"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Polite Lady Filter

I lost my filter today.  The one I use to turn my rude, harsh thoughts into nice, polite words and actions.  I have no problem using it, on most days.  It ensures I am a good example to my children when in public, dealing with frustrating situations or irritating people.  I smile, nod, and use courteous phrases such as "thank you" and "excuse me".  I apologize when my child stands in the middle of the aisle at Target, and you can't get your cart through.  I say "no problem" when you apologize to me after tracking mud on my carpet.  It's all because I utilize my Polite Lady Filter.

The problem I have is, the darn thing just will not stay in when I get angry!  My husband can't figure out how certain things come out of my mouth when I'm mad.  See, he's different.  He almost never loses his filter.  His is basically super glued in, and I bet he couldn't pry it off even if he tried.  The worst he would do is temporarily crack it with all the prying...and a very thin stream of unfiltered nonsense might trickle out just before he got it repaired.

I send him to do my dirty work on most occasions.  He calls the insurance company, doctors offices, and goes to the DMV.  In situations when he says "I understand you're busy", I'd probably have said "this is your job, you get paid to do it."  It's an ugly thing, me unfiltered!

So, when my diabetic Kindergartner stumbled out of school to my van this afternoon with a blood sugar barely above causing a seizure, after being ignored by 2 teachers...I was half an inch from losing it.  I wanted to march into the school, gather the principal, the teachers and the nurse together and create an ugly, unfiltered scene!  But, my PLF was still hanging on by a thread, and instead I called Mr. Permafilter.  Her teachers should know, I fumed, that dizziness is a classic sign of a low blood sugar.  She should have been sent to the nurse...she could have died... they need to do their job, it's not summer vacation yet!  He calmly said, but she didn't, she's fine, and I'll handle it.  Easy as 1-2-3.

And, he's right.  She didn't die, and probably wouldn't have (I get dramatic when I'm angry, too!).  And he will handle it, a lot more understandingly than I would have.  In the end we hopefully won't have burned a bridge with a teacher we really do love because we won't have said things out of anger.  We will reeducate the staff at the school, and pray that it doesn't happen again.  I did a little housekeeping, found that evasive little filter, and wedged it right back in.  I'm thinking about seeing if super glue is on sale...

Choosing to love,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things I'm Loving Today...

I have found that there are things I love, and then there are things I choose to love.  For instance:

I love Diet Mountain Dew.  I wake up thinking about it, literally.  I make sure I always have plenty on hand (cans...so cold they are almost frozen), in my little basement fridge.  If I run out unexpectedly, usually after I've sent a small child downstairs to fetch me a can one too many times and they neglect to tell me I'm running low, it is worth a trip to Super Saver at 10 or 11pm to get it so I have it cold by morning.  If I travel out of town (by car or plane) I pack my own stash.  I could go on and on...it's pure love, my feelings toward my DMD.

I choose to love my family.  My husband is wonderful, and my kids are precious, but I have to make the choice to love them every single day.  They don't always make me gush.  Sometimes, they make me crazy.  Once in a while, I honestly wonder if we are going to survive a particular phase of life (teething? attitude? whining?).  But.  I choose to love them anyway.  Once I've decided that I'm going to love them, and act accordingly, I find that I actually do continue to feel love for them.  And, most of the time, they DO make me gush... :)

Things I love, because I have no choice:

  • DMD
  • my minivan
  • threading 
  • vacations
  • finding smokin' hot grocery deals
  • dessert
  • hearing my kids laugh so hard they almost (or sometimes do) throw up
  • the internet
  • Sonic happy hour
  • pedicures
  • rainy days
  • sunny, crisp 70* days with no wind
  • texting
  • weekly zoo trips

Things I love, because I choose to:
  • my loud, messy house
  • my giant 15-passenger van
  • my job
  • exercise
  • potty training
  • cleaning

Things I absolutely hate:

  • bugs
  • my tupperware cabinet
  • the label printer in my office
  • managing our finances 

The things I hate, I have decided to do something about.  I hire an exterminator to come to my house every three months, without fail.  She has become almost like a part of our family, and the kids look forward to her visits (probably because she drives a huge truck and brings them stickers).  I have given the finances over to my husband (one of the reasons I choose to love him!!), and have never been happier!  I set up all of our bills on auto pay, and gave him a list of what comes out when, and he's doing great with it.  I spent a few hours figuring out another way to print labels at work, so I don't have to fight the label printer that's been in use by the church since 1983.  I promise, that printer is possessed by the Devil, and using it causes me to sin because I curse, yell, and throw a tantrum about it every single time.  I'm still working on a solution to the tupperware cabinet, but in the mean time-asking my husband to organize it every few months gives me another reason to love him ;)

Choosing to love,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Aaaah, sweet Sunday!

