It's Not All About Mom

I make Matt breakfast every morning and we share our thoughts over Coco Pebbles and a cup of coffee. I am the first to hear about his day at school when he walks through our front door. I'm around when his friends are over; making snacks and passing out drinks. I watch him at his sports' practices. It is not difficult for me to miss these moments, but for Steve it is. With school meetings, high school sports games and his own summer classes starting, I know guilt creeps in at times when he's not able to be so available. It's not easy to drop his responsibilities and attend everything. So when the opportunity came to go to the high school girl's softball regionals in Elkhart and then visit a friend of Steve's who lives right off of St. Joseph's River to eat and fish, I almost jumped at the chance for our whole family to go. Instead I thought:

What a perfect opportunity for Steve and Matt to bond. Alone. Together.

I am a firm believer that the relationship between a father and son is important. It's precious. You don't have to train a son to look up to his daddy. It's natural. They can chat about things that maybe a mom wouldn't understand. Trust me, Matt is at the age where some things are a bit embarrassing to expose to lame old Mommy. But bring Dad in and he's open and willing. So that day was their day and it was fun. Matt hasn't stopped talking about the five fish he caught -- with his dad.

As for Mark and I, we made our own day of fun. We blew bubbles in the front yard. Ate whatever we wanted for lunch and dinner. We snuggled on the couch while watching TV and during commercial breaks we made funny faces at one another. I guess everyone's day turned out to be a special one.


Sleep Walking

That call. At 3:30am. The first one I hear I think it's part of my dream and ignore it. The second call I realize it really is one of the boys yelling for me. I ask Steve which one he thinks it is and we guess Mark.
I stumble into Mark's room half asleep and ask, "What's wrong little man?" No response. "Are you ok? What's wrong?" Nothing. I put my hand on his little head.
Oh, it's Matt!
Off to Matt's room I go after I reassure Mark to go back to sleep. Actually, I don't think I woke him up to begin with.
I open Matt's door hoping I don't smell vomit in the air. "What's wrong?" (I detect no smell, thank God above!)
He then goes on about a dream he had. He was on some ship and it was sinking and filling up with water....blah....blah....blah.... I was too tired to make heads or tails about what he was saying! I hugged him and reminded him, "It's only a dream. You're fine. Go back to sleep."
Back to bed I went and I am lucky I didn't walk into any walls, but I did step on a Magna Doodle pad. Thankfully it's flat.



"Toot toot, chugga chugga!"

That's what Mark says when he walks into his bedroom now. During Memorial Day weekend I spent a day and a half painting it red -- Big Red Car red for all you Wiggles fans out there. We aren't doing a Wiggles theme, it's just the first thing that popped into Mark's head. I am not a fan of bedroom themes anyway since a child's interest changes on a daily basis. I just have to add some framed pictures, handle some minor touch ups and it's all done. For all you Chicago Cubs fans out there: Matt's room is Cubby blue and Mark's is Cubby red. Yes, that was intentional.

Sunday night our family endured different sleeping arrangements since Mark's room was out of commission. Mark slept in Matt's bed and since the two boys would argue more than sleep, Matt slept with me in our bed and Steve took the couch. (Got that straight?) Thankfully that lasted one night. I love my bed with my husband in my space and I think Steve would agree. The next night all was normal. Phew!



In a few weeks Mark will turn three. Three. THREE!

School ends June 4th and I anticipate my mornings not being ruled by a bus stop time -- 7:30am thank you very much!

My daily blog visits have decreased. With the weather warming up we are outside more than in. Talk about a cure for the winter blues. Blame my daily exercise routine on my new found desire to be more active and spend less time sitting in front of my computer's monitor.

Gas is $4.09/gallon here. I am beginning to become pessimistic. It's never going down. Ever.

Mascara is a tired mom's best friend. Use an eye lash curler and let me tell ya, I am W I D E awake!

Matt is half way through his baseball season. That went by fast!

Don't try to swipe the sides of the mixer's bowl while the machine is beating. It can be lethal!

Matt can add faster than me. Actually, this doesn't come as a surprise. I could never do math in my head let alone figure out tip.

A towel can pick up spills way better than paper towels. Trust me, I know!



My article was posted today --> READ NOW!


This Mommy Won't Get the Mommy of the Year Award

This morning Matt ran into our bedroom in shock and despair that he didn't get any money for losing his tooth yesterday. My heart sank. Thankfully Steve overheard and came to the rescue, rushed down to our cash bin and asked if Matt checked his other pillow.

"No!" Matt ran back to his room. "There it is!"



