Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Musings

Well hello Monday!  I love you so.  Today is a bright, spring-like day here in Dairyland.  I intend to go outside and get a bit dirty in the flower beds since there is much I neglected last fall.

Lets see.  We had a very busy weekend.  It started in mid-afternoon on Friday when daughter #2 had a school friend come stay.  That isn't newsworthy in itself.  It was the fact that little 6-year old brother came along because he likes son #1.  "Dad" dropped them off with cups of Starbucks (I'm not kidding).  It honestly all went very well.  When he picked them up Saturday noon he admitted it was the first time 6-year old had slept away from home.  Oh wow.  He did soften the blow by saying, 'we knew it would be good because we know you are a safe family'.  Oh really?  Well... thanks!

Then we turned around twice and this little fella and his parents came to visit for the rest of the weekend.
Lisi being her sweet, gentle self waiting for him to hand over the ball.
Baby love
I saw this recently.  The MYP make tremendous fun of me with texting because I type too much.  Maybe this will help.
Tough tiger Tom would probably be embarrassed by me posting such a picture.  He crawls up on my lap while I'm reading after a big night of hunting outside.  However, maybe it is I that should be embarrassed to post a picture of purple-striped pajama bottoms on a red-striped chair with a dog paw just below.  
Tomorrow is April Fool's Day.  I have a hunch some weird things will be happening in our house.  When you have MYP, it is a splendid day to prank a sibling...

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Words

Approximately 10 or 11 years ago, I was in the throes of parenting toddlers and a baby.  I mentioned to someone ahead of me in this parenting gig that I was just.  plain.  exhausted.  I was looking for sympathy and encouragement since her children were young teens and could care for their own basic needs.  But sympathy I did not get.  Her response, 'you may be physically exhausted now, but as they get older, you will be mentally exhausted'.  I kinda scoffed inside.

Fast forward to today.  We have two teens and a wanna-be teen.  They can tie their shoes and feed themselves and get up with their own alarm clocks.  I love these growing MYP more than I did when they were chubby toddlers.  But I think about them more.

What do I mean by that?  Yes, I think about them more.  I think of their lives and futures and struggles in life.  In the next five and more years, there will be life-long choices that will be made.  First jobs.  Learning to drive.  Choosing post-high school options.  It almost boggles my mind.  Yes, I think about them and their choices more.

Now it is my turn to look at new parents.  I share in the thrill of new babies and milestones the little ones are making.  But now I see it all through the jaded eyes of a parent with MYP.  Those precious little souls will be growing and changing by the day and soon they will be MYP with their own ideas and dreams and values.

But I want to let you in on a little secret.  I love parenting teens.  I love conversations with them.  I love having one of them clamour to come along with me on a walk so they can have 'alone time' with mom.  I love watching them participate in sports.  I love seeing growth - both physically and emotionally.  I love the way they try to throw an insult my way but feel the love behind it.  I love having a teenage son come home from school and literally body-slam me across the floor to a corner and tell me that's how football players tackle.  I love the slight eye-roll when I come out of the bedroom with what I feel an acceptable thing to wear and get marched back to my room to make another choice.

Yesterday I was mindlessly thumbing through a catalog that came in the mail.  I said, 'wow, that's cute!  Do you think I would look good in this?'  The response?  "Yes!... well actually no.  It would look a lot better on someone like Sarah (a relative) who is younger.  That just looks too cheerful for you."

It looks too cheerful for me?  Seriously?  Apparently mothers don't come across as real cheerful.

To keep an even playing field, I've had my fun too.  Yesterday, I sent some day-old egg salad to school in a lunch bag.  Apparently the smell of onions and eggs after a day comes across as bad gas.  Who knew?  They better be careful because I have some two-day old chili in the fridge and that could make for a very interesting afternoon if you get my drift...

So if your children are wee little babes in arms, or are toddlers crawling up on your lap asking for one more reading of 'Goodnight Moon', enjoy it.  And if your children are MYP, enjoy it.  They are simply bigger versions of what they were before - except they have opinions and ideas and dreams.  But the common factor between the young and the teens is exactly the same.  They want to feel safe and loved and heard - just the size and packaging are a bit different.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Musings

I'm officially sick.  I did manage to avoid the flu all winter (no shots here!), but have finally succombed to sickness.  It isn't all that bad.  I think it is called spring fever.  The forecast looks promising for my fever to break.  Or my spirit...

