Peace and A Little Too Quiet

When Matt walks out the door to catch the bus in the morning I admit feeling relief. In between listening to him talk to the mirror and attempt to play with his Matchbox cars, sometimes it's a battle getting him ready on time. "Bye! I love you. Have a great day at school." I gladly send him off.

Mark is notorious at sleeping in so usually I absorb some peaceful morning moments sipping my coffee and reading the paper. Then I hear Mark gabbing. I assume he is peeking out the window because I can hear him say things like "darbage" (garbage cans) and "ar" or "duck" (car/truck). Sometimes he can entertain himself for up to an hour alone in his crib. Amazing, I know! I never had that with Matt, so I feel I deserve it.

Mark finally calls for me. He's up. We eat. Maybe get ready for errands. Maybe clean the house. Maybe start laundry. Or maybe just sit and play. Who knows! I just signed him up for our local library's toddler storytimes, so we'll see if he enjoys that. There is just a lot of freedom in how our day is spent.

Around 1-1:30pm Mark is ready for a nap. Ah, mommy's time! Matt isn't around to ask about watching Spongebob or Pokemon. I spread out on the couch and take full possession of the remote control. It's a great feeling!

Then around 3pm the house seems too quiet. Mark is still napping. I hear a sound. Is that Matt's bus? I run to the living room window. No. Sigh. I hear another vehicle passing by. Matt? Nope. I go back to the couch and just wait. I'm starting to get anxious. Anticipating my boy running through the door to elaborate about his day at school. I microwave some popcorn to greet his hard working, famished stomach. Finally, the door opens.....

"Hi, Mom, I'm home! I had a great day at school!"


Stop on over and wish Peanut Butter & Jelly Boats a happy pregnacy journey. It'll be her 4th. I know, how daring!!! Congrats, Sheryl, we love you!!!



Click My Heart Switch to "ON"

Lord, may I never become apathetic towards Your people. Soften my heart. Make it ache like Yours, oh God. I pray my heart never hardens to the needs of others. Let me see the world through Your eyes.


If You Peek Through My Kitchen's Window....

The dinner's dishes are piled by the sink. Matt helps clear the table. Mark hollers, "Allllll done!" He goes to wash his hands. Steve, Matt and Mark are out the door to play catch.

I stare at the dishes. The bowls. The silverware. I go to my laptop and tune into Yahoo's radio "my station". "Jesus, Take the Wheel" comes on....

No one is around. I start to sing as I rinse the dishes and load up the dishwasher. "Dancing Queen"!! My absolute favorite!! I start to wipe down the countertop, then make a sink full of bubbly Dawn and start to scrub while U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" plays.

What usually is a dreadful time straightening up the kitchen ends up being fun and free. No kids yelling. No one is hungry again. I can mop the floor, shake a tail feather and have a good time. Alone. Whoever said housework is boring lied. (Or at that moment I was living in lah-lah land!!)



Yesterday I watched an episode of "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC, which we have in HD now -- bonus! These first time parents bring their daughter home from the hospital. All you parents know the emotions, fears and joy bringing your first child home can bring. The first poop. Does it look normal? The first sneeze. Is the baby sick? You question why the maternity ward nurses were so good, but you can't seem to get this child to stop crying. You know what I mean.

Getting back to this episode. So these parents bring their daughter home and hire a postnatal doula. Not like a doula that supports you throughout labor and delivery, but one that comes to your home to help with the baby. This doula made meals and took care the baby while the mom had some time to rest or even eat. She was there every step of the way to make sure all was going smoothly. Teaching the parents everything they needed to know. From nursing to changing diapers, this postnatal doula covered it. I immediately say outloud: boy I wish I had that! Could you imagine having that support throughout the day/night? Having that extra hand without asking. Holy cow!

Then I thought again. I believe all those "firsts" were confidence builders. Through all the highs and lows every circumstance created a stronger mom in me. Giving me that superhero feeling like I can conquer anything that comes my way. With any trial comes an opportunity to grow and I am glad that I came through with flying colors.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 (The Message)


Wordless Wednesday: Off to 1st grade....

At the bus stop with his neighborhood friends.


