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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I'm sure the very title of this post sends my family in a panic. Not to worry, I am not going to divulge any of our family's secrets. Every family has them, right? I remember when I was little, I had to do a family tree assignment. I wanted to interview my Nana but she said to interview my dad's side because there was "bad blood" on her side. Little pieces of a story has been told throughout the years. It is not my story to tell so I'll only say that there was mention of a well known mobster being smitten with my Nana's mother. I love to listen to stories from my parents and my grandpa about when they grew up. They are either really good at hiding them or there really aren't any family secrets for them to tell.

Since I have this blog, you wouldn't think I have any secrets but I do. Let me explain. You all know, because you read this, that my boys battle Cystic Fibrosis (hate, hate, hate) but when I just meet someone, they don't know. I'm pretty sure that only 3 or 4 families on Tommy's baseball team know. Not everyone on Nico's baseball, basketball or football team know. People we meet for the first time may or may not know depending on if the person that introduced us to them told them. If someone asks me or it comes up, I don't deny it but I don't offer it up either. Is it a secret? Yes, because I want to hold onto them not knowing for as long as I can. I WANT it to stay hidden. Some wear what they battle as a badge of honor and that is great. It works for them. We've just never been that way. They don't want to be known for it. THEY want it to stay hidden. If we had to explain to every person we met that the boys live with a chronic condition, we'd walk around in a constant state of fear because just talking about it brings that up.

Sometimes Rocco feels like a secret. People ask me how many kids I have and I answer four. It would be too complicated to explain Rocco to people which lends itself to horrible guilt for not always acknowledging him. I can talk about him without falling to pieces but to tell his story brings me back to a dark place.

Some secrets are just for me. sneaking in a shirt to buy at Target with the groceries a secret? Is not telling him I got a sitter so I could have some free time at Barnes and Noble a secret? Secrets that are just for me aren't as heavy as the ones I keep for my family.

The amount of energy it takes to keep a secret is exhausting. I sometimes wonder if that is why I am tired all the time. It takes a lot of effort to keep the secret hidden. It's not just the actual disease. It's embarrassing side effects from the many meds they take. I want to stress that I am not in denial. For the most part, I live with a dark cloud over my head that swoops in with reminders all the time. But the times I choose to keep it a secret, it moves the cloud away temporarily and I can pretend that we are just like everyone else. I can pretend that CF isn't a part of our lives. Again, if it comes up, I will tell the truth. I won't hide it anymore because that would be wrong. To lie about it would be wrong.

The people that know the secret...what do they think? Do they judge? Do they tell everyone they know? "Oh, you know them? They are the ones whose two boys have CF." Do they feel sorry for us?? That thought makes me sad because we are so much more than that. The boys are so much more. A few years ago, we had a big party to raise money and collect gifts for our big fundraiser. Friends of ours threw the party and the support from the community was OFF THE CHARTS. It was very touching to see so many people care enough to come and donate. At one point, though...I had the thought of "Everyone is going to know. Everyone knows now." I wish I could be one of those people that when the truth comes out, it's liberating but it was more terrifying. The reason is simple: I do NOT want people to see the disease before seeing my sons for who they are. I want people to get to know them before they find out what they battle and then be shocked at their strength and ability to overcome anything.

There is a trust factor in people knowing your secret. It is simply know it, support me or my kids and keep the secret. It's not yours to tell. What's the old adage? Once you tell a secret, it's not a secret anymore. I hope that isn't true because there are several people that know a lot of mine and I trust they are in their vault. Revealing a secret is a relationship changer. I once told someone that meant the world to me something that I didn't want anyone else to know and she told people. We were never the same after that.

Is living with CF our only secret? Nope. Will I tell any of our other secrets? Not today. I'll go on being mentally tired from keeping them. I'll go on praying that no one finds out. Are they that big? Not really and some might even say, "What's the big deal?" That's the thing about secrets...when they are yours, they are a big deal otherwise you wouldn't spend so much time keeping them.

So I told you one of mine, who's brave enough to tell me one of theirs?

Linking up with Shell again:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Five Things I am Proud of

I wasn't planning on posting today. I was going to try and do an "every other day" kind of posting schedule but I saw Nicole's link up at Moments that Define Life and had to join in. I've been a bit of a "Debbie Downer" lately and want to turn things around. I agree that it's not in my nature to talk about things I am proud of because I think pride can sometimes be ugly but you know what? It's a link and I don't do it very often so I am going to do it today.

1. That all four of my children are healthy. I am proud of the fact that it takes a lot to keep them all healthy but they are for the moment so I will relish in that for today. Plus, they don't embarrass me too much in public.

2. My marriage. For all the times I get on him for doing more, I try equal it with telling him that I am still madly in love with him. I am proud of the fact that marriage is hard but we make it work.

3. This blog. I stepped waaaay out of my comfort zone and putting it all out there for people to read is scary but the rewards have been worth it. I might not be making money yet but "do what you love and the money will follow" is my life's motto. Or life's motto is "Have kids? Embrace the craziness." No, wait, it's "what you see is what you get." Anyway, it's one of them. I am proud of the fact that I love to write and I am writing.

4. Painting murals. Besides giving birth to my children, these murals are my pride and joy. I still can't believe I did them. I am in the process of doing one in Gia's room right now. It's the one here that isn't finished. I love getting lost in painting but have zero talent in the drawing or painting freehand. I am more of a paint by numbers kinda gal. Though I shouldn't say zero talent since I taught myself shading and I can draw a mean leaf. I, in no way used these images for profit. They were only used on my walls for my children's enjoyment.
Tommy's that is no longer since he was booted from his room. Our high school is the Falcons.
I did this when Belle was 4 and bless her heart, she doesn't want to paint over it though she is way past this stage.
I saw this picture and the little girl looked just like Gia and was a ballerina, which is what her room is done in.

5. Being a teacher. I know I am not actively teaching classes anymore but every once in awhile, the teacher in me creeps out. I loved telling people that I was a teacher. It meant something. It meant that I was making a difference in kids' lives and that I was reaching them and helping them and I got recognized and paid for doing it. I LOVED my job and I miss it all the time. I know that I still teach but in a different way and that is okay for now. Maybe I'll go back someday, maybe not but it still makes me proud to say I once was.

So what about you? What are five things you are proud of? Leave me them in the comments if you aren't a blogger or a blogger that just wants to write them here or head over to Nicole's place to link up there.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Baseball Part 2

I forgot to add a few things on yesterday's post: Why I Dislike Baseball. Still things that I don't like:

1. The thing that everyone that sits in one of those fold up chairs experiences but never talks about is when it is over 70 degrees, you get "swamp ass" from sitting in those chairs. I dislike "swamp ass" very much. It's not lady-like and the fear is that it really will look like I wet my pants.

2. The ten pounds I gain each season because I don't have it together enough to have dinner ready before a game (or they don't want to eat anything heavy before a game so if we ever want to eat together, we eat after) so we go out to eat a lot.

3. Late nights and early mornings (at one time I didn't mind this but with a toddler, it's rough).

4. Washing uniforms. I'd LOVE to know who the brainiac was that thought white uniforms was a good idea.

The things I love so that I am not just Negative Nelly:

1. The look on my boys' faces when they get on base, score a run, hit a home run, strike someone out, catch a fly ball or throw someone out at 2nd, 3rd or Home base. That smile is priceless.

