The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alive and Kicking

Warning, this is a post about being pregnant, a subject which I may post more of now that the news is out in the open. So, if you don't want to hear about being pregnant...stop reading.

Let me just tell you, Liam is going to make a very good husband some day. He is so in tune with the baby in my belly. Even though my belly isn't HUGE (yet) he's constantly rubbing my belly, or just placing his hands on my belly. He talks to the baby. Tells the baby good morning, good night, hello, and good bye. He is all about the baby in the belly.

So, I made a prediction that (next to me, of course) Liam would be the first person to feel the baby move. And the baby has been moving more and more as the days go by.

Yesterday morning, as I was lying in bed, dreading getting up, Kevin had his hand on my stomach. (Kevin rarely touches me, unless, you know, he's touching me.)

Anyway, the baby moved. And, it's not the kind of movement where you can see the belly move along with baby's movements. It's much more subtle right now.

Me: "Did you feel that? The baby moved!"

He didn't feel it.

A minute later, the baby moved again. I was debating whether or not to ask Kev the same question when he said, "I felt that!"

So, my prediction was incorrect.

Kevin was the first one to feel the baby move.

And Liam is now determined, more than ever, to be the next.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Pregnant

I'm pregnant.

I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant.

Wow, that feels so good to openly say it. Such an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders to have it out in the open.

I'm not just pregnant. I'm 18 weeks pregnant. And in a week from tomorrow, I'll have the size/growth/anatomy ultrasound to find out if the baby is healthy and, more importantly, whether it's a boy or a girl (girl!). The baby flutters have turned into real movement.

I've known since August 6th that I was pregnant.

Looking at that plus sign on the stick was not necessarily a shock, because we knew that we had gone through a moment of laxed judgement a few weeks earlier. But confirming our fears was still shocking.

And depressing.

Yes, I was depressed. And stressed.

So, I didn't tell many people right away.

I had to adjust to the news.

The first person I told was Kevin. He didn't believe me. Let me rephrase that, he didn't want to believe me. And when I asked him, "What are we gonna do?" He easily responded, "I guess we're gonna have a baby." Duh.

Then I emailed Amy because I had to see it in writing. Putting it into writing made it real. She called me to discuss the holy shit no effing way news but I wasn't ready for a discussion.

Slowly we told various immediate family members.

Everyone was shocked, but excited. I thought Kevin's parents were going to cry when we told them. (They're so sweet). And my sister, holy cannoli, I thought she was never going to stop splashing me, she definitely had the most excited reaction (she LOVES pregnancy and babies).

The person that I dreaded telling was Jordyn. I knew she was not going to be happy. And she wasn't. Her reaction surprised me, though. She cried. But her reasons for crying were so real and raw. When I asked her what she was feeling, she explained that she is already the odd man out in the family. And adding another baby to the mix that looked like me and Kev and Liam and Owen, was just one more person that DIDN'T look like her. My heart just broke. Then when she and I both expressed that we hoped it was a girl, she cried again. This time because she said she felt like I wanted to replace her, and that she wasn't a good enough daughter. I told her that it made me sad that she felt this way, but after all, feelings are feelings and we can't help feeling a certain way. So, it was perfectly OK for her to have these feelings. I told her how beautiful she is and how much she DOES look like me (no, that's not meant to be a self-compliment) and that we could NEVER replace her and that when we had Owen it wasn't because we felt like we needed to replace Liam. But, in the end, she was still not excited about the news. And I told her that was OK. When I first learned about the news, I wasn't excited either. I told her that I hoped she would soon come to be excited about it. And indeed, she has.

Just like the rest of us. Kev, the boys, and even I have become excited about this new addition to the family.

But, it still took me a while to want to openly discuss it.

I just wasn't ready for all of the baby talk. Crib, diapers, high chairs, car seats, loss of freedom.

We were done with babies. DONE. But apparently not anymore.

As the weeks went by, I had to tell certain people. People that we partied with and who KNEW to suspect something if I wasn't drinking. Heather not have a glass of wine? HUH? Unheard of.

When we had parties at home, I poured POM blueberry pomegranate juice in a wine glass when no one was looking so that it looked like I was drinking wine and no one would be suspicious.

I also had to tell my Hottchicks work out group. How could I chronicle my fitness goals, weight loss (or gain), and NOT tell them? It explained so much.

Because my eggs are older now (my doctor's quote, not mine....thanks Dr. Powell!) my risk of miscarriage in the first trimester was greater. So, that was another (minor) thing that kept me from shouting it from the rooftops.

But, the first trimester came and went, we heard the heartbeat and saw the baby blob on the ultrasound more than once (and confirmed that there indeed was only ONE little bun in the oven). And other than a couple of weeks of nausea (for which my doctor gave me vitamin B suckers) and the depression (the doctor didn't have any suckers for that), everything was looking just fine.

So, little by little, I told more and more people. And, I kept adjusting to the news. But still, not everyone knew....namely work people.

You see, there's this little thing called a crappy economy right now, and the project I'm on at work was having a bit of upheaval. I didn't want work to know because I didn't want them to look at my pregnancy as a liability and therefore not give me assignments (although I'm pretty sure that's illegal, and if it's not illegal, it should be). Be careful what you wish for, I ended up getting MORE work assigned! But, that's OK. In today's environment, as a consultant, you HAVE to be billable or else your neck will be on the WFR chopping block in a heartbeat. And with Kevin unemployed since January and a baby on the way, we definitely can't have me without a job.

Hence the stress.

I finally told the project bosses about my "situation" on Thursday (it's getting quite physically obvious). And on Friday, I told my HR manager (who lives in PA, and I never ever see him, so I could have technically "gotten away with" not telling him until I delivered, but come on, that's not right). And after they all said CONGRATULATIONS!! I graciously said thank you, and then I said "Well, it definitely wasn't a planned event, but please don't let that reflect on my ability to plan a project!!" ha ha ha

So, the weight is lifted. People know.

I'm OK to talk about it.

I've accepted the news.

I've adjusted.

And you know what? I'm excited.

I really, really am excited.

I'm pregnant!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Five

In my favorites, I have SEVERAL scrapbooky blogs bookmarked, I'd say probably 40 ish (OK, more like 50). And then I have about 20 general (or "mommy") blogs bookmarked. That's not to mention the dozen or so friends/ScRap SiStaZ blogs that I have linked to my own blogs. And, I'm just not savvy enough to use the Google Reader function which tells you when updates have been made to each blog. And perusing through 80+ blogs every day is just way too time consuming.

So, recently, I've had to simplify. And I now have five blogs that I check almost every day.

Some are scrapbooky, others are not. Just thought I'd share "My Five", in no particular order.

1. http://ashleygailey.typepad.com/ - No one "famous" (although her scrapbook layouts have been published in some magazines!!) But, the way she writes just cracks me up. And the layouts that she shares are SPECTACULAR. She lives in Southeast Michigan, and I hope to bump into her one day because I just *know* we'd be instant friends.
2. http://www.cathyzielske.typepad.com/ - Cathy Zielske, Simple Scrapbook legend, scrapbook celebrity/royalty. Not only is she wicked talented, she's quirky and witty and just so much fun to keep up with.
3. http://www.dooce.com/ - NOT a scrapbooker, but she does take and post some fun photos. Her name is Heather something and she's some sort of mommy blogging ex-Mormon media mogul. Or something like that. Imagine making a LIVING (a GOOD living) just from blogging!!
4. http://www.elizabethkartchner.blogspot.com/ - Elizabeth Kartchner was a Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooker of the Year (I think in 2007). She is just so sweet and creative and absolutely amazing. It's almost nauseating how perfect her little life seems and I just love soaking in a small fraction of her zest for life through her blog.
5. http://www.mattlogelin.com/ - Matt Logelin lost his wife (and highschool sweetheart), Liz, almost two years ago, only 27 hours after she delivered their first baby via C-section (she never even held her daughter!). I've been reading his blog since the very beginning and his style of writing and his photography is just so engaging. I couldn't imagine that kind of tragedy and you can tell that his blog is definitely therapeutic for him. His daughter is adorable and the online community that has sprung up around him is amazing.

