Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another Day in Paradise

Here is the run-down.
Yesterday, we got up at 10am.
Nice...but not a good way to get much done.
Mark made me french toast.
That was good.
As I was lounging in the tub, he came in with an "I'm not happy" look on his face.
One of our valves for the in-floor heating system had burst (this would be one of  our annual occurrences since purchasing this home.  It involves the heating guy coming over and replacing a plastic thingy...and it never costs less than $300.)

We spent the next 2 hours recording practice CD's for my church choir.
About half way through the process, Mark realized he hadn't hooked up the microphones to his we got to record all of those songs again.

Then the kids came home.  And started getting on each other's nerves.  Which always involves loud noises and screaming. 
I hate that.

So, we left, and went to a movie.
McFarland, USA.
Bring kleenex.
As we left the theater, my daughter sent this picture....
and this message:
I took a bath....and then came downstairs and my toilet looked like this:

Seriously?  How does this happen?

Needless to say...we rushed home.
So much for a dinner out.

I had Mark go grab us some at least I didn't have to cook.
And then, we started getting all of our stuff ready for today...because 
guess what I get to do ALL DAY?

Play for solo/ensemble.
I have a love/hate relationship with this day.
Mostly the latter.
I know it's good for the kids.  And I do enjoy working with kids who really care about music, and work hard on their pieces.
It makes me feel so good when they are successful...and I have been known to get weepy when they are given exemplary awards for their performance.

But, it is also a long, exhausting day.
And it makes my brain hurt.
And I have to get up WAY too early in the morning.

So.....I just might give myself a day off from blogging tomorrow.
But for now, I am going to go deal with my barking dog, and my daughter who is pounding in frustration on the piano.

I need a beer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Party Animal

Today is the first day of my 43rd year.
I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.
I'm happy that I'm still on the low side of the 40's....but the number certainly keeps creeping up...and each year is passing by faster and faster.
Turning 39 was definitely the most difficult thus far.  I don't think I will have any other "age meltdowns" as I pass through the years.
I have pretty much accepted the fact that middle age has arrived, and I will now just live vicariously through my young and beautiful children.
I'm not sure if they are on board with that...but no matter.
They don't get a vote on this subject.
I usually view my birthday a lot like I do New Years Day.
I like to set some goals, make some know, plot how I'm going to make "this year the best yet!!"
Well, I haven't really put any thought into this year's plan yet, other than the fact that I would really like to be NOT fat by summer.
So, I guess that's my goal.
I will start that tomorrow.
I should probably start buttering my husband up for a new baby too.
It will most likely take a couple of years to talk him into it's good to start well in advance.
I have gathered some photos of what I would really hope our next baby will look like.'s good to plan ahead.
I will share some with you.

In a perfect world, I would wake up to one of these sweet faces....but, I can guarantee that the likelihood of that is an absolute 0%.
I should also probably start saving up for one of these little guys, since it's going to cost a fortune to find/get a French Bulldog in this area.
A girl can dream. :)
What I am most looking forward to today is my birthday slide show.
A few years ago, Sam started making me slideshows instead of cards for birthdays/mother's day, etc.
(He said making cards takes waaaay too long.  Can you feel the love?)
Anyway, his slideshows are typically quite hilarious.  He is pretty computer savvy, and he finds great graphics to go along with whatever witty jargon he comes up with.  He may be lazy (i.e.: the card making) but he sure is creative.
Another highlight is the fact that my husband actually has the day I get to dictate an entire day's activities...and he is usually quite accommodating. If we are out shopping or whatever, and I ask if I can buy something/do something, his typical response is "It's your day! Of course!"
It is best for a girl to take advantage of these opportunities when they come along.  It's not as though he ever forbids me to buy/do something...but he has been known to throw a little "buyer's guilt" my way.  I am sure he is not the only husband out there who has ruined a good shopping excursion with his utter lack of enthusiasm!

