Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Because I might be insane

This week it occurred to me, maybe I should have some sort of parenting plan. I'm pretty sure there are parents out there who do, right. Me? Not so much. I just do things willie nillie. But its who I am. Its what I do.

After we stopped walking this weekend. We started on a project.

We went from this.

To this.

Big boy bunk beds.

And oh my. What a hit. The assembly... not so much. But the sleeping has been fabulous.

In spite of the photo, Turner sleeps on top and Quinn is on the bottom.

The logic behind the madness? If Turner is on the bottom there is less of a barrier for him to get out of bed and have free roam. Thus protecting all us from the wrath of Turner. So top bunk it is.

All three kids have spent an unusually large amount of time in the boys' room the past few days.

It's super cute.
And by cute I mean they are not pestering me and I like it.

And if that wasn't a big enough change for a week, I thought, "Hey. Why not try potty training too?"

So, yesterday, I slapped some big boy underwear on them and bought a second little potty.

Pretty much, no success. I've heard boys are harder than girls. Olivia pretty basically trained herself. Never wet her bed or had an accident. (Spoiled much?) THIS time around, my friends, is not going to be a walk through the park.
I'm hanging in there with Quinn.
Turner? He's already back in #5's. But sittin' on the pot certainly suites him, don'tcha think?

PS. Blogspot is killing me with spacing. The photos and copy were suppose to match up. Sorry for the crazy read, but I don't have the time to goof around. This is when its good to not be a *prefessional* blogger !:)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The weekend in which we walked

and walked and walked.

Friday evening we took the kids to Wright-Patt Air Force Base for what I thought was going to be a really great time.

Not so much. As you can see, we parked REALLY far away from all the *action*. If you look way off into the distance you'll see to the left some tall things. That's where we headed.
Not only was it a far walk (we're talking 2 miles just to get there!) it was through an un-mowed grassy field. And as you can see, Olivia and I thought it would be "cute" to dress up. We were both wearing sandals.
Oh, and did I mention that it was about 88 degrees? And humid?

When we finally got *there* there wasn't too much for the kids to do. But the boys did want to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet. For about 5 seconds.
At least they were in a tent, in the shade.
Just look at all the fun Quinn is having!
The big draw for the evening were fireworks (beginning at 9:30, which we hadn't even considered staying for) and the band 38 Special. I *might* have known something they sang back in 1989. But I've since forgotten. Plus, we left before they were up.
Turner and Olivia did get to meet the mascot of the Dayton Dragons, our minor minor league baseball team. (AAA or something like that?)
The paper had mentioned something about a family tent. Well, we didn't find that. But clear on the other side of the *activities* were a bunch of inflatable jump things. It cost a dollar a person for about a 4 minute jump. But when you walk 3 miles to sit in a hot airplane and see a dinosaur mascot, you let your kids jump in an over priced inflatable.
Then, we walked back. All. The. Way. Back.
The kids did much better than I thought. They all walked, except for Turner. I seriously had the thought, "What if we don't make it?" "Do I call 911 and mention something about being in the middle of a grassy field at the Air Force Base?"
But with the promise of a McDonald's Happy Meal at the end of the trip, they squeaked it out and we all made it. Except for Olivia. I think she might have had a touch of heat stroke. I needed to cool her down in a bath and she couldn't even eat her Happy Meal. Oops.
You would have thought everyone would have slept in late into the morning on Saturday.
We were up and at 'em by 6:30am. Early enough to hop over to a nearby Historical Park that was featuring a Railway Expo.
Here we are on what we thought was going to be our *train ride* for the day. Thankfully, it just saved us from yet another looooong walk (which we ended up doing on our way back to the car at the end of the morning!)
We met our good friends, Ava and Cooper, there. Their parents, Matt and Sally, are our festival going partners in crime. Unfortunately (for us, not them) they were unavailable Friday night, so they met us Saturday for the trains.
The big highlight of the day was standing in line to take a ride on a mini train.