Of course, there are other celebrity scrap blogs that I visit frequently, Stacy Julian, Ali Edwards, Lisa Bearnson, and Becky Higgins. And many others that I visit regularly. Just not "every day" like I do with my top five.

Oh, and I couldn't leave you with out linking two of my other favorite mommy bloggers (good lord, I hate that term, but I don't know what else to call them), Classy Chaos (who loves fashion and her children almost equally) and the NieNie Dialogues (who was severely burned in a plane crash a year and some change ago - which gives appreciation for life and counting your blessings a whole new meaning).

Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Am I a Reject?

I've been going through a bit of my own drama lately. Drama that caused me to be borderline depressed for close to a month, and certifiably depressed for about a week.


Anyone that knows me (even remotely well) knows that I avoid drama like the plague. Some people (OK, many people) are drama magnets. Me? I'm the polar opposite. A drama repellent, of sorts.

So, when I experience my own drama, I tend to cocoon myself in it. Isolate myself. Alienate others. Basically, I don't want my drama bug to rub off on anyone else. Nor do I want anyone else to see that I'm (GASP!!) less than perfect.

And, that's kind of what I've done with this latest episode of drama.

Although, now that I've emerged from the drama, (well, the drama is still there but my acceptance of it has allowed me to move past it), but now that I've emerged from the raw emotions of the drama, I'm finding myself somewhat alone.

Did I alienate people too much? Am I a reject?

All of this introspection has made me realize that I want to work on being a better friend. So, that, maybe, when another episode of drama sets in (Heaven forbid), I won't find myself in this same lonely situation when the emotions of that new drama subside.

So, what better way to figure out how to be a better friend than to GOOGLE "how to be a better friend"??

There are numerous blogs and articles out there on this subject, which makes me feel slightly less like a reject knowing that so many other people ponder this topic.

One of the first things that hit me was that many of the articles stressed the importance of quality of relationships over quantity. I've battled this topic in the past. I used to think that I had to be friends with and get to know everyone and to invite everyone to everything and I would feel bad if I didn't get invited to something, even if the event was being hosted by someone I barely knew. So, a couple of years ago, I came to the conclusion that "I've got enough friends already." This attitude worked well for a while, but ultimately, I think this attitude has rotted my potential to develop new and meaningful, QUALITY, friendships. So, while I don't have to be best friends with everyone, I want to open myself up to the possibility of new relationships.

Keeping the quality over quantity concept in mind, I want to figure out what relationships I currently have that need attention. Or rather, what relationships do I want to foster and see flourish? This will not be a long list, but it will include people other than 'friends'. The list will include Kevin, Jordyn, my parents, my sister, and of course a handful of 'friends', some of whom with which I already have a close relationship and others with which I would like to see our relationship grow.

Once I've developed my "short list", I'll begin to develop a plan for cultivating those friendships. However, friendships are like flowers, so the cultivation for each is different. The steps I'll take to enhance my friendship with person A will be different than the steps I take to enhance my friendship with person B, and person C, and so on. And that's OK.

I think by purposefully becoming a much better friend to a short list of people, it will enable me to be a better person to a larger circle of friends. And who knows, in becoming a better person, it might put me on someone else's "short list".

That is, if I can fully recover from the drama and prove myself to be not too much of a Reject.

Drama Drama, go away, Heather would like to come out and play.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Fall List - Progress


Back in September, the family put together a Fall Bucket List of sorts.

And, here we are, almost the end of October, and I'm happy to report that many of these items items have already been checked off the list. Such as:

Mom's List
* Oxford Football Game
* Go to the boys' soccer games
* Farmer's Market
Dad's List:
* Watch a Bucs game with out yelling
* Make Chili
Jordyn's List:
* Go pumpkin picking
* Go costume shopping
* Visit the Parsons' puppy
* Go to a corn maze
Liam's List:
* Score four goals in one soccer game
Owen's List:
* Make applesauce

There are a couple of things on the list that we are scheduled to do in the next couple of weeks:
* Go Ghosting (before Halloween)
* Costume party (Jordyn already went to one at a friend's house, and the boys will each have one at school)
* Go to a parade/Have a parade (not really sure what Owen was trying to say here, but they have a costume parade at school, so that counts in my book)
* Carve Pumpkins
* Burn Pumpkins (This was Owen's description for putting a candle in them as jack-o-lanterns)
* Go trick-or-treating (on Halloween)
* MSU Football Game(11/7 vs Western Michigan University, Family Tailgate)

A couple of things on the list that we WON'T be able to do:
* If the Tigers make it to the World Series, go to Detroit to walk around during one of the home games (Make it to the World Series??!!! How about make it to the PLAYOFFS??!!)
* Go to the Funky Fall Fest (not sure why I haven't seen anything on this yet, but it looks like the PTO has chopped this event this year, so sad)

And, a couple of things that I'm sure we'll get around to at some point before Fall 'leaves' us:
* Starbucks for Hot Chocolate / Hot Caramel Apple Cider
* Make Peanut Butter/Marshmallow toast
* Rent a scary movie around Halloween
* Make a Halloweeny dessert
* Make Halloween cookies
* Make Halloween decorations

As much as I'm excited about crossing more Fall Family Fun items off our list, I must say that I'm already looking forward to making our Winter Bucket List!! :)

It's more than just creating lists and checking things off, though. It's about creating lasting family memories and cultivating some traditions that will (hopefully) last for generations.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What...

...is outside my window: The house across the street being re-bricked for no apparent reason.

...I am thinking: I could really use some chapstick right now. (But, that thought crosses my mind about 16 times a day)

...I am thankful for: A healthy, loving family. And the DVR.

...I'm making for dinner: I don't make dinner, Kevin does. Tonight he made a delicious pork roast, green beans, potato fries, and crescent rolls.

...I'm wearing: Jordyn's jeans that I borrowed, a black tank top underneath a red thermal hooded shirt (a hand-me-down from Jordyn!)

...I had for lunch: Nee Nee and I went to Victoria's to have their Tuscan Lunch - unlimited soup (Pumpkin Bisque & White Bean Chicken Chili) & salad (with Bleu Cheese dressing). The company and the food was great!

...I'm creating: As many fall family fun memories for my kids as possible.

...I'm reading: Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

...I'm hoping for: Kevin to land a job before April 12, 2010. The sooner, the better.

...I'm hearing: The Angels celebrating their ALCS game 3 victory over the Spankees, I mean the Yankees.

...is happening around my house: The boys are getting ready for bed and Kevin is trying to fix the wireless internet connections on his and Jordyn's laptops. My connection is fine.

...is one of my favorite things: Cute new high heeled boots.

...are my plans for the weekend: Dinner date with Kevin on Friday (to celebrate our anniversary), Soccer games Saturday morning, BW3 after Soccer for lunch, Parsons' Halloween (but not really) party Saturday evening, Relax (hopefully scrapbook) on Sunday

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

10 things about me right now

I got this idea from Ali Edwards' blog and then saw that one of my top 5 bloggers, CZ, did the same thing. So, I decided to put myself out there and follow suit. (And yes, I, too, need to turn this into a scrapbook page soon.) Here goes...

10 things about me right now

1. I work from home every Monday and Friday, and sometimes, when it's a cold dreary day like today, working from home on a Wednesday just makes sense. Nothing beats working from home in your fuzzy slippers and cozy pajamas. Except, maybe, not having to work at all!

2. Yesterday I unexpectedly received a decent size royalty check for the one chapter that I helped co-author in the SAP book that was published earlier this year. While a pleasant thing to receive, Kevin and I disagree on whether to spend it responsibly or frivolously.

3. I have gone to bed by 10:00 pm most nights for the last several weeks, sometimes even turning in by 8:30 or 9:00. This behavior is completely out of character for me, a seasoned night owl.

4. I recently had the privilege of attending a program at Jordyn's middle school called Rachel's Challenge, which, among other things, was to start a chain reaction of kindness. Rachel was the first person shot and killed in the Columbine tragedy in 1999. At the age of 17, she had a tremendously kind soul whose life and story and challenge has now reached millions of people. I think of her message often.