2. Getting a tan without trying.

3. Not feeling guilty for not taking Gia outside knowing she will spend a few hours at the park or field.

4. Not having to cook.

5. Adult conversation three times a week at the very least.

6. Help from Belle and her girlfriends with Gia so I can get a little break.

7. Seeing the boys in a baseball uniform. Something about it screams, "All American!"

8. No sleepovers the night before a game and with 70 or 80 games between the two of them, this saves me a lot. LOVE having a reason besides "I'm mean" for no sleepovers.

9. Hearing my husband ask my dad for advice, watching my dad teach the boys, watching Nico teach Tommy. I LOVE to see the interaction between all the men I love.

10. Getting to see and talk to my dad. I love hearing his stories about when he coached and I love getting his advice on various things. It's one of my very favorite things about going to the games.

I might have used this video before but I love this song. It's one of the greatest games out there and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it.

If you are looking for me, I'll be at four games today. Lucky me! A friend of mine posted this quote after yesterday's post and I love it so much, I am going to use it here. (Thanks, Dave!)

A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. - Earl Wilson

How will you be spending this Memorial Day?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why I Dislike Baseball

I know this is not very American-like but I have really grown to dislike baseball. It probably started when I was younger and shows I wanted to watch were cut short by my dad wanting to watch baseball games. I dated a baseball player in high school and many dates were watching him play or watching baseball on TV. My prom weekend was even cut short because he had a double header. Being the loyal girlfriend that I was, I spent the day, not at Great America (or the place the rest of the seniors were) with everyone else, but in the stands watching him. College was mostly baseball free.

Fast forward to Nico being five and getting invited to a "Slugger Party." I got a phone call from the dad saying, "He's a big hitter, that one. Would your husband consider being my assistant coach so we can get Nico on our team?" And so it began. T-ball was fun. Winning the championship for our park district league was fun. Getting asked to play on a tournament team was fun because there was an away tournament so it was a weekend away. But then...that team had...shall we say an unfortunate season. Nico didn't make the travel team that all of his friends and most of the tournament team he had played for made. That was another swipe at not liking it. My kid was devastated. I didn't like what was devastating him.

He played on another tournament team and then made a neighboring travel team. He had a great year. Tommy was coming up the ranks in the park district. I was so worried about Nico's little ego that I barely noticed Tommy's games (or maybe I put up a wall because I know how this sport can break little hearts). Nico tried out for the team that all of his friends were on and made it. So began the pressure of proving he belongs. Did anyone ever make him feel that way? Absolutely not. For the most part most said he should have been on it from the beginning. All of that pressure was from himself and his own insecurities. Now Tommy is playing travel baseball and some of the reasons I really dislike this game:

1. It is unpredictable. I know most find that a fun part of the game but I do not. A kid can go up to bat and hit a home run and the next time up to bat strike out. A kid could make an awesome catch in center field and the very next play drop it. What's frustrating is that I miss a game and think, "Oh, least I won't see that defeated look in his eyes like the last game," and then I get a text saying, "He had a two run double."

2. A kid can hit a home run and he's the hero. The amount of pressure that is on him when he gets up to bat is unbelievable. From himself and from kids yelling, "Hit another home run!" and parents that after he doesn't ask, "Guess he didn't eat his waffles today." It's not meant to hurt. They are just words but to a kid, they amount to a lot of pressure and tears when he doesn't.

3. Tournaments or games in the freezing cold or sweltering heat. I love hot weather but when you have to sit at a baseball field with no shade, it makes for a long game (add a kid who isn't playing well and it might as well be torture).

4. Concession stands. While I love them because there are times when I don't have time to feed the kids before games or games are right in the middle of lunch or dinner, I hate them because I hear from Belle and Gia, "Can I have...." at least 50 times a game. I am going broke because of concession stands and the sugar highs and lows are off the charts.

5. Parks that are far from the fields because I am finally at the game but can't see any of it because Gia is not going to sit and watch baseball when there is a park there. On the other hand, parks that are too close are bad, too. Nothing worse than jumping on your kid or yelling for another kid to jump on your kid because a foul ball is hit to the park.

6. Asinine coaches. These are the coaches that are screaming at their players and throwing things in the dugouts. Recently we played against a team where the coach kept yelling, "Be athletic!" Yelling that to a travel baseball player is like yelling, "Be 14!" to a fourteen year old. He also yelled after a player made an error, "Aw, Geez! Forget about that steak dinner!"

7. Potty training in porta-potties. Enough said.

8. Women that get all dolled up to go to games. They make those of us that barely make it to the game or have to shuffle from field to field look bad.

9. Watching your son on the mound feeling defeated and watching the 10 or 12 times that plays could have been made to get out of the inning. Watching a team fall apart is never fun. All it takes is one bad inning.

10.Watch a professional baseball game and tell me how many of them strike out, pitch poorly or make errors. I have a 10 year old and a 14 year old. They are going to have great games but they are going to have crappy games. How do I help them get out of their head when they are having a crappy one? Why do they feel that the success and failures of their teams rest on their shoulders?

I didn't include the fans at baseball games because I wrote this post last summer. Check it out to see the other side of baseball: Baseball Fans

It can be said for just about anything but for sure in baseball: When it is good, it is very good but when it is bad, it really sucks.

What are your interesting baseball stories?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

There are certain things I know not to say. "Shut up," "Stop being so lazy and make a pb&j if you are hungry," "Pull your head out of your butt and realize that was the wrong decision."

There are other things that I can't believe come out of my mouth or things I never thought I'd ever say and these are a few:

Maybe I should preface this with my house is like the Garden of Eden before Eve took a bite of the apple and the practice of being modest is lost on the children here.

1. Stop sitting on your sister's bed naked causing her to scream at a pitch only dogs can hear. (Tommy and Nico on Belle's bed and at different times.)

2. Stop using the potato as a baseball. (Nico and Tommy)

3. Get your head out of your brother's butt. (Tommy and Nico)

4. You are not allowed to kick your brothers' balls. ( Belle and Gia)

5. Please stop doing naked ballet. (Gia)

6. After a very long discussion about the repercussions of lying with the older three, I could see their eyes glazing over. Grasping for straws, I blurted, if you lie, you'll go to Hell. That got their attention. Drastic but got their attention.

7. A long time ago, Tommy was crying about monsters in his room. I had one too many sleepless nights about it and finally told him, "There are no monsters in your room. Daddy tied them all up and put them in the closet in the basement." That also happened to be the closet where I was hiding Christmas presents. Two birds, one stone, sleep restored.

8. Stop making bird calls at the table (you can substitute any animal here...monkey, elephant, lion and it was to every kid at some point).

These last two were to Leo:

9. After trying to get him to get out of bed to help me do something, I finally said exasperated, "You're like a sloth on Valium."

10. Trying to tell me he was going out for a drink with his friends in a new way so I would be like, "Oh, well when you put it that way, of course. Go and have fun," Leo said, "Yeah, we are just going to go for a ride." I was not happy about it so I answered, "Going for a ride? What are you, a hit man?"

Your turn. Tell me something you have said that you stopped and said to yourself, "Now that is something I never thought I'd hear myself say."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Would Meds Help?

Disclaimer: I've been accused of "oversharing" before and today is probably one of those days but if it means that one person will feel less alone, then it is worth it. Like thousands of other people, I am fine about 80% of the time. It's the other 20% that I talk about here (and those are rough estimates).

