Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a new kind of animal

(This one will be short. I promise.)

Today in the car, Peter asked me if "Hites" were a real kind of animal. I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. Joe did, though, and asked Peter, "Do you mean, like, 'afraid of heights'?" Yes, that was what he meant, although we couldn't get him to understand the concept of "heights". He still thinks it's an animal.

a mom's birthday

Today is my birthday. I am 36 years old. I've been thinking 36 for a few months now, so I had to stop and remember if I turned 36 or 37 today. But it's 36. I had a great day, which actually started last night. I had a meeting, so Tim took the kids birthday shopping (and out to eat at La Rancherita -- NO FAIR!!). I returned home around 10pm to a quiet and dim house, but was greeted by a huge "SURPRISE!!!!" from the kids (they hid in the office until I came around the corner). It made my day! The kids get so excited about birthdays!! So they let me open my card and present early because today was going to be really busy. The card (homemade by Janie) read: DON'T JUST STAND THERE! YOU'RE 36 FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD!!!!! My gift was five new scents from Bath & Body Works....individually chosen by Tim and the fun is that???

Today was, in fact, crazy. It was the birthday of a mom. Here's how it went:
8:30am - termite guy showed up for yearly inspection
9:00am - Tim and Sam brought donuts and chocolate milk home for fun bday breakfast
9:30am - got a couple of items out for the mail...started schoolwork...history, writing, spelling, math...reading, etc)
Noon - made lunch (ate the rest of Tim's La Rancherita burrito)
1:00pm - finished schoolwork, cattle-prodded older two to get their math done and stop paying attention to four-year-old in dog costume
2:00pm - remembered to do a white load so Sam's baseball pants would be clean for his first Little League game tonight (why they needed to be clean? Not sure)
2:30pm - remembered to do a dark load so Dad's HUGE coach's t-shirt would hopefully shrink, again for the game
3:00pm - took kids to Target so Joe and Sam could purchase the Lego Star Wars item they have saved for and was on sale for a short time....picked up toothpaste while I was there, and a Diet Coke (a little birthday indulgence). Explained four times to Janie why we didn't have time to stop by Mrs. Maxwell's so she could pick out some AG clothes to spend her money on..that we'd have to plan that another time.
4:00pm - got home...remembered to put darks in the dryer so Dad's shirt would be dry for game
4:30pm - assisted with some assembly of Legos, mostly gave impressed comments about how stormtrooper clones were born in a factory
5:00pm - Got Tim and Sam out the door for the game...t-shirt wasn't dry yet
5:30pm - realized dryer wasn't heating (we may need a new one, this happens a lot). Used hair dryer on t-shirt, drove down the hill to the ball diamonds to deliver shirt and see the first inning.
6:00pm - left ball diamonds with Janie, Joe, and Pete to pick up friend Joel and take the kids to Pizza Night at AWANAS.
6:30pm - dropped kids off at AWANAS, headed back to ball diamonds to see the rest of the game, froze my buns off on the bleachers, but had fun watching the first Little League game (realized we're into a whole new season of life)
8:00pm - picked up Janie, Joe, and Pete from AWANAS, headed home.
8:30pm - had cake and ice cream with my family, got lots of hugs and kisses
9:00pm - got everyone tucked in, chewed out one child for lollygagging (sp? I love that word) until 9pm with yet unbrushed teeth. Gave (and received) more kisses and hugs.
9:30pm - sat down. considered eating the rest of the chocolate cake, but did not. yet.
10:00pm - Checked email, enjoyed many bday greetings via email and facebook, listened to exhausted hubbie snore on the couch, observed with great lack of motivation the piles of garage sale items waiting to be organized and priced. again considered eating the rest of the chocolate cake.

So that's it in a nutshell. I'll bet you other moms' birthdays might look similar? Can I get an amen to that? It was a great birthday. My husband brought me a fun breakfast, and at cake time refused to let me cut the cake into pieces without singing and blowing out candles first. My eight year old had his first Little League baseball game...he is so proud to be in Little League. My kids finished up the year in AWANAS, and I'm so thankful for the people who make that program happen and work with our kids week after week. A dear friend left a card and beautiful Begonia on my porch while we were gone. Chocolate cake ('nuff said). My kids GOT ALONG today (glory hallelujah!!!!!)okay, for the most part - the acts of violence were minimal. I got birthday hugs and kisses all day, which is just the best. AND the termite man said there were no problems (SIGH of relief...we've had termites. It's not cheap).

Would I have rather spent my birthday at a spa? You know, maybe some year that would be fun. I actually have in my desk a gift certificate for a massage/manicure/pedicure at William Wesley. Thankfully it doesn't expire (at least it says it doesn't), because it has been in my desk for FIVE YEARS!!! :) Don't think I'm being a martyr here...I could use it anytime...I just keep forgetting to. Anyway, this year's birthday was great because it was full of life and full of love, and really that's all I can ask for. And with that, I thank you for reading this very long post, and I bid you goodnight. (still considering that chocolate cake...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Cubs Go!!

"I can't believe I'm going to my first Major League game, and it's at Wrigley Field!!!" --sam

"Dad, can we get a hot dog, Dad, can we get some peanuts, Dad, can we get some pizza, Dad, can we get some fries, Dad,......." --joe

Totally priceless.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

who's in charge here?