5. Owen did not want to get up for school this morning, but not because he was stubborn, it was because he was exhausted. All day, every day kindergarten is really taking a toll on him. I wanted to let him sleep until his body told him to wake up, and then take him in to school late. Because, sometimes kids just need to sleep. But, Kevin woke him up and got him out the door on time.

6. My heart was full this morning as I witnessed yet another awesome big brother moment from Liam has he grabbed Owen's hand to hold as they jogged together down the road towards the bus stop. They didn't even realize that I was watching them out my home office window, and it makes me smile to see these private moments of brotherhood between them. Brothers forever, friends for life.

7. I'm frustrated and saddened by the economy, and as a result, Kevin's continued unemployment. However, I remind myself that financial troubles are but a speck in comparison with the tribulations that so many others face…tumors, hunger, divorce, death, war, depression, rebellion. I'll take a healthy, happy family over a paycheck any day.

8. All year I have been taking a picture a day documenting our daily life as part of Project 365. I have started to slip with my picture-taking - a day here and a day there - the last couple of weeks. I need to re-focus on this important project. When the year is over, I plan to print all of my photos and the corresponding journal entries (that I've logged in my Project 365 blog) to create a scrapbook album.

9. My dreams at night are plentiful and vivid. I just need to learn how to harness that energy during the day...to dream while I'm awake and to make those dreams come true.

10. I am 12 weeks pregnant with our fourth child. The idea of adding a baby into our house when I thought we had closed that chapter of our lives is pretty scary, to say the least. But, life would be incredibly boring with out a bit of adventure, and I do love roller coasters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Free Bird

Working from home today I took notice of one of my feathered friends hanging upside down from the bird feeder. I'd never seen any of my birds do this before and I thought it was kind of neat. So, I grabbed my camera.
Whatchya looking at fella? How cute are you? Looking for a worm?

Then some other birds came to visit the feeder. But instead of eating the seeds, they seemed to be pecking at this bird.


I took a closer picture of the bird and realized that he was only hanging upside down by one leg. See the other leg there in the photo?

Then I realized. He's not hanging upside down on purpose. He's stuck. Those other birds weren't pecking at him, really, they were trying to FREE him!!


So, I put on my black leather winter gloves, went out to the feeder, (sending three dozen birds that had been hiding amongst the evergreen branches flying off into the sky), and I inspected the situation. His foot was, indeed, stuck in the feeder!


I was able to release his foot with little effort and attempted to place him gently on the ground, but he immediately flew away. And, he didn't seem to be hurt one bit.


Fortunately, I had gotten to him in time.


Free Bird.


(Yes, I think that one day I'll be the old lady on the park bench with pigeons eating out of my palm.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great Gypsy Escape

Trying to win a Cricut contest, plus it was fun to think about escaping for a little while.

This is contest entry for those crazy folks at TodaysMama and Cricut. Be sure to check out Cricut's cool new cartridges and the chance at $30,000 in travel for you and your friends at the Great Gypsy Escape site! http://bit.ly/FWcudGreat Escape Meme

1. If you could escape to anywhere in the world where would it be?
Edinburgh, Scotland
2. What song do you play when you are by yourself in the car?
Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry
3. If you had a night to yourself, and money was no object, what would you do?
SPA - all day AND all night
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
Wine, Wine, Wine
5. What is the farthest place you have traveled away from your home?
Penang, Malaysia
6. Last book that you couldn't put down?
The Middle Place
7. When you want to escape into another time, what movie do you watch?
Braveheart or Dangerous Beauty
8. What is your favorite local escape?
Traverse City, MI (but that's about 5 hours away, so, I'm not sure that's considered "local"!)
9. How do you escape on a budget?
Get together with good friends for some wine consumption, grilled goodness, and belly laughs.
10. Best food you've ever had while on vacation.
I don't remember what I had, but I remember where I was...Emeril's restaurant in Vegas. BAM!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Fall List

You may remember our Summer Bucket List...


We gathered the family around the fire pit on the patio for one last summer hurrah and discussed the Summer Family Fun items that we did together:


Cook's Farm Dairy * Parsons' Pool * Finish Liam's Birthday Album * Driving Range (Kevin & Owen) * Gulda's Pool Party* Binder Park Zoo * Pancake Breakfast * Grand Rapids * Movies * Fireworks * Catch a Frog / Toad


Then, as we watched the summer sun set across the lake and made some S'mores, we discussed what types of Fall Family Fun things we wanted to do this autumn.

We may get to do some of them, and not others. And that's OK. As long as we do them together.

Here is the Hillary's Fall Bucket List:

Mom's List:
*Oxford Football Game
* Starbuck's for Hot Chocolate / Hot Caramel Apple Cider
* If the Tigers make it to the World Series, go to Detroit to walk around during one of the home games
* Go Bowling
* Watch our wedding video on our anniversary (Kevin and I have NEVER watched our wedding video!!)
* Make Peanut Butter/Marshmallow toast
* Farmer's Market
* Family Photo Session
* Go to the boys' soccer games


Dad's List:
* MSU Football Game
* Watch a Bucs game with out yelling
* Make Chili
* Kill an animal (all ideas get written down, that's the rule)
* Develop a new work out routine (not a family activity, I know)
* Develop a new dinner menu

Jordyn's List:
* Go pumpkin picking
* Go costume shopping
* Visit the Parsons' puppy
* Go Ghosting
* Rent a scary movie around Halloween
* Go to a corn maze
* Go on a haunted hay ride
* Make caramel apples
* Make a Halloweeny dessert
* Go to the Funky Fall Fest

Liam's Items:
* Score four goals in one soccer game
* Have a fall party
* Stay overnight at a hotel
* Bike ride on the Polly Ann Trail
* Make Halloween cookies
* Sell apple cider
* Kids Kingdom

Owen's Items:
* Plant an apple tree
* Carve Pumpkins
* Burn Pumpkins (we figured out that he meant to put a candle in them as jack-o-lanterns)
* Go trick-or-treating
* Catch more fish
* Ride horses
* Costume party
* Make Halloween decorations
* Make applesauce
* Go to a parade/Have a parade (not really sure what he was trying to say here)

And since we talked so much about Halloween, the kids discussed what they wanted to be:

Jordyn - a French maid
Liam - Storm Shadow (some GI Joe character)
Owen - a butterfly

Now, Jordyn and Kevin kept telling Owen that he couldn't be a butterfly, which made Owen want to be a butterfly THAT much more. And Liam and I kept telling him that he could and should be a butterfly. Eventually, lest we wonder which team he's gonna play on when he grows up, Owen changed his mind and said that he wanted to be a gun...."So that I can SHOOT the butterflies." Oh my.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Empty bed

I went to bed early last night. Around 10:30. That's pretty early for a night owl like me.... especially for a Saturday night on a holiday weekend.

Kev wasn't tired, so he stayed up and watched TV and had another beer.

Then, I woke up at 2:45 am (nature was calling).

I looked at the clock and turned over to an empty spot in the bed where Kevin should be. I ran my hand across the empty bed and felt empty inside.

Why wasn't Kevin in bed, yet?

I was surprised by how sad I was to not have him there next to me when he should have been.

I answered nature's call and then went into the hallway. I looked down into the living room, and there was Kevin sleeping on the couch.

"Kev, what are you doing down there?"

"Oh, I guess I fell asleep." (passed out is probably more like it)

"Well, come on up to bed."

I couldn't help thinking about how sad I was when I woke up to that unexpectedly empty bed. Of course I knew he was right downstairs. But he wasn't where he SHOULD have been. And that made me feel a little peculiar.

Then I started thinking about women who are married to, or in relationships with men who wake up to unexpectedly empty beds on a regular basis. And, not only is the bed empty, but the living room couch is empty as well. And, on top of that, they don't know where their partner is.

I can tell you right now, that would never fly with me. Because in addition to sadness, there would be anger and ugliness. A LOT of ugliness.

Then, I drifted back to sleep, with Kevin at my side, thinking about how thankful I am to have such a faithful and good man by my side.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September

Wow! How did September get here so fast?

In less than a week, the kids will be back to school, which, as I understand it, for many SAHMs (and probably SAHDs) is a highly anticipated, celebratory event.

But for this Work Outside the Home Mom, it's something that I am not looking forward to.