By far, my favorite day of the week.

 Super excited to ride in Uncle Mike's big truck!
These boys love to wrestle! A girl will usually try and throw herself into the mix now and again...but they don't last long. 

Sundays are fun, with their lazy afternoon naps, yard projects, baking and grocery shopping.  We look forward to this part of the weekend, and have vowed to never let it go to sports, activities or work.  As our kids get older and more involved outside the home, it will be a challenge.  But, I think it's something worth fighting for-a day to be home and enjoy each other.  

Sundays are fun...and Sunday nights are pure magic.  We put the kids to bed and eat our dinner late.  We watch TV, we talk, we read, we fold laundry...  It's a perfect way to get ready for the craziness that crashes back into our lives on Monday morning and doesn't stop again...until the next Sunday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On Dodging Balls

I took the kids to a charity dodgeball game last night to help raise money for Jacob's Well.  I love my cousin Mark, and his heart for the people of Lincoln.  We had a great time watching the game, eating snacks, and being around some of our favorite people.

Here is the whole crew: my five, our nephew Drew, Ry's friend Ian, and a little boy I babysit during the week. My grandpa (Papa) is on the left, probably sitting there trying to figure out how to change seats once we all showed up :)  The kids were excited to watch the Husker athletes compete, and wore their Husker gear! Rugger even got his hat signed by someone, we're still not exactly sure who it was or which sport he plays.


The snacks were a huge hit.  I think I made at least four trips to the concession stand and spent $20 on items all under a buck each.  The kids were in heaven: rice krispie treats, popcorn, bottled water, cookies, nachos...it was a free for all.   The concessions ladies taped up a Mt. Dew box for me to carry all the goodies in.  I'm sure it looked hilarious! My friend Chei had a mini-Sharpie in her bag and marked the kids' popcorn bags with their names.  GENIUS!

Are my grandparents not the sweetest couple you ever saw?   I LOVE them, love that they haul themselves out late on a Friday night to sit in a loud, crowded gym, eat popcorn and LAUGH together.

We spent a few days making signs for our favorite dodgeballers, my uncle Bill and my boss Rusty.  I'm pretty sure they never saw us holding these signs, they were so focused!

Notice the Mt. Dew box!

My in-laws showed up and made my night a LOT easier. They are wonderful and so generous with their time. We got to the gym about an hour early, and by round #3 Rowen was done sitting in those bleachers!  I couldn't keep him quiet or still with food or drinks any longer, and he ended up running the halls with Grandma Sue.

My kids were overtired, overfed, dirty, and NOT ready for sleep when we got home about two hours past their bedtime.  We washed up, got our PJ's on, and hung out in my bed for awhile to watch the 10o'clock news, which was pretty exciting!

We had so much fun, and I loved watching those big men jump and hop around the gym floor trying to dodge the balls that were hurled in their direction!  It was very entertaining...but I had a heavy heart all evening, thinking about some good friends and some really unsettling events that have occurred in their lives recently.  I got to thinking later about all the "balls" we try to dodge, day in and day out.  And how, you can't dodge forever.  Eventually you either catch the ball and keep going, or you get hit.

Getting hit is hard.  It's never easy, that walk off the court to the bench...head down...defeated.  It hurts, and it's no fun to have to sit on the sidelines waiting for the round to be over so you can play again.  Sometimes we need to sit out though, to take a breather, gain some perspective, recharge for the next game.   It's disappointing, embarrassing, and some of us would just as soon not play than risk getting hit.

Catching the ball is easier on the ego, initially.  There's a little victory in making that catch and then making eye contact with whoever threw it, knowing they're headed out.  It feels good, and you're still in the game.  But, for how long?  Make enough catches, and hit enough opponents, and eventually you're the last guy standing there.  It's a lot of pressure, your team is watching, waiting, knowing eventually someone will take you out. 

