Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Olivia’

My Mom Job

I am getting close to 20 years into the mom gig.  That’s child’s play compared to some gals, but I’m not exactly a beginner either, am I?   I have been thinking about mom skills a lot lately; I’m trying to assess what I have learned from my years on the job so far.  (Please, let me have learned at least one thing.)

Yesterday, Scott and I were talking about how our parental roles were quite clear when the kids were young. He says it boiled down to two things:

  1. Safety
  2. Activity Director

Simple.  We liked that.  Sure, those roles required stamina.  They were physically demanding, and often led to exhaustion, but what doesn’t feel better than a hard day’s work?  Moms with young kids go to bed weary, and wake up the next day knowing they get to do it all again.

Eddie is our oldest; that poor boy.  He has to be the first to teach us everything.  Scott and I have noticed that at some time in the last year, he crossed over a line.  Eddie is leading us into unfamiliar terrain, and Scott and I are trying to get our parental footing down.

One night after work last week, Eddie sat on the couch and talked with us about work, and what has been keeping him busy lately. Then, he played us a new song he’s learned on his guitar.  I don’t think two people exist on this Earth who could provide Eddie with a more interested  and engaged audience than Scott and me.   That moment was my awakening.   Listening and a bit of encouragement is all a son who’s almost a man really needs from his parents.  I really got it in me to do so much more, but  I can tell I shouldn’t.

I’m grateful that Zeke and Olivia are still wandering through familiar terrain.  It’s clear these two are getting so much closer to crossing over that line to join their big brother.  Once they cross over,  the invisible line that has them  tethered to us  snaps.  Then,  we are all in a free fall.

Zeke had friends over last week, and they wanted to go to a water park.   Zeke and a couple of the other boys do have a driver’s license, but they still have restrictions on how many passengers can ride with them.  They needed Scott and me to drive them.  Scott and I could not have been happier to be needed.  We relished in the moment.  When Scott and I mentioned to the kids that we were sad, because we knew we were just a year or two away from getting the axe, and not being included in their plans, Olivia told us she will never NOT want us to come to a water park with her.   Thank you, Olivia. It’s nice to know some kids are actually loyal.

I don’t know why Olivia likes us, because we can be kind of mean.  When we were at the water park, everyone split up into groups.  Scott and I went on the Lazy River.  On one trip around, we happened to see Olivia, her girlfriend, and a new friend that is a boy waiting in line on the bridge above us.  The kids waved to us, and then Scott had the good idea to pretend that he and I were about to make out.  The look of horror on Olivia’s face was magical.  Her girlfriend was laughing pretty hard too.  Scott and I enjoyed that moment, and congratulated ourselves for our quick thinking for at least the next four trips around the river.  I think that when you’ve put in all the long hours of parenting, you get to take these moments to humiliate your teenagers, and really enjoy them.   We should get something out of the deal,  shouldn’t we?

I wasn’t so mean to Zeke.   Zeke is 16 now.  I know he needs his space. I told him before the boys came that I would stay out of the way.  Privately, I also committed myself to being calm, quiet, and not even slightly embarrassing.  I had to give myself this speech, because none of that happens for me without effort.   I really would like to give myself some recognition here.  I pulled off an Oscar winning performance.   I thought I behaved like a serene and cool woman. Not one bit like myself.

I didn’t realize what an effort I was making until I was alone with Olivia and one of her best pals.  We started joking around, and before you know it, I was doing the running man, and some other, equally awesome dance moves, and it just felt so good to be able to be me.  I am thankful Olivia’s friends are silly and fun, and not opposed to crazy moms. I hope Zeke appreciates what I do for him.

I love being a Mom. I love it so much. I love thinking about it, and figuring out what I need to do better, and what is going right.  I know the Mom role evolves in a lifetime, but I don’t think it ever ends.  I was talking to two moms recently.  One mom has a grown child going through a tragic time. The other has an almost grown child going through an emotionally challenging period of life.  After talking to these two moms, I came to this conclusion:  In many cases moms feel their children’s pain with greater intensity than the child who’s actually experiencing the difficulty.  I know this is not true in all cases, and for every mom.  But, for many moms it is truth.

ed and mom graduation

You know the worst part about this?  Moms have to suffer in silence.  Most of us moms know that if we tell our kids how distressed we are over their burdens, it only makes the child’s burdens worse.  Nope.  Moms have to selflessly pretend to be full of courage and cheer, and tell our kiddos to pick themselves up, and march through that crap storm, because that’s good advice.  And, pulling your grown child on your lap, and snuggling them while you both cry is not an option, sadly.

