Wednesday, May 27, 2009


One of my favorite things to do is to read to my boys. Since I was in my 20's - LONG before I was thinking about having kids - I started collecting childrens books. There are so many incredible books out there! Some of my favorites are the classics: "Good night moon," "The Giving Tree" and "Guess How Much I Love You." But I also love some of the less traditional books, especially by Dav Pilkey. He wrote "Dog Breath" and "The Halloweener," in addition to the "Captain Underpants" series which is Owen and Sam's current favorites. (I was soooo proud of them when they chose to spend their allowances on new Captain Underpants books!) We must have hundreds of books at the house and as much as I hate stumbling over all the toys, the books never bother me.

I have a rule for myself that I'm very impressed to say I've adhered to since Owen was born. No matter what I'm doing, if one of the kids asks me to read to them I stop and do it. Of course it's hard when I'm in the middle of cooking dinner and sometimes it takes me a minute or two to pull away, but I make it a point to sit down and cuddle them on my lap for just a few minutes so they will know the value of reading. William is not even 18 months old and he already understands this rule. He comes to me with a book in hand and is 100% confident he'll be getting a little "Mama time."

A friend of mine's dad had another rule that I will adopt as the kids get older. He told them lights out at 8pm, but if you're reading you can stay up as late as you want. He made two out of his three kids VORACIOUS readers - the last one preferred his sleep, I guess.

As you can see from the picture above, Owen is really starting to read. He is one of the top readers in his kindergarten class. He enjoys chapter books now when I'm reading to him and he stops me whenever I read a word he doesn't understand (another rule of mine.) Sammy is reading, but doesn't realize it. He won't start kindergarten for another 15 months and I am fully confident he will be reading at a first grade level by that time. I'm so proud of them and THRILLED that all those years of reading to them is finally paying off!

What are some of your favorite children's books?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Our Eldest Son

Yes, this is the same cat who clawed up my new ottoman, but I have forgiven him now and think this is a beautiful picture of him. His name is Dope and he's 7 years old now. He started out as "Opie" and quickly became "Ope A Dope" when we realized he's not very bright. Eventually, we started just calling him "Dope" and it's stuck. The kids don't have any idea he ever had another name. Even little William can say Dope and loves to pet him. He's fairly good with the kids - when he's had enough, he just runs the other way.

People who have pets instead of kids, always think of them as their "babies." That's just how I was with Dope for the first year of his life. He slept on my pillow nestled in my hair and curled up on the couch with me everytime I sat down. We took a MILLION pictures of our cats before we had kids, but this is the first picture we've taken of Dope in probably a year now. Once we had Owen, everything changed. It's not that we love Dope any less, but now we love our kids sooooo much more.

Chris wants to get another cat soon, but I am not sold on the idea. Pets are a lot of work (even cats) and we're too busy to really appreciate pets at this point in our lives. I'd rather just stick with Dope and then see where we are in a few years, once the kids are older. Besides, I know it's just a matter of time before the boys start begging for a dog and I'm bracing up for that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We went to Chuck E. Cheese last week when my in-laws were in town. Although you can't tell from this picture, William had the BEST time! He was only mad in this picture because I was holding him and preventing him from doing whatever it was he wanted to do. I was shocked by how quickly a 17 month old figures out you need tokens to operate the machines. He cost me a MINT!

Looking FORWARD to the weekend and BACK to how it all started...

It's going to be great to get out of work today and know I have FOUR WHOLE DAYS to spend with my boys! Chris will work this weekend, but we will have TWO days together as a family, as we both have Monday and Tuesday off. It's so incredibly rare for us to have a whole day to spend as a family, much less two, and it's something we are all really excited about.

Tuesday is Chris and I's wedding anniversary - eight whole years! I think about how innocent we were then, not really thinking much past the honeymoon, and how many things have changed since that rainy day in May of 2001. At the time, we were excited to move into our little one bedroom apartment with Sir (Chris's cat). The apartment had the most beautiful view of a park with a canal running through it and a decaying cement bridge crossing it. It was like something out of a picture and we thought it was the most perfect place to start our married life together.

Fast forward eight years and here we are in a different state, in our second house and with 3.5 kids. Unfortunately, we lost Sir in January so he can't be here to celebrate with us. (Still very sad about that!) It's amazing how quickly things change and the direction life takes us!

When we first got married, I told Chris that for our five year anniversary, I wanted him to get a larger diamond for my ring. By the end of the first year, I had already changed that request to be a Filter Queen vacuum - so funny how your priorities change! Then, within two years of being married, I wanted us to vacation on our five year anniversary. None of that happened - I don't even really remember much about our five year anniversary, except that we had two kids and were about to move to Wisconsin. I can tell you that even for our 10 year anniversary, I can't imagine getting that 2nd honeymoon because we will have FOUR kids by then, including an 18 month old!

