Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I remember a day right about this time last year when I was driving home from running some errands and the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" came on the radio.  As I do with most Christmas songs, I started singing out loud without much thought to the words when I heard the line "next year all our troubles will be miles away" come out of my mouth.  And I lost it - I was bawling in my car while driving down the road.

My emotions were raw to begin with.  It was just after the Newtown tragedy which had hit me hard.  My Dad was in his final rounds of chemo fighting his cancer battle.  The sentiment at first sounds great but if you really think about it, who are we to say how much better off we will be at any time in the future?  I knew in my heart the families in Newtown would not feel like their troubles were far away the next year at that time  - if anything they would feel awful - missing their loved ones.   My heart hoped that my Dad would be chemo and cancer free at Christmas time next year, but there is always the little voice that goads you into thinking - what if he is not here at all?

I have so much fun Christmas stuff to post and I hate coming on here and being a big downer, but sometimes this helps me work through things.  My Uncle who last year at this time thought he was fine; is nearing the end of his battle with aggressive cancer.  My family is facing the reality right now that unless a miracle occurs, next year he will not be with us at Christmas.

So my thought is to not look forward to next year.  Enjoy THIS year and the people you share it with and try to make the best of the circumstances you are given.  This life we are given is fragile.  There are no guarantees that the people we love will be with us for the time we feel is sufficient to love them.  Love them every day, every minute, every precious chance you get.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hailey B. Jones

On December first our scout elf Springle made his appearance in our home for the first time since he left last Christmas Eve.   To say that Hailey was overjoyed to see him would be a gross understatement.  She immediately wrangled up a tiny Christmas stocking that Springle could have and should take back to the North Pole with him.   She grabbed her Daddy by the hand and they began writing out their lists of gift ideas that would give Santa a little help in filling his bag.  

As I was tucking her in last night she told me she thought that Springle really loved the stocking she gave him and hoped that he would write a thank you note to her.  

Never to disappoint, when Springle got back to the North Pole last night he must have sat down at his PC or Mac and wrote out a little note to Hailey and tied it up with a sweet little red ribbon.  When she found him this morning on our mantel he clutched the little scroll in his hands.   She was the cutest.  I could tell she was so excited to see what he was holding, yet so scared that she might accidentally touch him.   She asked me to retrieve the note for her and then sat down to read what it said. 

"Dear Hailey - Thank you for the stocking.  P.S. I gave your lists to Santa Claus!"

Springle is apparently an elf of few words, but she was thrilled none the less.  She got right to work on another note for him.  "Note" might not be as appropriate a term as "billboard".  She wrote it on a piece of poster board.   I told her that might be kind of hard for the little guy to fly with all the way to Santa's workshop. 

"I love you.  Oh and thank you for the letter. Bye, Hailey.  To Springle and Santa Claus.  The other side is for Santa Claus. Oh and I have a ............(can't make out the word)"

"Santa Claus.  I love you.  Bye.  See you later."

Isn't she the sweetest?  What stuck out to me in the letters is how the Junie B. Jones books we have been reading are making an appearance in her vocabulary.  With the two separate "oh's".  I know the author of Junie B. just died and my kids love the books, but sometimes I don't like how Junie can be a little sassy mouthed.  

So Springle has a big letter to bring home tonight.  I hope he has been lifting some weights on the off season. 

BTW - I know the Elf on the Shelf is all the rage now but you are not going to see a bunch of posts about where our elf wound up this morning.  We had this elf before having an elf was the cool thing to do.  I ordered him from a catalog back in 2007 when that was the only place you could get them.  I thought the premise was so cute and anything to help my little children behave a little better during the busy holiday season was a plus.  Our elf simply hides and now does a little pen paling. :)   He is not mischievous or naughty.  I just don't see the point of that - I am sure the kids think its funny, but the point is that the elf is watching your kids behavior - why does he get to be naughty and play tricks if they don't?  I am not trying to stand up here on my pedestal and tell you your wrong if you do that - if you want to come up with elaborate schemes for your elf every night - by all means do so.  I just choose to take that pressure off of myself during this busy season. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two weeks later...

Go ahead and read the title like the voice over on Spongebob Squarepants.   The fact that I haven't posted anything in two weeks gives a major clue to what has been going on in our lives - nothing, yet complete craziness.  No major happenings just the normal frenzy of our everyday existence.  Throw into that mix the fact that I am hosting a small Thanksgiving gathering next week, I am completely stressed about how to take care of the mountains of leaves in our back yard and the days before Christmas are ticking away without me managing to get much accomplished.  

Last night the kids went back to the library for "dog read".  Since they were scheduled right after each other I figured we would use their down time to work on their homework.  It was pretty funny as they were both walking in with their back packs on their backs and Evan asked me "Are you allowed to bring back packs in the library?".  

I didn't get any pictures of Evan reading this time.  He was in a different area of the library reading to a dog named Ginger who was wearing a little dog dress.   It was pretty ironic that he got that dog and Hailey was assigned to read to Corey who was a giant German Shepard that was taller than she was.