I had a slight panic last night before bed.  I realized it was to be Monday today and I feel I have little to muse.  There's a lot of pressure to be interesting, amusing, and encouraging when sometimes life is mundane, blase, and even bleh.  Oh well, maybe next week...

Here's the results of my new enterprise.  The Chef has now moved into the business of hardwood floor restoration.  Or not.  I just hope the finish stays on a bit longer than six weeks so I don't have to do it again.

Here's the result of a battle over a bed:
You can see who won the latest round.

It's mad around here this March!  You see I'm not into basketball in the least.  But I have some relatives who enjoy it quite muchly.  An offer to participate in a bracket.  I'm guaranteed to be close to last place.  But oh well.  At least I didn't pick my teams based on pretty jerseys like someone I know.

The latest on the war on eczema is as follows.  I'm now currently using comfrey ointment on it.  And it seems to be doing the trick!  In the past 18 hours I have not had any desire to bite off my thumb so I consider it a success. 

Congrats and welcome to baby Greyson to our extended family!  Too bad he lives 1,700 miles away!

Well time to lace up my bootstraps and get the pine balsam window box filler pulled out.  Maybe if I do that the daffodils will start popping out.  One can only hope...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Killin' Time

No, I'm not Clint Black.  But many of you probably don't know who Clint Black is so never you mind.  I'm killin' time.  Because I'm in the smack-dab-middle of putting on a 'refresher' on our hardwood floors.  That means moving every blasted piece of furniture off the wood.  That means vacuuming and cleaning the wood thoroughly.  That means actually spreading the 'refresher' down with an applicator pad.  That means seeing odd spots that I missed.  And then it means that all the stuff we moved into the living room and the rugs that are on the porch needs to be put back tomorrow.  It also means hearing the dog whimper by the front door wondering why she isn't inside.

After her highly unfair morning,
We went shopping together.  To kill time. 
She's a typical woman and loves to go shopping.  However, I'm not a typical woman and I can't say it is all that pleasurable.  However, it was slightly pleasurable when she went bounding up to the windows of adoptable cats and made them get black-eyed and arch their backs.

I was just at the DMV this week.  Don't confuse the DMV with the DMZ.  That is in N/S Korea.  I only went to the local county office to renew my license.  I dread it because you always hear the stories of long lines and crabby people.  My line was short and the lady was so pleasant that I visited with her for at least five minutes after I was finished with business.  Too bad I can't see her for another eight years.

Something I overheard at the recent school volleyball match.  "Have you been to Bubba's to have their "Wisconsin burger"?  The other person said, "no, what's on it?".  "Cheese and more cheese!  What's not to love?  There's a 1/3 burger with bacon and monterey jack and American cheese and ranch dressing and then they put on cheese curds right in your burger!"  Only in Wisconsin...

So we have a day and a half of just girls here (unless you count the cat, but he's been fixed so nevermind.)  I've asked them to each tell me one thing they want to do and hopefully it isn't an overnight trip to Paris so it is doable.  

And to celebrate the peeling off of long johns, I just ate one a bit ago.  Swimsuit season is a couple months away.  Heh heh.  Happy weekend!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Up and at 'em!

The alarm goes off.  The Chairman gently nudges me to turn it off.  Ugh.  Six o'clock came early today.  I turn it off.  Wow, the house is sure quiet and the furnace hasn't kicked in.  I put on my fuzzy purple bathrobe (that you've all seen) REI slippers and shuffle out to the hall.  I check the programmable thermostat.  What?  The time is off.  Weird.  I punch a few buttons to correct the time and get the furnace firing up.  

Lisi comes walking toward me with glee.  Breakfast time!  One of her two favorite times of the day!  I go feed her.  Then realize it is too quiet upstairs.  I run up the stairs and knock on daughter #1's door.  "GET UP!  You must not have set your alarm!"