Dirty Jobs

So, the other night I was watching a bit of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" and was pretty grossed out when I witnessed Mike Rowe standing knee deep in sewage. I almost gagged. Then during my morning routine I was thinking: "My job as a mom can be pretty gross too." Really! Is Mike Rowe planning to visit any house for a good example of the any number of a mom's dirty jobs? Well let me do the honors and list a few of my own:

  • Fetching a cat's head-size hairball down a tub's drain with some mildew and other yummy stuff attached.

  • Cleaning a bad case of rotavirus in the middle of the night.
  • What's that smell in the garbage disposal?
  • On the subject of smells have you checked your fridge lately. Under the seats of the car or better yet under your child's bed?
  • Uh....diapers....DAH!

Time to share, everyone! What kind of chore(s) makes you wanna say "gag me with a spoon?!?!?"


A Piece of Cake

We arrived at the barber shop this morning for Matt's before-school hair cut. Robin has been cutting Steve and Matt's hair for years. She is such a nice person and cuts my guys' hair well too! As we get out of the van Robin pulls into the parking lot too and I ask if she wouldn't mind attempting Mark's head of hair. Up until now I've been using our own clippers and trimming it as best I can. She accepts the challenge gladly.

"Ok, Mark, it's your turn," I announce. Mark walks to the chair and climbs up himself. He sits down, Robin drapes the cape on and starts....

....could it have gone any easier? I don't think so! Mark sat there, still as ever without a sucker mind you. My only complaint: not bringing our camera! But I took a snapshot as soon as we arrived home as he stands next to the surprise he truly deserved from Target:

A NERF BASKETBALL HOOP You know how much Mark loves basketball!


We Survived

At 8:30pm last night we heard thunder, which quickly turned to quarter-size hail. Next thing you know, the power went out. Steve and I contemplated waking Matt up and heading for the basement. It sounded awful outside! In 30 minutes it was silent again.

Then around 2:30am we wake up to an upset Matt. He was complaining about no nightlight in his room -- it's too dark for him. Obviously the power is still out.

Half hour later our carbon monoxide detector is going off -- thankfully it was just a low battery. Steve jumps out of bed and runs into a wall trying to make his way downstairs. (He forgot I left the flashlight by his bed.) Matt is up again, trying to help out. I am fumbling around the house getting a new battery.

We are all back asleep 30 minutes after that. Wake up around 8am this morning. The power is still out. Steve leaves for work. He calls on the way. Most of our neighborhood is a mess. Trees down. Cars hail damaged. People bailing water out of basements. Leaves/branches everywhere. I start to worry about our food in the refridgerator/freezer. I sure don't want the morning's humid weather to creep into our still cool house.

"It's boring without power," Matt complains all morning. Good grief, how did those in the 18th century survive? Matt thought the world was coming to an end.

You think being bored is bad? How about not being able to brew a pot of morning coffee? I was so desperate that I took a filter, put grounds in it and poured boiling water through it straight into my mug. It took some time, but it was a darn good cup of joe!

It's 11:30am now. The power is back. Matt and his buddy are playing Xbox. I am watching The Wiggles with Mark. The house is cool. The fridge back on. Now I need a shower and run some errands.



Counting the Days

One more week until the first day of school. Matt visited his grandparents for a few days this summer and I had a taste of what my life will be like with only one child in the house on a daily basis. It was kinda nice!

I enjoyed focusing more on Mark and his interests for a change. Since birth he's been toted here and there. Going to softball games. Matt's baseball games. Practices for this and that. School events. Now I can actually take Mark to story hour at our local library and it's all for him. Or visit a park with other moms and not worry about Matt and his friends colliding into poor Mark who is trying to keep up as best he can. Mark can develop his own circle of preschool friends now.

It's all bittersweet, you know. Watching my boys grow up. Letting go of precious moments from the past. Knowing I can't turn back the clock. Growing more independent day by day...hum....then again, I gain more freedom too!


10 Things I Hate...ur...DISLIKE!

Stephanie tagged me with this.....

Food: I tried sushi several years ago. I absolutely love seafood, but I don't like the taste of a fishy beach in my mouth. It was gross!