When I was on Prozac after we found out the boys would battle Cystic Fibrosis, I didn't care about the stigma that surrounds taking antidepressants.  When my doctor suggested I take something after I broke down in his office, I gladly said yes. He could have offered me crack and I would have said yes. I just wanted to stop hurting. I longed for something that would bring me back to me (we've already established that nothing short of a time machine will do that). I didn't think that what was wrong was that I was depressed since I thought that if things were different in my life, I would have been fine.

I had situational depression. Would I have been depressed or needed to take meds if Cystic Fibrosis (10 years and I still hate the word) wasn't a part of our lives? I'll never know because it was. Would I have been depressed if Rocco had lived? I'll never know because he didn't. That makes me sad. I don't want to belong to the "situational depression" club.

I probably should have gone back on them after Rocco died but I didn't. There wasn't any specific reason for why I didn't other than I didn't want to go to the doctor. Then I had Gia. I felt strong and I told myself that I had everything I ever wanted so I wouldn't be depressed anymore. That's where I think the stigma comes in. I should be stronger. I shouldn't need help.

Why can't we admit that we need help? Life is hard. When we look around and we realize that we DO have everything we want and we STILL can't get out of bed or we are STILL crying at the drop of a hat or we are STILL walking around with a knot in our stomachs, don't we owe it to ourselves to find a way to feel better? Don't we owe that to our family? I don't want to be "Sad Mommy" or "Anxious Mommy" or even "Angry Mommy."

The hardest part is getting a glimpse of true joy and having it snatched away. Grief is good at the sucker punch. It sneaks up on you and steals your joy. Tommy played on the field that is named after my dad and a moment of sheer joy was overshadowed by the fact that Rocco was buried under the sign for the field. Instead of seeing my son playing baseball, I had images of a four year old little boy running around cheering his big brother on. (Please don't say that Gia wouldn't be here if he was because I don't believe that.) If I was on meds, would it make those stabs at my heart hurt less?

The reality that I am raising my kids differently than I previously thought makes me feel anxious. I know how I want to do it but because of what they battle, no time spent for family, the never ending go, go, go (no homemade meals, living out of the car lifestyle) and that I have a lot going on at once contributes to the anxiousness. I've already mentioned that parenting a teen and a toddler is the hardest thing I have ever done. Would being on meds make me feel less anxious and make it seem less hard?

Speaking of feeling anxious, will I spend the better part of the rest of my life worrying that my kids are okay? School issues, friend issues, sports issues, girl issues, opposite sex's all so overwhelming. Again, there are glimpses of joy but then when you have four kids, they aren't all okay at the same time. Would meds help me to relax about their issues?

The last part is the hardest to talk about because I really do wonder if I am alone in this. I can't remember the last time I looked in a mirror. I mean really looked. I go through the motions of doing my hair (luckily the shag/mullet is pretty low maintenance) and makeup (what little I wear) and I'll catch a glimpse of myself in public and wonder, "Who is that?" How did I get to this place when I don't even see myself anymore? When I do look in the mirror going through the motions, I see Nico's impending freedom and how I am not sure I am ready for it, Tommy's worries and how hard he is on himself, Isabella's girl issues (because girls always have them...why can't they just be nice)  and the stomachaches she keeps having with no physical cause and Gia...wondering if I am being the mom that they all need. I see Leo and how his life seems to be exactly the same as it has always been and mine seems to be changing at warp speed leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Would meds help me feel less invisible?

My biggest fear is that my kids will see how overwhelmed I am and think is is because of them. They shouldn't have to understand why I want to sometimes crawl under a rock. That if I don't figure out what I need, I'll be "Sad Mommy" or "Anxious Mommy" or worse, "Angry Mommy" and they deserve so much more than that. I want to be "Happy Mommy," Would meds help me be the mom I want to be?

The question is: Would meds help? What do you think? Who isn't afraid to say they are on them? Who isn't afraid to tell me I am not alone?

Linking up with Shell today:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Will I Ever See Clearly Again?


This is just another reason I don't like doctors. My standard disclaimer on this subject still applies. I do have doctors that I like. My ob/gyne is still one of my favorite doctors though I am no longer going to be able to go to him because our boys are going to be going to the same school and might end up on a sports team together at some point and that's weird, right? His son has already reached out to Nico on Facebook and said, "Hey, my dad is your mom's doctor" and he might have well said, "Hey, my dad saw your mom naked" because I had the same reaction which was, "Ick!" I really love our CF doctor. I think he does a great job of seeing the boys and not just what they battle. He is a great doctor and completely the exception to any rule or thought I have on doctors. I love my ENT. I don't know what else to say about him other than he knows me and my quirkiness about doctors and handles them well.

All the other doctors that I have seen lately...ughhhhh! I wrote about going to the eye doctor a few weeks ago and I see worse now than I did before I went and it had been 10 years since I was last checked. Leo wants me to go back to the eye doctor I saw and complain but when I called with concerns, they were less than nice about it. I already opened my contact box and they told me if I "thought my prescription was wrong" don't open it because I wouldn't get a refund. Well, how was I supposed to know it was wrong if I didn't try them? It's awful. I have to go get my license renewed and need to take a vision test and I'm afraid to with the way I see right now (not a good sign for driving, is it?). I can make do with the glasses though I can't see the captions on the TV (more on that in a sec). I already spend $300 and now I need a new eye exam and new contacts. Anyone know of any deals out there? I've heard Costco is good. Less than $200 good?

My hearing sucks. I know a lot of people (mostly in my family) that don't hear that well and they don't have hearing aids and I don't want them either. So, I make adjustments. I text or email instead of call. I say, "What was that?" a lot.  I watch TV with the captions on (not always necessary but at night when everyone is asleep, a must). My kids are even frustrated and can be heard saying often, "Mom, I said it like 100 times." I know but I didn't hear it the first 99.

My tongue still hurts. I have been back to the doctor because there is a nagging feeling when it hurts. Is it another sore? Will I have to have surgery again? Will I ever be able to eat strawberries again? He said it looked fine and that they cut (sorry) so much of it that the nerve endings are still pretty raw (sorry). If I spend the day talking, at night it hurts a lot so I try to limit it (don't laugh at how I am failing).

I'm feeling a little crazy lately. My vision is blurred, I can't hear much and I'm afraid with my tongue the way it is, I'll end up mute. With no disrespect to her at all, I am starting to worry that I might be in for a Helen Keller existence.

Getting old is not fun. Anyone else out there losing it and by it, I mean vision or hearing or the ability to speak well? If anyone knows of a good place to go for my second eye exam, please, let me know.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Thoughts: Battleship and Poker

I saw Battleship and because I hate when people build things up to a level that cannot ever be met (hello, The Hangover and 50 Shades of Grey), I will only say that I liked it a lot. Tommy loved it and both of us got teary eyed at parts and cheered at parts. It is the perfect, "take your son to the movies" movie. It's probably PG13 because they swear a few times and they are at war with aliens but I never felt like it was overly violent. I think if you like movies like Transformers or Armageddon, then you'll like this one. It doesn't hurt that my absolute favorite celeb crush is in it, Taylor Kitsch (loved him in was like Tim Riggins joined the Navy) and I have to say, Alexander Skarsgard is much easier on the eyes than I had previously thought. I know he is campaigning for the role of Christian Grey and I say, "Yes! Give it to him!" So cute. It was an added bonus that Landry from Friday Night Lights was in it and it made my heart feel warm and fuzzy to see Landry and Riggins together again. I really liked Rhianna, thought Brooklyn Decker looked gorgeous and as a special treat, Matthew, from The New Adventures of the Old Christine was in it, too. Love, love, love that I made a memory with Tommy. I can't wait until Brave comes out so I can make one with Belle. Would love to make one with Nico except he doesn't sit still long enough for me to do so.