Turner was so excited, but had trouble waiting in the line.
The line, for once, was actually worth the wait. It was a silly little ride, but it was long and the kids LOVED it.
They even got their own *ticket*, which Turner carried around the whole rest of the day.
After the ride, we toured a few antique rail cars. The kids loved that too.
All in all, Saturday was a big success. Minus the longer walk back to the car.
Today my plan? Sit on my butt!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ok, so its not exactly Beverly Hills around here

This is the second year in a row that we've gotten a family membership to a nearby kiddie pool. There is something for all ages, even a pretty cool sand area. Which I secretly hate. All the sand and mess w/o the ocean.
I love this place. We usually arrive after naps when most of the crowd is leaving. We miss the heat of the day and about a billion kids that way. We are a bit behind in our pool attendance because of all of the time up in Toledo, but this week we've really gotten back into our summer routine. And I love it. Steve usually meets us there after work with a big icy diet coke in hand for me.
I have to say, after the winter months, I do forget about all the drama and craziness that happens at the pool. Don't get me wrong, our family is NOT exactly a picture of sophistication or fashion (yep, those are Cheeze-Its proudly displayed by each of my kids in those pics) but I'd like to think we keep some kind of general pool etiquette.
Others around us this week? Not so much!
Take for example the lady (and by lady I mean older woman probably pushing 50) in her ill-fitting white string bikini who was reprimanded by not only a fellow patron, but also by management itself. Let's just say it wasn't just skimpy but saggy as well (and her bikini didn't fit either!)
Or there was a little girl, easily 3, who strutted past me with her baby bottle full of chocolate milk. Gag me... on many levels!
If that doesn't do it for 'ya, there was a grandma sitting on the rim of the pool who removed her dentures and before I could look away, licked her lunch right out of them. Perhaps she could have borrowed the bottle to squirt 'em down?
But the grand finale was a mama who perhaps WAS from Beverly Hills. 'Cuz them b**bies weren't from around here! And we ALL got a reeeeeeal good look at 'em. She literally had a string bikini (in fluorescent green) that were teeny tiny triangles covering up the *important* (?) stuff both up and down. Somehow she was carting a toddler around the pool. How it all stayed in place, I have no idea. My question for her would have been, what makes you think that is any kind of appropriate for a kiddie pool?
If its your backyard, a vacation pool etc. I still would advise against the suit, but it would at least be w/in the realm of *what the h*ll are you thinking?* rather than *CVS called and wants it's dental floss back!*
I HATE the thought that Steve had to see that, but even scarier is the thought of my boys in a few years gawking at some naked mom. Ewwww... shivers!
So, that's my opinionated pool re-cap of the week. I'm thinking it can't get worse. Right?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

just one hour

I have one hour to:

*eat lunch
*get the carpet swept (the dog got into the garbage and there are crumbs, diaper pieces and shredded plastic ALL OVER.)
blog (duh)
*unpack the dishwasher
*repack the dishwasher
*get the Smart Ones sauce out of my favorite summer white t-shirt (have to eat that for lunch b/c of the lbs. I've put back on post- grief stricken fast.)
*pack swim bag for pool this afternoon
*stop crying about the failure that was lunch for the kids
*stop crying about the fact that Olivia's counselor basically thinks I'm a boundary-less parent
*stop crying about the fact that Olivia even HAS a counselor
*re-read a chapter or four in Boundaries with Kids b/c apparently I AM a boundary-less parent

Do you think I can get it all done in the hour that I have?

Me neither. That's why I'm just sittin' here blogging!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


So, Monday was my birthday. (June 21st, first day of summer, longest day of the year, most hours of sunlight.) I've spent about 36 years running through that whole diatribe about June 21st. Because OF COURSE my day was the coolest of the whole year!
Growing up, I didn't just have a birth- day. I had a birth- week. Thanks to my mom. (She is also the mastermind behind the 25 lb. Christmas stocking, but that is for another post, another time.) My mom liked to celebrate. She liked to make things special. And little did I know, not everyone had a birth- week. (Have I mentioned I'm an only child?) I like to think of myself as *celebrated*, not spoiled.
I had some great birthday parties growing up. Like the time when I was 3 and Quackie the Clown showed up and did scary magic tricks. So scary that I cried the whole party. That might have been the party that I also had the pinata. The one that my mom *thought* was pre-filled with candy. It wasn't. We found that out after 15 kids descended on an empty panda bear.
One birthday in grade school my mom and dad took me and 4 of my best friends on an overnight trip to Cedar Point. I have some great memories from that one.
Since I've been a "grown up" the traditions have lessened a bit. My birthday tends to keep more or less to the actual day. But my mom has always been strict about the *rules* of a birthday phone call. No additional party is permitted to be on the phone. (Meaning my mom and dad were both required to make a separate call.) Money is not permitted to be given on a birthday (although some years, that would have been preferred.) Gifts only. And cake. A beautiful, delicious cake from a bakery.
As you can imagine, this year was bittersweet. No phone call. A card full of cash from my dad. And my birthday cake? Left over cake from the Memorial Service (my mom would have been SO PISSED!)
Thankfully, Steve did a pretty good job. Cash (ha!) for a trip I'm taking in July. A gift card to a cute brunch place and flowers. Friends broke into our house before we got home on Monday and had balloons and a *real* cake waiting for me. My friend, Susie, even came over and watched The Bachelorette with me.
All in all, it was the saddest birthday on record, yet I am blessed beyond belief. An amazing husband. Awesome kids. And friends who celebrated me well. I'm not sure #38 will be my favorite birthday, but it will be one I'll never forget.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer lovin'

Even though June has been sucky for me, we've still managed to have us a bit of summer fun.

