Friday, April 29, 2011

Don't Wanna Miss a Thing

I sure do miss these little guys....
But that's all coming to an end very soon.

In the last seven years, I have worked a minimum nine hour day. My job now requires me to work no less than 9.5 hours a day, even in the winter when there is literally NOTHING to do. I have to sit there....and sit there....and sit there....and at 5:30pm I can finally leave. In the summer when we hit wedding season, I have to work the minimum of 9.5 hours every day but then also 12-14 hours on Saturdays. I barely have time to see Luke, who reaches up and cries "Mama" now, as I'm trying to put makeup on in the morning. It breaks my heart every day.

I've missed so much of their lives...first smiles, first words, first steps. I'm absolutely determined not to miss any more. And that's why I quit my job today.

Am I scared? Oh gosh, yes, I'm scared! But it's an exhilarating scared, like on a roller coaster where you know there's gonna be a steep drop but then you'll go right back up again. This is risky, but all of life is risky. Helen Keller said "Life is a daring adventure - or it is nothing." I'll take the daring adventure.

I've been working on the website for my wedding planning business and my business cards are on order. I can't wait to get this show on the road and I truly feel that within a year I will wonder why I ever hesitated. But until then, I will be on my knees every night praying for God to help us make ends meet. I'm accepting prayers from anyone out there who wants to join me.

If you want to check out my website, here it is: I named the business "Something Blue" in honor of the four boys that I'm so excited to spend more than an hour a day with. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter at Our House

We had such a wonderful Easter weekend! The weather was actually pretty nice - partly sunny and around 60 - so that helped a lot. On Saturday, Chris was at work all day but we had fun anyway. I took the kids to a local firehouse that does an annual pancake breakfast and egg hunt. Well, it was actually more like an egg GRAB because they just threw hay over a section of the floor in the firehouse and covered it with eggs. When the announcer blew the whistle, it was ON! I took a few pictures of that on my phone, but none that are really "blog-worthy."

The Easter bunny came on Saturday night and the boys woke up to this:
Those balls were a favorite of all the boys, even though they were meant for the little ones. There wasn't a TON of candy, but they loved every last bit of it and ate more than they should have before church.

Have you EVER seen anyone eat Peeps like this? He never even broke them apart!

All 4 boys got a camo hat in their basket and Luke absolutely loved his. He is into hats these days - mostly the putting them on and taking them off part. Within a few minutes of waking up he had already smeared chocolate all over his pj's so this is what we got to spend Easter morning with:

OMG, is there anything cuter?

After naps, Chris hid about 100 eggs all over the yard and the boys had a GREAT time finding them. We're definitely going to do that every year for as long as they are still interested. Such fun!

It was a wonderful treat to have a Sunday when neither Chris or I worked (first time since March 27) so we enjoyed the time together as a family, as well.

I am loving that the boys are all understanding the real meaning of Easter now, thanks in part to the wonderful children's program at our church. Owen and Sammy also go to AWANA on Wednesdays and already know a lot more Bible verses than I do (not saying much!). Even William is paying attention. The other day he pointed to my Bible and said, "That's about Baby Jesus. It's NOT about Dope." (Dope is the cat, for anyone new to the blog.)

Hope you all had a Blessed Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Just a Few Pictures

This is how he looks first thing in the morning. You do NOT want to mess with him until after he's had his coffee, obviously.

And this is what he looks like the rest of the day:

All smiles and sweetness...and then you turn your back and he's thrown your wallet in the toilet.

Last picture. Owen's hair looked especially good that day and I wanted to take a picture. So I got him to sit in the usual picture-taking spot (the fireplace) while I grabbed the camera. At the very last second, he made this face: Of course I was NOT happy with this, but he was incredulous. "But that's one of my cool looks!" Chris and I were both curious to know what other "cool looks" he has up his sleeve. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what he comes up with.

Happy Sunday!


Whenever I try to say that word, I end up sounding like Carly Simon.

This picture was taken yesterday. Owen sat there waiting like that for close to an hour. It was to be his first sleepover and boy, was he ever excited! I don't think Chris or I expected a midnight phone call for us to come get him, but neither one of would have minded a bit if it had come - might have been a little flattering, actually, to think he would miss home that much. But, no, the call never came and I picked him up at noon today. He seemed really happy and really tired and a bit different to maybe he grew up even more overnight. Or maybe I just haven't noticed how much he's growin up every day until he spent a night away from me. At any rate, he's back home where he belongs and we're back to the normal noisy chaos, which feels good.

Another reason for the title of this post is that I believe our two months of waiting is almost over, or should be over this week for sure. For those who don't know, Chris and I have been trying to make a huge change in our lives, one that will require a lot of sacrifice and faith in God for help.