In the van today, Peter said,and I quote: "Dad's the boss. Mom's in charge." :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

ending up at "sisters"

My friend Deb from church offered to have Janie and Sam, along with Lizzie and Sarah Masterson, over to her house for a series of art classes. Most folks may know Deb by her beautiful and whimsical cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cream eggs....many a wedding has boasted a Deb Kroeger cake! But her artistic flair doesn't stop with sweet treats. Oh no....a visit to Deb's house is a treat because you get to sit in her hot pink kitchen with black and white checkered floor, go upstairs to see the gallery of her son's many drawings, enjoy the sparkle of an entire wall of cake plates, glass domes, and teacups backlit with twinkling white lights, peruse through the stacks and stacks and stacks of fun art books and various magazines...all marked with circles and comments of Deb's about ideas and get to study the six (going on twenty) doors in her house that she has completely covered with glass mosaic in the most wonderfully creative expression of her faith in God. I would try to explain them or post a picture, but it wouldn't do them justice. You need to just call her and ask if you can come over and see them. Seriously. Do it. Anyway, the kids met at her house once a week for about six weeks. She shared ideas about "found art" and examples of artists who work outside the box with them, provided all kinds of materials, but mostly poured inspiration into them and encouragement to be who God created them to be and not worry about trying to be like everyone else. It was great. Not your everyday art class. Deb told us about a place outside of Iowa City that she loves to visit just to be refreshed, get ideas, and just on Friday we all headed out to "Sisters". I think it's near Kalona...I don't know, I didn't drive. I just talked. No surprise. The place is two old houses off of Hwy 1....full to the roof of antiques, vintage stuff..but it's not just an antique store. The way these ladies use old and broken stuff to make beautiful creations is so great! Broken dishes mortared onto a wall....a "chandelier" of a cluster of old goblets and white lights...lines of verse written on the could get lost looking at all the nooks and crannies of treasures and found art and the appreciation of creativity for the sake of being creative. The kids really enjoyed it. Even Sam, whom I'm sure would have much rather been playing baseball or Star Wars, found some fun treasures..not to mention the free cookies. He wisely steered clear of the room full of old clothes which, as you can see, the girls delighted in! It was a wonderful culmination of our art class/mentorship experience with Deb. That may seem silly....just a trip to an old vintage place. But it's the example, the inspiration, the conversations, the encouragement, the relationships. What blesses me most about it is the willingness of one person to pour her unique gifts and passions and faith into a handful of kids and expect nothing in return. A reminder of the many other people who pour themselves into our kids' lives and our lives. Isn't this what true wealth really is? I think so.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

doughnuts with dad

A few years ago, we wanted to start having individual "date nights" with the kids. One of us would take one child out for a treat or some time at a park, etc....we could sense they needed some one-on-one time..especially with Tim. Of course, we thought our children would be so excited just at the thought of having this quality time with mom or dad, and wouldn't care what we did.....just being together would be a treat! (most of you - especially if you have children - can read between the lines here and see what's coming...) We were blindsided with how quickly the expectations rose....honestly, I didn't know these kids had it in them! It started out with maybe a breakfast at Panera playing tic-tac-toe, then it was going to the park to hit balls (all good things, yes)...then the stakes (and the $$) got higher and we heard "can we BUY something fun on my date, mom?" and even "on MY date, I want to go to a BEARS game!!!". We quickly put a stop to this before any trips to the windy city were made, and we set the necessary boundaries (only TIME spent...not money). Anway, we've tried various forms of dates and have admittedly, on the parental end, not been able to keep them consistent. So this week we're trying a new one: doughnuts with dad. Tim spends Wednesdays working at church and doesn't have to be out the door as early as on other days. Also, mornings don't usually have the scheduling conflicts that weeknights so often do. So the plan is that each Wednesday morning, Dad will take one child to Donut Delite for a fun breakfast and a little quality time....they can each look forward to their turn, and there are no variables on who gets what or goes where. Peter got to have the inaugural doughnut date this morning, and he did feel special! So I'm thinking we may have found something that works. But just in case, since I know most of the folks who read my blog are fellow moms......any other ideas out there?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nostril trouble

Peter, who has had a cold for a few days, woke me up this morning with the following announcement: "Mob, I can odely breath out of wud circle."

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Peter emerges from the office, disgruntled, saying "My puffle isn't behavin'." Others emerge behind him saying, in a kind of tattle-ish voice, "It's because he hasn't walked it, Mom." Has this dialogue occured at anyone else's house? Anyone? Can I get an amen? Being the hip, tech-savvy mother that I am (um, not), I am aware of the puffle. It is the pet of the penguin on the "Club Penguin" website. On Club Penguin, you create a penguin and can play games, earn penguin coins, buy things for your penguins with your penguin coins, etc. And you can "purchase" a pet, called a puffle. Apparently you can feed, excercise, and rest your puffle. If you fail to do these things, your puffle may "misbehave" in some fashion. I have spent more minutes than I care to admit helping the kids on these websites......Webkinz is another example.....trying to find the scrap of paper where we wrote down the username or password, figuring out why something or other isn't working, or repeatedly saying "no" to requests to become an official member for just $9.99. It borders on the ridiculous. I mean, really. My four year old disgruntled because his puffle isn't behavin'. Seriously.