While my mom was in Hospice and still communicating, I told her we were going to take the kids that night to Mr. Freeze's. And if you are unaware of what Mr. Freeze's is, my condolences! It is a Perrysburg institute. A family owned and operated ice cream stand that has the BEST, BIGGEST and CHEAPEST ice cream sundaes in the world. And my mom LOVED taking the kids there and treating them. She smiled when she heard.

We stopped at Wendy's first for dinner (because healthy dining was NOT the name of the game this past month) and because of an outrageously long wait for our kids' meals, they brought out complimentary Jr. Frostys for the kids. To which, I burst out in tears because I had told my mom we were going to Mr. Freeze's and it made her smile. (It's safe to say, LOTS of things have brought me to tears this past months... but this was a biggy!)
So, we ditched the Jr. Frostys and still went to Mr. Freeze's. Where, apparently, my judgement was once again clouded by grief. Because, upon MY suggestion, we got the kids cartoon shaped Popsicles. Which, in the 90 degree heat, took exactly 17 seconds to melt all over everything. Not to mention, they were the nastiest things I've ever set lips on. For real.
AND they had gumballs for eyes. Wow.
While we were back home in Dayton for 5 days in between Toledo trips we were able to get some park, pool and friend time in. Ahh... normal is good. We visited a nearby park for the first time and fell in l.o.v.e. Great play equipment, a sand pit AND a water sprinkler area.
Truly, something for everyone.
One of the days, we met up with O's buddy, Raine from school. They had fun seeing each other for the first time since May.
Steve invented a new game for the backyard. He rigged up a t-ball stand with a garbage can and the dog gate we used to use for Baxter when we drove the Jeep. O and Quinn really loved it. Turner, he mostly wanted to annihilate the garbage can with the bat. Good thing there is still a lot of summer left. Maybe he'll get the hang of it before it snows.
In spite of a crazy June, we've still managed to have some laughs around here. Here's to plugging along and enjoying the rest of summer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blast from the past

Yesterday's Memorial Service went really well. From start to finish it was just the way my mom would have wanted it. It was casual. It was not dreary. There was no piped in funeral music playing. There we only 2 flower arrangements (We asked that donations be made to Smile Train rather than sending flowers. My mom was always a *wee bit* critical of ugly flower arrangements.) We opened up the curtains in the room to make it more cheery. The kids ran around and laughed and were the hit of the day. It definitely felt more like a gathering than a funeral. She would have liked that.

It was a bit stressful, however. Other than the obvious, there was also the racking my brain trying to come up with names and faces. Some of them that I hadn't seen in 20+ years. But my dad was even worse, so I knew I had to be the front person.

I was amazed at the kinds of people who came. A little known fact on this here blog; I swam for 12 years. Rather competitively for a majority of that time. People ask me from time to time if I hope my kids swim. To which I reply, "Hope not." Mostly because of the hours and hours you spend poolside as a parent, right Karen? But the bonds of friendship built don't only happen in the water. They happen among the parents as well. And I was astonished at how many of my mom's good friends from those years came to pay respects. They were the ones who choked me up the most.

Then there were friends of mine who made the trek. Friends from Dayton, friends from Michigan. College roommate. My old babysitter. And a girl who was my best buddy 4th-6th grade; whom I literally have not seen since 6th grade. When she introduced herself I know my jaw dropped to the ground. Really unbelievable.

You want to know the worst part? When it was all said and done and I was sitting back at my dad's house reflecting, I couldn't tell my mom all about who I saw today. We couldn't laugh about the stories people told. We couldn't say a million times how good it was to see so and so. How we need to get back in touch with them. What a shame it was to lose touch in the first place. How OLD some of them looked. How great others did. I'm crying as I type. NO ONE (not even my dad, 'cuz let's face it, dad's just don't remember this stuff) knows the significance of Jennifer Wolters (4th grade buddy) coming today. There's also no one else to rehash the Jennifer Wawa *what I used to call her* memories with. I'm not sure anyone else on the planet knew those. That, my friends, is sadder than words can express.

Steve did the service. I spoke. My aunt spoke. We listened to 2 hymns. Then we ate. And laughed. And told stories.