I tried to peek in on her reading, but she was reading really quietly.  She told me afterward that she was a little shy but she still liked to do it. 

One more thing of note around here is how great Evan and Hailey have been getting along with each other.  We are truly in a season of peace with these two and their relationship.  I pray it continues.  I made a comment the other day about how much I loved seeing them play well together and that it was great how they were becoming best friends.  I expected that statement to be met with icks and gagging sounds, but they both just nodded.   Evan told me the other morning that he was saving up his money so that he could buy Hailey an Indian outfit for her American Girl doll.  How sweet is he?  I told him that they were very expensive and suggested that maybe he could help me sew her one.  He liked that idea too, but was not sure it would be fancy enough.  The one he has his eye on is full of beads and other embellishments. 

So for now we keep plugging away.  Getting things accomplished little by little.  I'm off to rake some leaves.  See you in two weeks....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A dog in the library

We love the library.  There is always a stack of books on the counter either waiting to be read or ready to be returned.  The ironic thing is when Trent and I lived in our apartment, we were about a block and a half from the library and we never used it.   I cringe at the amount of money we spent on hard cover books that had just been released because we didn't want to wait for them to make an appearance on the old shelves. 

I don't mind buying books.  Not if it is a book that you love and will read again and again, but to pay over ten dollars for the latest paperback novel and then have it take up space in your home only to maybe get a dollar for it at a yard sale a year later just seems so silly to us now.    Even with Spencer's Kindle, there is less clutter, but it still costs to purchase the books.  We utilize the library as much as we can.

The library also has a lot of events that as a childless couple living in an apartment I could see how we would not be the least bit interested.  But now, with three kids, any kind of free, educational experience is right up our alley.   Right before the school year started, Trent came home from a trip to the library with a flyer for all their upcoming events.   One of the events that stood out as something the kids would like was called "Bow Wow Readers" where kids could come to the library and read to dogs.  

I mentioned it in passing to Evan and Hailey and they were all about it.  Trent called to try to get them in that week, but they were filled for months.   The kids were bummed.   They really wanted to do the "dog read" as they called it and six weeks away seemed like forever. 

Finally, last night, the night of the "dog read" arrived.  The kids gobbled up their dinner in anticipation of getting to the library early.  They only had a spot for Evan to read, but Hailey was an alternate if someone didn't show up.  

Evan waiting for his turn to read.   Finally it was his turn.  He picked out some books about dogs because he thought Bailey the dog would like those the best.

Seriously, how cute is that? LOVE!

He loved his "dog read" experience and can't wait to go back in two weeks.  Hailey and Evan are both signed up for next time.  The librarian asked me if she could take some photos of Evan reading and use them on the Facebook page.  Luckily my kids are pretty used to being in front on the camera!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Picture heavy Halloween post...

I figure I better post these now and just do them altogether or heaven knows when I will ever get around to it.  We carved our pumpkins a few days before Halloween.  All three kids still love to do it.  I know these years are fleeting - so we do up the holiday festivities while these kiddos of ours are still into it.  

Hailey wanted hers to look like a kitty and Mommy helped her with it.

Spencer carved his all on his own and then quickly turned our pumpkin carving party into a dance party with "What does the fox say?" on repeat.

The kids pose with their spooky jack o' lanterns.

I love how when the kids saw me snapping pictures they immediately grabbed their itouchs to do the same.  Hailey, never wanting to be left out, quickly rounded up her Barbie camera.  Oh these times they are a changin'. 

The best part of Halloween hands down?  The costumes!  I came up with the idea for Spencer's (after many other GREAT ideas that he didn't want to do - maybe next year....).  He is carrying on the family Clark Kent/Superman tradition.  I wish I wasn't so lazy.  I would go dig out the pictures of Trent dressed as Clark Kent and the ones of Spencer's first Halloween as Superman.  Maybe I will be inspired later this weekend.

He fit the look to a T.  Trent found him a sold blue hat after these pictures were taken that looked even better.

The always creative Evan scoured Pinterest and told me that he wanted to be a Pharaoh.  My sewing is beginner at best so I knew it would be a big undertaking.  Since he chose what he wanted to be so early on, I was able to find a Pharaoh costume on eBay that was quite cheap - the only issue being it was a size six.  Figuring he is small and I could do some tweaking, I got it and tweak I did.  My big score was to find those gold lame pants at the thrift store.  They totally made the outfit.  We made the golden staff - that was his favorite part.

Oh Hailey!  How much do I love her bike chic costume?  She was owning it too!  Her current favorite movie is Teen Beach Movie which is sort of a West Side Story knock off of bikers versus surfers.  When I dug her brother's old Harley jacket out of the closet her dreams of being a biker were made a reality. 

She looks about seventeen in these photos.  Speaking of photos, I am once again so glad I did the pre-Halloween costume try on photo shoots.  Yesterday was miserable - any pictures I took were horrendous.