And so, I am going to enjoy an entire day of zero responsibility, and pretend that everything I eat contains zero calories.
And while I'm at it...if I happen across a pretty little trinket that I just can't live without, I may just pretend it cost me zero dollars.
Because, heck, don't we all deserve one day out of the year to have a little fun?!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Last night, I sat down to write today's post....and my internet refused to connect.
So, while I waited, I grabbed my phone, thinking I would peruse Pinterest...(since I had no idea what I was going to write about)
and I had the same result.
I sat for several minutes, and finally decided that it was a sign.
The universe was just telling me to go to bed.
It was late, and it was ok to not write tonight.
I do have to admit, writing this blog is probably the most consistent thing I have ever done.
I really can't think of anything else in my life that actually involves taking a pretty good chunk out of my day, includes some work and thought, and is something that I have to plan for, and find time to do....and I still do it.
And I have done it for 167 consecutive days.

I am sure it has something to do with the fact that I actually ENJOY writing.
And I get to sit down while I do it.
Maybe I should make my husband build a desk around the treadmill for the computer.
I saw one of those on pinterest. 
That is probably the best way for me to get my butt off the chair.
It's worth a shot.
I also think the biggest reason that I haven't gotten lazy with this blog yet has nothing to do with me....but rather with those that keep me accountable.
(I wish that worked for exercise too!  For some doesn't.)
Just ask Colleen.  And my now extinct gym membership.  And Y membership.)

Thank you to everyone who reads my babble.
You really do lift me higher, and keep me writing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


When you look back at your life, there are always certain days that stand out.
There are the happy occasions, such as your wedding day, or the birth of your children.  And there are the sad, such as losing someone you love.
I always find it interesting how our memory chooses what to erase, or at least make a little cloudy.
Yet, it also has the ability to let you recall certain events with such clarity, you could swear they just happened yesterday.
I also find it interesting what our memories choose to hold on to.
Some things don't surprise me, because they were either really significant, really special or traumatic events in my life.  However, some of my clearest memories are completely random, everyday occurrences, that for some reason, are taking up permanent residence in my mind.
Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of my cousin Amy's death.
She was killed in a car accident a couple months before her 40th birthday.

Amy was one year older than me, and I absolutely idolized her as a child.
She was much more of a "tom-boy" than I was, so when she was around, I would attempt to abandon my girlie ways, and toughen up.
Some of those "vivid" memories I referred to above are my adventures with Amy.
She was my best childhood friend.
She lived in Eau Claire, so we didn't get to spend as much time together as I would have liked.  Our families would vacation together at the lake, and we would stay at each other's homes for a week during the summer.
What I remember most about those years was how much trouble we could get in to.
I was a pretty shy kid, and was always afraid of breaking the rules.
Amy, on the other hand, was an adventure seeker, and perhaps, not the perfect role model. :)
In other words....she was FUN!!
We would get up at 6am to mow the grass everyday. (Because we loved to ride around on the riding lawn mower.) She would drive, and I would sit up on the back of the seat.  We spent a lot of time driving around the neighborhood as well.
Her parents used to have an old navy blue Volkswagen Beetle...and we would pretend we were meeting our "boyfriends" after "work", as we sat in the car and "drove."  This was great, until the day we took the emergency brake off, and started rolling backwards down the driveway.  (I should mention we were in elementary school at the time.)
"Work" was teaching.  We pretended to be teachers by day...and we had the whole basement set up as our classroom.  Amy's dad was a teacher, so we had lots of "real" teacher stuff.  We spent HOURS teaching!
One day, we were getting ready to go on our daily lawn mowing adventure, and Amy accidentally put the mower into 3rd gear instead of 1st.  I was sitting up on the back of the seat, and the fast jerk forward caused me to fly off the mower on to the cement driveway.
It was quick...and painful.
I still vividly remember Amy trying to carry me in the house, (not very successfully) the whole time saying "we can NOT tell my parent's about this!  We can NOT tell my parent's about this!"
I spent the rest of the week trying not to walk funny, or be too obvious about the fact that I couldn't turn in either direction very successfully because my back was in miserable pain. 
We never told her parents. ;)
If I was ever able to choose a time in my life to experience would be those days with Amy.  I am sure the reason why all of my memories with her are so vivid is because they were so special to me.
I looked up to her, and wanted to be just like her.
She was fearless.  
As we grew up, our lives got busy, but I always looked forward to the times our families got together.  It felt like we went from trouble making little rug rats to planning our weddings overnight.
Then we started planning our families.
We both lost our first babies to miscarriage.
I remember calling her, and hearing her voice break as she told me the news.
She had been so excited about that baby.
Luckily, we soon had much to celebrate.
Our sons were born one month apart in the spring of 2000.
My sister also had a son one month before Amy, so we had three little boys, all the same age.  It was perfect.