From Tests to Testimony

About five and a half years ago Matt was in the middle of blood tests and preparing for an upper endoscopy. The doctors were looking into celiac disease and all the tests proved our assumptions to be true.

We were faced with Matt living gluten free. For life. The first couple years were life altering as we tested some great products and, let's face it, some major stinkers. With each year our family began to flow more in gluten free eating and now it is only natural to cook this way -- and quite healthy I may add!

The son who I though would live so differently from his peers is playing sports, excelling in school and enjoys many parties/gatherings with his friends. Why was I so worried about his future? It's just living without wheat products for heaven's sake!

Our local paper circulates a parenting magazine and I was asked to share Matt's journey from his diagnosis to the gluten free diet. I gladly accepted the task and took it as a way to raise awareness about celiac disease. Here is what the latest research is saying:

*It effects more than 3 million Americans

*A child will visit on average eight pediatricians before being diagnosed

*It presents with as many as 300 different symptoms

*97% with celiac disease have not been diagnosed

*If undiagnosed, patients are at greater risk of other serious illnesses

When the paper posts the article online, I will link you to it. I pray this causes more food and drug companies to wake up and realize that millions of Americans have this disease. It's not a rare condition, but becoming more common among those with gastrointestinal/weight issues. And I am willing to spread the word!


I Got Plans

As Steve was heading out for work he announced that we were going out for dinner as a family. I am never picky with that option. If I don't have to cook or clean it up, I'm happy. And after my park day with my MOPS gals this morning, I stopped by our local grocery store's Redbox booth and rented a movie for Steve and I tonight. Who says you have to actually go out to a movie theater to consider it a date? And instead of paying $10/person plus the extra $20 for a drink and tub of popcorn, I just typed in a promo code and got my rental for free. With my boys' bedtime by 8-8:30pm, my hubby and I have a date set on our couch with microwave popcorn, cream soda and the remote control.

PS Mark is sleeping like an angle in his new big boy bed. Easy transition!


It Had To Happen Sometime

Today the crib came down. This is the crib that Matt slumbered in for two and a half years. We kept it up knowing we would use it again for our second child and Mark happily slept there for almost three years.

But today is came down. For good. It proves again that time doesn't stop. In another month my baby boy turns three and in a few more months he will start preschool. Preschool! I am speechless.

(Here is Mark in his crib for the last time)


My Men

I come from a male dominated family. I grew up with two brothers and my five cousins are, you guessed it, male. At our big family gatherings while the guys were playing sports, tackling each other or playing Dungeons & Dragons, I usually found my outlet in playing dress up and pretending with my Barbies. I was forced to protect them from being decapitated from my crazy brothers. They were always threating to pull her arms and legs off too. And my poor salon head Barbie took a beating. She needed a makeover and I wasn't helping!

My Grandma allowed me to dip into her stash of makeup which consisted of frosted blue eyeshadow and bright red lipstick. On some occasions I looked more like a hooker than a princess, but hey, I thought I was beautiful and all grown up. And if there was a twirling dress, boy could I twirl it!

I enjoyed baking with my mom and licking my fingers while I was supposed to be dropping the dough in teaspoonfuls. My favorite: snickerdoodles She passed on her love to cook for her family onto me and I know my hubby is thankful for that.

In the midst of my girlness there was a part of me that wanted to be included. I would watch my dad play wiffle ball with my brothers and if I wanted to be included, I had to get involved. I have fond memories of basketball games on our driveway: Dad and me against my two brothers. And I can repeat a good football play if need be. Wiffle ball? Give me a curve ball and I'll whack it! Even though I dreamt of being the next Mary Lou Retton and marrying prince charming (or possibly Corey Haim), I am thankful for these moments with my dad, brothers and cousins.

I guess God was preparing me for my relationship with my sons. Matt and I play football catch a lot. It's a perfect time to talk and share. He seems more open when he's doing something he likes. Mark comes in with stained knees from digging in the dirt and I am not surprised because that's what my brothers did. My boys climb on top of me and want to wrestle and I gladly return the favor. And on the sidelines I actually understand the sport Matt is playing and cheer loudly. I get it.

This is my life. With boys. And I would never ever trade it for anything!


What made my Mother's Day special?


A little of this....

Some of this....

And finally this....

I hope you had a great day too!


Blasts From My Past

I clicked on my mail server program this morning and was pleasantly surprised when I received yet another Facebook friend request.

To me Facebook is like an online reunion site. Soon after signing up I've been reconnecting with a load of friends - and I won't use the term "old friends" since we are getting closer and closer to the big 4-0. How about past friends? Yeah, that sounds much better.