All in all, a fine day.

But the fact that I'm up, typing this at 5am, is an indication that I'm still not "right". 5am is actually a treat. I've been up since 3:30 but couldn't quite get productive until now. Somebody tell me this will get easier. And that I'll one day sleep again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here we go

The bags are packed (I think), the van is nearly loaded. The kids have fresh hair cuts. I got a Zumba in and we've eaten lunch. The dog is even safely tucked away at a friend's house (we hope she is still our friend when we get back!). Momentarily we'll hop in the van and head up north on the way too familiar drive to Toledo. I've burned a permanent trail up there after this month of my mom being sick.

Tomorrow is my mom's Memorial Service. I have to say, all of a sudden I'm a fan of cremation. Can you really be a fan of cremation? That might be a bit strongly stated. But I think I do prefer it to the traditional embalming/viewing/2 day visitation/funeral thing. Tomorrow will be a simple 3 hour start to finish day. Unlike the deaths of my past relatives, where we endured 3-day grueling affairs. After the month we've had, the last thing we needed was a grueling affair. Plus my mom would have really, really hated it. Cremation has allowed us to have the service whenever was convenient for us, and there is no anticipation of seeing her lifeless body.

Steve will officiate (does someone *officiate* at 30 minute memorial? If so, he is.) I'll say a little something. My aunt might, if she is able. Then... we'll eat. I hope there are a lot of laughs. Telling of stories. Reflections. Just a few tears. I want to CELEBRATE my mom's life here, but more importantly, the new one she began last week. Her eternal one in the presence of Jesus. That is what has kept me going, sane and encouraged this week. Really, its what its all about anyway.

Wish me luck! Here goes a weekend I've always dreaded. But with help from God, I'm gonna be all right. Hope your weekend is a good one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A recommendation

This picture has nothing to do with anything, other than the obvious. Sigh.

Last night, Steve and I went out on a date for the first time in a long time. We went to dinner and a movie. We ate at Mimi's Cafe. It was good.

Then, we went to the movies. The last movie we saw together at the theatre was Book of Eli. Now its out on DVD. That tells you its been awhile.

About 2 months ago I did a shopping trip at Kroger. There was a deal and if you bought so many of the items on the list you got a free movie ticket. I bought so many items I got 2 free tickets. We used them last night.

Steve and I have been talking for months about seeing the re-make of Karate Kid when it came out. We wasted no time. You see, we are suckers for any movie involving China. Jackie Chan. Will Smith. And apparently Kung Fu.

We were NOT disappointed. From start to finish the movie was 100% pure summer movie entertainment. The story line didn't stray all that much from the original although there were story line tweaks that made it interesting. I actually laughed out loud. A bunch.

And can I say, if I was a 12 year old girl, I'd have a big fat crush on Jayden Smith! He was amazing, on lots of levels. Great actor, amazing athlete, adorable, good dancer. The apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree. Being Will Smith's son, there were shades of his dad for sure. What a talented family. Will and Jayda (apparently I'm on a first name basis) were co-producers. I LOVE that it seems they are committed to doing movies as a family. Although I know nothing about their personal lives, I like to believe in my heart that they are good people and a good family.

So, if you're looking for a great summer movie, go see Karate Kid. And even though I felt like I was two timing Ralph Machio (oh, I loved me some Ralph back in the day!) I'll stand by my review and say, the re-make was better than the original.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A new era

Last Friday, June 11th, my mom went to be with Jesus. She was 69. It was a grueling two weeks of Hospice care. Someday I might go into details of some of the sweet last days and conversations I got to have with her. Because there were many. And I'm thankful for that. But today, it's too raw. Too recent. Too bittersweet. Although words can't describe how much I miss my mom and have already three times today reached for my phone to call her; I am thankful that for the first time in years (and by years I mean nearly a decade) she is pain-free, whole and happy. I delight and smile when I think of that. And I can be confidant in that fact, because my mom L.O.V.E.D. Jesus. Even in some of her deepest depressions, she wanted to want to pray. She didn't fear death. She longed for heaven.

I'm not sad for her. I'm sad for me. I'm sad for my kids. I'm sad for my mom's sister. I'm sad for my dad. But I'm NOT sad for her.

After two crazy weeks, we are trying to get back into some kind of normal today. The kids and I went to the Y. I did Pilate's (lordhavemercy... it's been 3 weeks since I've moved a muscle), went to the Chiropractor and this afternoon its off to the outdoor pool for some water fun. Getting back to normal. Its hard to do. Oh, but my mom would be SO MAD if I didn't!

