The End of Another Year

As we age, the years tend to fly faster and faster. This year has been like that in some ways but has dragged on in other ways. It’s hard to think that these last few months have flown by already and we are nearly at the end of 2016!

Last year at this time, we buried my wonderful mother. It seems like yesterday that I was chatting with her but at the same time it seems like it was years ago. How is that possible that life continues like this? God helps us through these times of sorrow and our family and friends get us through as we come together and create a community of love and hope to make it through the tough times and come out on the other side refreshed and smiling once again. 

Earlier this year, I had surgery that turned ugly. I ended up having a life threatening infection following the removal of my spleen and partial pancreas removal. What a whirlwind! There were days I thought and wondered if I would ever make it through that and see my children grow up. Here I am thanks to the incredible love, again, of my family and friends. Without them, I am not sure I would have had the strength to go on. 

I sent my second daughter off to university which was hard, but not as hard as sending my first one off emotionally. I knew she would be home often enough but it is still another thing to have to get used to. Another change for our entire family just to make things interesting! She loves her school and has made so many friends already. Now she is home for a month a I’m so excited to have her home. 

My oldest has moved out of the house for good which is another change but I’m so proud of the young woman she has become. My oldest has grown up so much over the last year. She got a job and bought her first car. She has made herself a place in yhis world and is making her own roots. She will always be my baby girl though. 

Hubs and I have only 2 at home now. Very strange how that family dynamic changes so much. Usually this is alright with a few exceptions. Our exception is when my youngest has homework time.  My youngest has ADHD which makes the end of the day… well… interesting when I’m working. Luckily we have the best 4th grade teacher this year. She is a tough cookie but very fair and loving with our little guy. She expects his best and he fights tooth and nail! This little man will get through the fourth grade and it will be thanks to his marvelous teacher. 

This year has been one heck of a year and one that I would like to mostly put in the past. There have been bright parts to it as well, and those moments have gotten me through the tough times. 

Looking forward to the new year, I am looking forward to a year of great relationships with family and friends. I look forward to a healthier me in 2017 with hubs and I working on healthy choices for healthier bodies in the new year. I believe that 2017 will be a much better year than the last 2 years have been. So I say, so long 2016 and bring on 2017!

Can I Please Have Another One?

“She’s so perfect. I’d go through it all again right now to have another one just like her,” I said to my then husband while still laying on the surgical table right after seeing my first born daughter. I had a very hard time having that child, but seeing her, here, in the flesh, made everything right. She was perfect. Blond hair and blue eyes. Eight pounds and 12 ounces of absolute love all wrapped up in a tiny bundle for me to love for the rest of my life. How could life be better? I wanted a second baby and I wanted one soon. 

Life with our newborn was blissful. She was the perfect baby. She wasn’t fussy and rarely cried. She was such a happy girl. I loved being a mom more than anything in the world. She was my world. I wanted more and I wanted more now. Unfortunately,  my now ex-husband was very happy with one. would he come.around? Ever?

One year after having our first daughter, I finally got the begrudging okay to start trying for number 2. It took several months to get pregnant. At one point I knew I was pregnant but the pregnancy didn’t take. All the symptoms were there. But if I had been, I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. And I wouldn’t want anyone besides her. She’s special. 

I got away with having baby number two despite his misgivings about another baby but she has been such a joy I can’t imagine life with our her. She wasn’t the easy baby her sister was. In fact, she wanted what she wanted and would make it known until you figured it out! 

As she grew into herself over the years, she has been nothing but joy. she is such a diligent worker. she’s always ready to conquer the impossible with grace and hard work. My life has been so blessed by this child and she continues to bless those having the pleasure of knowing her. 