It's a crazy game of life we play.  We win a round or two, and life is great.  We get hit a time or two, and it takes everything we've got to haul ourselves back out there.  It's important that we do play.  Take an active role in our lives and try for a few catches, throw a few balls.  It's risky, it doesn't always result in a win, and it's hard work sometimes.  But, you have to play.  You can't dodge forever...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Week of Firsts

First really HOT day of 2010!

 We got our sprinkler out for the first time this week, complete with four neighborhood kids and a box full of frozen popice!  We are so looking forward to summer with it's relaxed, less-scheduled, endless days.  I love having my kitchen door open to the back yard and letting the kids run in and out all day.  I don't love the muddy kitchen floor and mountains of swim suits and towels in my laundry baskets :)  Grilling out, popsicles for afternoon snack on the deck, water balloons, super soakers, and dirty, hot, exhausted kids at the end of the day...some of my favorite things ever!  I'm looking forward to baseball games, fireworks, trips to Omaha to swim at my parents' country club pool, staying up late, and sleeping in.  Having a kid in school has really made me appreciate and anticipate days OFF, and 10 weeks of days off sounds simply dreamy!

First Lost Tooth!

Ryleigh finally lost the tooth that's been hanging on for dear life since St. Patty's Day when she first discovered it was loose.  She has been hemming and hawing about it for a month, pushing on it here and there, talking about it constantly, and waiting (sort of) patiently.  I think she's probably one of the last kids in her class to lose a tooth, and she's the oldest :)  She wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy: "Dear Tooth Fairy, I am not gonna be able to sleep. It's my 1st tooth I've lost....".  She woke up to a dollar in her little cup and the tooth was gone, just like she expected.  So fun!!  Rugger was very excited for her, and a little jealous, and spent the next day pushing as hard as he could on his front teeth-just hoping! 

First Kindergarten Program!
 Our first girl's first school program was this week, so sweet!  I love her teacher, Mr. Wiedeman (on the left).  This is his second year teaching, and he lacks the experience that a 20-year veteran would have.  He admitted to us during parent-teacher conferences that he's still trying to figure out how to challenge her in class.  But, what he lacks in experience he sure makes up for in energy!  Ryleigh talks about him singing in class and using his "I Feel Good" button (when he pushes it he bursts into song and dancing).  She's also adopted some of his phrases such as "Um...I don't think so, Tim", which is incredibly random and sounds hilarious.  We are going to request him as Rugger's teacher this fall.  While I'm not thrilled about the fact that Mr. Wiedeman is still learning how to teach, I absolutely LOVE the fact that his classroom is lively and inviting, and the kids are having fun.  I think it's a great way to get started in school.      Dear Ryleigh, I love that you love school, your friends, and your teachers.  It is still so hard for me to send you off to hang out with other people all day, but it would be purely selfish for me to keep you to myself.  It makes me proud to hear your teachers talk about how compassionate and kind you are to others, and how you have an integrity about you that's beyond your years.  You were born with a desire to serve God and to help others, and I can't wait to see the big things you'll do!

First Major Hairstyle for Reise!


Reise has always had long, stick-straight, beautiful hair (in our opinion).  We've trimmed it several times, a couple inches off the bottom, but have always (always, meaning for the 3 years that she's had hair!) kept it long.  She loves dressing up, being girly, accessorizing, etc.  She HATES having her hair brushed, combed, fixed, washed...get the picture??  She screams as if someone is trying to cut off her arm with a dull butter knife.  Finally, Tuesday morning after a routine session of her screaming, crying and thrashing around while I cursed under my breath and sweat profusely, she tearfully asked if we could just cut it all off.  In my moment of pure exhaustion I agreed...and then spent two days trying to talk her out of it!  She insisted that she wanted it cut very short so it would not tangle or require a pony tail holder.  We finally took her Thursday evening, and she has never been happier!  I love the way it turned out.  Mitch is still on the fence, he really loved her long pigtails :(  I think it's very "Reise", and it's multiplied her sassy-factor at least 10 times. 

First Summer Cold...

Poor Rowen came down with his first nice-weather illness this week....probably just some little virus, that's made him feverish and crabby.  He didn't nap well, and Friday at 4pm when his tired Daddy sat on the couch with him for a minute, he just konked out.  Notice the bagel in his hand?  He woke up intermittently throughout the 20-minute snooze about 3 times to take a bite, chew, and swallow.  It cracked me up!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Must be a Monday

I was inspired to shave my legs over the weekend, after Rowen sat on my lap and said my legs were "ouchie". Uh??? Mitch thought it was hysterical and egged him on...Real nice.