My absolute hatred for the poker club still knows no bounds. Flying solo on a Friday night is stressful. I do think Leo deserves to play poker once a month or a few times a year. Do I think he needs a set time to do it like the third Friday of EVERY month? NO! Our lives are not moving in a direction where this is possible. For instance, how am I supposed to stay happy and chipper when he was gone last night, will be in Wisconsin for a baseball tournament all day today and then leaving for Canada for work on Monday. In normal husband/father lives, the guy would tell his buddies, "Sorry, not going to make poker tonight. We have a lot going on and I need to be home." My good friend, Linda Milani (she said I could use her name) has informed me that her husband does the poker club with a partner so they split the time. Leo and I had a discussion because I think that should be the only way he should continue and he has informed me that he doesn't want to do that (of course not) and that he'd rather not do it at all if he has to it that way. Leo, Leo, Leo...really? Does he not get that either way, I'd be happy? He either does half or none...GREAT!

Ugh, I said I wasn't going to blog angry and I am. I need to stop or I'll end up writing what I really want to say and it will be ugly.

I will end this and say after days like yesterday after school, I wish I either home schooled or lived on an island. Why can't everyone just be nice to each other? Belle needs to make some changes. I want to see the sunshine in her eyes again instead of the hurt.

I am off to cheerleading uniform fittings where I think they should serve A LOT of alcohol and then to my mom's to celebrate my sister, LeeAnna's birthday. Love you, LeeAnna. You bring a ray of sunshine to everyone that knows you!

Happy Saturday! What are your plans for enjoying the day?

Friday, May 18, 2012


They ruin everything. They really do. Think about it. How often do you have high expectations for something or someone and it or he/she didn't live up to them? I bet more often than not.

I'll give you an example: Say that you and your spouse/or significant other have been going on a walk after dinner (now you know that I am not talking about Leo and me because we only have dinner after baseball games and when it is too late and we are too tired to go for a walk after). It was a lovely gesture that started one night when it was nice out. Fast forward to two weeks later and many more nights of walking and it becomes expected that you are going to walk after dinner. Well, the other person makes plans to go out for a beer with friends or even a business meeting happens and BAM! Disappointment.

Say you are going to a movie or a party and you have been looking forward to it all week. You have high expectations that you are going to be entertained and that the movie is going to be good or the party will be fun and then the movie was bad or the party wasn't what you thought it would be, BAM! Disappointment.

Relationships are the biggest area that expectations ruin. We do this without even realizing we are doing it. It can be as small as seeing a neighbor out and stopping to chat. The next time I am out or see the neighbor, the expectation is that I'll stop and chat. If I don't, something must be wrong. It can be even smaller...when you text someone or call someone, you expect them to text you or call you back. If they don't, the wheels start turning of what could be wrong. It can be as big as the boys having a doctor's appointment and Leo taking off for it. The expectation is that he'll be able to the next time and when he can't, I get upset. Or even bigger...since Vegas was a trip that Leo and I took together, the expectation is that it will always be that way and when it is not and only he goes, I get mad, disappointed, hold a grudge and don't forget (wait...I'm going off on a tangent, aren't I?).

We've all had those experiences that we were dreading and we ended up having a great time or we've been pleasantly surprised by a friend's gesture and why? Because we had no expectations, we weren't disappointed. Why can't the rest of our lives be like that? Not the dreading part but just the no expectations part. One could argue that life might be a little sadder if we always have such low expectations and I would agree to that on some level but it hurts more when your expectations are never met and life is pretty stressful if expectations are always put on you that you can never meet.

Expectations weigh us down. What was once a nice gesture becomes an obligation which becomes one more thing we have to do in a world of to do lists that are a mile long. I would like to do things because I want to do them. I would like people to call me because they want to talk to me. Obligation makes it feel complicated and messy.

There is also room to argue here that some relationships might be about having expectations met and if all cards are on the table and each party knows what is expected of them and they feel they can meet those expectations then I will concede that as an exception to this rule. I would argue back that more times than not, one party doesn't know what is expected so the other party is disappointed (how many times have you heard, "I'm not a mind reader"?). It's also exhausting trying to live up to others' expectations. I have a hard enough time living up to my own.

Disclaimer: This post was inspired by an event happening next week where a lot of expectations will be put on me and kept on me until the beginning of October. Every summer I struggle with this and because I can't blog about it, it makes me a little crazy.

Your turn, when was the last time you had expectations that weren't met? Or what expectations are being made of you that you can't or don't want to meet?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Post: The Mommy Mess-Positive Parenting: It's Making A Difference

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with the chaos in my life. I'm trying to get back to enjoying my kids. I wanted a bunch of them and now that I have them, I want to be able to enjoy them. These days, life has been hmmm...less than enjoyable. Sometimes through the fog, it is hard to come up with a way to "fix" things. I am more of a "putting it all out there so you know that you are not alone" kind of person. I'm not that great at coming up with ways to change it for the better. So it is VERY fitting that today my friend and fellow blogger, Adrienne from The Mommy Mess is my guest blogger. I am so very excited to introduce you all to her. She is someone that I have come to rely on as comic relief, support or someone that I can compare to reading a good book. Her blog is a staple in my day and you might recognize her as the author of the blog that I guest posted on last Friday:

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a perfectly imperfect parent.

As much as I want to do all the right things, say all the right things, and think all the right things, something in me (I’m pretty sure it’s that whole human nature thing?) keeps me from motherhood perfection. Sigh...such is life. Anybody?

On most days, I try to embrace these imperfections and find the humor in this parenting gig. After all, if I can’t laugh at my own mistakes, how can I expect my kids to laugh about them when they're adults. I mean let’s face it. I’d much rather have them laughing about the past than seeking therapy over it! I’ll keep you posted on that down the road.

But, sometimes I'm defeated and tired. Parenting is just too hard.

I cannot tell you how many times I've announced some new method or idea that I plan on implementing in the home that is sure to change our lives for the better, only to realize three days later that it was all a bunch of crap and never going to work. I am consistently inconsistent. I bet the boys even place bets behind my back on how long it takes before my plans fall apart.

However, last week I had a revelation! After I filled my prescription for Xanax and a major cloud of PMS passed, I was able to think clearly. I began to implement a new idea in my parenting style and it’s making a huge difference in my home.

So you wanna know the secret? Here it is...Are you sitting?


That’s right. Be positive.

That’s it.

Smile more. Encourage them more.

Replace negative words with positive ones.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is already a book or an idea. I’m sure that it is somewhere, so if it was your idea first, please don’t sue me.

It’s pure genius! I made a personal goal to only use positive words when speaking to the kids. I am trying very hard to eliminate words like,“no”, “don’t”, “can’t”, “won’t”, “stop”…you get the idea.

Here’s an example in action...

Old-tired-irritated-angry-mom: “Do NOT act like that in this store!”
New-medicated-happy-mom: “You’re a good boy, and you will act like it.”
And then? He does. It's like magic.

Here’s another one...
Old mom: “Stop wasting time! You're never going to finish that if you keep working at that rate."
New me: “You would have so much more time to play if you finished that assignment before lunch.”
And then? He did! Say what?!