For the last 7+ years, I have been the primary financial support of the family with Chris being a stay-at-home dad and working part-time to supplement. This has put a strain on all of us because although it might work best for some, Chris and I are traditional people and instinctively long for the traditional roles. It's been a long 7+ years, but I'm thankful for how things have turned out because it's my job that got us out of Detroit and to a beautiful part of the country that we'll be happy to live in for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, Chris's supervisor lost her job about two months ago and he posted for her position right away. It took about 3 weeks before they called him for an interview and then they told him it would be 2 weeks until they had a decision. At the time he interviewed, there were three applicants total. It's now been 3.5 weeks since his interview, and he heard through the grapevine that all told, there ended up being about FIFTY applicants! Apparently that's why it's taking so long, because they had a ton of interviews of both internal and external candidates. So although Chris is very good at his job and is a great interview, competition for this postition is quite steep.

It's been a looooong time since I've prayed for something this hard. I think it's only prayers that will help at this point, whether he gets the job or not. The position would be Monday-Friday from 7am-4pm, so would allow a lot more family time than we've EVER had. There are so many, many ideas I have for making the most of that family time but everything is on hold now and has been for what seems like FOREVER. But, again, I believe the waiting will come to an end this week because they had their last interview on Friday.

I will just have to keep praying that no matter what happens, we are able to pull through as a family. If he does get the job, there will be much rejoicing but also some apprehension, as it will be a pay-cut for the family. But we will figure it out as we go along and I've got a few ideas up my sleeve for ways to pull in some additional income in my spare time. So please pray for our family this week, if you can, and we'll continue to hope for the best.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reptilian Voyerurism

I have a funny story to share from a couple weeks ago when the weather was nice and I was home with the boys on a Saturday.

Note: I was originally going to call this post "Snake Porn" but decided to take the high road.

We were all enjoying the sunshine, except for Owen who had done something (can't remember what) to warrant being sent to his room for a bit. When I came back outside after talking to him, Sammy said "I think I see a snake!"

Naturally, I was excited. Some moms wouldn't be, but thankfully I grew up with two brothers who taught me the joys of creepy, slimy things. So I ran right over and found a VERY long snake next to one of the basement windows. Upon further inspection, I found it was actually TWO snakes who were stuck together: it was a mother snake giving birth!

I right away called for Owen and gathered all the boys around to witness this "miracle of life." I pointed out how the "mama" snake's abdomen was moving, clearly trying to push out the rest of the baby. I even showed them the "umbilical cord." The only thing I didn't quite get was why the "baby" snake was a) almost as big as the "mama" and b) why he was kind of dusty, not "fresh-looking" like I would think a snake who was fresh out of the shoot was. After about 5 minutes of taking pictures and ooh-ing and aah-ing over this beautiful display of nature at its finest, the neighbors behind us came over to see what we were all gawking at. I told them what was going on and showed them how the snakes were still connected and Nick took one look and said, "Um, Becky....they're breeding."

As soon as he said it, I knew he was right. Oops! I told Nick I was really thankful for his choice of words since the kids were still right there. It was really funny. Nick even went and got his computer so he could read all about what the miracle of birth for snakes is really like. I guess they give birth to a lot more than one baby at a time - more like 30+. The most on record for a gardner snake was 98 babies at one time. WOW! The boys were undetterred and continued to play with what they called "mother snake" and "baby snake" for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thought for the Day

Learn to like what doesn't cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different...
different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction of doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the songs of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of the rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter's day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.
~~Lowell Bennion

The Secret to a Lasting Marriage

Happy Almost-Weekend! I have tomorrow off and it's supposed to be sunny and almost 60, so I'm really looking forward to spending the day with my boys. I have to work on Sunday, but it will be more bearable because it's going to rain.

Last night I got news that a couple that's a friend-of-a-friend are divorcing. I knew them in passing and they seemed like they had an ideal life together - a perfect match. They'd been married around 10 years and together for several years before that, so of course it was very surprising to hear they were splitting after so much time.

I'm not sure of the reason(s) and even less sure I'd like to go into them here, but this news made me think about how Chris and I are able to make our marriage work. I came to the realization that the credit goes 100% to ME.**

**If you don't understand or appreciate sarcasm, please stop reading NOW.

There are three personality traits I possess that have made me an ideal mate IF you want to stick with someone for the long haul. (And that's how marriage feels sometimes, doesn't it? Like a LONG HAUL!)

1. Stubborness. Yes, I am stubborn. I can't ever admit when I'm wrong about something, so there's NO WAY I would EVER admit to having married the wrong person. Imagine ME being WRONG about this most important decision!!! NO WAY!!!

2. Pridefulness. There's not a snowball's chance in hell I can allow myself to fail at something I really put an effort into. I would be crawl-in-a-hole-and-die embarrassed!