Because back to school also means:
  • Back to schedules and bedtime routines at a decent hour.
  • Back to homework and regularly scheduled bathing sessions.
  • Back to packing lunches and packing backpacks.
  • Back to $5 for this field trip and $40 for those pictures and $30 for this yearbook, etc.
And all of that just translates into more work and more money for parents, in my book.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of routine and structure, but there's just something to be said about the lazy days of summer that I am not ready to let go of.
  • Staying up late watching movies with the family
  • Bonfires on the patio
  • S'Mores
  • Swimming in the lake
  • Paddleboating
  • Fresh Basil
  • Cutting Hydrangea and Daisies from my garden to put in a vase on my table
  • Reading books in the sunshine
  • Evening walks around the lake
  • Watching the sunset
  • Hot Air Balloons
  • Horseshoes
  • Driving to work when the sun is already up
  • Driving home from work when the sun is still up
  • My bikini (YES, I wore a bikini this summer, and I didn't care who saw me in it!!)
But, this unseasonably cool August has already placed that smell of Fall in the air, and it will inevitably be here before we know it. It seems to already be here.

And I DO love fall.

(This love of fall has materialized itself, most recently in my serious cravings for some of Kevin's chili concoctions.)

So, I WILL embrace Fall and all that Fall brings with it....
  • Football
  • Sweatshirts
  • Pumpkins
  • Warm Apple Cider
  • Cinnamon Donuts
  • School
  • Leaves
  • Frost
  • Mums
  • Soup
  • Sedum
  • Soccer Games Every Saturday
  • Hot Chocolate
  • and, of course, Kevin's CHILI (Ancho Mama's and Love Me Sexy!!)

So, tell me. What are you going to miss about summer and what are you looking forward to about fall?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

8

Liam turned 8 today. EIGHT!

As he was hugging me just now as he was headed to bed, he said with a satisfied grin, "Good Night, Mom. Tomorrow's going to be my second day of being eight."

Yes it is, Liam. Yes it is.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

That's AMAAAAAZING

Owen loves butter.

Let me rephrase that, Owen LIVES for butter.

The other night at dinner, Kevin opened up a brand new tub of Shedd's Spread Country Crock (which is technically margarine, but that's not the point).

When he peeled back the protective seal, it revealed a fresh, untainted swirl of butter.

The look on Owen's face was as if he was listening to a chorus of angels, praising God for the glorious buttery goodness and creamy yellow heaven on earth beneath the protective seal.

"That's AMAAAAZING!" He exclaimed. "I just want to stick my face in it!!!" Wearing a grin from ear to goofy ear.

Believe me, if we would have let him, he would have planted his face unabashedly in that tub of butter immediately. And you could tell from the look on his face that he was envisioning himself fulfilling that very fantasy.

I'll never look at Shedd's Spread the same again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I don't know why

I don't know why things like a crusty drawer or a mysteriously sticky shelf in the fridge (that no one else seems to notice or seems to care about), send me over the edge. They just do.

Honestly.

Cleaning out the refrigerator is NOT how I want to spend a vacation day or a precious weekend day. Yet every time I open the fridge, the sight of the refrigerator's interior makes my skin crawl. Maybe I should just stop opening the fridge door which would allow me to not have my nerves raked upon, and possibly allow me to lose some pounds in the process.

It's this repetitive, minor annoyance that finally, upon the 100th time of being mildly annoyed finally causes me to explode into a crazy diatribe about how pissed off I am.

Aren't there four fully functional people living in this house with me, and other than the occasional family gathering, dinner out, or softball game, otherwise at the house pretty much all.the.time. ??

OK, maybe two other fully functional people, plus a 50% (Liam) and a 25% (Owen). Which still brings us to nearly 3 other fully functional people in this house who could take it upon themselves to wipe down a surface or two.

ESPECIALLY before going grocery shopping. Why would you go buy fresh groceries and then put them away in a filthy mess?

I just don't get it.

Nor do I understand why it hurtles me into a raging lunatic where I finally break down and spend the measly 15-20 minutes that it takes to scrub it out.

And in the end, I'm not sure what I'm pissed off about...the sticky shelves or my explosive reaction to them.

(Overflowing trash cans in the bathrooms and bedrooms have the same effect.)

I never said I was perfect. (OK, maybe I said that once or twice, but obviously, I'm not.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The List

On Father's Day, Kev and I and the kids gathered around the fire pit on the patio to spend some family time together. The conversation turned to things we want to do this summer...primarily as a family, although there were some personal goals thrown in, too. I recorded all of our thoughts and the result is the following list - grouped by the idea originator.

I give you the 2009 Hillary Family Summer Bucket List, if you will. Although, in this list, if we get to them, GREAT. If not, well, there's always the fall...who says Family Fun has to be limited to one season?

And, BONUS! We've already checked some items off the list!

Mom's Items -
*Cook's Farm Dairy
*Parsons' Pool (Check)
*Stargazing
*Family Photo Session
*Make Gazpacho
*Finish Liam's Birthday Album

Kevin's Items
*Driving Range
*Play in State Softball Tourney
*Get a non-travel job
*Train for 5k

Jordyn's Items
*Gulda's Sunday Pool Party
*Binder Park Zoo (Check)
*Blockbuster Movie Night
*Pancake Breakfast
*End of Summer Party
*Grand Rapids (Check)


Liam's Items
*Bowling
*Detroit Zoo
*Space Museum
*Movies (Check)
*End of Summer Party
*Birthday Party

Owen's Items
*Fireworks (Check)
*Dinosaur Museum
*End of Summer Party/Kindergarten Mixer
*Catch a Frog / Toad (Check)

I'm making my girl cheat on her husband.

The other night I popped my head into Jordyn's bedroom to say goodnight. She was lying in bed with her pink laptop, as usual. "Whatchya doin'?" I asked. "Playing Sims," she replied with a smile. Which is what I expected her to say.

Since she purchased The Sims 3 computer game (using $50 of her own babysitting money) a few weeks ago, most of her computer time has been spent playing that game. And I'm OK with her playing Sims all the time, because, in my rationale...it's gotta be better than surfing the interwebs, right?

My parents bought Jordyn a laptop as a reward for her earning silver honors at the end of 7th grade. The intent of the laptop is to help Jordyn in her future academic pursuits. However, she received the laptop after the school year ended...so, I can't really begrudge her for the non-academic activity she's been engaging in. It is summer vacation after all.

What I did not expect Jordyn to say as I was tucking her in was this: "I'm making my girl cheat on her husband." Giggle. Giggle.

HUH? What? Seriously??

If you're not familiar with The Sims 3 video game, don't worry. Neither was I, really. So, after this disturbing statement of hers, I had to Google it. Wikipedia had this to offer:

  • The games in The Sims series lack any defined goals. The player creates virtual people called "Sims" and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves.
Maybe the part about lacking any defined goals and satisfying their desires should have tipped me off about the sort of trouble you can get your Sim into.
n the beginning of The Sims 3 game, she told me all about creating her Sim. What she looked like, what she named her, the type of clothes she dressed her in. Then she decorated her house, then she got married, then she had a baby and she named her Ava.

All of this sounded innocent and perfectly harmless to me. And, honestly? I was glad she was actually playing with this $50 investment of hers instead of letting it collect dust on her desk.

"WHAT?! You made your girl cheat on her husband?!! Why would you even do that? That's not funny, Jordyn. That's not funny. Seriously, why would you do that?"

"Oh Mom, it's no big deal. It was just a kiss. Her husband doesn't even know about it."

There are so many things wrong with this that I don't even know where to begin.

How do I explain to my 13 year old daughter that marital infidelity...in any way shape or form...IS a big deal, and not something to be taken so lightly? And that just because someone doesn't know that they're being cheated on doesn't make the cheating any less wrong.

Have I mentioned lately how loooooong the next several years are going to be for me? I'm sure this episode will lead to at least 4 gray hairs.

Oy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vitamin O

Me - Hey Owen, give me an Eskimo kiss.
O - What's an Eskimo kiss?
Me - When you rub noses together like this....