Old me: “Stop! That’s driving me nuts!”
New me: “I could finish this more quickly if you played with that in your room.”
"Ok, Mom. Sorry." Huh?!

The difference in the reaction I get from my children (and even my husband) is amazing. When I word things with a positive spin, it's almost impossible for there to be an argument or back-talk. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Not only does this help the reaction I get from them, but it forces me to use my God given self-control and actually think about what I say before I say it. I know. I told you. Genius.

You are welcome.

All sarcasm and jokes aside, this has changed my home in a matter of days. Days! There is nothing more important to me than my home. I want my boys to feel safe, secure, and loved at all times. I get so caught up in the daily annoyances that I forget that it's my job to set the tone around here. Lately things have seemed chaotic, and I felt overwhelmed and defeated. But, I know that I am equipped for this task. God gave these kids to me. I just have to look inside myself, rely on my Savior, and take a deep breathe sometimes.

Positive parenting. It's working!
All bets are off the table on this one. It's sticking around!

Adrienne is a homeschooling mama to two boys who run her ragged. She's married to her best friend, and blogs about it all at She's overwhelmed by testosterone and doesn't get nearly enough attention at home, so she writes. Mostly about how homeschooling is pretty hard when she'd rather be blogging! Be sure to connect with her on Twitter and  Facebook too! You can also subscribe to her RSS Feed to be sure to get the latest updates from The Mommy Mess.

So readers, be sure to comment here (Have you tried positive parenting? Do you have any tips to share?) and then jump over to her blog to read some of my favorite posts of hers (there are way more but you have to go there to find them):

The (NOT) Birthday Party
It's Hard Having a Teenager
Beyond My Family's Label
By Grace Alone

I am a follower and I love, love, love how relatable she is. I just love her and I know you will, too.

Thanks for writing, Adrienne!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Audition for So You Think You Can Dance

A moment caught on tape. She loves to dance. Anywhere, anytime. She went from lyrical with facial expressions and everything to hip hop. Love how she counts the beat before dancing. (The screen might appear black but if you press play, it will play. If it doesn't, please let me know and I'll fix it.)

Her excitement could not be contained.

"I've been waiting forever to get my groove on!"

So excited for her first dance class.

P.S. I know it seems like a lot of my pictures or videos are of Gia but it is because she is not yet embarrassed of having these memories captured and shared. The other three are at ages where when I say, "I'm going to put this in the blog," they have an opinion and a lot of times it is, "No."

Linking up with Galit at These Little Waves and Alison at Mama Wants This!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Few Unrelated Rants

So to give you an idea of the mood over here, I started this morning after being up until 3:30am, plunging a toilet.

After being in the ER with a friend last night, I have decided that unless I am dying or bleeding profusely and even then probably not, I am never going to the ER. I know they do what they can and it isn't a slight on the whole ER but what an awful experience. I have been to the ER so many times and I can tell you, when I took Nico in for the split open head and asthma attack, the nurses and doctors were wonderful. When I took Gia when she fell and her head was bleeding, again, they were the best ever. When I had my surgery and then got sick, they were horrible. One person told me I had one thing (a bladder infection) and then five minutes later, someone else told me something different, none of which was what I actually had which was bronchitis. Last night was ridiculous. Three hours later and we walked out of there with my friend feeling stupid for going. Let me tell you what else, the ER at CDH on a Monday night after midnight is a scary, scary place. It was packed and I swear there was a woman there that I was afraid was going to die before anyone got to her. Once we were seen, the one nurse was wonderful and also thought there was a good reason for why my friend was there but then the ER doctor (and why on a very crowded night did it seem like there was only one?), who we did not like at all, came in and was so dismissive that both of us felt stupid and shamed for being there. Oh, but I REALLY enjoyed going down memory lane with him as he told us of all his daughter's injuries in her 17 years of life. That was fun at 3:00am.

My fourth graders have a field trip today. I care deeply for the state of our environment. Really I do and I will probably be judged and looked down upon when I say this but I know I am not alone. I might be the only one saying it but I KNOW I am not alone in this. Asking me to pack the twins a "waste free" lunch for this field trip is asking a lot. Maybe the packet came to us last week and my kids are terrible about giving me that stuff or...maybe they did and in all this chaos, I forgot. It's a crap shoot. Could be a little of both but this morning after no sleep, my darlings let me know that I need to pack them a waste free lunch with little Tupperware (like I am letting those out of my sight and into the hands of my 10 year olds that can't even remember to give me a field trip packet). I even thought to myself in the hours we were waiting last night that today would be an "Uncrustable" day, which means, an Uncrustable, a fruit cup, a bag of chips and a HoHo. In other words, the opposite of "waste free" and the result of two sets of tears today. Tommy, especially, was very upset because I don't have a canvas lunch bag for him and I get it. I freaked out until I saw that it said the waste would just have to come home which was fine with me but still not fine with the twins. Soooo much complaining and whining. "This is just like my regular lunch." "Ummm, I can't really drink Sprite. It bothers my stomach." "Why can't I just use the new Tupperware?" "Can you peel my banana so I don't have the peel?" This is not a rant against their teachers. It was not them that required this. It was the place where the field trip will be and again, let me say, I love the environment. I want to save the environment. My use of disposable diapers, water bottles and lots of little plastic baggies of food and other items might say otherwise but really I do.

I never felt like I had fat fingers until I got a touch screen phone. The amount of typos is off the chart and actually laughable when the auto correct tries to figure out what I am saying. Apparently it was elves and fairies that developed those screens. Am I the only one that has trouble with that?

I have stayed well within the 1200 calorie allowance I get in order to lose some weight. I have eaten nothing but two eggs a day, bananas, carrots, apples, Lean Cuisine meals and once in awhile to change things up, grilled tilapia. Admittedly, exercise has not been as often as I should (and with the day I am having so far, today doesn't look promising either) but I have really been watching what I eat. I have had one Coke (and it was half) in a month and probably 3 alcoholic beverages. I stepped on the scale (I know, D.W. I need to chuck it) the day before Mother's Day and I am up 3lbs. I know...I have heard it all...I need to exercise. I might not be eating enough. Yuck, yuck and yuck. I am going to try Brad Pilon's plan "Eat, Stop, Eat." I'll let you know how it goes. I thought 40 was the new 30 (or is the the old 30?) and let me tell you, I wish that was true. I was 10lbs lighter at 30!

I'd love to hear what diet plans work for you. I know it's a lifestyle change and that I need to exercise more but did a plan kick start your loss? I'd love to know.

Or, just tell me your terrible ER stories or that you have fat fingers too. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Did He Come Through?


I am typing this on my brand new HP laptop!!! I don't care what kind it is. I just know it is fast and I can have a gazillion windows open and it still works! YAHOO!!!!!!!!

This says to me that he believes in me as a writer and knows that I NEED a working computer in order to move forward in fulfilling that dream. Okay, fine, it might say he wants me to shut the Hell up about how bad our old computer is but so what? I don't really care what it says and do you know why? I am typing this at lightning speed and it isn't freezing. I just typed the world know and the "k" didn't stick. I am in Heaven! Absolute Heaven!



A spa package for one day and one night (and breakfast the second day)!!! With the works!

This says to me that he knows I need a break. This says he knows I am having a tough time right now and he loves me and knows I need to figure some stuff out (nothing major...just some soul searching things and maybe meds might be a good idea...that's for another post). Again, it probably says he's tired of me whining about getting a break and again, I don't care...I'm getting one and that is all that matters!