I go back to the kitchen and start making her lunch.  "Mom?  Why did you wake me up at 5:15?"  What?  I whirl around and look at the microwave.  It says 5:15.  I look at the oven.  It says 5:15.  What in the... oh good grief.  My alarm clock time must have gotten changed somehow when I set it.  

 I suddenly feel reeeeally tired.  I wander to the living room and plop down on the sofa for a quick nap.  It doesn't come because I'm worried that daughter #1's alarm won't go off and she'll miss the bus and it will be one hot mess of a start to a Tuesday.

It seems kind of interesting to me how I was so convinced the programmable thermostat was wrong and it never even occurred to me that maybe the problem was me and not the thermostat.  I also find it interesting that even though it was an hour earlier, Lisi reacted exactly the same.  It's breakfast time no matter the hour! 

Please don't call me this afternoon.  I have a hunch a nap might be in my plans.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Musings

Post #1030.  How to make a muse a riveting one.  Not sure yet on that.

However, there is something riveting.  A new house being built across the street has been fascinating to watch.  I've felt like Mrs. Kravitz.  Remember her?  I'd watch the show while at the neighbors when my parents thought I was outside getting fresh air and playing "kick the can".  Well we did play "kick the can".  But we did watch 'Betwitched' sometimes too.  Mrs.  Kravitz.  The nosy neighbor.  That's me.  Minus the fancy tie around the neck.
I'm not Irish.  Today is a big deal if you are.  I'm not even wearing green.  However I just got a text from our very non-Irish daughter saying we have to celebrate St. Patty's Day by getting a Shamrock Shake.  

Yesterday we got an extra-special privilege.  It was just what I needed on so many levels.  Ours comes in a few weeks.  And it will be just what I need on so many levels.  

I love cooking but once again am burned out on ideas for meals.  I did make a new tilapia recipe on Friday that I tweaked a bit.  It got high reviews from the Chairman and company (not company-company, just the company here silly).  I also made these recently that were a hit for lunch boxes and at the ski hill.

No-Bake Energy Bites



Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.  Makes 20 balls.

Any tips on removing eczema from your skin?  I've tried three otc creams.  I've tried Vaseline.  Soaking.  Not soaking.  Heat.  Cold.  You name it.  And it itches and itches and itches something fierce.  I'll take any and all advice because I'm about ready to bite off my thumb.  I would go to the doctor but it is out of pocket and it seems like such a small and incredibly itchy dilemma.

I've enjoyed still thinking about what was shared yesterday.  We each have our own garden.  But we need to be careful what we plant in another's garden.  Is it seeds of negativity or discouragement or doubts?  We can sow pretty things.  Things that feed.  Things that are pretty.  Things that have good fragrance.  

One quote I saw today:  After you think you have finished writing something good, delete most of it.  Well sorry to say, I don't think I finished writing anything 'good'.  And I didn't delete any of it.  So read at your own risk...  Happy Monday!  Rumor has it the robins are just south of here!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Theatrical Thursday Thoughts

Why theatrical the reader asks?  Because I'm not there!  I purchased tickets for the girls and myself to go see the high school's latest music/theater production.  Well the Chairman said he was very interested in going.  And son #1 has volleyball practice.  So I stayed home and the Chairman left on a father/daughter(s) date!  I'm honestly enjoying the p&q here.  Except for the occasional snoring sound emitting from Lisi's bed.

This is how the seasons go in Dairyland...

When the cat's away, the mice will play.  When the cat comes back, the mice go 'gack'.  So glad grass is being exposed and Tiger Tom has the itch to kill back again.
sleep by day, hunt by night...
I started reading the latest 'Real Simple' magazine.  There was an article in there written by a lady who was describing her experience with their premature son.  The parallels were stunning to our experience.  Same birth weight.  Same challenges.  Same length of life.  Same goodbyes.  Same utter grief.  I read it out loud to the Chairman and cried through a lot of it.  I was so glad she could put to words what was and sometimes is in the heart.