And then, she had her fiery red headed daughter.
She was the spitting image of Amy. (except for the red hair) 
I think Sandy (Amy's mom) got a kick out of the fact that Amy was getting to experience all of the "fun" that she had when Amy was growing up!

Amy was the most patient and laid back mom.
Nothing phased her.  No matter what happened, she just dealt with it, and moved on.  
She could handle anything...and she made it look effortless.
I will never forget the night I got the call.
I was standing by my piano....and my aunt Kathy called me.
She said there had been an accident, and Amy had been killed.

I couldn't even wrap my head around it.
It couldn't be true...not Amy.
Amy was invincible.
The day of her funeral, I walked over to the casket.
The woman lying in there wasn't Amy.  
Amy was full of life, her eyes were bright, her smile glowed.
Amy would throw her head back and laugh.....I loved that laugh.
What I saw wasn't Amy at all.
At least this is what I told myself to just get through the next couple of hours.
The burial took place in the spring, after the ground had thawed.
Something happened to me that day that I can't really explain.
Suddenly, as we stood there, in the same cemetery where my dad, my brother, and my grandparent's were buried....I felt like my heart just broke open.
All of the grief I had been holding onto for the past 15 years just started to pour out.
I had never really grieved for my dad...and now, as I said goodbye to my sweet cousin, I was suddenly feeling all of the pain and despair that I had blocked out...had locked away for so many years.
This was the beginning of a long process of healing...but a necessary one.
I hadn't realized how much sorrow I had been holding onto...and had been hiding away.
I think Amy was there, just like when we were kids.  Dragging me through the mud (she really loved mud!) and making me navigate all of the dark and scary places. (We used to play tag in the the woods.  It was terrifying.) 
And like always, she was there to lead me home...back to the light.
My birthday was three days after her death.  Two years ago, we had some friends over, and we were sitting at the table having dinner.
Suddenly, the front door blew open, and right after, my phone chimed.  I had received a blank text from Amy's mom.
I replied, and asked if she had tried to text me.
She had not.
I am pretty sure I had a visit from Amy for my birthday that year.
She often sends birds and butterflies too.
My heart will forever ache at the loss of this sweet woman.
However, I will cherish the many memories that I have.

This reminds me so much of her.
Amy knew how to fly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Plans Schplans....& Some Unexpected Love

Monday was my one day this week that is not completely filled with things to do.
SO, I decided I would create a 
Valentine's Day...Part 2.....
since the Part 1 never really happened.
I hadn't even had time to go out and get Mark a card, much less do anything 
Valentine-y for him.
So, I went to target, and bought some very cheesy, yet cute, placemats and heart plates, along with boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine as well as other beverages he will enjoy.
By the way, I highly suggest celebrating after the actual holiday, as all of these items (sans the alcohol) were 50% off. :)
Then, I headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for beef stroganoff (his favorite.)
I could have perhaps, found the ingredients at Target...but I still can't wrap my head around the idea of Target being a "grocery store."
Sure, I'll by packaged food there....but I am still not convinced that their meat and produce are real.  Of course....who knows where the grocery store gets their meat?
A topic for another day.
Once at home, I spent a good 30 minutes attempting to get the fricking price tags off the placemats and plates.
Now seriously....WHY DO THEY PUT THEM ON THE FRONT?!!!
I soaked them in hot water....I used an old credit card to try to scrape the sticky stuff off....IT TOOK FOREVER.
Finally...I managed to set a table fit for a bunch of 3 year olds.