So how are anniversaries spent now? Well this year we were going to get a couples massage and go out to dinner. After really thinking about it, we reconsidered and decided we'd like to take the family to the zoo. Isn't that what it's really about now for us? When we got married WE became a family, but now our family includes 3 cute little guys who are the joy of our life. Our anniversary is about celebrating the family we created - one that keeps growing! - and so we decided to include ALL of us in the celebration. Makes sense, no?

Have a great holiday weekend, no matter what you end up doing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Embarrassing (?) Moment

Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen by myself and heard some heartfelt sobbing from the living room. Who on earth could be crying like that at 6:30am??? It was Sammy (age 4), sitting on the couch with tears running down his face, red eyes, VERY upset over something. What on earth could be so terrible? "I pee-peed myself," he sobbed. Oh, poor thing! So of course I told him it was just an accident and it happens to everyone while I took him off the couch (first thing I did!) and to the bathroom to get cleaned up.

Later, when I was leaving for work, I kissed him goodbye and said "I know you woke up crying, but I hope you have a better day." He told me, "I was crying because I thought you'd be mad at me." (Gosh, am I that awful???) "No, no," I say, "It was an accident." "What was an accident?" comes the sound of Owen (5) wanting to know what he missed. I tried to wave him off, but he was insistent on finding out what we were talking about. I didn't want Sammy to be embarrassed, so I said "No, Owen, it's none of your business. Sammy just had an accident this morning."

Then Sammy piped right up, "I'll tell you what the accident was: I pee-peed in my underwear. HA HA HA HA HA!!!" Uproarious laughter from both boys followed and I just left for work. So much for saving him the embarrassment! But how could I forget that bodily functions are not embarrassing to males - they are more often HILARIOUS!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Love from Home (in the form of sugary soda pop)

Well the in-laws are here. They arrived last night with the rest of the stuff for my remodeling project (curtains and pillows) so I will be posting pictures of the finished product soon. Even Chris, who was not at all enthused about the project while it was going on, was duly impressed with how it all turned out. The house looked so "sterile" before, with all the white paint and white blinds, but now it looks much more cozy and less like we're renting the place!

I am also VERY excited to report that I received TWO 12-packs of my all time favorite beverage: Faygo Redpop. Ahhhhh! They sure do know the way to my heart! Absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder when it comes to Redpop. The boys love it, too, and I have to share (BOO!) but it's ok because I like introducing them to things I loved as a child.

Do you have a favorite childhood food or beverage that you just don't get that much of anymore? Maybe it's not even made anymore. Or maybe there's something you loved as a child and could not possibly stomach now. For me, that's circus peanuts - those marshmallowy orange candy things. YUK!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shutting Detroit Down

I am constantly worried about my friends and family back in Detroit (my hometown) and this week has been a particularly bad one.
First, one of my best friends from high school was laid off from her sales job at Visteon, where she sold parts to GM. She is married and her husband was laid off his job at the airport over 6 months ago and still has not been able to find anything. I don't know how they are going to survive for long and wonder if she will be able to find another job in that area. They own their home so moving out of state is probably not an option. I think we were the last people to sell a house in Detroit and that was in 2006!

The second story is even more desperate. Yesterday my sister's husband found out he is being laid off at the end of next week. He's worked in this particular plant (which is also tied to the automotive industry) for almost 10 years. The rumor is that it's not going to ever re-open. Once his lay-off starts, they will only give him medical insurance for another 30 days. It's a union job so they have really good medical and they NEED it, as he takes medication daily to control his epileptic seizures. They also have two children, so health insurance is always a concern. (Here in WI, we just got health care for all children regardless of income last year, but they don't have that in MI) My sister still has her temp job, but that will most likely end in June. Again, not sure how they are going to make it and with the job market such as it is, it will be difficult for them to find anything else.

I really wanted to stay in Detroit for a little while longer when my "dream job" in West Virginia fell through in spring of 2006. But Chris told me "If we don't get out now, we'll NEVER get out." How right he was! I thank God every day that we were able to sell our house and start a new life in rural Wisconsin where our boys can grow up with woods to explore, frogs to catch, horses to feed, etc. However, I do feel a bit guilty, just as the people on the life rafts watching the Titanic sink into the ocean must have felt. ALL our friends and family are back in Detroit and the situation there is DISMAL! I just can't believe how bad it's gotten in just the 3 years since we left. The boys and I pray for everyone back there nightly and we hope it will start to get better soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pop Up Visitors!

We just got word that my sister in law and her family are going to be visiting us in TWO DAYS!!! And they are bringing my mother in law, who will be staying at our house which is a total WRECK! I appreciate the excitement and I know we'll have fun seeing them but my gosh! Don't they know it takes more than TWO DAYS to prepare for visitors when you have no food in the house and there is CRAP EVERYWHERE??? Sometimes I'm thankful I'm off the hook because I'm at work all day so it doesn't have to be ME doing the frantic cleaning! Good luck making it look presentable, Chris!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Over 1/2 Way There!