I am so very uncool.  I posted a TBT (throw back Thursday) picture on FB this morning.  Apparently I did something grievous and I still don't know what it was, but apparently "moms" aren't supposed to do TBT - especially that of a mom in a farm scene with a puppy.  There was eye-rolling and guffaws and what-not.  Lincoln was a balm to our lives at just the right time.  So here it is.  And apologies to the MYP that think I'm so uncool.  

Stealing something from FB.  Kinda sums up life with teens.   

Love me when it’s hardest to do, like me when I don’t like you
Give me, but with restraint. Never let me say “I can’t”
Support me no matter what, but recognize when it’s my fault
Accept me whenever I dare, & always show me that you care.
Guide me (without a fight), hug me every time I’m right.
Warn me when you think I’m wrong, and help me always to be strong.
Understand when I’m difficult, or hostile, angry, rude, abrupt.
If you can do this when I’m thirteen, you’ll be proud when I’m eighteen.
It’s hard to be the kid in between- if you’ll remember, you’ll know what I mean.
So help me through this trying time, and one day soon, I promise, I’ll shine.

Yes the MYP are now in or hitting the teens, they are just bigger versions of who they used to be.  Bigger versions with (sometimes) hilarious mood swings and ideas, but deep down they are still tender-hearted and we love to be with them.   I know this is true or the Chairman wouldn't have rushed home to have time with his girls tonight.  While I sit alone... listening to a dog snore...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Musings

I was just ready to rush to the laundry room to attack the big pile of clothes that need to be cleaned and then head out the door to replenish our pantry and fridge, but you all come first. Isn't that nice of me?

Remember the story about Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?  I felt like that last week.  It just seemed like every time we turned around something else was having an issue.  Want to hear it?  You don't?  Oh well.  Here goes:  our outside post light suddenly quit working.  The cord in the living room blinds just broke as the Chairman was trying to let in sunshine.  Son #1's nose pad just busted off his glasses.  The oven is still funky and shows 950 degrees for 350 and other strange things and I fear it is trying to tell me something.  And last and certainly not least, the basement still has a serious leak on the finished side due to a crack in the foundation.  Big, fat, heavy sigh.

However, many of the issues were remedied through time or $$.  And thankfully, the leak is slowing down.  And since we have our health and home and happiness, the rest doesn't matter in the long run.

I saw some stats this week that gave me pause.  Did you know I have played 475 games of Words with Friends?  I am almost ashamed to admit it.  My slightly older sister and I can almost get through a game/day.  Doesn't take long and for some reason, it still is fun.  Especially when I beat her since she always got better grades in school than I did.

We had an extra friend here all weekend.  It worked out swell and we all could ski in the springtime warmth.  However a double-night sleepover mixed with the spring-ahead time change wasn't the best thing this morning.  I had to rouse her to eat breakfast and lets just say I woke up Miss Crabby-whole-outfit, not just Crabbypants.
However, this was me on Saturday night getting prepped for the time change.  It was apparently daughter #1's duty to record my sleepiness.  And yes, I'm very fashionable in my Crocs and socks...
We had a little excitement in our g.m. yesterday.  We've been anxiously awaiting to hear the arrival of a new babe in our field.  I almost felt sorry for the mother when I saw her sitting there in her chair before the mtg.  However, once we opened our eyes after prayer, mom was gone!  Soon dad left and came back for keys.  Exciting stuff.  Our worker commented to me walking out that he feels it is best that people are born again, not just born in g.m.  I should say so!  And yes, baby made it safely and he appears to be very, very cute.
Well this is enough and the day flies by and I need something to show for it.  Besides blogging...  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tempting Tuesday

No, it isn't tempting to go outside.  I must confess I just took a little nap and I'm 'supposed' to go outside and walk according to our dog.  I'm ready in body but not in mind.  So I'll blog in my procrastination.

I need to confess a few things.  One is that the Chairman has been sporting a goatee for a few months now. How long I don't honestly remember.  The other day we chatted over breakfast.  After a few minutes he finally said, 'don't you notice?'  Notice what I'm thinking.  Clothing choice?  What he's eating?  Hmmm.  He says, 'my face!  Didn't you notice?'  I look.  It's still the same one I married.  OH!  No goatee!  I'm very observant like that.