I slept in and got breakfast in bed (it was delicious and I would have taken a picture but I inhaled it, I was so hungry).

Nico and Tommy bought me Pretzel M&M's (my fave) and a card that made me cry:

Nico: Mom, you are the best mom in the world. I love you so much. I know I give you a hard time but in my heart I know you are always right and are looking out for me. Everything you do makes me want to be a better person. You are a great mom.

Tommy: Mom, I am so lucky to have a mom like you. You deserve more from me. You are the best mom. Even if I am mad at you, deep down, I love you with all my heart!

Belle bought me a blooming flower from Hallmark and made a poster of me with fun facts:

My mom is the best mom when it comes to supporting something.
My mom never gives up without a fight.
My mom is a really hard worker.
My mom means the world to me.
My mom is comforting.
I love my mom so much.
My mom showed me what a great parent looks like. I could not ask for a better mom than you! I love you, Mom!

All of the kids bought me the movie Thor which makes me very happy.

Leo and I went to Target (my favorite place) where I had a hot chocolate and because it was Mother's Day, I had whipped cream and caramel on top and when we came home, all four kids cleaned out my car (we had Leo's)! It looks AWESOME!

I even squeezed in a workout. It's wonderful what will happen when people go out of their way to make you happy.

I spent the rest of the day with all of my favorite people and had a very touching moment with my sisters where we (okay, mostly me) got teary-eyed because this relationship that I share with my sisters and my mom is so special that I am glad we were all together. There were a few moments where I had to remind Leo that it was Mother's Day but he was a good sport about it.

It was a great Mother's Day! I couldn't have asked for anything more! Leo, if you are reading, THANK YOU!

I'll be quiet least until the week before my birthday so that gives you...2 whole weeks of not hearing a peep out of me! Enjoy it...might not happen again for awhile.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Just want to take this time to say Happy Mother's Day to all the moms I love, all the new moms I've met in the last few months and all the women out there that are moms in their heart but life hasn't caught up with yet.

On this day, I celebrate my mom. She doesn't read this so hopefully one of my sisters will tell her but I love her more than anything. I hope that I have even a small shred of her ability to mother. She is our biggest supporter, the first one we call with good news or bad news, and the backbone of our family. Life would be less bright without my mom in it. She makes everything special. She makes everyone feel like they are her most favorite person in the world. The bond she has with my kids is a beautiful thing. I know she wanted the same one we had with her mother, my Nana and she has that and more. She is a firecracker of a woman that showed me early on how to be strong in the face of adversity. I love you, Mom!   


On this day, I am also going to celebrate the good parts of being a mom. I am going to relish the kisses and hugs. I am going to appreciate that all of my kids are together in one place. I am going to remember what it felt like when I wished beyond wish that I was a mom. I am going to appreciate that everyone, on this day, for an afternoon, is healthy. I will pray for no stomachaches, no leg welts or pain, no complaining and no tantrums (can you guess which ailment goes with which kid?). I will gently remind Leo when he is at the seat at the table furthest away from his children enjoying his beer that it is Mother's Day and he is on duty ALL DAY.

And yes...I am going to milk every last drop!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

When I think of this question, I could answer it in an unselfish way. I could say, "I do it because I want my kids to be able to look back at our life and see things that might get missed in all of the chaos." I could say, "I do it for them so that our lives have a place in this world." Both of these are definitely reasons for why I blog but they came to me after I started.

I actually stumbled into blogging. I wanted to see if I could "make it" as a writer so I signed up for a freelance writing site. One of the questions that was repeatedly asked by would-be employers was, "Can you attach a link to your blog?" I didn't have one at the time and while talking to some friends, they suggested that I start one. They graciously said they found my stories funny or at least interesting so with that encouragement (and after realizing I talked their ears off so perhaps I did need a platform), I started this blog.

I can't describe, though I am sure other bloggers that are moms probably know, how unbelievably good it feels to write down your feelings, your world, your opinions...anything and have someone, somewhere say, "Yes! I feel that way, too!" Who do I speak for? Women all over whose lives are chaotic and crazy that don't want to feel alone in the chaos and craziness. It feels better to be crazy with a friend.

I have been writing books for me since I was in high school. I can't imagine a life where I can't write. Something. A journal. A children's story. A romance novel. Women's fiction. A young adult novel. A blog. Something. I have to...I need to write. It keeps me sane. People have said they think it is therapeutic and maybe they are right. The jury is still out on whether something stronger...meds or seeing my old therapist is needed.

I tried to stop. I was only going to do a year. I went a little crazy not being able to so I started back up. Is it my own sort of drug? Maybe. So I did what any other addict does. I fed the addiction. I took a class to grow bigger in doing what I love to do. BEST. MONEY. SPENT. It opened my eyes to a world I didn't know existed and I completely and totally fell in love with every part of it. I was and still am like a kid in a candy store. So many many thoughts...people that I instantly wanted to be friends with and spend time with. You feel like you know these women and that they "get you" because you are all writing about the same things...muddling through life with the cards you were dealt.

The best I dare say it? I feel like a writer. A real, true writer. The blog gives me an audience. Being a writer is a dream come true. Dreams that come true feel good. So while I have noticed that blogging makes me slow down and notice things and feel things that I'm sure I would have missed otherwise and while I am thrilled that my family will have a little space in this world of things and events recorded and though it might sound selfish...

I blog for me. This words...they are the only things in this world that are all mine.

Linking up with Galit at These Little Waves and Nicole at Word of Mouth Musings

Raising a Teen

Those of us raising a teen know that it is not easy. We see our babies that once cuddled and smothered us with kisses push us away and roll their eyes as they forge their place in this world. I have a 2 year old and a 14 year old and both think the world revolves around them. The only difference is that the 14 year old should know better. I am another guest poster today at my very good blogger friend, Adrienne's blog:

The Mommy Mess

Follow me over there by clicking the link and see what every teen should know as we all navigate through this tough time (no wonder my parents had wine with dinner every night...5 teen girls...I am in awe that they survived).

Check out some of Adrienne's blog while you are there visiting. She is a mom of two boys and her blog has become a staple of mine to get through my day. I know you'll love her like I do!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Revised Gift List For Leo

Since there are only four days until Mother's Day, I am revising my list. I know on the first one I had twelve things. This one will be shorter but harder for him, I am sure. He might even go the route of buying me all the things on the first one.

Mother's Day:
A new computer. Anybody that has spoken to me either through the blog or in real life knows how badly I need a new computer. Are you tired of hearing me say it? Are you tired of asking me to do something and me coming back with, "I tried but my computer isn't cooperating" or "Sorry, I missed _____ but my computer froze"? See,  I am tired of hearing it myself, so I call Leo every single time it happens. I hope he is tired of hearing it too and does something about it.

A spa day with the works. I don't have to go away (I have really given up on going away, at least until T.M. gets her new house built and can travel with me again or R.C. and G.C. can get away). There is a lovely hotel that is five minutes away that offers all of these services (Indian Lakes) and I could go there. If he works with some of the other husbands on this one, even better so I can have some laughs, too.

My Birthday and our Anniversary: 
One is not until the beginning of June and the other at the end but to make sure I don't just get a picture of what he got me (LOVED the Riggins' wear but just wish I actually got to open it on Christmas), I'm giving him a heads up.

Time to Myself. Since you are reading this, I don't have to explain this one.