Ready to trick or treat in the pouring rain!  At least it was fairly warm and not too windy.

It was a fun night and Halloween season.  Evan commented to me last night that it seems like waiting for Halloween to get there took so long and then it was the night and then it was all over like a blink.  I told him that is why we have to enjoy all the time up until Halloween.  The actual day is fun, but it is only one part of it - that is why we have to do our best to enjoy everyday.  In reality it all goes by in a blink - I didn't tell him that because most likely he wouldn't believe me.  That is just something that as you get older and time seems to go by faster and faster, you have to learn for yourself.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

That face

Spencer with a big smile after his first audition.  He should be smiling.  We woke up today to find out he got a call back for a lead role.  Our boy killed it!  I am trying not to get my hopes up because there are still three others in the running for his part, but it is hard not to.  I know he can do it, he just has to believe in himself enough.  I am bursting with pride for him - even for having the guts to try out in the first place.  Break a leg Gooey!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Normal weekend

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want, more than all the world, your return." - Mary Jean Irion.

I love that saying.   It represents my happy place - just being home with my people with not much going on.   Puttering and playing around the house.  It may seem boring to some, but it is so much better, at least to me than the alternative.   There is nothing wrong with being active, but when we are running crazy and over scheduled - it addles my brain.  Normal  - our normal - is what life is about.

Spencer started back up again with his acting classes.  Hailey and I dropped him off downtown at the theatre.  She asked me to take her picture with the Buster Keaton statue who was dressed in a pink scarf.

While we waited for him to finish his class, we ran to Meijer to mail a package and grab a few things.  Hailey quickly pointed out a pillow that she thought was the bomb dot com.

It was a sunny, but chilly day.  The kids decided to go outside and ride their bikes up and down the street.  Evan always dresses for the weather.

I spent most of the day on Saturday rearranging the furniture in Evan's room.  We also switched his captains bed with the bed frame that matches his furniture set ( Daddy's when he was growing up).  Evan was not thrilled about selling his old bed so we set it up in the basement in the playroom.  Once we get a mattress for it, it will be an awesome daybed.   Of course about a half a billion toys have to be forcibly removed from that room.   Another job on my growing list of things to do. 

No judging, but it is almost a week later and the room pretty much still looks like this.  I haven't gathered up the gumption to go through all his junk.  There is just so much of it.  This middle boy of mine is a collector.

Hailey woke up on Sunday morning with a pretty substantial cough.   She explained to us that since she was sick she was going to have to have breakfast in bed.

We were not really buying the bed ridden sick act, but acquiesced her request none the less.   Spencer spent most of the day on Sunday redoing one of his homework assignments.   I swear the kids' homework this year is going to be my downfall.   They all seem to have quite a bit and to get them to do it takes a lot of convincing and work on my part.  I basically have to sit with them individually and work with them.  All of this happens right around the time I should be making dinner as well - so I am learning to be quite a multitasker.

I don't know how I could ever work a job out of this house and then come home to all the work the evening brings.  After school is when I go to work - its the hardest job of my life no question.

So that was our weekend,  never mind that in another day we will start a new one.  There are a million things I could be doing around here besides posting this, but the other day showed me once again why I do it.  Spencer and I were trying to remember what he was for Halloween three years ago and since I probably have a million pictures somewhere is a photo box but not easily accessible, I told him I would see if it was on the blog.   The two of us sat and looked through old posts and were laughing so hard that we were crying about funny things they used to say.   Almost all of them I never would have remembered if I hadn't written them on here.   Just one more day that I am thankful to have this little piece of the internet.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cozy and crafty

I ran outside dodging raindrops to empty the vacuum canister (Yay! I actually vacuumed the whole main floor) and was immediately hit by the cool air and the smell of someones fireplace.   It was like an instant transport to one of my happy places.  In that instant I was completely OK with the change of seasons and ready to embrace the fall with a gusto. 

Which is good, because there is nothing but drizzly rain and cool temperatures on the horizon for as far as the weatherman can see.  It has me ready to hunker down and get my craft on.  I have been working on the kids' Halloween costumes since Hailey has already had an occasion to wear hers and they all will don their festive attire for the Cub Scout Halloween bash tonight.  I didn't have to make anything from scratch.  Just some resizing and tweaking on Evan's costume and fashioning some brother jeans into skinnies for Miss Wee.  I think they are going to be awesome, but you are going to have to wait a few weeks for that reveal. 

I also got "pinspired" yesterday and decked out our front door.  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  Don't mind the front door that is in desperate need of a repaint.  Just gaze at the awesomeness that is my Halloween wreath.  The idea came from someone on Pinterest - I am not claiming it as my own.  As did the idea for the spiders.  Or SPEE-EYE-DOORS - as the kids like to say thanks to Megamind. 

So today I am planning to hunker down on the couch with some DVR'd programs to catch up on and work on Hailey's Christmas stocking.  It has only been four years or so that I have been working on it.  And maybe I will push the button for my own fire - unfortunately it won't smell as amazing as the real thing.