest month of the year. I love everything about it!
  • A one of a kind wool sweater I found at a resale shop last week.
  • New windows before the snow flies.
  • Dense, whole wheat bagels topped with fluffy cream breakfast of choice this week.
  • Taking time to get caught up on journals.
  • Cuddly kitties...cooler temperatures make them want to be close.
  • Miss Bit getting up every morning with a smile on her face (unless she doesn't like what she's wearing) and the craziest bed head. She is excited for school everyday.
  • Not getting a call from CPS (Child Protective Services) after Lil Bit's 5 year check up last week. She was screaming bloody murder at the sight of the needle and I had to literally pin her down so the nurse could give her 3 shots. Thankfully, she hasn't talked about it since so I guess it wasn't too traumatizing.
  • The routine...back to school, back to volunteering, back to Sunday school, back to practice, back to lessons, back to life...back to reality.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Got a Minute?

That's literally all I have and there are a few things that I need to say...
  • Happy Birthday to my Gramps. He would have been 93 today. I miss him. It makes me sad that he never got to meet my kids. Tonight we are going to celebrate the 82 years he did live over steaming hot bowls of his famous beef stew recipe and then we'll enjoy a homemade apple crisp. He fancied himself a baker, and could actually make a mean apple pie, hence the crisp which is basically an upside down pie. On Thanksgiving, he was always in charge of bringing the pies. If there were 6 people, we could expect at least 6 pies. He was good like that!

  • The only reason we're having said stew tonight is that I got up at 6:45 this morning to cut and peel carrots and potatoes and get everything in the crock pot. I am a full-time working woman this week, and although it's only Tuesday, I have come to the certain conclusion that it is way overrated and definitely under appreciated! And I'm not even working Friday because I'll be at my Grandma's funeral.

  • That got me thinking that I am celebrating too many loved ones passed on these days. It makes my own mortality take front stage and demand to be acknowledged. It will be pure bliss when we are all reunited.

  • I'm still working on a Disney post. It already seems like ancient history. Forget Calgon...Mickey take me away. I have a new, not so secret crush on Mickey because he is the epitamy of bliss on earth.

  • Why I thought it was a good idea last night to go to the nursery before dinner to buy mums, gourds and a pumpkin (but seriously this is THE great pumpkin) I'll never know. I was outside long after dark planting and doing fall cleaning. I hope it looks good. Then I came in and started cleaning the inside of the house. We're having company for the weekend you know. All while I know that a perfect house is really only an empty image.

  • It's probably a very bad thing that I am irritable with people this week seeing as how I'm going to have a houseful come Thursday. This week I'm envying those who have taken vows of silence because I am not sure I have sufficient restraint to keep from saying what's on my mind and in my heart.

  • David Letterman is one person that I would like to have a few words with (not that he'd care what I have to say). If his wife stays with him after the mockery he made of their marriage last night following his apology, then she absolutely deserves him. I'm not a late night t.v. gal, so he's not losing a viewer, but I'll be sure to blast him every opportunity I get for whatever that's worth.

  • In fact, I've watched less than 2 hours of television since we've been home and we've been home for a week. I may be on to something here.

  • I wish I could talk with my Mom. She'd understand how I'm feeling. I know she'd make me feel better.

  • I think I need a new pair of boots. Lil Bit wore her new, hot pink suede with fringe numbers yesterday and she couldn't wait to leave the house and go to school. If only it were that easy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

It was definitely back to reality this weekend, and that is a good thing. It was filled with football practice, a baseball game, a birthday party, play dates and a dinner party. There was shopping, spectating, socializing, chauffeuring, slicing (too many apples for crisp) and selling. My cub scout pounded the pavement selling popcorn throughout the neighborhood and then made the rounds with the family too. He sold over $1000 worth to secure the spot as top pack seller for this blitz weekend. That earned him a much coveted gift card he plans to use to buy more Legos, his new found passion. I am proud of his efforts, enthusiasm, commitment to an impressive goal and his sale's technique. He loaded up the Burley with product and pedaled away looking like the definition of adorable in his uniform. He let his sister tag along on her scooter and she was the definition of beside herself. Don't worry I was lurking close behind.

Today I left the house long enough to go to church. We were halfway through mass when I smelled my Mom. The comfort that familiar scent offered was really a prayer answered. As quickly as it permeated the air around me, it was gone. Uncanny really. Then my hubby and I went for our Sunday school soiree and the song that was playing in the coffee shop reminded me of my Mom. I felt like I was given one of her hang in there winks, and I needed one.

I spent the rest of the day at home catching up on chores in between chapters of Anita Shreve's new novel. It was the perfect day to have the dryer going all day because it was crisp, cloudy and cool just like a fall day should be. I'm heading up to bed now to finish the story. It's a good escape worth getting from the library, but then I am always eager to read anything that is set in Africa. Africa intrigues me.

This is going to be an incredibly busy week, made even more chaotic by out of town guests in town for my Grandma's funeral Friday. Some how everything will get done, but right now it seems like a long shot.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You Know What They Say...


I could have literally spent our entire vacation taking pictures. There were Kodak moments around every corner. I took my share, but I refused to be caught capturing the moments in exchange for living in them. I had to leave the lens behind at times to experience the magic before me without a filter or distraction...I highly recommend it.