At least all of us moms can hug each other.

Here…I’ll leave you with this.  Basically, the worst song ever made.  Almost certain to leave my Mom friends a mess. I’m sorry. I know we’re friends, and I just shouldn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheers to a Future…

Hey y’all, give me a little hug around the neck. Ya hear?

Sorry.  “Friday Night Lights.”

I’m heavily influenced by whatever story I am currently following.  Remember when I was Scottish?  I’m a Texan now

I told you, I’m not that good at pacing myself; a pretty standard trait for those of us suffering with some bits and pieces of attention deficit issues. That’s a paradox, right?  People who struggle to apply their attention, actually OVER apply their attention when they’re engaged with something that is of interest to them.  Like “Friday Night Lights”.

Scott said he feels like I’m cheating on him with this show.  I’m always sneaking away to catch a few more minutes with my Friday Night Lights friends.   I half listen to Scott’s stories, because in my head I’m busy trying to solve all my friends’ problems from Dillon, Texas.

Not to worry.  I’m almost done with all these people.  I haven’t been eating and sleeping as much lately; I’ve watched almost 5 seasons in one month.  It’s called commitment.  You might want to try it.  Maybe you could finally make something of yourself.

Other things that have been happening while I’ve been living in Texas are college visits.  Here we are.  It’s time.  Eddie has always seen himself as someone who’s going to college.  When Eddie was in Kindergarten, he would come home from school and immediately put Scott’s videos of the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling tournaments in to the VCR.  I remember thinking that was a little unique for a 5-year-old.  Shouldn’t he be watching “Caillou”?  Eddie couldn’t abide that little Caillou.  Not even for a second.

Poor Eddie. He’s so much like me, I hate to tell him how much. He loves what he likes. Eddie had an insatiable appetite for college wrestling.  He still does.

So, college is certainly on the horizon for Eddie.  Good for him.  Can I be serious for a few lines?  I want to say out loud how much I  appreciate the opportunity to consider possibilities.  I didn’t always believe we’d be here.  Eddie has a future. Eddie has a future.  Eddie has a future.  I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

When Eddie was in grade school, we knew this wonderful family.  This family had a couple of boys who wrestled for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  One of these boys put together a care package for sick little Eddie from the Hawkeye wrestling team.  The package included Hawkeye t-shirts worn by some of the wrestlers, including one t-shirt signed by everyone on the team.  There were also some nice notes in the package, including a short note from  Coach Dan Gable.  If you say you’re a wrestling fan, and you don’t know Dan Gable, you’re busted.  Gable is a wrestling legend;  besides those Olympic gold medals he owns,  he was also the coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes for many years.

This note from Dan Gable gave Eddie a few words of encouragement.  Gable told Eddie that it was good Eddie was getting all this sickness out of the way when he was young, so when Eddie was older he could do all the wrestling he wanted.

This. For sure. This was the best gift Eddie has ever received. Hands down.  No contest.  We framed all of it, and it might be the only Earthly possession Eddie cares about.

I remember reading Gable’s words, and feeling kind of hopeful.  I mean, Gable didn’t know Eddie, or even what was wrong with Eddie.  But, he was Dan Gable. Maybe he knew stuff about the future.  I loved him for pretending he did.

So, the future is now.  Eddie’s looking forward to a college, and, hopefully, more wrestling.  Gable called it.

The first college Eddie wanted to visit was my Alma Mater. I wish this visit had something to do with me; it’s purely coincidence.  Or, I should say, it’s purely about wrestling.

When we were on vacation with Scott’s family last week, we took the opportunity to visit campus.  I have not been to my Alma Mater since I graduated.  It’s funny how quickly you remember things.  I gave my family a tour; I wasn’t half bad.