Last night I was the carpool mom on duty.  Son #1 and I jump in the van and head off to start picking up boys.  We were discussing apartments and roommates and past days and I suddenly was lost in thought telling a story about the underground garage place I had lived at once.  You could wash your car in the winter in relative warmth and convenience   Suddenly I was a few houses past the house I was supposed to stop at.  I screeched to a halt.  I asked son #1, 'didn't you realize we missed Mason's house?'.  Um no he said sheepishly.  (My stories must be very riveting).  We get back to Mason's and I just ask if he saw us drive by (hoping he didn't see us).  "Yes, I thought that was kind of weird."  Yes, we are too Mason.  We are too.

This weekend in all the busy-ness, I wasn't paying attention to something.  Lisi headed straight for her water bowl Sunday morning and drank like a camel (not that I've seen camels drink).  She drank almost a half-gallon of water and then went outside for her breakfast.  I started to dig in her bin and she starts to wander off.  Very strange for a golden who would sell her body (since there's no soul) for a morsel of meat.  I'm thinking she's sick.  Until we get home later on Sunday and notice the half-empty bag of extra food had been tipped and almost entirely eaten at some point over the weekend.  Buuuuurp!

Speaking of bags and eating to the point of gluttony...  do not open a bag of Ruffles ridges potato chips.  Promise me you won't.  I saw them in the cupboard.  I ate and read the paper and ate some more and didn't eat a half-bag like Lisi, but it was close and I'm so terribly ashamed.  I was remembering a catchy commercial about 'Ruffles are ridges above the rest!!!' and discovered it was from 1983.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Buuuuurp!

Ok.  Confession is over.  I feel relieved and like my burden is lifted.  So maybe I'll head out into the deep freeze to walk a bit.  Happy Tuesday!  Hope your Ruffles aren't tempting because if they are, they could lead to ridges...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Musings

Two younger couples both wanting to be parents.  Two younger couples with empty arms.  Neither knows the others struggles but someone else does and assigns us to the same bread duty at convention.  A friendship develops as we refill bread trays.  A common bond because of a common desire.

Two babies are born six days apart.  One in Russia.  One in China.  Both are orphans for unknown reasons, yet desperately wanted by these couples.  We didn't know yet they were ours.  But we were praying for them already.

We get our referral on February 1st.  One month later our friends come to visit.  Why?  Because they wanted to look at our daughter's picture.  They wanted to share in the joys and the anguish of waiting.  Because they were waiting too.

We travel to China and return with our daughter.  Calls are made back and forth sharing and caring.

Our friends are in Russia and return with their new son who just turned a year old.  In the meantime, we are blessed with another addition that will soon officially become our 2nd child.  We meet them as soon as they get into our city and we share in an evening together we won't ever forget.
this picture always makes my heart smile

and so does this one
Since our last visit another baby girl has been added to both families.  One by adoption.  One by birth. My friend can tell I'm overwhelmed after my mom returns home.  She offers to come for a day.  She brings food and encouragement.  Our toddlers share lunch on the deck.  
Meanwhile I'm inside feeling overwhelmed and encouraged.  
Over the past years we have spent time with this couple at convention, at their home, at our home, and camping.  

This past weekend, our friends came to visit us.  With some people, it sometimes takes a bit of effort and time to get back in the groove of common ground.  With this couple, it seems you immediately jump back into where you just left off sharing about life.  Our MYP are nearly exactly the same ages.  We are going through the trenches and joys of parenting at the same pace.  We are desiring the very same things out of these young lives.  That they are and will be nice people.  

We had MMYP (many, many young people) over yesterday.  The ages are 14, 14, 14, 14, 13, 13, 12, 12, 11, and 9.  I may be biased, but aren't they lovely?
I never had a cousin.  In some ways, I wonder if the feelings I have for our friends are like that of a cousin.  I'll never know.  But one thing I do know.  I'm extremely thankful to be sharing in life with others that have gone through the exact same struggles and joys.  I love to think of the future and watching these MYP find their wings while we sip coffee and reminisce about the 'good old days'.   Because they have been very good so far.