*** Eskimo Kissing with Owen ***

O - Mom, you sure do know a LOT about kisses. You know three types of kisses...with lips, blowing kisses, and Eskimo kisses.
Me - What about Butterfly kisses?
O - O yeah!! You know FOUR kisses. See. I told you you know a lot about kisses.

Smooch

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Life's a Shit Sandwich

The most memorable, and controversial, quote of book club Thursday night:

"Life's a Shit Sandwich. Every day's just another bite."

And if there ever were two polar opposite ends of a spectrum, Shelley is the Shit Sandwich and Mindy is the Sunshine Salad.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Creeper

There is a right way and a wrong way to drink the Creeper.




My first experience with the Creeper did not end well and is an example of the wrong way to drink the Creeper.



It was July 19, 2008. My high school girlfriends and I had tickets to the Kid Rock Concert at Pine Knob. It was on a Saturday, and we thought it would be a blast to tailgate in the parking lot beforehand.



Despite the rain, we were right. The tailgate WAS a blast. The Creeper was flowing, the tunes were pumping, the people watching was a riot. It was just fun.



Aimee introduced us to the Creeper, singing its praises about how super yummy it was. She was right! It was delicious. She brought along two pitchers of the Creeper to the tailgate.



Um, out of the five of us, I think I consumed close to a pitcher and a half of this deliciousness in about 2-3 hours.



FYI, it's called The Creeper for a reason.


It crept up on me like you would NOT believe (yes, there were other shots and swigs of margaritas that contributed to my foolishness, but, above all, I blame the Creeper). The bottom line is that it was not pretty. Not in the least.



Let's just say, I don't remember much of the concert except for:
  1. Getting caught with my beloved (enormous) camera at the ticket gate, security confiscating it (no cameras allowed, hello!), and then me crying in the security office for them to let me take my camera back to the car and then me convincing them to let me back into the venue (they agreed, probably for no other reason than to get the pleading mess of a drunk girl out of their office - but I'm a SCRAAAAAAPBOOKER!)

  2. Stumbling down the hill and trying to pass it off as dancing (that was cute)

  3. Arguing with Aimee later on that evening, because I was SUPPOSED to be the DD and she ended up having to do it. We both said some very hurtful things during the drive home but fortunately we made up with each other as we sat in my driveway. To this day, though, I wish I could take that fight back.

I may not have remembered much about the concert, but now, almost a year later, I do remember how delicious the Creeper was.

So, on June 13, 2009, I decided to make two pitchers of the Creeper to take to Liam's family soccer party, a.k.a. the right way to drink the Creeper. My second experience with the Creeper.

The party was at a park with a lake, horseshoe pits, playgrounds. We had a potluck BBQ and the coach took the kids tubing on his boat. It was a blast.

We were at the park 10 hours! During that 10 hour time frame, I consumed close to a pitcher and a half of this deliciousness (of course I had to share some with the other moms so that they could revel in the deliciousness of it all).

About an hour into my consumption, I got a nice little buzz which continued ALL day long. I was giggly and goofy and warm and fuzzy and fancy free.

There was no crying. There was no stumbling. There was no arguing.

The Creeper is definitely going to be my summertime party drink. MMM mmm.

So while there is indeed a wrong way to drink the Creeper (2 pitchers of it in 2 hours) and a right way to drink the Creeper (2 pitchers of it in 10 hours), with drastically different outcomes. There is one common side effect to drinking the Creeper … self portraits in the bathroom:

Pine Knob Parking Lot Port-a-Potty:

Soccer Party Park Restroom:

Recipe for the Creeper:
1 can of frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
Instead of mixing the concentrate with three cans of water, mix it with
1 can of vanilla vodka
1 can of beer (yes, I know! And I HATE beer!!)
1 can of Sprite

(What I didn't realize about the Creeper until I made it myself was that there is an ENTIRE fifth of vodka in two pitchers of the Creeper. LIGHT BULB! Consuming close to an entire fifth of vodka, plus two cans of beer, in roughly two hours is NOT a good idea. DUH. Lesson Learned).

drink responsibly

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Well, there's your answer

Liam is becoming more and more like his father every day.

Kevin and I used to marvel about how Liam, the spitting image of Kevin, had my personality and Owen, the spitting image of me, had Kevin's personality.

But, Kev's constant smart ass attitude has definitely rubbed off onto Liam.

Exhibit A: I took the boys out on the paddle boat on Sunday so that they could jump off and swim and so that we would all stay out of Dad's hair on Father's day (what a GIFT!) After jumping in a number of times, Liam sat on the back of the paddle boat shivering as he wrapped himself in his damp towel.

Me - "Liam - are you cold, buddy?"
Liam - "Do I look cold?"
Me - "Yes."
Liam - "Well, there's your answer."
If he wasn't so gosh darn cute, I'd have thrown him back into the water, whilst laughing maniacally and squealing, "And THERE'S YOUR answer!!"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CAPKIRK

First of all, I have to say that I love the Oprah Radio Channel (XM156).

I especially love the Gayle King show.

But today, I caught an episode of Dr. Oz that I just could not turn off.

Now, typically, health and wellness discussions are not my cup of tea.

This study shows that if you do X, you'll get cancer while another study shows that if you DON'T do X, you'll get cancer. blah blah blahbity blah.

That kind of stuff just bores me to tears.

I'm just going to live my life and hope for the best, thank you very much, with a huge dose of common sense thrown in.

But, on this episode, Dr. Oz was interviewing William Shatner, oh excuse me, just call me Bill, and, like I said, I just could not turn it off.

Dr. Oz's goal was to find out how William Shatner got to where he is today and to explore the Trekkie phenomenon. But instead of Mehmet interviewing Bill, Bill was quickly interviewing Mehmet.

I must say that Bill is a very well spoken and fascinating person to listen to.

Bill and his wife, Elizabeth, were both very interested in alternative medicine (integrated, as Dr. Oz calls it) and the connection between mind and body as it relates to wellness, and they wanted Dr. Oz to tell them how to find a doctor with this same mindset in California.

This reversal of interviewer and interviewee spawned a great discussion, and I learned a lot of very interesting things -

  • Surgeons, who many regard as GODS, are a very superstitious group. For example, if Dr. Oz loses a patient, he throws out the clothes he was wearing when it happened, underwear, socks, whatever. Another surgeon wears a pair of "lucky" shoes into surgery. I really hope there's more to it than, luck. I'm just saying.
  • Different music is played in the operating room depending on the type of activity being performed. If a saw is being used to cut bone, you want something thumping like Led Zeppelin playing. However, when a very precise suture procedure is being done, you want something soothing like Vivaldi. Makes sense.
  • Headphones for patients are worn because they have proven that patients' subconscious is aware of and absorbs sound even though they are asleep from a pain perspective. One of the ways this theory was proven was using the following steps. Before the surgery, the patient is asked, "Tell me what you think of when I say the color black." Nine times out of ten, the patient responds, "White." Then, during surgery, headphones are put on the patient with the following, "Black. Brown. Black. Brown. Black. Brown." Over and over again. A couple of days after surgery, they ask the patient, "Tell me what you think of when I say the color black." The patient ALWAYS responds, "Brown." So, NOW, headphones are worn by patients with phrases like this repeated: "Relax. Trust us. Take deep breaths. Be sure to walk around after surgery. Pay your bills on time." etc. OK, the 'pay your bills on time' might have been a joke Dr. Oz was making, but it does make you wonder if there was some truth to it.
  • Modern medicine has only been around for about 100 years. Before this time, there was no formal training. Doctors learned to be doctors by being an apprentice to another doctor, so really, you never knew what you were going to get when you went to a doctor, or when the doctor came to you.

During this interview reversal, Dr. Oz kept saying that they would get back to the original intent of Trekkie talk and what not. But, during the time that I listened, this never really happened.

I just sat in awe of how well-read and eloquent Denny Crane, the Priceline Negotiator, Captain Kirk, er, just call me Bill was in real life, using words like burgeoning and charlatan.

Alas, I could not finish listening to the interview, fascinated as I was. I pulled into an open parking space at work...right next to a car with a vanity plate I had never noticed before.

CAPKIRK

Coincidence? Or just totally bizarre.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Be good for your mom this summer...