The kids wanted to know where I stayed on campus.  I told them that their Dad and I were married then.  I lived off campus with their dad while I finished college.  The kids responded to this information with instantaneous disgust.  Especially Olivia.

Olivia is appalled that I did not have the independence nor the dignity to earn a college degree before I chained myself down to a man for the rest of my life.  I told Olivia that while I respect her point of view, I do admit I really liked her Dad a great deal; I think there’s a decent chance things are gonna work out, despite our foolishness.

UNI

Just hangin’ around campus in our Crocs.

zeke uni

Zeke wishes he was as cool as that guy.

la la uni

Her wrestling stance needs some work.

Black Hills, Bad Pictures and Self Denial

We had a good idea for a vacation this summer.  We thought that after the boys wrestled at Nationals in Fargo, ND, we could finally see Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.  We’ve talked about taking that trip for years.  Maybe I’ve wanted to see the Black Hills a little too badly.  One time we had to take a detour through a corner of South Dakota, on our way back from Colorado.  On this detour, we passed by a blackish looking hill. I pronounced, “Hey kids.  Those are the Black Hills.”

Usually my family trusts my pronouncements.  My family seemed a little iffy on this one. Eddie asked, “Really?  That’s it?”

I’m like, “We’re in South Dakota. It’s a hill. It’s black.  Those are the Black Hills.  I don’t know what else you want from me, kid.  Now, tell your teachers and your friends that your parents took you to the Black Hills this summer.”

I don’t know why some people have to knit pick the heck out of everything you say.  Can’t they just trust me?

I didn’t realize when we were making all those Black Hills plans this year that Olivia’s missions trip was at the same time as the wrestling tournament. DANG!!!  We just couldn’t see enjoying major sight seeing short a family member.

I hate calendars.  Calendar makers are pessimists.  They like ruining all our fun.The actual plan ended up being Scott and I going to Fargo on our own.  The boys traveled with the team.

Scott and I spent four nights at a hotel, going back and forth to the Fargodome to watch the boys and their Wisconsin teammates.  I really was sad about the family  vacation being messed up, but I’m not gonna lie. Scott and I had some laughs.

I think I told you a while back that Scott and I were a little nervous about how we will survive when our kids don’t need us like they do now.  It’s scary to not be needed.  After our Fargo trip, we feel a little more confident we’ll survive.  We forgot our kids happened because Scott and I like each other.

I think Scott and I had only one difference of opinion on our little vacation.  That problem happened when we were deciding where to eat.  Decision making can cause people like us some problems.   Sometimes you just really need one person in a relationship who can handle the pressure of making a wrong choice…about tacos vs. hamburgers.  Personally, I don’t need the stress.

I wish I would have written down all the times and reasons I was laughing my head off in Fargo.  I can’t remember why now. Just so many, unimportant funny things can happen on any given day.

I do remember one thing that made me laugh until I felt like I had used up all my laughing for life.  Scott has always said he has camera anxiety. I didn’t know that was real.

Personally, I think Scott is a cute guy.  But, I have to agree with him.  I haven’t seen many pictures that accurately represent the way I think he looks in real life.  Scott says it’s because he gets nervous.  As soon as someone brings out a camera, he starts debating in his head what he should do with his smile, posture, eyes.  It’s a lot like deciding about tacos vs. hamburgers.  There’s so much at stake.

Scott and I had some time to kill between the boys’ matches in the Fargodome.  I felt like I could really help Scott figure out how to take carefree, happy pictures.  We did some selfies.  And, I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  It’s not that Scott looks so bad.  It’s just that he looks unrecognizable as a human.  I’m not actually sure how Scott could really look worse, unless he wore a hideous mask. Wait. Nope.  Still not worse.

The harder he tries, the worse it gets.

1,2,3, cheese…

bad pic 1

Oops. Your eyes were closed.

bad pic 2

Dang it.  You closed them again.

bad pic 3

Wait.  Are you trying to do that?  You have to keep your eyes open.

bad pic 4

Wow!  I can see you went to a lot of effort. Don’t do it again.

bad pic 5

Okay, maybe one of your eyes looks okay in this?

bad pic 6

We should stop.  I’m starting to doubt our relationship.

I thought all it took was persistence. Sometimes I’m wrong.