So, I get up at 6:30 this morning, in an attempt to spend more than 4 minutes in the shower. The instant the water turns on, I hear "mama?"...Maeson is up. So what? He can hang out in the bathroom for like, what? 12 minutes? Then I hear "May-ton. Mommy", now Rowen's up too. Seriously boys? Whatever. "Close the door Rowen, you guys be quiet while Mommy's in the shower." I am about to bribe them with promises of chocolate and gum. I'm half-way done. "Hey, Mom" in an old man voice...RUGGER! Perfect!! "Can you take the boys to the living room and read books with them? I'm almost done."



"What? Uh, why does Rowen have your underwear out??"

I look out-sure enough, Rowen has the frilliest pair of panties I own. "Mama. Booties. Mama. Here. Booties." Imagine a robot speaking, this is what it sounds like.

I'm wearing them.

I got dried off and dressed, and then heard shrieking from the girls' room. Maeson is now in Reise's bed, where evidently Ryleigh slept as well?? He's wedged himself in the middle of them, which they think is hilarious. Until they realize his diaper is soaked, and leaking ALL OVER them. Reise declared the entire thing "disgusting", and I couldn't argue with her.

Ryleigh convinced me to let her eat two yogurts, because she "didn't plan on drinking much milk today." Well, Ok then.

Rugger drew me this picture, which is me and him. There are our hearts, and the little dots around the hearts are germs. "You know, everyone has germs inside their body."

I have to make laundry detergent today, because I am completely OUT. The only reason I ever decide it's a good idea to haul the kids to the store, is when it's totally necessary. We can't go more than 24 hours without laundry detergent. I won't have time to go to the store without kids for another day..so, totally necessary.

The headphones completely crack me up.

And, we were home by 9am, ready to "start" the day ;) Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Boys!

It's impossible for me to comprehend how fast two years have gone. These little babies grew up in the blink of an eye!

Two years ago today I never would have dreamed I'd be so in love with these little boys. God knew exactly what he was doing when he added them to our family. I never imagined I'd love having a gigantic family, driving a huge van, wearing a mother's necklace with FIVE birthstones on it... God's timing is so hard to figure out sometimes, especially when you're in the thick of it. But, looking back, it wouldn't have worked any other way. Someone said to me right after the boys were born "sometimes God holds us so close it covers our eyes". It summed up how I felt completely. I couldn't see the how or why, and it was really hard to trust and keep moving, knowing I wasn't in control.

Rowen and Maeson are BEST friends and it has been so amazing to see them grow into toddlers together. I am reminded when I watch them how God intends for us to love each other. Without hesitation, with no knowledge of the past, they just love. There's no "half" in their relationship, they are simply, fully, wholeheartedly, brothers.

The joy we experience when we celebrate birthdays and holidays (and everydays!) with our little "Rooster" also serves as a reminder of why we choose to stay a family. No matter how hard it gets, or how easy it would seem to just give it all up, we don't want to miss 2nd birthdays, or first anythings. We will work to keep our family together harder than anyone I know because the alternative is missing half of everything. I probably would have gone another 20 years taking that for granted if it wasn't for Maeson.

We will celebrate hard when he's here, and absolutely cherish the moments we have together with our other kids when he's not. We will be the type of parents who share everything, work together, and look back as a couple completely satisfied and in love. Our kids will know what Grace means, and will see forgiveness lived out daily. It's not a perfect life, it's not always fair, we hurt each other, and we're selfish by nature. But we will always remember where we were before we were blessed with our little boys, and praise God for every moment since.

Happy Birthday Little Boys!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Perfect Weekend

If there is such a thing as a perfect weekend, we experienced one! The fake mini-vacation that I created in my mind for Thursday and Friday continued on thru the weekend! We had so much fun. One highlight was helping distribute food with Jacob's Well. We had so much fun we stayed longer than we had planned because "these people need us, mom", said my oldest child. (TEARS, I tell you!)

We moved on to my sweet nephew's first birthday party, which is about a 45 minute drive. Enjoyed every minute of it-the big kids in the back with their headphones on, and me and the three year old chatting it up in the front :)

Easter Services were beautiful, and my crew looked adorable as ever.

Don't they look like they're up to something?