Recently, she started her pre-med/sociology studies at St. Louis University. She loves it there and works very hard. She is very involved with a service program called Camp Kesem which provides a week of camp to children whose parents are suffering from cancer. She has been on the fundraising trail so that these kids are really able to attend such are really great experience are able to just be kids for a week, leaving the problems and worries of cancer and home for a week. She’s still trying to raise money. The cost of camp is free to these kids so all the money must be raised by others. if you would like to help her and these wonderful kids, just click the link, https://donate.kesem.org/fundraise?fcid=791355

I’ve never been prouder than  I am of my children. I often thank God for allowing me to have such amazing kids, but it could have ended with just one. Thankfully, I persisted and got number two. They will all do great things, but I got away with having number 2, my mini-me.
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This has been a Finish the sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “I got away with…”

Decluttering Your Life

Lately I’ve been working on trying to clean out my house a little bit at a time, one room at a time, one space at a time. it amazes me how much junk we all accumulate over time. I am no exception. my problem however, is that even when I am not particularly attached to certain things, I still somehow feel like there should be a place for those things that I may need. I am ever the work in progress and so is my family.  I can honestly tell you some members need more motivation than others and some need more help to rid themselves of the clutter.

My problem has been the lack of motivation to begin the process. I then have to think whether or not I have used the items within the last year. if the answer is yes, and I still use it, it’s a keeper, if not, I have to ask why not and then either put it in the give it away or throw it away bag, whichever is appropriate. I’ve found it is really cathartic to get rid of things and simplify life. 

We all seem to hold on to clothes as well as other memorabilia but as we age, we suddenly realize that it is unnecessary to save every picture and project little Johnny made growing up. there just isn’t room in the house, no matter how great is was. If you’ve been blessed with more than one child like me, you will certainly run out of space! Sure I have saved a few things, but not enough to fill tubs full of artwork and favorite memories. 

When cleaning out kitchen cupboards,I find it extremely helpful to and skills myself how much do I really use the item. I got rid of so much unnecessary stuff. Hopefully all those items received new homes, as they were in good condition and were given away.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

We still have too much stuff but I continue to work on my simplification of my life. one day, when there are no more kids at home and less pets to care for, I may just have that home I’ve always dreamed of, but for now it’s a home of love that is well lived in. I can live with that and always have my eye on the prize. 

When Your Babies Grow Up

I’ve been thinking a great deal about when my kids were little these last few days. I remember bringing them home from the hospital and wondering who each would become as they got older. As parents, we all have hopes and dreams for our precious children. Some of those dreams may be realized but often times those are our own dreams unrealized. Some parents seem to live vicariously through their children trying to release their own dreams often to be disappointed later when their children become who they are truly meant to become.

When my children were brand new, I held them each in my arms and wondered at the amazing miracle that had been bestowed upon me. I had become a mom not just once once, but four times! God must trust me a lot, I thought. I had a job to do to raise them and to do a decent job is a daunting thought for anyone. When I brought my first daughter home, I couldn’t believe they let me leave with her. What did I know about being a mom? I was 26 and married, and a nurse, but what if she was truly sick? What if she had cancer? How would I know? Yes, that was my thought when she was 4 days old. She and I cried in the rocking chair in her room as I thought this. I was so scared that something would or could happen to my precious baby girl and I couldn’t protect her. 

That baby girl is 20 now and no, she never had anything we couldn’t handle. She has had plenty of battles to face, but she has come out of them stronger and better. She’s one strong and amazing young woman. She is my fighter. I’m proud of her and the woman she is becoming.

My second daughter was always the worker. Even as an infant she knew her own mind and didn’t hesitate to make it known. She was not an easy infant but as she learned to speak very early, she used her large vocabulary to assert herself and she quietly worked for what she wanted. She is my worker bee and peace maker.

My third child was born a girl and grew up as a girl, but never felt comfortable as one. If you aren’t familiar with the term transgender, in today’s society it refers to one born as one gender but feels like the other gender. In other words, they feel like they were given the wrong one at birth. This is my third child, born a daughter, now my son. He is sweet, hilarious and so talented! His artwork is incredible and his ability to figure out music on the piano is amazing! 

And before anyone judges my child or me, step into his shoes for a moment. Would you choose a life where you were different from your peers? No you certainly wouldn’t. You wouldn’t choose to live in a body that didn’t fit who you felt like you were on the inside either. Before you judge others, think of the life they are living. My sweet, funny, shy teenager would never choose to be judged or ridiculed because this isn’t really a choice. It is who he is, not who he chose to be. He is shy and doesn’t enjoy drawing attention to himself. I am proud of my son who used to be my daughter. I am proud of who he is and who he will become down the road. 