Another thing we enjoyed doing in Fargo was watching freak athletes from 46 different states wrestle their hearts out.  The wrestlers attend a camp a week prior to this week long tournament to train with their teammates from around their state.  Every day, the kids work out at an intense pace for the better part of their waking hours.  The wrestlers are generally trying to get down to their peak fighting weight too.  There is a lot of expenditure; very few deposits.

On top of the body fuel issues, you’ve got kids away from home, sleeping in hotels and hanging out with their buddies.   It’s easy not to sleep well. We decided that just learning to manage your energy for this thing could be a guy’s secret weapon.

At the end of the week Zeke’s eye was swollen shut, and Eddie was on crutches. He injured his hip.  I might be tempted to doubt whether all the boys’ effort is worth the price.  That would be a selfish thought.

I was trying to give Zeke some sympathy about how little he was eating.  He reminded me that most of us eat WAY more than we really need to on any give day.  It’s quite possible to survive on less, he told me.  Then, I told him he must not understand that I have very little tolerance for hunger.  I bet he never thought of that.  Mr. Sillypants.

I haven’t always been the best at embracing difficulties: physical (especially physical), mental, emotional.  I’m more in favor of things that happen without effort, and require little sacrifice.   I can see what is happening with all these wrestlers though.    I can see these kids are learning how to endure temporary discomfort to achieve long term goals.

Immediate gratification is a part of our wonderful, modern and convenient culture.  It isn’t wrong.  I love the drive up window.   It’s just that I have this suspicion that having what we want, whenever we want it, gets us a little out of practice with self denial.  Sometimes self denial is necessary, often helpful when building something meaningful.

I was also thinking that if a kid learns young that hard work, a bit of self denial and a dash of temporary discomfort can help them achieve something quite worthwhile over time, that kid might be well prepared for handling life.  Life isn’t always like the drive up window.

Anyway, it’s too soon to say for sure if I’m right about all this.  But, it helps a mom to believe.

fargodome 1

Emily and How to Love Middle School

I am way ahead of the sun this morning.  I woke up even earlier than usual.  My heart is full.  I have to write.  Not writing this morning would be like waking up with a terrible thirst, and not taking a drink.  Unnatural.

Yesterday was Olivia’s 8th grade promotion.  I had a pretty decent headache yesterday evening.  I think my head hurt,  because my heart couldn’t hold all my feelings.  Some of my feelings landed in my head.  Yesterday was a great day.  A wonderful day.  A tearful day.

I didn’t shed tears because Olivia is going to high school.  I shed tears because of Olivia’s friend, Emily.  Emily and Olivia have been very good friends since 4th grade.  Emily is funny.  She has a quiet voice. When you listen closely, you hear Emily’s witty remarks. Emily loves her dogs. She loves her family, and Emily REALLY loves sports.  I’ve tried talking to Emily during a football game. That’s a one way deal. Emily didn’t hear me. She was completely engrossed in the game. Emily is a loyal friend.   Emily has Noonan Syndrome.

Emily is in 8th grade.  Over the years, Emily has had many serious surgeries.  Last year, Emily had heart surgery.  This year, Emily was experiencing almost constant pain.  The Doctors told Emily that they could help eliminate some of her pain by fusing two parts of her spine.  That’s what they did.

Emily’s surgery was the day before 8th grade promotion.  Olivia and I were feeling some grief about Emily missing this milestone.  I do not know what it’s like to have a daughter with Noonan Syndrome. I can’t.  I do know how it feels to be a parent watching your child’s friends enjoy life, passing through joyous milestones, and feeling like your child is forgotten and left behind.

Eddie spent about 80 percent of his elementary and middle school years at home.  While his friends were on field trips and playing baseball, Eddie was probably at another doctor’s appointment, or curled in the fetal position, waiting for a break from his pain.  I’m not feeling sad about this now.  We have had so much sympathy from kind people over the years.  Really.  More sympathy than anyone deserves.  I know you’re a big softy, but please don’t be tempted to feel sorry for us now.  Eddie is feeling GREAT.