I completed the cake sometime between Saturday night at 11pm and Sunday morning at 4:30am...

It was totally worth it! The boys loved it, and since it's made of cupcakes it was super easy to serve and created no mess.

At 1:30am in the middle of the cake decorating frenzy I was joined by this little sweetheart, who had a quick snack and a snuggle and headed back to bed.

The daddy got home from work around 3:30am, after stopping at the gas station for quarters to fill the easter eggs, and a breakfast treat for "E. Ster Bunny" to leave the kids.

They love these little games!! I refuse to lie about the Easter bunny (or anything else for that matter). When they ask me if Santa is real, I make it really clear that while I don't believe he's real, it's OK if they think he is. And, I write notes and hide eggs and leave out milk and cookies and fill stockings in the middle of the night! It's great fun, and I truly enjoy seeing them all a twitter over this stuff.

I'm sure our neighbors were thrilled with the shrieking and laughing that was going on at 8am Sunday morning.

We spent Easter day with my husband's family, and celebrated the boys' birthday at the same time. I love doing birthday parties-the planning, the shopping, the anticipation, the last-minute scrambling, the satisfaction after it's all over and everyone's had a great time. BUT, throwing a cake into the middle of a holiday celebration works sometimes, too. ;)

I slept like a ROCK Sunday night, and woke up like nothing had happened Monday morning! Perfect!!!

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Eve

I'm laughing as I title this post, because it's officially April 3 (midnight, on the DOT) and my oldest child has been talking about Easter Eve ALL DANG DAY. She love love love love loves holidays. Like, even the holidays that no one else celebrates (Earth Day? She's been looking forward to it for a month. It's on her calendar, April 22, which is also "Take Your Child To Work Day"...which is also on her calendar and will be celebrated!) Anyway...she loves holidays so much, that she makes them bigger than they already are. Easter, for instance-already a big holiday! But, she must celebrate it all week, declaring Eves upon Eves...Easter Eve Eve, and I'm not kidding!

In truth, I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now myself. I felt like a mini vacation began THURSDAY morning this week. I took the kids to a birthday party in the morning, and then headed to work for the afternoon (which is a four hour vacation for me!). Then made a quick dinner, and headed out on the town with my two little ladies. We shopped for food for our Easter meal with my husband's family, Easter outfits for five kids (including new shoes for all), and the supplies to make an incredible birthday pull-apart cake! Hopefully when we're done it will look like this:

Minus the "Jaeden is 2" part! I just hope it looks similar, and I remember to put my own kids' names on it! :) This made for a very fun THURSDAY!

FRIDAY (Easter Eve Eve) I took six kids to the Children's Museum for the morning...

then came home just in time for my sister to drop off her 3 boys (so that's 9 kids total if you're keeping track!). Fed everyone (minus the baby),

laid most of them down for naps, and then hung out with my sister for the rest of the afternoon. She brought me some crazy good chicken nachos, which only intensified my delusion of being on a mini vacation this weekend! I love hanging out with her, and love it that she lets me watch her kids sometimes.

This evening I dyed Easter eggs with my little kids,

read books, painted 1 face (because she asked, and I couldn't say no, which is pretty rare for me!) and put kids to bed.

This leads us up to NOW...when I should be making the cupcakes to have ready to decorate tomorrow night. I should also be making the food for Sunday's dinner, because I won't have time tomorrow (SATURDAY)...

Tomorrow morning we are helping distribute food with Jacob's Well. My oldest (the one with the thing for holidays!) has a thing for anything in need. Her heart is so big and pure, and she wants to give everything she owns (and everything I own) to anyone she feels has less. I love this gift that she has, and want to make sure she has the opportunity to give in a practical way.

After that, we're headed out of town for my nephew's FIRST birthday party (sort of vacationish...might pack a few snacks for the 45 minute drive, just for fun!). I'm sure there ewill be pictures posted on his mom's blog ;)

We'll be back for church Saturday evening, with everyone dressed in their new outfits! Hopefully Saturday night I will find the energy to get all my food ready for Sunday, including that CAKE!

The cake is for my two littlest boys,

who are both turning 2 next week. We are celebrating early with my husband's family, since they're in town for Easter already. BIG SIGH for babies turning 2...

It's going to be fun and I've been looking forward to all of it for a long time...

So why am I sitting here...when I should be getting stuff done?!! Because I'm on a mini vacation, duh!