My last son is all boy. He was born that way. He is just 9.5 years old and is rambunctious and sweet, wild and snuggly, crazy and huggable all at the same time. You can let him outside with clean clothes on and he will come in filthy 5 minutes later. He has my heart. He drives me crazy. He is a conundrum. What will life bring him down the road? Who knows, but I will do my best to raise him to be the best man he can be. 

Children are a wonder. God’s gift for us to raise and cherish. We are blessed to share life with them and have them. I am truly blessed to have my four amazing kids. How incredible and special each one is and how unique yet similar they are too! It still amazes me when I look at them that they are mine. I will always see them as those little sweet baby faces. I will always remember the sleepless nights and 2 hour feeds, but they’ve grown up so fast. Where did that time go?

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

Fall Has Arrived

It’s that time of year when school is back in full swing and the weather begins to turn cooler. It’s fall! This is one of my favorite times of year, before it gets too cold. 

I am a lover of warm weather and sunshine, but when the autumn chill hits the air, I love to snuggle under my blanket, grab my cup of coffee, and write. Watching the world around me change each day gives me new life and brings about new things to write about.

Have you ever looked at the leaves on an overcast day? The leaves changing color becoming so vibrant in the coolness of dusk or more vibrant still when it rains softly.  What a beauty to behold!

Fall also brings about Halloween which in our house means festivities and decorations. I used to go all out and then life got in the way. Well my friends, Pinterest and I have become good friends and I have plans for this year! We even hope to have one of our parties since my biggest Halloween fan, my 15 year old, will have practice for a show on Halloween itself. Let the good times roll.

Another thing I’ve always loved about fall is the food. Comfort food. Chili and cornbread. I make the best cornbread. It’s sweet and tastes like heaven. Caramel apples, fruit cobblers, bread puddings. And there’s football and my favorite sport, hockey! God bless my St. Louis Blues! 

So as we begin this fall, take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. I have so much. No, ibdont have everything, but I have the most important things life has to offer. I have my health, my family and my friends. Let’s make this fall a fall to remember. 

Fathers and Sons

When the kids drove your spouse crazy and you don’t know what’s going on, it’s like a bomb has gone off in your otherwise peaceful home. At least that’s what it feels like I’m mine. Life happens when things get crazy sometimes. My house is no different than anyone else’s. 

Tonight was one of those nights and my husband’s temper flared. All I know is that while I was in the bathtub, my 9 year old came and poked his nose in to tell me dad was mean and a big dummy. Meanwhile I heard more interesting comments coming from my husband’s direction aimed towards the boy. What is a mom to do? Well, calm the boy and yell that the hubs is not saying very nice things.

Lord give me strength to get through this. That’s my prayer for these little occasions and somehow I always find the strength to muddle through and figure out what happened. Tonight was different though. I enjoyed my bath and let them get through it without meddling too much. I have no idea what the madness was about and furthernore, I don’t care. I’m chalking it up to hubs being tired and therefore cranky and the boy, well, he’s just a typical 9 year old boy.

I suppose for many, myself included, it’s so difficult to be that strong parent with the golden touch when you’re tired. Some people are just naturally prone to being tired. Luckily, I’m usually not one of them, but I have my moments. Sometimes we’ve just had a bad day and unfortunately sometimes our kids just know which buttons to push. I know my 9 year old certainly does. Luckily though. He is resilient like most kids. The two resolved their issue without me which makes me so happy. Then move my hubs has for his son is immense. If only kids realized that love earlier. I think they get it sometimes, but it’s hard in this extraordinarily busy and crazy world we live in. 

The moral to my story? Well, I suppose as mom’s we try to fix everything. Its just what we do. Sometimes it’s okay to let them fix their problems all by themselves without getting involved. They can do it and it will strengthen their relationship in the long run.