I’m just recalling this memory,  because our experiences have made our family unable to NOT share the grief of another family walking through something similar.  Our own story is why every time I felt love and happiness for all the sweet 8th grade kids promoting to 9th grade yesterday, I simultaneously fought back tears for Emily.  While all those precious soon-to-be-ninth graders were celebrating their success, Emily was attempting to raise her head 60 percent, and  successfully dangle her feet off the side of the hospital bed. Accomplishing this was going to be Emily’s reason to celebrate.

Emily’s Mom, Traci, Olivia and I wanted Emily to participate in 8th grade promotion.  We came up with a good idea:

emily grad 4

Traci told us Emily wasn’t up to watching the video yet, but Traci said watching it brought joy to Traci’s heart.  Oh man, now I’m being a big baby, and crying again. I’m feeling grateful God gave me exactly what I asked him for this time.

After graduation, I was taking Olivia and some of her friends somewhere.  The girls were laughing and being funny.  I liked listening to them talk.  Some of the girls said they cried when they hugged their teachers goodbye.  They were sad to say goodbye to these teacher-friends, and to all their happy memories. I was feeling soft and gushy about Emily, and now this.  My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude.  My daughter actually loved middle school.  I know middle school can go so wrong, and that’s why I’m humbled with the emotion of it all.

When my kids were in grade school, I heard some terrifying stories about middle school.  Those stories had me seriously contemplate home school.  I remember one woman telling me about her middle school aged granddaughter who was cornered in the hallway by some girls. The girls smeared katsup all over this woman’s granddaughter, because the girls were mad at her.  This woman also told me that another mean bully took a scissors, and cut a chunk of her granddaughter’s hair.  See?  I wasn’t lying.  These stories are actually nightmares happening in real life.

Our boys got to middle school, and things were fine for them.   I would usually drop the boys off first in the morning,  and then take Olivia to the elementary school.  I remember Olivia taking a look at the “big” middle schoolers milling around the front door in the morning, and she said, “I don’t EVER want to be in middle school.  Those kids look scary.”

I worried for Olivia.

Eventually, there was no changing it.  It was Olivia’s turn for middle school.  The whole thing just went down great.  Really, I’m overcome with it.  I was trying to break it all down in my mind.  I want to know what made the middle school experience such a happy one for Olivia.  If I could do that, then maybe I could share that information with some other young ones approaching the middle school gauntlet; they also might survive with great memories and no scars.  I want that for everyone.

I’ll try.

Here is an incomplete list of how to love middle school, based on the opinions of a mom blogger. Take these tips for what they’re worth:

1. Shun popularity.  When Olivia was in grade school, I remember talking with a mom of one of Olivia’s friends.  The Mom innocently talked about the “popular girls” in Olivia’s class.  I so rarely find a reason to disagree with anyone.  So rarely, that I remember the times it has happened.  I (hope) kindly told this mom that I didn’t think using the word “popular” with kids was super healthy.   I told her that I thought even one moment invested in evaluating who was popular and who wasn’t, was one moment too many.

Lucky for me, Olivia feared “popularity”.  What she saw of it on Disney and in her own world looked exhausting to her.  She wasn’t at all interested in managing it.

2. Participate.  Try everything that interests you. Olivia tried, band, choir, student council, track, cross country, basketball, volleyball, dance and piano.  She would have liked to try more, but a girls gotta sleep.

3. Embrace Disappointment.   This is the thing.  This is the thing that makes me want to hug my daughter tightly, and tell her how much I like her.  Olivia ran to be an officer for Student Council. She didn’t make it.  Olivia didn’t make the “A” team in volleyball or basketball in 6th grade, 7th grade or 8th grade.  Olivia tried out for every solo in every choir concert, for 3 years.  She never got one.  Olivia made it as an “alternate” for one concert.  She memorized the song, and practiced it many times.  Just in case.

Olivia made it into the talent show in 6th and 8th grade, but she  didn’t make it in 7th grade. That year, her teacher told her she could be a narrator for the talent show instead.  Olivia said yes to that.  Olivia spent many hours learning her narrator part. We thought she rocked it.

Olivia never won a race in track.  Olivia stayed organized, studied and did her homework. Olivia never got straight “A’s”.

I think Olivia is a talented and smart young girl.  I think perseverance and optimism are two of her finest attributes.  A few middle school kids are going to excel at almost everything they try.  Those kind of kids amaze me.  Most of us aren’t like that.