Kevin, the boys, and I were out to dinner last night. Our waiter was relatively young (18-19ish, although he looked like he was 14). He was very chitty chatty with the boys. He joked with them, and our smart aleck boys joked right back with the waiter (something I don't think he was expecting). But, hey, a life time of sarcasm and ribbing from their dad has prepared them to retort any barbs thrown their way, without so much as batting the proverbial lash (which in Liam's case are long, and thick, and gorgeous, and the envy of many women...but I digress).

Anyway, as Kevin paid the bill, the waiter said to our boys, "Be good for your mom this summer, kids!"

WHA?

I mean, are chauvinistic stereotypes still rooted that deep that in this, the year TWO THOUSAND AND NINE, that even this next generation of young people ASSume the mother is always the primary child care provider?

Kevin quietly replied to the young waiter, "And be good for Dad." Then we both just looked at each other knowingly and privately chuckled at how completely off the mark this young waiter was.

Now that Kev is home all of the time, and basically a SAHD for the time being, he does 99.9% of the child rearing...meals, baths, homework (before school was out), bedtime, daytime, applying sunscreen, making the kids clean their room, purchasing birthday presents for friends...pretty much all of it.

But even before Kevin got laid off, we shared our parenting duties pretty much 50/50, and, to be honest, possibly even 60/40 leaning in Kev's direction.

Is sharing the child-rearing really that uncommon in today's day and age? I mean, haven't dads around the nation started to pick up the slack of father figures in generations past? Don't they WANT to?

Kevin LOVES caring for the kids (even though he wants to strangle them - understandably - from time to time).

This seems SO normal to me. If this is abnormal, it shouldn't be....and clearly, I don't realize just how lucky I am.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Feathered Friends - Rob

This is Rob.

Rob doesn't seem very interested in the bird feeder or the seeds that fall below. But, he does seem to be enjoying the hostas and he and his Merry Men certainly enjoy scampering through the front yard hunting for worms.

I have so many feathered friends outside my office window. Even the state bird drops by to say hi. What a guy!

Rob is an American Robin.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Feathered Friends - the Doctor

This is the Doctor. She's a Mourning Dove.

Do I know this is a She? No, because males and female MD's look the same. I just prefer female doctors, therefore, I'm calling her a she. Logical? Not so much.

Anyhow, she's too big to eat from the feeder, so she gets the seeds that fall to the ground. Which helps keep weeds from growing below the feeder. Thank you, Doctor.


A self exam perhaps? This MD was in this position for several minutes. I started to think she was hurt, but then she flew away. It was totally bizarre.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Go Ahead, Make My Day

A couple of things that made my day today:
  • A Blue Jay visited my bird feeder. I never get Blue Jays at my house. I was THRILLED! I tried to get a picture, and I got a couple of shots, but he kept hiding amongst the branches, so there isn't a ***great*** one. He'll be featured in Feathered Friends sometime soon.

aaaaaand

  • This. Scrapbook Secrets.

I think I may have to buy a lottery ticket...this IS my lucky day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Feathered Friends - Finn

I'd like you to meet this pretty little bugger, Finnegan, Finn for short.

For those of you who may not know, Finn is the name of my next son which I'm never going to have, but if I had another boy I'd name him Finnegan.

And here's another useless piece of information for you, Kevin and I first discovered our attraction for each other at a bar in Scotland called "Finnegan's Wake". So, I just think Finn would be a totally cool name for our boy. No one else in my family agrees with me. So, I've named the bird Finn instead. Plus, I'm 99.99% sure we're done having kids, anyway. And, even if we do have more kids, it's gotta be a girl so that I can name her Marin Leigh.

OK, back to the bird. Finn is a male House Finch.



You lookin' at me?


Enjoying a snack (see it there in his beak?)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vitamin O

One night Liam was asking Kevin a thousand questions to test whether or not Kevin knew "everything in the world". Mostly math problems and some definitions of words. Of course, Owen just HAD to get in on the action.

Owen - "Dad, How far away is a billion gajillion?"
Kevin - "Well, it's as far as outer space, and then it would circle outer space so much that eventually it would get sucked into a black hole and then it would loop around inside the black hole a bunch of times."
Owen - "SEE, DAD??!?!? You DON'T know everything!!! You don't even know how far away a billion gajillion is!!!"

huh?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me - "Owen, go upstairs, brush your teeth and go to the bathroom."
Owen - "DURN! Why?!"
Me - "It's time for bed."
Owen - "YOU'RE not in charge of this house, DAD is!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I was tucking the boys into bed -

Me - "Good night boys," as I start to close the door.
Liam - "Mom, wait!"
Me - "Yes Liam?"
Liam - "There's no more talking now is there?"
Me - "That's right, Liam, there's no more talking," as I start to close the door, again.
Owen - "Mom, wait!"
Me - "Yes Owen?"
Owen - "But you can still talk in your head, right? Just quiet in your head like this..." (Then he proceeds to move his mouth without actually opening his mouth or with out making any noise and he moves his head and eyes around as if he's carrying on a silent, yet animated conversation with himself....inside his head. )
Me - "Yes, Owen, you can still talk in your head, just not out loud. Good night."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As we were driving to a friend's house in Leonard the other night, we came upon a deer in the middle of the dirt road.

Kev - "Hey look, guys. There's a deer in the road." (as he was slowing down, obviously)
Liam - "Stop, Dad! Stop, Dad! STO-aaaaaaaah - P!"
Owen - (with much glee and enthusiasm and a huge smile on his face) "RUN HIM OVER!"

Funny, but not funny at the same time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Owen - "Gordon, Gordon..."
Jordyn - "Owen, my name's not Gordon, it's Jordyn."
Owen - "I can call you whatever I want."

(he has called her Gordon forever...at 3 - it was cute, at 5 - I think it's starting to annoy her)

Oooohhhhh, brother.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Feathered Friends - R-Dub

As I've mentioned before, I love the bird feeder outside my home office window, and I love to snap pics of the birds as they come for a visit and a snack, often perching on a branch in my evergreen tree. I hope you enjoy meeting my feathered friends.

This is RWB, I call him "R-Dub" for short. R-Dub is a male Red Winged Blackbird.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vitamin O

Owen - "When are we leeeeaaaaviiiiing?"
Me - "In a couple of minutes Owen."
Owen - "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi. There, two Mississippis. Let's go now."

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me - "Liam, do you want to go to the play tonight?"
Liam - "What kind of play is it?"
Me - "It's a love story."
Liam - "Nah, I don't want to see a love story."
Owen - "Liam, would you want to go if it was a hate story?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liam - "Dad, what does 'smart alec' mean?"
Owen - "Well, smart means that you're smart. And alec, well, alec means that you're not smart."

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me - "Hey Owen, where'd you get that Kit Kat?"
Owen - "At kool."
Me - "WHO at school gave it to you?"
Owen - "I don't know."
Me - "Well was it a kid or was it a parent?"
Owen - "It was a girl."
Me - "What's her name?"
Owen - "I DON'T KNOW WHAT HER NAME IS!!"

(Right, like that was a difficult question. He's only been going to school with these kids since SEPTEMBER! Why on EARTH would he know what her name is???!! Silly mom.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Banana and a Peanut Butter Cookie and a Heap of love on Mother's Day

Kevin does not get the whole fascination with eating breakfast in bed, but it's less about eating in bed and more about the novelty and fun of it all. So for most of this week, I had been telling Kevin and the kids that I wanted breakfast in bed on Mother's day. I mean, how hard is it to bring someone a banana?

I was instructed last night before I went to bed by Kevin, to not get out of bed in the morning until the boys had brought me breakfast in bed. Well, I woke up at 5 am after having a terrible nightmare and did not want to go back to sleep. But, I had to follow instructions and stay in bed.

Of course, the one day I couldn't get out of bed was the one morning that the boys slept in until almost 9:00 am!! But, it was worth the wait.

They brought me a banana, a peanut butter cookie (home made by Jordyn), and a glass of milk. They also brought me a heap of love and some gifts that I wasn't expecting.


Recently I've been mentioning to Kevin how much I love Magnolia trees (they're in full bloom right now, don't ya know). But I wasn't expecting him to get me one! Well, he and Owen went to WoJo's on Friday attempting to buy me one, but there are a bunch of varieties and he had no idea which one I would want. So they got a gift card to WoJo's so that we can go back and get one!!