Thoughts For Coffeetime

It’s coffee time and it’s the weekend. My thoughts today are rather all over the place today. I’m glad it’s the weekend and time to relax a bit. Hubs and the boy will be heading off to the British Car show tomorrow leaving me home alone for either projects or relaxation. I have yet to decide.

Work is going much better and I’m starting to actually feel useful around the offices I’m placed in. Hurrah! At last! Sometimes the task lists are daunting and I have no idea what to do with some of them, but for the most part, with some detective work, I can do something. As a float nurse, that’s what it’s all about. Getting through what we can and muddling through the rest of you can.

Homework, for the most part, is going well with the boy. In saying this, we still have today to get through since we didn’t do Friday’s homework yet. Bummer on my part. I wasn’t feeling it yesterday. I suppose mom needed a little break.

Have you ever noticed how God works in those little mysterious ways? Lately, I’ve been talking to an old friend who has made me feel connected to so many good things in life. I so enjoy our conversations each day. It is something that has brought great joy to my life.

So, what’s new in your world this week? How has your week been? Join me for coffee and let’s make a connection!

Ugh! Calgon Take Me Away!

Ever have a day, a week, a year where you just want a do-over? Or maybe just hit the delete button for so many things that have happened? This year has been it for sure and although I’m not feeling like hitting the delete button today, I could sure use a bubble bath, candles, some expensive chocolates, wine, a vacation lodge in the bahamas. 

Oops, sorry, I meandered off for a moment. The point being that we all have those times where we need to destress! 

I’m not sure about you, but my life is hectic enough with just my 2 remaining kids at home, working and the house. But so much more is added on to us nowadays it seems. There’s carting everyone around and work and… homework.

Homework takes up my evenings with the boy. It just never seems to be finished. It isn’t for lack of trying either. I seem to lose him just when it’s time to pick up the other kid! Grrr. Getting him back to task is nearly impossible!

On days there’s lots of homework it makes getting dinner nearly impossible! Did I mention the ADHD issue? Today is one of those days and somehow homework is relegated to me because I have better luck with him, but not when there is this much.

I’m not sure how my mom did this, but I do know that my brother and I were independent. We did our own homework. When did this change for kids? When did it change that husband and wife couldn’t spend any time together because of homework? Calgon please take me away! I need a vacation and it’s only the second week of school!

Time for Coffee

Oh how I’ve missed having coffee with you! Let’s get a quick bite to eat and catch up.I’ve made some homemade oatmeal chocolate chip butterscotch cookies or there’s strawberries and angel food cake of you would prefer that.most of all, I’ve been looking forward to your company.

The kids are back at school now and life is back to it’s normal school year routine. Hard to believe I sent my second one off to college but she’s working hard and having a blast. What did we do before cell phones? She texts me and snap chats me almost every day. She’s gone to a Cardninals baseball game, done some Zumba and salsa to boot! Don’t worry, she has always studied and is doing that too. 

Number 3 is transitioning to  sophomore year as well. He so far has all A’s so what’s not to love there. I have a feeling that this will be a big year for him. He’s been going through a lot of changes lately but knowing that he has the love and support of his family will be the strength he needs throughout his life. He’s challenged by teachers to be his best, including his art teacher. I think she won’t be disappointed knowing my baby’s mad art skills! But when that teacher seems to single you out and speak directly to you in front of the class? Well, you just go do your thing! Go shine!

The little man seems to be adjusting to 4th grade fairly well. Granted it’s just a week so far, but homework is getting done, bedtime is being met and chores are mostly getting done. Work in progress! I’ll be talking to his teacher on Monday to see about behavior and work to see what improvements can be made. Pray for him and for me! I’m trying to be the proactive parent this year and working less means more time helping him stay on task.

Lastly, I’m back at work. I wish I could say I’m loving it, but it is work after all. I’m slow but learning and getting there. I finally have great teachers. I’ll get there and I sure felt better coming home Thursday than I did on Tuesday! Next week is the same but longer days. I’ll get there. I’ll get to know the job and the people and I’ll be just fine. Then, and only then, will I be able to say I love my job.

So, how was your week? I’m dying to hear about it! I hope it was wonderful just like you!