Middle school kids should walk into middle school understanding that it is the trying that is the point.  It is the trying that makes us stronger, smarter, more resilient and better for the next time.  Not being the best should NEVER be a reason to not try again.I don’t ever remember telling Olivia this before middle school. Some how she learned it on her own. Then she taught me.

4. Be a good friend.  Friendship is key.  Really.  Not just in middle school.  The best way to attract high quality friends, is to be a high quality friend.  High quality friends are good listeners.  They root for you, and build you up. High quality friends admit when they’re wrong.  They aren’t afraid to apologize, and they’re quick to forgive.   High quality friends make you feel comfortable and accepted.  Olivia had high quality friends.

5. Like who you are.  You are precious. Be excited about who you are and what interests you.  You’re not an accident. You’re here for a purpose, and to make a difference. Finding your purpose can be your own fun adventure.

6. Faith helps.  Olivia went to youth group, and attended many fun youth group activies.  At youth group Olivia connected with other kids and adults who were excited about their faith.  These faith-filled people built into Olivia’s life, and encouraged her to embrace her own relationship with Faith. Olivia chose to believe God loves her, and He cares about what’s happening in her day.  Faith helps middle schoolers.

I have more tips in me, but I’ve already kept you too long.  Plus, my attention span is shorter than a middle schooler’s.  I stopped listening to myself  after the video.

I don’t know if these tips will help.  I know sometimes the best laid plans can’t overcome a down trodden school system, mean spirited bullies or addiction.  But we can keep trying, right?  Because sometimes trying IS the point.

It’s a Wrap

I already like 2015.  I have a good feeling about it.  Maybe it’s because 2014 was quacktastic.  And, by that I mean 2014 was really good. We’ve got some mo jo going.

I am on my last day of Christmas vacation.  Which is sad for me.  I have enjoyed every single minute of this sucker.  Even the minutes when I was coughing until I threw up.  Just in case you wanted to know about that.  There was some sickness somewhere in those vacation days.  But, who could really notice with all the fun?

I think I can honestly say that this was one of the best holiday seasons I’ve had.  And the reason almost for sure is because Eddie feels healthy.  We’ve had lots of Christmas and New Years when Scott and I  have had to make a mental note to smile in front of all the people we love.  Because, that’s what you’re supposed to do at Christmas. You’re happy.

No one wants to sit around feeling sad when there are presents to be opened, and carols to be sung.  Putting on a fake smile works.  Just, for the record.  You can trick yourself into having a better time by pretending to be happy.  You can’t give in to how you really feel when you’re sad; sad sacks NEVER have a good time.

My family celebrated Christmas on New Years.  My sister, Gail, and her husband and son from Colorado have been visiting.  There has been lots of laughing, game playing, eating, movie watching, fire building and teasing.

I thought that some day my kids could put all the pages of my blog together into a book.  If my grandkids (cross your fingers) and great grandkids want to know more about who they are, and where they came from, their parents can give them my blog to read.  That is, if my kids are not ashamed of me.  That’s a big “if”.      Maybe when I’m gone, my kids will want to erase all traces of me.  It could go either way.

Because I have this vision for my blog, I want to add a lot of our holiday photos.  Too many to interest you, and I’m sorry for that.  But, if you could just do this thing for my great grandkids, I’d be grateful.

Here was our Christmas: We played lots of games.  The girls like to play cards.  I’m okay with “Old Maid” and “Gold Fish”, but these girls like longer games that involve a little thinking.  I definitely try to stay away from thinking whenever possible.

cards

Grandpa and the boys almost always play Monopoly when they’re together. I hate Monopoly,  but I love Grandpa and these boys.

monopolyThe day turned into evening.  The sparking cider came out, and let’s just say some things happened that are better off not being remembered.  But, my camera was rolling.  So, we have no choice but to relive these things.