I had left a list of small things that Kevin could get me, but more in the $20 price range. I surely wasn't expecting a TREE! But I'm super excited about it.

Liam gave me a recipe book that his class had made with all the favorite things their moms cook for them (HELLO! I rarely cook for the family). Liam's favorite dish is when I make mac and cheese in the mikerwave. (The only thing I can think of here is maybe I re-heated some mac and cheese for him once upon a time!)

Owen gave me a flower with his picture (from preschool) along with a fill in the blank card. Some of it said - I love when my mother...."kisses me" and My mom looks prettiest when..."all the time". How sweet is that?

Afterwards, we went to lunch at my parents house. Holy cow - what a spread! London Broil, Salmon, Quiche, Yummy Salad, Fruit, Corn on the Cob, Potatoes, Meatballs, Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate-dipped Strawberries, mmmmm.

Jordyn gave me her present while we were at my parents. She had made an autobiography in Language Arts with tons of information all about her. What a GIFT! Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
  • If I had one thing to take out of my burning house it would be my blanket because it's very valuable to me.
  • The most difficult problem I've faced in my life is being the only biracial person in my family. I try to forget about it but it helps most of the time and I know my family will always love me.
  • I think I will become a very young and loving person. I will also become a mom because that is one of my main goals in life. I would also like to become a very hard working adult who will never give up and keep trying their best.
  • My most treasured memory would have to be my moms wedding to my dad Kevin. I love this memory because it brought me into a new family where I knew I would belong. I also like it because it meant a lot to my mom. She finally found the man of her dreams and my new daddy.

OK, I could keep going, because there are so many more things that I love about her autobiography, but I'll stop there for now.

Being a mom, is, in itself, an awesome gift and I am so very lucky to have these children in my life.

My Family -


My Sister's Family -

My Parents -


The Moms -
What a GREAT day!
Happy Mother's Day!!
ps - my favorite gift of the day is the one I gave to my mom.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vitamin O

O - "Mom - Do bees like Doritos?"

~~~~~

Me - "Owen, go get a wash cloth to wipe your face." (as it was covered in Doritos cheese, no less)
O - "OK. So I don't look like a dork."

~~~~~

Kevin told the boys to enjoy their dinner tonight because he had made their brats with lots of love.

Upon "finishing" his dinner, Owen found Kev out on the deck and, seeming perplexed he said, "Dad, did you really make our hot dogs out of love?"

Kevin responded that, yes, he took a lot of care in making the hot dogs and made them with love.

Owen then asked Kevin not to be mad at him, because he didn't eat all of his hot dog.

Kevin told O that he wasn't mad, and that, really it was just an expression. That there, in fact, was no actual LOVE inside the hot dog (yes, it was a brat, but O calls it a hot dog).

Owen quickly replied, "Oh, so you lied, then."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Owen (pointing to the American flag - next to German, French, and Spanish flags - on the back of a book) - "Mom, is this the state where we live?"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quarters for Gumballs

Kevin, Owen, and I went to lunch today at one of the local coneys. (and it was 99 cent coney dog day - BONUS!)

Anyway, Owen wanted to buy a 25 cent gumball, but neither Kevin nor I had any quarters.

Kevin explained to Owen that after we paid the bill, we might get a quarter back, but that he didn't have a quarter for him right then.

Then Owen asked Kevin if the reason he didn't have a quarter was because he didn't have a job.

Yes, Owen...Dad doesn't have a quarter because he doesn't have a job.

Owen, in his infinite five-year-old wisdom came up with some suggestions for Kev's job search (ulterior motive - quarters for gumballs).

"Dad, I know what you could be for your job! You could be an on-tv person. Or a dinosaur museum guy. No, an ASTERnaut! Or a pizza maker. Oooorrrr, you could be a MOM."

Stellar suggestions, Owen.

I would love to live in Owen's world where you could have whatever job you wanted to have, simply by stating your desired profession over a couple of chili dogs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My OMEN is FIVE

My Omen, (yes, my Omen, since that's how Owen writes his name!!) is turning five today. FIVE!

He's my BABY!! And he's FIVE!!

A lot of moms get all teary and nostalgic when their kids, especially their babies, get older.
But not me. It's not that I'm not sentimental or emotional.
It's just that for me, it's EXCITING to watch them grow up and turn older. Definitely worthy of celebration and joy, not tears and regret.
I mean, look, when your five year old has facial hair, that's really SOMETHING!!

Happy Birthday Owen!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Amazing Grace

Owen sings Amazing Grace.

(Mom, this is for you.)


video

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still

Saw this concept on Lisa B's blog and thought I'd give it a whirl.

This post is all about the word Still as it relates to my life right now.

Still employed.

Still hoping Kevin will find another job.

Still in denial about the demise of the economy.

Still hoping that Michigan (and Detroit) will survive when the auto industry behaves like a Shrinky Dink.

Still taking at least one picture every day for my own version of Project 365.

Still blogging.

Still reading other people's blogs.

Still completely in love with my three kids.

Still not convinced that we're done having babies.

Still having fun with my husband.

Still scrapbooking.

Still trying to catch up to the ScRap SiStaZ challenges.

Still not eating right.

Still not exercising every day.

Still loving summer the very best.

Still waiting for Spring to spring.

Still loving the Tigers, and Major League baseball season in general.

Still wishing I had tickets to Opening Day today.

Still wishing I had the winning Mega Millions ticket.

Still not talking to my childhood best friend (it's been 8.5 years now).

Still.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Habe you eber noticed?

This is Owen's new catch phrase.

"Habe you eber noticed?"

He prefaces many tidbits of information and wisdom with this phrase.

Tonight, as we were eating Kev's delicious pork roast dinner, Owen pipes up with baby carrot in hand.... "Dad. Dad. Habe you eber noticed that I can chew like a beaver?" Chomp chomp chomp on the baby carrot. Three minutes later, he chimes in with "Habe you eber noticed.... that you have to brush your teeth all the way until you die?"

Owen's observations on life color our family dinner conversations with so much fun.

I just love that O.

Have you ever noticed?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Hyena

Earlier this month, Owen was infected with this unctrollable laughter. He started it in the car on the drive home from dinner one night. This deep, guttural, incessant giggle.

And he had the rest of us cracking up. As usual.

So, when we got home, I captured some of the hilarity on video.

What in the sam hades was he hopped up on?

Who knows. But this video barely captures even a fraction of his hyena impersonation that evening. Oh Owen.


video

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Interview with my kids

This was seriously so much fun to do. I love how their little personalities shine through in all of their replies. I interviewed each kid separately and typed their responses pretty much verbatim. I should have videoed this instead of transcribed it. Maybe next time!! Items in parentheses are comments that I either said, did, or thought during the interview.

Enjoy.

1. What is something Mom always says to you?
Owen (4) - I love you
Liam (7) - You yell at me
Jordyn (13) - Clean your room.

2. What makes Mom happy?
Owen (4) - Kisses
Liam (7) - When I do nice things to my brother
Jordyn (13) - Wine

3. What makes Mom sad?
Owen (4) - No kisses
Liam (7) - When I don't give you hugs or kisses
Jordyn (13) - What makes you sad? Umm, when we're sad? Or troubled or whatever you want to say.

4. How does your Mom make you laugh?
Owen (4) - Talking Funny
Liam (7) - Pretty much nothing. You don't make me laugh at all.
Jordyn (13) - You make me laugh, I don't know, you just do. Like when you sing. Or when you laugh at me when I do something stupid, because when someone laughs, it's like a disease and I laugh, too.

5. What was your Mom like as a child?
Owen (4) - I don't know you haven't told me.
Liam (7) - Smart and talented? I'm just guessing that.
Jordyn (13) - MMMmmm, POPULAR. At least when she got to highschool. Stubborn and said "vaccum's too heavy" and got away with it. How come I can't say that??!!

6. How old is your Mom?
Owen (4) - 16
Liam (7) - 36
Jordyn (13) - 36

7. How tall is your Mom?
Owen (4) - Forty Feet Tall
Liam (7) - Can we get that lizard thingy majiggy. I'd say about 5 feet.
Jordyn (13) - 5'5", 5'4", I don't know, how tall are you? (I'm 5'4") OOOHHH I called it!