I am pretty sure these placemats WERE made for 3 year olds.

I finally got the stroganoff prepped and cooking...the kitchen cleaned, and everything put away.
And then my daughter texted me to let me know she was going out for appetizers with her friend at 7.
(Right when we would be having dinner.)
Obviously, we had not communicated our plans with each other prior to this moment.

Then, my husband sent a text.
"This is the only night I am going to have this week to shop for your birthday. Do you want me to stop home before I head out?"

Yes dear.  Do stop home.
During his brief stay before running out again, we discussed the rest of the week.
My plan for tonight was to have a nice dinner, and then sit back and relax while we watched the SNL 40th anniversary show I had recorded.

His reply: "Don't you need to get those rehearsal CD's made for the choir?"
Me: Yes....that is why we don't have rehearsal on we can record them.
Him: "I can't.  I have to be at Viterbo from 7-10."

Me: What?!!?!?! You were RIGHT THERE when I said we would be recording the CD's next Thursday, so there wouldn't be choir practice, and you NEVER said you weren't able to do that!

Him: "Huh...I guess that never registered."

So...instead of a nice family meal, followed by a night of relaxing by the fire,
we will be scarfing down dinner (at least the two of us will be...Sam won't eat it, and Lexie will be gone.) 
And then, we will spend the next 3-4 hours making practice recordings for all the parts of every song my choir is working on for Lent/Easter.
While I am waiting for him to return home...I have been watching this video over and over....and crying each time.
(And laughing....because the part when the camera pans down a few moments in is HILARIOUS)
You should probably watch it and see.

Probably because I can soooo relate.
Happy Tuesday!

I have a little add on I need to mention.
(Dinner was a big hit, by the way....and I even managed to serve it before Lexie left. )
I was talking with her a little bit this afternoon....after noticing something has been a little "off" the past few days.
For Valentine's Day, she made her boyfriend the sweetest gift.  She bought an oval piece of wood, and made a perfect heart out of nails (I have no idea how she did that)  Then she used different shades of red thread to "weave" a cool pattern within the heart.
Anyway...she spent a lot of time on it. 
When I asked what he got her, her reply was "nothing."
He didn't even make her a card.
(They have been dating for a year and 1/2.)
She acted like it was no big deal....but I had to believe she was really hurt.
I know her dad and I were upset, after all of the effort she put into doing something nice for him.
Apparently he has decided they are "on a break."
The only reason I even bring this is up is because I have witnessed something pretty special in the past two days.
Yesterday, one of her friends stopped by with a coffee and a rose for her.
Today, another girlfriend came over, with a big bag full of Valentine treats.
Tonight, she is out with another friend, getting crepes and having a girls night.
You always hear stories about "mean girls" in middle and high school.
I love that I have been witnessing the very opposite.
My daughter has been going through a rough patch, and where this boy let her down, her friends have rallied and picked her back up.
It is the sweetest thing ever...and I'm so glad she is surrounded by such wonderful girls, who have her back, care about her, and want to comfort her when she is hurting.
I hope my daughter returns the favor....and is there for them like they have been for her.
There is nothing worse than seeing your child hurt...whether it is physical pain, or watching them work through emotional pain.
As parents, all we want to do is protect them from anything that can hurt them...but of course, that is impossible.
It is nice to know that when you aren't able to be the one to comfort your child, and make everything better, that there are other people out there who care enough to take on that responsibility, and wrap her in the safety and love of their friendship.
They also have some pretty special moms, who drove them all the way over here to deliver their packages.
I feel very blessed to be part of such a great community, and am so grateful that my kids are surrounded by people who care about them.
My heart grew a little bigger today.