One day a month (preferably a Saturday but I'll take a Friday) that is set aside for me to do WHATEVER I want (probably write). This day will have to stick so that if games or birthday parties or family stuff or anything falls on it, Leo has to fend for himself. I will not be available. He will have to work around this day because it will be a rule that I can't EVER miss this day. The world might end if I do. It will be just like my poker club night. That's fair.

I was listening to my iPod yesterday and Brad Paisley's song, "She's Everything" started playing. It occurred to me that he must really love his wife to write that kind of a song about her. He wrote everything he loves about her and then it hit me. I want that. I don't want one or two lines. I want him to really think about it and tell me. See, Leo is the strong, silent type. He's not always forthcoming about his feelings. It's always been fine because actions speak louder than words but we've been together for 23 years, married for 16 so, you know what? I want to hear it. I bet Leo is going to wish I was listening to any other song because I can't imagine this will be easy for him but he has three weeks until my birthday and six weeks until our anniversary. I have faith in him that he can pull it off and finally, I'll get my grand gesture because in this house, it isn't fancy cars or diamonds that are the grand gestures. It's the show of emotions that wins me over.

So tell me, what was the grandest gesture you have ever gotten?

P.S. Bonus points for Leo if I get all 11 of the 12 (I know a kitchen island is asking too much). I am realistic but a girl can still dream. :) The original list is here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Thoughts: Chaotic Week, Orkin, Mother's Day

Random thoughts is the very nice way of saying "at this moment I am so scatterbrained that I can't form a cohesive post about anything." Did you ever have weeks that you just knew you were going to be dropping the ball every which way because you just had too many things to do? Welcome to my week!

Yesterday, Belle had a dentist appointment to fill some cavities. With all the stomach issues she's been having and the stress she seems to put on herself and after a bout of tears, I let her take a mental health day. I know...Mom of the Year. Nico was supposed to have a track meet (so thankful that it was canceled), Belle had dance and then a cheer meeting that both she and I had to go to. It was nice catching up with the cheer moms and I even squeezed in a Barnes and Noble trip with Belle, who is really needing some one on one time with me. However, in the interest of spending one one one time, she neglected to tell me that she had homework so when we got home at 9:30 and she told me (along with "I don't get it"), I was not happy. A lovely evening spent with my daughter ended up with screaming and yelling. Hate when what could have been a great memory ends up being something you want and hope is forgotten.

The rest of the week looks like this : Tuesday-Gia has her very first dance class. It will either be adorable or a nightmare. Tommy has a game and Nico has baseball practice (I hope that means he doesn't have track practice because if he does, I am the carpool mom so I can add that to my list). Wednesday-Nico has both a track meet and a baseball game. Thursday-Tommy has a game, Belle has volleyball and then tumbling. Friday-Nico has a meet. Add in there tears about some gym testing that is being done this week and homework and that my babysitters all have practice for the talent show or college testing and that is my week. Jealous?

My cleaning lady is coming and though it is supposed to make my life less stressful, it does not. My house has still not recovered from the flurry of activities this past weekend. That means in the next two days, I have to get it ready to actually be cleaned. Have I mentioned that Gia has gotten much needier in the last few weeks (God, I am hoping this dance class will help)? I try and get her to help me pick up but she thinks it is hilarious to go behind me and take out everything I just put away. I need Alice or Hazel to live with me.

I canceled Orkin and have been having nightmares ever since. In them, Jimmy gets revenge by drilling a hole in my house and putting two mice in there to run rampant and breed and cause the nightmare of the mice that wouldn't go away to continue on and on. I keep thinking he is going to bring ants over to do the same. The ants here are SO BAD! I'm constantly walking around with a Windex bottle ready to shoot and kill (I feel like the chemicals in Windex are less harmful than Raid but who knows?) It's Gia's new mantra: "Iicky buggy, Mommy, icky buggy!" That's irrational, right? That could never happen, right?

I am not ready for Mother's Day. Leo's mom is out of the country so I don't have to do anything for her yet. I think we are giving my mom money for some badly needed dishes and utensils (though it has been lovely eating off the same ones I did as a kid) and all of my cards are bought. Hmmm...why do I feel like I am not ready, then? Oh, that's right...because I don't think I am getting a new computer and the yuck feeling of being disappointed has already set in. Why do I think this? Because Leo keeps trying to sell me on using his old work computer-the one that has a message that pops up every 30 seconds when you are in the middle of doing something. The one that I can't put pictures on. The one that keeps saying I need more memory. Yuck! (That is me stamping my foot and pouting saying, "I don't want it.")

The other reason I don't feel like I am ready for it is because when I told Leo about the blog post with my list of what I wanted, he said, "Oh, yeah. I need to take a look at that." Mother's Day is 5 days away! I might not be the only one dropping the ball this week.

What about you? How is your week shaping up? Anyone else have a chaotic one?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You're My Favorite

As parents we aren't supposed to have favorites. We tease my mom all the time telling her we know which daughter is her favorite. It's not politically correct to say we like one kid more than the other. Well, I'm not always politically correct and I'm here to tell you that if you sit there and say that you've never felt a little more "warmly" toward one of your kids at any given time, I will tell you that you are being less than honest with yourself. You can't help but feel fondly toward the kid that is the easiest or most loving. There are times when one child will yell, "You like him better than me!" I'll answer that honestly and say, "Right now, he's being nicer to me than you." Today I am going to set the record straight:

Nico, you are my favorite because you think I am the smartest person in the world. Sometimes you say I have no clue but then in the next breath you are asking my advice or I hear you say to your friends, "Ask my mom, she'll know." You have the most common sense out of all the kids and just "get it". You strive to be the best and I love that I don't have to nag you to get good grades. You are like your dad with his mannerisms and his ability to make people laugh without knowing he's funny but you are like me with your openness and affection. You are my favorite because you are nice to everyone and make everyone you talk to feel like the most important person in the world.

Tommy, you are my favorite because you are the cuddliest, most lovable kid I could ask for. You come up to me out of nowhere and tell me how much you love me or how pretty I am (even when I am in over-sized pajamas and a goomba in my hair). You can charm the coldest, meanest people out there with just your smile or your laugh. I think your favorite thing in the world is to be in the spotlight. You are one of the funniest kids I know without trying at all to be funny. You are a self-driven work horse that never backs down from a challenge. It is a rare day that you are in a bad mood. You are my favorite because most of the time, you are my easiest.

Isabella, you are my favorite because you have my back. You are loyal and helpful and when you feel something, you feel it with your whole heart (good and bad). You always want to do the right thing and right now, I don't worry about you making bad choices. You are my favorite because you are the only one that I think takes what I say to heart. You really listen and try to be a better person. You want to take on the world in some way but haven't figured out which yet. I knew you would be a great sister but seeing you with Gia makes me think that your real talent lies in working with kids.You are so good and I cherish the fact that you are my daughter.

Gia, you are my favorite because you haven't learned to not like me yet. You let me smother you with kisses and hugs and you just giggle. You see wonder in everything and are excited about everything from Minnie's Bow Toons to your big girl bed. You have the ability to make me forget how crappy a day is going and make me feel like I am the best mommy in the world. Of all the kids, you are the only toddler that will sit on my lap and listen to more than one story. You know all the words to "You are My Sunshine" and "Let it Be." You are my favorite because you are like a little ray of sunshine living in this house.