Here's what 21 weeks pregnant looks like on me! By the 4th one, you get big FAST! My mother in law sent me a BUNCH of new maternity clothes she found at a 2nd hand store and this is my favorite shirt - great color, huh? She sent me so many new things, I am going to have to get pregnant several more times to get her money's worth! (TOTALLY KIDDING!)
This is definitely the last pregnancy and there are things I won't miss, but one thing I WILL miss is maternity pants. Just slide them up, slide them down - no buttons or zippers or belts to mess with. Now I know why there are so many elastic waist pants in stores, even though they are in NO WAY flattering on anyone! I guess when you get to a certain age, convenience trumps style. Until then, I will spend the next several months enjoying being allowed to wear pants that slide up and down, and being able to look huge and be told I'm "glowing." I need to appreciate pregnancy for its few perks and relish this last time around.

Mother's Day

Here's a picture of us before we left for church this morning. It was around 8am and I was DOG TIRED from a night of virtually no sleep and had a splitting headache. UGH! I am convinced NO day is a good day if you have a headache, no matter what happens. I swear, I could have Ed McMahon show up at my door with a huge check and if I had a headache the moment would be ruined. (ok, SLIGHT exaggeration!)
After a quick nap with Sammy and a few Tylenol, it got better this afternoon and we were able to enjoy the sunshine and pleasant temperatures. There was a lot of time spent outdoors and I tried DESPERATELY to finish planting the flowers I bought last weekend but there are still a few left languishing in their little plastic cages. I asked my mom at what age did she actually start ENJOYING gardening and she said it wasn't until her late 40's so I've got at least 10 years to go. She said that she's gotten to the point now where she actually likes the smell of the dirt. I can't even imagine! Then again, it may also have a little to do with not having 3 kids trying to run out in the street that allows her to enjoy it more than I possibly can at this point.
So it wasn't the best Mother's Day ever, but I need to remember to be thankful for all I have. This morning there was a child in the nursery class at school who had a shunt in his head. That's all the info we got on him but it was obvious he was developmentally disabled in some ways. I looked at my 3 healthy boys and realized how lucky I am. Sure, they can be pistols at times but they are all wonderful little guys who bring more joy and fulfillment to my life than I could ever have imagined.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's a.....

BOY! Oh my gosh, how the heck am I going to feed FOUR TEENAGE BOYS! I'd better start looking for a second job now!

Everyone is so thrilled and this new little boy will fit into our family perfectly. I'm so glad William will have a little brother just 21 months younger than him to play with and he won't feel like a "third wheel" with Owen and Sammy. I am so excited to welcome our newest little man to the fold!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pink or Blue?

Well, the big day is almost here: tomorrow we will have the ultrasound to tell if we should be packing away or giving away all our baby boy clothes. Exciting, yes, but also very nerve-wracking for me. Why? I guess it's probably because this is our last time around. People assume that I will be disappointed if it's a boy, but just the opposite. I think if they tell me it's a boy, I will feel relief. I am soooo nervous to have a girl because I'm so used to having boys and also because I fear I will be really hard on a daughter. So if they tell me it's a girl, it will take some time to adjust to that news, I think.

But of course once I start shopping for her clothes, I will be THRILLED! Oh, what fun!

Friday, May 1, 2009

No longer a cat lover!

When we painted the walls in the living room to match the furniture, I knew I would have to really amp up the red accents. My mom is working hard on the red pillows for the couches and I got red curtains for the living room, but felt it needed something else. Here's a picture of how it looks so far (minus the pillows, of course):

I know, I know...accessories are going to make a big difference once we get those going. And the blank wall over the couch will, of course, eventually have the PERFECT piece of artwork, complete with some sort of red something in it. But I still felt I needed MORE red to bring it all together. Enter....the bench:
I had come SOOOO close to purchasing this Lorraine Red Leather Storage Bench about a month ago when it was on sale, but hadn't yet started the "project" so didn't want to go overboard. But when it went on sale again at, I just couldn't resist. It's hard to tell color on line, but I hoped it would be the right shade of red and it IS! It arrived while I was at work on Wednesday and I was soooo excited to come home and see how it looked.

At first Chris had put it in front of the couch for use as an ottoman, but since the room is kind of small and the kids like to have lots of room to fight....err, I mean PLAY...I moved it to underneath the window. It was the perfect size and height to make a great windowseat and it also opens up for storage. It's made of a beautiful, supple red leather and even my husband LOVED it, mostly because he didn't have to put it together AT ALL - even the legs came attached! I sat on the couch and stared at it all night and woke up the next morning happy it was in the house. :)

Then we caught the cat clawing the top of it and it looks like he was at it all night. And that's all I have to say about that. :(

Boy Genius

I got the kindergarten calendar for May a few days ago and apparently they are going to start working on "simple sentences" at the end of this month. Well my little scholar is WAY ahead of his class, because he brought this note home in his take-home folder the other day. "I tooted on my bed" is one of his favorite things to say and anyone under 6 who is within earshot thinks it's hilarious! Apparently he worked on this during "free choice" time the other day and he was a hit with his classmates.

It was a hit with my family, too, and in fact I believe my in-laws printed it out and put it on the fridge. We are all so proud of our little scholar!