3. Competitive Drive. I would never be able to accept the fact that other people are able to make a marriage work but I can't. So I just keep hammering away at it and hopefully we will both live to be 147 so that we can have the longest marriage on record.

Now, I am NOT saying these qualities make me an ideal wife - FAR FROM IT! In fact based on these personality traits, Chris probably deserves more credit for the marriage lasting because he has to put up with me! BUT, I do know there are lots of people out there who think marriage is supposed to be easy and enjoyable all. the. time. and that's just not reality. So when it gets tough, it's these aforementioned traits that keep me going. Marriage is a choice not just on your wedding day, but EVERY day after that. I wish more of my happy brides at work realized that.

Hope you all have a great Friday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Few Movie Reviews

I've recently developed a new crush.... Redbox is FANTASTIC for those of us who aren't ready to commit to Netflix. We've had Netflix in the past and I think it's a great service, but I just don't know when/if I'll have a chance to watch enough movies to make a monthly service plan worth it. Redbox is PERFECT for me because I can just pick up a movie on the way home on a night when I know I'll have time to watch it. And I can return the movie to any Redbox so that makes it easy for me when I'm running around town the next day. I found I can go online to to browse and find the newest titles and have the movie I want literally waiting for me when I get there. So cool! (**I have not been paid by Redbox in any way for this review. I am just really in love with it!) This was the first movie I rented... If you haven't seen "The Social Network," you should. Great movie with great performances and the story is VERY interesting. It's easy to forget that the main characters are 20-somethings because they are so intelligent and doing such amazing things. I loved this movie but have de-activated my Facebook account. This one was my pick (embarrassing, I know):
I figured it would be good to just veg in front of a no-brainer type movie that night but I found myself more annoyed than anything. Both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were pretty likable, but there were a lot of errors in the story and the ending was VERY predictable. Not recommended.

Last night we watched this:
OMG, can't say enough good things about this movie. The acting was some of the best I've EVER seen. Christian Bale was almost completely unrecognizable as the older crack-addicted brother. The mom, played by Melissa Leo, was also amazing. Both of them won Oscars for their roles.

The bigger surprise for me was Amy Adams, who played the girlfriend. I guess I never really thought of her as a "great" actress but she is MUCH more than a pretty face. I LOVED her in this role!

It's not too often I'm able to post movie reviews, since I don't have a whole lot of time to watch movies. Of course these are all older ones because there's no WAY we can ever get to a theater! If you haven't seen any of these films, hopefully these reviews will help.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Every superhero has his sidekick, right? Batman has Robin, Superman has Jimmy Olsen, Spiderman has....well, I'm not sure who Spiderman has. I'd be better off doing this post when the kids are awake to help me, but I'll try to struggle through on my own.
In my house, the two older boys also have "sidekicks." They each chose one of the younger boys to buddy-up with: Owen chose William and Sammy chose Luke. When they play, they call William and Owen "Team Bluejay" and Sammy and Luke are "Team Cardinal." There's nothing that brings me more pleasure than seeing the four of them play nicely together (this is a rarity, mind you!) A couple weeks ago I came up with the idea to use this "sidekick" thing to my advantage and it's working beautifully. On Sunday, I didn't have to get William dressed for church or into his PJ's at night - Owen did it all for me. I have put both older boys in charge of doing various things for their sidekicks and it's amazing how much all four of them love this. Luke, especially, just eats up the attention he gets from Sammy.
Their "teams" this morning consisted of "Super Bro" and "Sidekick Small" (pictured above) and "Dr Red Hair" and "Chocolate Chunk" (the bad guys.) I don't know where they come up with this stuff!

Please continue to pray for our family as we wait for good news regarding Chris's job. I am living with a lot of uncertainty right now and it's been difficult, but I truly believe in God's plan for us and am walking by faith, not by sight.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Are you watching Celebrity Apprentice?

Is anyone else watching this season of Celebrity Apprentice? I know it's a two hour time commitment every Sunday (well, more like 1.5 hours if you fast-forward the commercials) but I think it's been worth it so far. I find the personalities to be very entertaining and for the most part I sit there and think "Why on EARTH are these people famous?" Now, Donald Trump I get. He's obviously a smart guy and a shrewd businessman to have been able to get where he is. But what I don't get is why he, and everyone else on the show, keeps calling this guy "brilliant": Does this look like a brilliant man to you? I think he looks more like a guy who went riding his motorcycle without a helmet, got in a bad accident and his brain had to be put back into his head. These "Busey-isms" he keeps coming up with are so innane, it's tough to listen to them. "F.U.N. = Finally Understanding Nothing." WHAT??? Based on that, I was having a lot of FUN watching him on the show last night. But I'm glad at least this chick is gone...
I was losing my mind watching Dionne Warwick and having EVERYONE on the show call her a "legend." Really? I know her music career was a bit before my time, but if she was so much of a "legend" don't you think she might still HAVE a music career? Paul McCartney is still touring and he's the same age as Dionne - now THERE'S a legend!