Some of my sisters and I leg wrestled.  Surprise! The one sister with long, beautiful legs, ALSO was the leg wrestling champ.  So, thanks, God.  Give her long, thin legs AND make her good at leg wrestling.  Because, she needs more good luck.  I would think that the least I could get in return for having legs shaped like cement blocks, is some strength. And, some kind of championship.

leg wrestling

We also played a game that I found a bit boring, at first.  One person had to go into a closet.  Then, we appointed someone in the circle to be the leader.  The leader had to make subtle motions.  Everyone copied the leader’s motions. The person who was in the closet, now stood in the middle of the circle.  That middle person had to guess who the leader was.  I know.  It’s complicated.  I was getting a little tired of the game until Scott came out of the closet in a headdress:

scott's headdress

The closet we had to wait in was filled with dress up clothes.  Finally.  The game seemed more interesting to me.  We made a new rule that whoever was in the closet had to put on dress up clothes before they came out.  Suddenly, I couldn’t wait for my turn.  I didn’t have much to work with.  A wig, a hat and a sweater.  I came out singing, “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my rag time gal…”  And, of course, there was dancing.

hello my dollyScott seemed like he was repulsed by me in this costume.  So, that for sure made me want to be closer to him:

scott's lap

It’s me, Sweetheart. Just give me a kiss.

We ended the night with a hilarious gift card swap game.  And, Grandma and Grandpa gave everyone some gifts too.  Grandma gave her nesting dolls to Olivia and my niece, Naomi.  Olivia and Naomi love to play with these dolls when they come to Grandma’s.

naomi and olivia new years

Olivia and Naomi

I drove the girls home after our party.  The girls agreed that opening the nesting dolls made them happy, but it also made them sad.  They decided they’re going to sneak the dolls back into Grandmas and leave a note with the dolls.  The girls are going to say this: “Grandma, thanks for the nesting dolls.  We like playing with them at your house.  We know we’re going to have many more years to play with them at your house, so we’ll keep them with you for now.”

I knew exactly what they meant.

After the presents we sang a few carols.  We also sang my nephew, Ryan’s, favorite song, “Love Like a Hurricane.”  We shed some tears too; we miss Ryan.  My niece, Libby, said a prayer, thanking God for reminding us of His love for us through the blessing of family.  Then, then we went home.

A lot of the kids ended up in our living room:

cousins sleeping

As far as I can tell, the only bad thing about hanging out with Scott and my families, is that it eventually has to end.  My kids always HATE getting to that part.  Seriously, Zeke and Olivia go through quite a low point after every good bye.  It’s hard for them.

THAT was our New Year’s/Christmas celebration.  I hope you enjoyed your Holiday, and that you can easily recall all your blessings in this world.  I know I’ve told you this, but for sure one of my greatest blessings are the folks who spend a few moments of their lives reading my blog.  I’m so very grateful for that.

Happy, Happy New Year!  Let’s make lots more happy memories this year.

Kitchen Swearing and Bad Songs

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I thought people might notice, and start asking me where I’ve been.  No one did.   Really, not a single, “Where are you?”.  Not even from my Mom.  I’m working through it.  Kinda painful.

Guess it doesn’t matter.  I’m like an addict.  When I can’t find time to blog, I miss it.  I miss it so badly.  I long for it.  So, that’s my secret.  But, they say it’s better to get that stuff out in the open. So, there it is.

Every Mom knows that the Holiday season is just like having another part time job.  On top of your full time job.  On top of being a mother and wife.  Much is required.

At work, things are cranking up.  The boys’  wrestling season has begun, and Olivia is (was) playing basketball.  Plus, I’ve been developing a plot line for our “Teenage Elf”, and posting updates on Facebook.  It’s not like these posts happen by themselves.  And, I mean, if I don’t do them, who will?  That’s the question you have to ask yourself.  I think the answer is: no one I’ve ever known who is an adult, and not on psychotropic drugs.

teenage elf and barbie

All that beautiful stuff in my life is happening at the same time.  This leaves me very little time to breath, think, or write blogs.   That’s the order of my priorities.  I like to breath, think, write blogs, and then everything else.  You’re right. I’m a little off.

At any rate, I would never complain.  Because I feel like the luckiest, most blessed darn girl to be able to do all this stuff.  I might be having more fun right now than I’ve ever had.  And, Eddie is feeling good. So, there’s just nothing in the world to complain about.  Except people are designed to complain, so I still can find ways.