Fruit: Oh my, this is hard. I love almost all fruit, but there is nothing worse than biting into a mushy apple or a sawdust dry peach.

Veggies: Okra. Haven’t really tried it and I don’t plan to. It just looks strange.

Celebrities/People: My bottom line: Hollywood needs Jesus! The money. The pride. The expectations. The focus. Ick!

Event/Situation/Incident: Ok, who out there likes to have your children scream and cry over not getting what they want in public? Anyone? Anyone? Cleaning up barf is up there too. Vomit just scares me!

TV shows/Movies: I usually give any flick a 20-minute chance before stopping it. But I did sit through the horrible “Stepford Wives” and am embarrassed to say it was a 2-hour waste of time. As for TV, with my Tivo I rarely flip to something I dislike. If Matt is watching his precious "Avatar", I just go read a magazine and tune out.

Music: I can tolerate most music, but anything from Marilyn Manson or any of that hard-core, explicit punk rock needs to be shelved. Wash my ears!

Household Chores: Hands down -- cleaning the bathtub/shower. (Steph, I am heading straight to your bathroom next time I am over!)

Things around the world: Poverty. America is so rich, it’s amazing there are those around the world that cannot provide food for themselves. Doesn't make sense.

Things about yourself: I am a horrible listener! I am ready to open my mouth and spill out an opinion before hearing others' first. God is working on me!


"Your son is so tall for his age!"

We hear this practically everywhere we go with Matt. During playdates. At the doctor's office. At the grocery store. People are surprised when they ask, "Are you going in 3rd grade?" and he answers, "No, first." I go on to explain that my father's family all average 6+ feet tall as well as my brothers, so it's in my blood. Is it true Matt is half the size of Shaq? Crazy but possible!

"Your son is only two," I hear about Mark, "he's as tall as my three year old!" I guess when the nurse says he's in the 90th percentile in height at wellness check-ups, she's not kidding.

I've always wanted sons that end up taller than me one day. I look forward to taking a high school graduation snapshot with my head reaching as high their chest. That feeling of protection as my sons guard their precious mom. My arms around these future men of God. Now we are off to register Matt for 1st grade....



Time Well Spent

AH! First let me begin this post by saying everyone deserves a blogging break! I’ve been able to tackle many tasks around my home and don’t get me started on the extra family time that came my way. My so-called sabbatical was the best decision. And I also wanted to thank everyone who agreed with me. Your support meant a lot! (((HUGS)))

Last week our family visited St. Joseph Michigan. There is a small hands-on museum called Curious Kids that we took the boys to -- thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for free passes given last Christmas. This place had all kinds of science exhibits, art project areas, and cultural booths, but what my boys couldn’t get over was Appleland. After spending a few minutes at each station throughout the morning, my boys were stuck at Appleland for 30 minutes and we had to go there again before heading out. Mark could have picked apples until the cows came home and Matt enjoyed playing “check out man” while Steve and I shopped for food. Here are some items we purchased: orange juice ($35), apple juice ($20), crackers ($10), sour cream ($30) OUCH -- what a final total that made!!!

Before heading towards the beach we stopped at Cabana Grill for ice cream. Let me just say they make a kick-butt tiramisu ice cream that I inhaled – hello, coffee and chocolate! Is there a better combo out there? Matt’s a mint chocolate chip fan, while Steve usually takes a double scoop of whatever fancies him in a waffle cone. Then there is Mark who mooches off everybody’s! It was our time to regroup and relax while listening to Jimmy Buffet.

With our swimsuits now on, we headed towards Silver Beach – which included a huge playground, restrooms, concession stand and most of all nice warm water thanks to our 90 degree temps all week.

The boys loved the beach! Our daredevil, no fear Mark ran right to the shoreline ready to go in. Matt loved jumping the waves and doing his swimming tricks. After convincing Mark he had to stay close to shallow waters, he helped me collect different shells and rocks. Now trying to convince him to keep the rocks and not throw them back into the water was another story! I ended up with only four in my pocket.

Since we took a zillion pictures, be prepared to see them attached to posts the next couple weeks. I didn’t want you scrolling down... down... down.... down....

Now Steve and I are planning a day away from the kids to celebrate 12 years of marriage on August 5th. Blessings!