This always helps me appreciate the kids and focus on what they do that makes me smile instead of focusing on what they do that makes me crazy. I just read it to the boys and they got a kick out of the whole thing. They couldn't understand why I didn't include Leo. I don't know if it is funny or sad to have to explain that he's not one of the kids.

So fess up, what makes a kid your favorite?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chaotic Friday, Tired Saturday

I have said many times before that I hate Fridays. They used to be a day that I looked forward to but I truly, truly hate them. I told Tommy back when we saw John Carter that I would take him to see The Avengers when it came out. I didn't mean the night it opened but Tommy, being Tommy, packed that little tidbit of information in the back of his brain and from the time he came home from school until 9:30pm last night, nagged me. "Are we going to see the movie?" "What time are we going?" "When is Dad coming home so we can go?" "Can we go now? Belle can babysit until Dad gets home."

Leo did what I hate that he does and told me he'd be home by 6:00 but then didn't walk in until 7:30. I get that because of the boys' activities (and he coaches), he has to leave work earlier on days of games and track meets so when he can, he stays late to get stuff done. Doesn't he know that I am counting the minutes until he is home so I don't have to be the only parent "on"? I know I have told him that so why doesn't he get it?  Or maybe he does and that is why he stays late. Why does it always feel like it's me against him and the kids on Fridays? Why can't we be in it together? Anyway, we put Gia to bed (he saw her for a total of 15 minutes yesterday and then wonders why she screams for me to do things with her instead of him) and didn't end up eating dinner until 9:15. The Avengers was showing at 9:50 and I had no intention of going. I thought we could go to a Saturday afternoon show. Tommy had other ideas.

I don't even know how I ended up scarfing down my food, racing to the theater, buying tickets and sitting in one of the front rows in a packed theater eating Kettle Corn at the 10:15 show. I really don't. Tommy has a way of wearing me down like no other. He is just relentless. I do remember Leo shooting down my Saturday idea because Tommy has a baseball game. Maybe that is how it happened. Tommy kept saying, "Thank you, Mom." "I love you, Mom." I know my kids crave one on one time and I am happy to give it. It's just as nice for me but the movie didn't get out until 12:50am and Gia got up at 6:30. She is eating breakfast as I type this and it is just a matter of time before she wants to play Magnetic Barbie and I don't want to. I want to sleep.

The Avengers was good. What I saw of it anyway. Tommy had to keep waking me up. I would have liked more Thor but there might have been and I missed it. Chris Hemsworth is HOT! I definitely love the strong, silent type and Thor fits that. I'll admit to the women that are Robert Downey Jr fans (D.S.), he was really funny in it and I was surprised that I liked Captain America as much as I did. I don't normally think he is cute and I could do without the spandex but I can definitely see the appeal. Maybe it is just that I would like a hot super hero to swoop in and save the day for me but I really enjoyed it. The preview of Battleship didn't hurt either. :)

On another note, I apparently cannot spend time with one child without the rest of the household going to poop. Even when I am at the movies, I am expected to man the ship. It's really frustrating. I think Leo and I are on the same page, and then I get home (at 1:00am when it is too late to do anything about it except lose sleep) and find out things are happening that I am not okay with and all under the assumption that I was okay with it because I couldn't be reached. I'm so tired of nice parent/mean parent with me being the mean one. If I ever do get a weekend away, Nico will be the kid jumping for joy because all of the things I never let him do, Leo will let him because a lot of times it is easier to say yes than no. It's not right but it's easier.

I have a feeling this tired Saturday is going to end up being a chaotic Saturday with laundry, cleaning and baseball games which will lead to a tired Sunday, but Sunday will be chaotic which will lead to tired....

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Finally Here!! Guest Post Day!!

One of the things that most excites me and terrifies me about writing or blogging is putting myself out there. I took a class to expand my audience and knowledge of blogging and in turn have met some wonderful women that are very talented writers.

You can imagine me squealing with delight and walking around with a smile on my face because a blogger I have the utmost respect for asked me to guest post on her blog! Her name is Shell and her blog is called Things I Can't Say.

Please click on the button below and follow me over there for a post about something I can't say. Once you start reading her blog, I guarantee you'll be hooked because we all have things we can't say! Thanks again, Shell!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Flightiness and an X-rated Track Meet

I don't know what is wrong with me lately. Too much chaos clouding my brain maybe. I am not normally so forgetful but so far, I have missed Nico's orthodontist appointment, not once but twice! I almost missed his check-up at the ENT. I forgot to send pictures in for an 8th grade memory wall. I keep forgetting to sign the kids up for camps for summer. I am terrible at remembering to call people back and I'm afraid that I missed a class I am taking. I keep meaning to exercise and then crawl into bed and am suddenly struck with "I forgot to do Zumba or walk on the treadmill."

I keep forgetting to call Orkin and cancel them because I have grown to hate them and their dumb solutions to the problems I have over here. No signs of mice (thank God) but the ants are terrible and I am tired of hearing that it is from all the work we have done outside. I thought the "barrier" that they put around the house was supposed to stop them from coming in and they are having a flipping party over here with Gia dropping food everywhere she goes.

Why can't I forget to eat junk food? Somehow I keep remembering to do that. I swear being flighty is foreign to me and I'd like it to stop. Please don't say, "Get a calendar. I have one but I keep forgetting to check it.

So I went to Nico's track meet on Monday. While getting dressed in one of the three outfits I wear in public, I forgot why I wear a tank top under my button-down plaid shirt. Nico ran and I cheered. Nico's friends ran and I cheered. While leaving, I stopped to talk to his coach (also his science teacher) and one of the gym teachers (both men) and had a lovely conversation about how well Nico did and how his ankles are fine and how great it is that he doesn't let anything stop him. I didn't notice any funny looks but as I walked away, I felt a breeze in a place that was odd. I looked down and one of the buttons had popped open. Yep...the one that allowed the whole world to see my bra. Ahh...then I remembered...that's why I wear a black tank top under that shirt.


I don't care that it is supposed to be 80 degrees out today, I will be wearing a turtleneck to today's track meet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Need Some Recommendations

It's time to pull the trigger and actually replace some of the broken down items in this house. I think Leo has come to terms with the fact that I AM getting a new computer. He has tried to pawn his old work computer off on me but I am tired of sharing the computer with the kids. I know that sounds terribly selfish but after a few times of thinking I was posting my blog on my Facebook page but actually posting it on Nico's because he signed me out and didn't tell me, I want my own.

So the first question: What kind of computer/laptop do you have and do you like it? Ideally, I would like one to store pictures, videos, the books I am writing or have written, music and not blow up with a ton of windows open because that's how I work. I would love to hear from bloggers because I use it primarily to blog and and to shop online (Leo would hate that part and I don't do it that often). Once in awhile I use it to watch TV shows that didn't record.

The second question: What kind of video baby monitor do you have and do you like it? Mine broke and I didn't really need it when Gia was still in the crib but now that she is free to roam her room (though I think I put the fear of God in her to stay on her bed), I really need one (funny that with the other three, I didn't have a video one and I managed but I am lost without one right now). I need a good one with night vision because that is the time I need it the most.

For those interested, Gia slept through the night for the second night but didn't nap yesterday. Trying to get this post out early because I think it is going to be another long day. Neither one of us is ready to give up her naps. She needs it as much as I need her to have one. Here's hoping she's cooperative today...

Even if you have a laptop or monitor that you don't like, let me know so that I know the ones that aren't that great, too. Thanks in advance for any help!