Some I've known since elementary school. We shared many slumber parties, movie nights and dressing like Madonna. Remember, when neon ruled, earrings purposely mismatched and oversize shirts belted loosely. Oh my, when Duran Duran came on watch out!

Several I came to know in middle/high school, when I started searching for God. I attended Campus Life and our church's youth group. To know many still follow the Lord brings me joy. Some spoke volumes in my life, even much needed truth during my high school years of rebellion and rejection.

And then there are the ones I've just recently connected with. Time will tell how my life is affected by my relationship with them. Can't wait!

To browse through these friends (past and present) and see their family, children, ministries and passions is too cool. Maybe one day I'll see a friend request from you? Or better yet, get the opportunity to meet up with a past friend or two in person.



FYI: Mark's hair was untouched. I laughed and laughed when he stood in front of the television.


Never Say Never

Those that know me know very well know that I don't do shorts. Last year I caved in somewhat and bought Bermudas, but those are really shorts, are they? More like shorter capris. For years Steve has given me a hard time about my no-shorts decision. He compliments about how great my legs really look and how I need to get out of my capris pants box.

While we were vacationing in Hawaii, I realized I needed to get off my butt and workout. I wasn't huffing and puffing during our tours and hikes, but every night I was drop dead tired. My muscles a bit sore and my feet weary. It was then I realized I needed to do something and so I did. For a little over three weeks now my workout commitment is still strong and the benefits far outweigh the effort.

So drumroll, please.....

Yesterday I bought shorts. Not Bermudas or "walking shorts", but regular shorts. As I looked into the dressing room's mirror I was proud at what I accomplished. I announced to Mark, who was busy using the hangers as drumsticks, that "mommy's legs look just fine". And if my varicose veins are revealed, which are stamps of love from my two pregnancies, then so be it. They are my testimony of being a mommy! And my no-tan legs are the way God made me and who wants to start an argument with Him? Uh, not me!

When we returned home I brought in my bags and went back outside to kick a ball around with Mark. I wasn't tired from shopping. Or maybe I was still on my shorts-buying high? Either way, I felt great. And you should have witnessed Steve's face when I told him about my recent purchase. "It's about time," he replied.

Today our temperatures will reach 80. I want to walk with Mark to our neighborhood's park. I hope to play football catch with Matt after his homework. And I plan on wearing shorts.


Looking at the Positive

When I edited my "Archives" while giving this blog a new look, I realized I've been doing this blogging thing for two years. Some posts are thought provoking, some quirky, some painful, some opinionated, some fun and some just plain out there. But they are my posts and I'm sticking to them.

The new look also brought back all the reasons why I started this blog in the first place. I pray you find a reason to wake up and conquer the day. Even if the kids spill orange juice on the kitchen floor, you can clean it up and pour a another glass. Even if the bed isn't made, you can strive to make it the next morning. And those dishes piled in the sink can wait. It's not like they'll explode or morph into some flesh-eating beast. And even if your children whine and moan about petty things, know that bedtime is coming and a new day is ahead.

Find something to thank God for today. Maybe it's a child's kiss. A friend's hug. A spouse's love. A roof over your head. The clothes on your back. Food in the pantry. Your backyard. The sunshine. Or even the rain that nourishes the earth. All of us can find one thing to be grateful for and hold on to.


Weekly Recap

  • A girls' night out Tuesday for coffee and dessert. (Actually I had bruschetta, but it's sweet candy to my taste buds; not my breath, unfortunately).

  • Chaperoning Matt's class to a nature hike. I figured if I can handle 100+ teenagers, I can handle a group 7-year olds.

  • Making fresh salsa. My favorite! Mine consists of black beans, corn, jalapeno pepper, red onion, tomato and a colorful bell pepper. And what would salsa be without fresh cilantro? I can dip corn chips in this or even top it over brown rice. Yummo!

  • Flag football/baseball practice. Our laptop computer has been a godsent for DVD watching. Mark and I have designated our van's far back bench seat as our second family room area.

  • And on the topic of sports, my time in the laundry room has increased due to grass stained baseball pants and a muddy football jersey.

  • Friday @ MOPS! How I love my group of Purple Patience gals! I'm gonna miss you throughout the summer. Trying not to tear up. We are already planning a few days with the kids during our 3-month long break.

  • Today marks my third week straight of keeping with my workout schedule. I am proud of myself and more than that, it's healthy for me. When I am outside with my boys, I can actually play with them instead of sitting on my folding chair reading a magazine. YAY FOR ME!