My next pick to go is Star Jones:
What a nasty, nasty individual she has proved herself to be on the show. I think she seemed a lot nicer when she was 200+ lbs. Now, she seems incredibly egotistical and two-faced. She's another very shrewd business person, though, so I think she'll be around for a while. Also, she's too intimidating for most of the other people to go up against in the boardroom.

Now, here's who I'm rooting for:
Love, love, love him. AND he's raising money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. What better cause is there than that? GO JOHN RICH!!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pajama Bags

About two years ago, I had a problem. It seemed like every night when the boys went to bed, they were unable to locate the pajamas they had just worn the night before. (No, I do not get them a fresh pair every night. Our laundry pile is large enough without doing that, thank you very much!) As I have done all my life, I discussed this problem with my mom to see if she could help me out. She is always wanting me to come up with good gift ideas for the boys so I asked her to make them pajama bags for Christmas that year. I was expecting her to basically put a drawstring on a cute pillowcase. But being a lady who loves a challenge, she came up with these...Owen's is a brown, vintage-looking basketball. She claims this was the hardest one to make. She had to borrow a basketball from the little girl next door and studied it to figure out how to get the panels to "curve." I love how she put his name on it. Sammy's is next...
So cute! This is my favorite one because I love how the zipper is part of the design.

For William's soccer ball, she cut out each one of the black and white circles and stitched them together. I'm sure that took quite a bit of time! All three of those were done for Christmas 2008 and she went back and made Luke's this past year. I had suggested a baseball so that all 4 were completely different, but because she wanted them all to be true-to-size, she stuck with another basketball one for him.

My mom is INGENIOUS, isn't she? She came up with the overall design for these and was able to make them without any instructions. I pointed out to her that she could sell them, but she said it was way too much work! I was (and am) amazed by her! Love you, Mom!

On an unrelated note, Chris is working long hours this weekend but this is what he gets to come home to...

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Weekend "Off"

It's always something I look forward to: a weekend off work. But of course any mom of four boys knows there's no such thing. Thankfully, I had a lot of help with the cleaning I had to do today... I am also putting together a few things to go to Goodwill. Spring is the time for purging closets and Luke was up to the task. He will miss all these shoes for sure, but I don't think I will!
It took a long time to get the boys' room to look like this so I thought I'd take a picture:
Once I took this picture, I realized I never took pictures of their closet after I cleaned it out a couple of months ago. That was a full day project and one that was sooooooo needed. Everytime I went in there it gave me immediate hives, so I guess I didn't take a picture so as not to suffer PTSD just looking at it. Anyway, once it was done it looked like this:
I moved ALL the games from various parts of the house into their closet. I will tell you that when we decided to give the boys the master bedroom last year, I struggled a lot more with the idea of giving up this closet than I did giving up the master bathroom. But it's made everything much easier because the older two boys share clothes and the two little ones will, too, soon, so keeping all the boy clothes in one place is very convenient when putting away laundry.
It's not easy trying to keep it clean and organized, but well worth a little daily effort on my part to avoid what I initially went through to get it this way.

After a lunch of pb&j sandwiches, I had one more cleaning project before naps...

His brothers were calling him "Peanut Butter Santa Claus." Don't those brown eyes just get to you??? Maybe it's just me. Also, check out his big boy haircut Chris gave him this week. I swear, he looks like he's ready to go to college!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Still Yawning this Morning

Good Morning! I'm up early making cinnamon bread for work. I hope these people appreciate the fact that I got up at 5:30am to bake this fresh so it will still be warm when I take it to them to devour. The rest of the house is sleeping except for this little guy: Scrabble has gotten to be my little buddy. I was walking him in the mornings, but I've given up since it's STILL only about 20 degrees in the morning - BRRR! Come on, Spring! We sure could use a few 50 degree days in a row. It seems like it will never get warm!

I found these cute pictures of the little boys on the camera and thought I'd post them. Luke is 18 months old now and full of mischief. He loves to wear hats, but insists on wearing them backwards. He's getting into all sorts of trouble these days but once he flashes those big brown eyes at us, all is instantly forgiven.His partner in crime is William. We lock Luke out of the bathroom, but William happily lets him right back in to throw various things in the toilet. It's fun. Remember when I wished they would become friends? Well it's happened and it's one of those cases of "Be careful what you wish for."

This picture makes me think it's all worth it, though. I'm so glad we had #4 so these two have each other.

My hair is wet and the cinnamon bread is ready, so gotta run. Happy Friday!