We head back to Toledo this Friday. We'll have a memorial service for her on Saturday. We'll stay a bit for Father's Day. Monday is my birthday. I can barely even think about what it will be like with no Birthday phone call from her. No card, no presents. No fanfare. No re-telling of my birth story for the 38th time (yep, I really am going to be 38. Sounds old, doesn't it?!) Lots of *firsts* without her that I'm not looking forward to. Oddly, I think I'm going to be okay. Sad, but okay. Forgive me if my blog is a bit schmaltzy for awhile. I just might need it to be!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Here I am. I have not forgotten I have a blog. My life was turned upside down 12 days ago when we admitted my mom into Hospice. Suffice it to say, I wanted to let you know that I am still here but blogging is not exactly my top priority these days. But if you are of a praying nature, I sure could use some right about now. What good is a blog if you don't reach out to those spying on your life, be real and ask for something? I need Jesus' strength and comfort... especially right now.

One of these days I'll be back to the nonsense which is my life. But these days there is little to find funny. Although there is much to be thankful for. Yet no time to blog. Rest assured, I will be back. In the meantime, spend the time you would have spent reading and pray instead.


Oh, and go hug your mom!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Double trouble

There's something weird about me that you don't know. You already know LOTS of weird stuff about me, but I have a secret that I have not shared with you yet. And, honestly, I kind of forgot about it until the past few days.


In fact, if I had a personal motto that I live out (not consciously, of course) it is, Thou shall not disobey the rules.

I've always been like this. My mom has always said I could have been raised by wolves and I would have turned out ok. If I learned of a do or don't, I either did or didn't. One time when I was about 7 I was at a friend's birthday party and I lied to the mom. It haunts me to this day. One time in high school I got a demerit. I had boxer shorts under my uniform skirt (what can I say? It was the 80's and it was in style, I swear) and half way through the day they must have slipped down and I got a demerit. I was mortified.

There *was* this one little incident my senior year of high school when I got caught drinking. I can assure you, it was the first and last time THAT happened. (umm.. the getting caught part at least.)

Those are pretty much the highlights of my career in crime. I've never had a speeding ticket. I don't rock the boat. I like to follow the rules.

But on Saturday I got in trouble; and its still bothering me. We were at Steve's office most of the week and I had to find different ways to entertain the kids. There is a nice open space for them to run and in the middle of it, there is a gazebo. Nobody ever uses it. I was letting the kids use it like a fort. They were really having a ball. I was supervising. Olivia (who isn't exactly a dare devil) found that she could climb over the gazebo wall and Turner (who IS exactly a dare devil) soon found he could too.

Then, IT happened. A lady employed by the grounds yelled from across the way, "Hey! That is NOT a jungle gym." oops. So I gave her an "Okay" and a wave of the hand acknowledging I had heard her. I called the kids down from climbing. Then she yelled again, "It is NOT for climbing." So I gave her another, "OK." Then she followed up with another, "IF you want your kids to climb... there IS a playground over there!!!!"
"Thank you," was my response. From my mouth. I had another response in my head. Sheesh lady, give me a minute. I wasn't vandalizing the thing. My kids were just having a little fun. I couldn't decide if it was her tone or my shame of getting in trouble that was the real issue. You'd better believe my kids won't be climbing on ANYTHING at daddy's work from now on.

As if that didn't do it for me, I waltzed into Kroger yesterday, did my shopping, collected my coupons, handed them to the cashier and waited patiently while she had the bagger call the manager over. Oh, she must need to sign the freebies, went through my mind.

The manager looked very serious and seriously ready for a fight and said, "Excuse me ma'am, WHERE did you get this coupon?" I felt my face flush and I instantly felt like I had done something wrong. Then I realized my answer was going to sound so stupid. "I got it from a blogger event I went to." Then this look of utter disdain covered her face. "Yep, those are the ones. SOMEONE has been passing out counterfeit coupons all over town and that was reported. I can't take your coupon, ma'am."

FIRST OF ALL, I'm not a ma'am. I prefer to think of myself as a miss! And secondly, I don't appreciate your TONE either. I felt like I was being accused of being a coupon bandit! So I slinked out of Kroger, having paid more for a stupid thing of Go-Gurt than normal (since it wasn't on sale) and wondering who really has time to print up fake yogurt coupons?

I contacted my friend who hosted the event to let her know of the incident and she assures me they came straight from Yo plait's PR firm. So, I don't know *what the heck* is going on around here, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to hole up in my house for a few days and see if this trouble streak will break. In the meantime, watch what your kids climb and what your cashier suspects, unless, of course, you don't mind breaking the rules. Then go hog wild!