Monday, February 16, 2015


I just finished reading the book
"Leaving Time"
Jodi Picoult
You can never go wrong with a Jodi Picoult book.
However, the ending of this one really took me by surprise.
And I spend a good 10 minutes sobbing over it.
If you haven't read it, a lot of the book takes place at an elephant sanctuary.

Not only was the story itself great....but I didn't realize how intelligent and compassionate elephants are.
Even though this was a work of fiction...she really educates you on how amazing these animals really are.

Not to mention the fact that these babies are so stinkin adorable!
They even have temper tantrums, just like our kids do.

This guy threw himself in the mud because he was mad about something.

I remember Lexie throwing herself into the bushes at Mark's parents house when she was little.  She got mad about something...and she hurled herself right into these awful, prickly shrubs.
She regretted that decision immediately...and never did it again. ;)
The reason I bring up this book, and the reason I was a sobbing mess over it, had to do with the connection of the mother with her child.
The premise of the book is that at a very young age, a tragedy occurs at the sanctuary, and a little girl is separated from her mother.
She grows up with her grandmother, and her father is in a mental institution.
She doesn't know if her mother is alive or dead, or why she disappeared.
The story is about her quest to try and get to the bottom of this "mystery", as well as tell the back story of her parents before she was born.
Throughout, you also read about the bond between mother elephants and their calves.  As well as how elephants deal with grief when they lose a member of their herd.
I think the reason I was so emotionally connected to this was for two reasons.
It is really starting to hit me how quickly my kids are growing up.
We are already setting up college tours with Lexie.....and preparing for her final year of high school.  I am in NO way ready for that.
I want to hold on to her for a few more years.
I know it will go just as quickly with Sam.

It also hit home in the areas of losing a parent.
As I was reading, and feeling her anguish over needing answers and closure, it reminded me of parts of my own life where I feel like I never will get those answers or closure I had hoped for.
Obviously, with my dad....we will always question why it had to happen.
I will always replay everything that happened that day, and wonder what we could have done differently to change the outcome.
Then I consider my mom.  There are so many conversations I had hoped to have with her that will never happen.  So many questions I wish I could have answered...that will never be asked.  It's such a strange position to be in, when you have a parent who is still with you....but you will never be able to just call them up for something as simple as a family recipe, or something as important as a heartfelt discussion to mend old wounds.  It is to the point where I don't even bother to call, because she would have no idea who she was talking to anyway, so I wait until I see her in person...and hope she recognizes me.
Life is unpredictable.

I guess all we can do is take each day as it comes, do our best, be kind, and love each other. 

Have a great Monday. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sugar High

So here is the deal:
It's 15 minutes past my bedtime.
I still haven't gotten a Valentine for my Valentine.
(Is it even worth it now?)
I think I will make him a card, and buy him some beer while he is at rehearsal this afternoon.  That should do it.
We spent the entire day (Saturday) in show choir land.
Well, actually, I first took Lexie to her WSMA honors choir audition 
(she rocked it)
and then we went to show choir land, where she sang in the solo competition
(she rocked it again.)
and THEN the show choir performed...and they went up against some tough competition.
Best band
Best Vocals
Best Choreography 

(Sorry...proud mama moment.)

Click here ^^^to watch her solo...:)

And....I have a whole 9 seconds of Sam rockin' out as well!
My stupid phone ran out of storage as I was recording (of course!!)
which was such a bummer, because he was hamming it up like nobody's business!!

And after all that excitement, I came home and frosted my ridiculous pile of cookies that I made Friday night...because I need a little more sugar in my life.
I do think that I may have a future in cute little sweet treat gifts, however.

(The brown hearts on the bottom are brownies, by the way.)
You just let me know if you want to be my Valentine next year.
If nothing else, you will be good and sugared up by the end of the day!
And with that....I'm going to shove one more chocolate covered strawberry in my mouth (because it IS fruit!) and go to bed!

Have a great Sunday!