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Owen (4) - Work
Liam (7) - Go drinking with your friends. (Um, Excuse meeee…as I motion to the scrapbook layouts hanging on the wall.) Oh, wait, scrapbooking.
Jordyn (13) - Scrapbook. That one was easy.

9. What does your Mom do when you're not around?
Owen (4) - I don't know
Liam (7) - Watch movies with Dad and Owen. Or scrapbook.
Jordyn (13) - Clean, probably. No, she probably does that when I'm here. Clean. Or Scrapbook. Or go to your little theatre things. Who's Edgar Allen Poe?

10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Owen (4) - Loving People
Liam (7) - The best scrapbooker
Jordyn (13) - Probably, like a famous scrapbooker person who makes those books and stuff like that. Be on the Style and TLC channel.

11. What is your Mom really good at?
Owen (4) - Cleaning
Liam (7) - Scrapbooking
Jordyn (13) - You're really good at being nice to people, I think. (Are you just kissing my butt?) No, I mean, like Scrapbooking. And helping me match.

12. What is your Mom not very good at?
Owen (4) - Balance Beaming (seriously, you could not make this stuff up)
Liam (7) - Fishing
Jordyn (13) - You are not very good at, like, I don't know how to explain it. You are not very good at being calm when you get mad. You can get scary sometimes. (BIG LAUGHTER) You are, you can get REALLY scary.

13. What does your Mom do for her job?
Owen (4) - Work
Liam (7) - You work and like help them and stuff.
Jordyn (13) - (She should know this, because I came to her career day at school last year.) You work with computers, and you make car parts, and like sell them to companies. I think that's what you still do. (not quite)

14. What is your Mom's favorite food?
Owen (4) - Brats
Liam (7) - Steak
Jordyn (13) - Is something with cheese. And wine. And all that stuff that you say I should like, but I don't so you say I'm not related.

15. What makes you proud of your Mom?
Owen (4) - Plant Flowers
Liam (7) - When you make a scrapbook page about me.
Jordyn (13) - That we have a nice house and that we have a nice family and you have a job, sorry dad, and that you're just very successful. (Kevin was not around during the interview, so I'm not sure why Jordyn apologized to him.)

16. If your Mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Owen (4) - A mom one
Liam (7) - The Pokemon trainer named May
Jordyn (13) - You would probably be….that's a hard one. I don’t know, there's a lot of cartoons. Why are you writing down everything I say? Daisy Duck, I don't know, or Minnie Mouse. One of those.

17. What do you and your Mom do together?
Owen (4) - Plant Flowers
Liam (7) - Scrapbook sometimes.
Jordyn (13) - Clean and sometimes shop. Or we watch shows together. Jon & Kate plus Eight and stuff.

18. How are you and your Mom the same?
Owen (4) - I don't know. We plant flowers the same
Liam (7) - We both like asking questions. Or we both like making stuff.
Jordyn (13) - We probably, um, I sometimes get mad like you do sometimes. Do you laugh at a lot of things that are stupid, or is that just me? Because I laugh at anything, unless it's REALLY stupid. OOOOHHH! We both like being with our friends. And that's all I know.

19. How are you and your Mom different?
Owen (4) - Play and Work
Liam (7) - You're not that into sports, and I am.
Jordyn (13) - You like to clean and I don't.

20. How do you know your Mom loves you?
Owen (4) - Cause I love you
Liam (7) - Because you say it all the time.
Jordyn (13) - Because you do. You just do. You're my mom.

21. What does your Mom like most about your Dad?
Owen (4) - Kisses
Liam (7) - That he's convenient. What does that mean? Or you could just put that he's funny, smart, aaaaand............he likes sports.

Jordyn (13) - Uuuummm. His sense of humor? Even though it's pretty cheesy, but that's OK.

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Owen (4) - Italia Gardens
Liam (7) - I would be guessing Papa Joe's.
Jordyn (13) - On our beach.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Love Me Sexy Chili Master

For the second year in a row, Kevin's chili won at our friends chili cook off.

Yes, he is the undefeated Kick Ass Chili Cook Off Champion.

Last year, I believe his win was totally warranted.

He looked and looked for weeks to find a particular chili recipe he had seen in a previous issue of Maxim. Scouring old issues of Maxim to find the recipe. Calling his brother Brian (also a Maxim subscriber) to ask him if he remembered seeing the recipe and could find it. Brian couldn't find it either.

He gave up looking for THIS recipe and had resigned to finding another one, and wouldn't you know, just when he had given up looking for the recipe? He stumbled upon it during one of his visits to the "library" during which his Maxim magazines help him pass the time.

The recipe called for tenderloin (or sirloin, I forget - but it was chunks of meat instead of ground something or other). And some special Ancho chiles and sea salt...and a whole lot of other stuff that I have no idea what all of the ingredients were because I don't really cook and don't pay that close attention.

But I do remember that he even did a "test run" of this recipe the weekend before the big cook off so that he could tweak if needed. And tweaking was needed (I think he said he used too much sea salt....whatever, it wasn't perfect and he knew what to do next time to make it perfect.)

Anyway, the point is that last year, he put in some real EFFORT. And in the end, it truly was the best chili there (at least I thought so, and I did indeed vote for it), even though it looked like sludge and people were somewhat wary to try it.

It was spicy - but in a robust flavorful kind of way rather than in a so-damn-hot-it-burns-off-all-your-taste-buds-don't-even-bother-eating-it kind of way.

And we named the chili "Ancho Mama's Chili" to pay homage to the ancho chiles that were used (get it?!? Ain't Yo Mama's Chili. OK, good, glad you get it.)

And he won. A warranted win. And he was proud. And I was proud.

So that brings us to this year. This year, Kev felt no pressure or need to defend his "title". And he really was in no mood to put any kind of effort into it. To the point where I told our hosts that since we won last year's cook off, we would supply the prize for this year's cook off.

So, this little mother trucker throws some stuff in a pot. No recipe. Just some ground meat, a package of McCormick's chili seasoning (is that cheating?), some fresh jalapeno peppers, and lord knows what else. Throws it all in a pot and called it a day.

No searching for the perfect recipe.

No test run.

No top shelf meat.

And it was good. I tasted it before we left for the party. I told him "It's good, hon, really good, but not award winning."

And off we went to the Kick Ass Chili Cook Off, not expecting to win.

The best thing he had going for him was what he named the chili.

Love Me Sexy Chili

If you've never seen the Will Ferrell flick Semi-Pro, then you won't get the reference. If you have seen the movie, then you will agree that it is a freaking hysterical name for a chili...or anything, really. Just click here to enjoy the hilarity of it all.

I figured, well, sex does sell, so maybe his chili will win because of the sex in the name of the chili. But probably not.

I mean, there was some steep competition there...from the "Same Damn Chili" to the "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" chili, to the Louisiana gumbo inspired Mardi Gras chili whose crock pot was decorated with Mardi Gras beads...my point is, if you haven't gotten it already, I fully did not expect Kevin's chili to win.

Primarily, because I ASSUMED that everyone else liked the Mardi Gras chili as much as I did and that they OBVIOUSLY would have voted for it just like I did. Plus, I had picked the winner last year, it only makes sense that I would pick the winner again this year. I mean who wouldn't vote for it?

Well, Kevin, for one.

He voted for his own chili, again, this year. And that's his right as a voter (I asked if it was cheating but everyone assured me that it wasn't).

In the end, Love Me Sexy Chili got the most votes! Followed by a tie for second place by Lisa & Patty (oddly enough, Lisa & Patty both tied for second place last year, too!)

But the Chili Master did it again.

The Love Me Sexy Chili Master, to be exact.

And I was dumbfounded. Stupefied. Could. Not. (still.can.not.quite) Believe that he won.

So I handed over the prize that we had brought...the roll of toilet paper went to Kevin. And the bottle of wine...from CHILE! (intended for the winners) went, instead, to our hosts.

What a fun night!

Look out chili champion hopefuls, Kev might try and come back for a three-peat next year!