Last weekend, from Friday to Sunday evening, every moment was filled with athletic events.  Literally, every minute of the weekend was spoken for.  No one has ever accused me of being a neat freak.  (Which is unfair, because I really would like to be called that.  And, I do make my bed every day.) But, I do have some standards.  I almost always spend a few hours cleaning on the weekends.  I never really realized what a difference this cleaning made, until I couldn’t do it, and we were slowly buried in filth.

I knew this filth was getting to me.  But I wasn’t complaining out loud.  I just kept telling myself how fortunate I was to be able to have a great job, and to have kids who are healthy, and doing what they love to do.  All the while I’m telling myself these things, my eye is starting to twitch, and my nerves are fraying, because I’m walking out of the door every morning leaving the house in chaos.

Then, one morning I cracked.

Our dishwasher was broken.  Again.  I came back from walking Reggie, and Scott was packing his lunch.  There were dirty dishes on the counter, and the kitchen was an ugly landscape.  Scott patted me on the arm and asked me how I was doing.  I swore.  I did.  It wasn’t a lady like swear word either.  It was the worst kind of swear word.  I told Scott that I was going to be late for work, because I had to clean the bleepin kitchen.  Then I slammed the dog food bowl on the ground and walked out.

What the?

Yeah.  Just because I’m telling you that now, doesn’t mean I’m proud of myself.  I’m not.  I know you’re disappointed in me.  I get it.  I didn’t know that word was in my vocabulary.  I can’t remember ever saying it before.  Scott says I dropped the “f’ bomb one time when he threw a squeaky toy at me while I was sleeping.  I really didn’t.  He heard me wrong.  He just enjoys holding that over me.

That whole kitchen explosion was a total temper tantrum.  I sounded as ugly as my kitchen looked.  Scott was sorta speechless.  I surprised myself.  I had no idea that was brewing.

When I came back in the kitchen after getting dressed, guess what?  The kitchen was pretty clean.  I guess that’s what it takes.  Swearing.  I had no idea about this.  I’m going to pin what I learned on Pinterest.  How to clean your kitchen:  vinegar, baking soda, and “F” Bombs.

No.  I’m not going to do that.  Because swearing is bad.  It’s not a real strategy. But, I have to tell you, it does work better than gentle reminders.

But, no!  Of course, I won’t pin it.  That isn’t right, right?  You don’t think I should.  Do you?  I guess I’m a little torn, because it really did work.

I just have to think about it.  I’m always thinking.

The other day, I was on my way to work and I was thinking about blood sugar.  I was trying to remember the mechanics of how your body keeps blood sugar stabilized.  I’ve read a lot about this stuff.  I really should know this.  I’m really interested in these things.  And strangely, for how much I have read, I know very little.  I can’t seem to retain any of the facts I learn.   And, it occurred to me then, that the reason I get side tracked is because I get busy with things like Teenage Elf photo shoots.

I was arranging Teenage Elf on our buffet one morning, and taking a dozen or so pictures.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Scott shake his head at me.  He does that sometimes.  I’m not sure I like it.  I want to believe that he’s shaking his head like, “Oh, my wife.  She’s so cute.  Who else would dedicate this much time to the plot line of an imaginary Teenage Elf?”

I feel like that might not be what he’s really thinking though.

I don’t get it either.  I wish it would occur to me to act more appropriately.  It never does.

But, then again, Scott can get kinda boring.  Maybe I’m good for him?  I mean,  he puts really almost no effort into Christmas.  He doesn’t even like Christmas music.  Yeah.  I know.  His soul is dark.

The bad thing is, after all these years he’s begun to influence me.  I used to LOVE Christmas music.  Now, I like it less.  The other day I was hanging out with some hilarious friends.  I told them I heard the world’s WORST Christmas song on the radio.  I told them that I for real have to turn the radio dial so fast when it comes on the radio.  The song brings violent images to my mind.  When this song comes on,  I see myself stuffing a sock in the singer’s mouth.

I sang a line from this horrid song to my friend.  She said, “What?  That’s the Carpenters.  That’s a great song.”

So, that’s surprising.  I learned something new.  You can be a totally awesome person, and still like really terrible songs.  Here is the song.  What do YOU  think? It’s terrible, right?

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