Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Two Most Important Things

To round out November, I'm going to get a little sentimental. Just for a minute.

The two most important things I am thankful for. My kids and my life.

I KNOW I KNOW. I cheated. I already said my kids. Tough.

There are plenty of times where I am ready to curl up in the fetal position and just let the kids win. They can trash a house in 2.5 seconds. They have more endurance than I ever did, and they know what buttons to push to get their way. Even Charlie. When they cry, I often roll my eyes and want to run away. Because even when they are hurt, it is 5 seconds of "I'M HURT!" and 3 minutes of "I AM REALLY PISSED OFF ABOUT GETTING HURT!!" And I can't do anything about them being pissed off.

But they are the reason I get up in the morning. They are the reason I work, the reason I smile. The reason I breathe. They make me want to pull my hair out, and then they wrap their arms around me and I feel my insides melt. I want to bury my head in their hair and breathe in their sweaty/shampoo scent and just stay that way forever. I love watching them play with their cousins and learn new things and just...enjoy life. Whoever said that kids make you young again was totally right. They remind you what is good about your life, when things have gotten so complicated you just want to sell everything you own and move in with the Duggars.

(Why the Duggars, you ask? Because they appreciate life. They realize what is and faith. And even if they are insane for having 20 kids, at least they got the appreciate life part right.)

Before I had kids, Fonz was my baby. He was the reason I got out of bed in the morning...because there was no one else to take care of him but me. He taught me so much. Especially in the first two years, I applied a lot of my dog training experience to raising my kids. (Only time will tell if that worked out.)

So my dog and my kids remind me to appreciate life. My life. My awesome fucking life. As much as I can bitch and complain about how much Workaholic works, and having to take care of our house and dog vomit and kid poop and going to the grocery store and not making dinner and my job and anything else I can find to find fault with, I have a pretty damn awesome life. NO ONE's life is perfect. NO ONE. No one is perfect. I bitch and moan about my overbite and how I need to whiten my teeth and lose 30+ pounds. Everyone has struggles and barriers and challenges. But outside looking in, I have a fantastic life. And I appreciate it. I really do. I am SO thankful for it. Sometimes all you need to do is step back and take a deep breath and let all the little things go. Don't let them matter. Because really, it is the big things (in small, kid sized packages) that make life worth living.  

So that is it. That is my 30 (29) things that I am thankful for.

Please be prepared for some major complaining in December and especially January, and be fully prepared to bitch slap me if I get too whiny.

What are you thankful for the most? Or the least?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 28

On Saturday, a man who was an experienced pilot was taking his daughter back to college. Another daughter and a family friend accompanied them.

They didn't make it, crashing in poor weather in a soybean field.

As the daughter of a pilot, I am thankful this was never my family.

My sincerest and heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of those four victims, whose lives were tragically cut short.

Hug your kids and parents a little harder tonight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

16 Thru 27-Things I Am Thankful For

16. My car. I have a black Toyota Sienna with tan (some might call it gray) leather interior. I love the way it drives, the space it has for our family, and how clean it is when Workaholic spills a Red Bull in it and spends hours cleaning it.

17. I am thankful for Workaholic's job. When work is good, everything is good. (except for my sanity) Work is very good right now.

18. My store credit cards. Because when I spend money on them, they send me coupons and free money. Fun!

19. My house. I know, I've bitched about it a lot. It is a lot to take care of. But so is any place you rest your head. I love the closets and the basement and the bonus room and my bathroom. bathroom. I LOVE not having to share a vanity with Workaholic.

20. A list like this would not be complete without mentioning health. I am healthy. My husband is healthy. My kids are healthy. My parents are healthy (as far as I know...they don't like to talk about medical things) My sisters and their husbands and their children are healthy. Hell, even my pets are healthy. So yeah, I am thankful for that.

21. The iPad. Sam loves it. Like, loves it. We can use it as a babysitter, a reward, a punishment, a goal for her. I would never pay $500 for something like that for my kid to play on, but it was a gift, so YAY!

22. Food. Especially Thanksgiving food. Anything bland colored. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, corn, dumplings, Tiebel's rolls, ice burg lettuce salad, and ranch dressing. Apparently sweet potatoes are pretty awesome too, but I can't say I eat those.

23. My neighborhood. While no place is absolutely perfect, there is a plethora of kids in my neighborhood. My neighbors are friendly and I would have no problem calling some of them and asking them to go into my house and check on something. It is safe and clean and we have a nice, big yard. What more can you ask?

24. Invisible Fence. Yep, Fonz sticks around to our house no problem. Kale? Not so much, he is a social butterfly with no regard to boundaries. The money I spent installing the Invisible Fence was worth it's weight in gold. I don't have to worry about Kale chasing golfers or my neighbor's kids (who are terrified of dogs) or, um, pooping, in someone else's yard.

25. Blogs. They fill my day and give me lots of crazy conversations that go something like... "I read a blog where a girl picked up and moved to Alaska in 3 weeks," or "A woman on a blog I read had triplets and depended on social media to not lose her mind...and I think it worked!:, or how another woman randomly got an idea and raised $20,000 to help families have a happy Thanksgiving. All from her blog. I doubt that others like dooce, Heather, or Mama Kat even know that I exist or read the stuff they write religiously. There are others like Pamela, Amber, and Jennifer who know I read their stuff. We all try to put ourselves out there, and we support each other, and really...who knew that complete strangers in far away places could do that for you?

26. WordFeud.

27. The recall function in Outlook. When you send an e-mail that you know is really shitty, you can try to recall it before the receiver knows what a total bitch you are. Actually, I really like the calendar in Outlook too. It is synced to my phone, which usually makes life helpful.

Stay tuned folks...only 3 more things to be thankful for. I better make them good! (hint:one of them is not my Starbucks barista)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For Your Enjoyment

Today I am thankful that my kids have never done this. And yes, I know that they are totally capable.

(Apparently there is some controversy on the Internet that this was staged and is not real. Those people obviously are not parents of 2 young toddlers.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Never Too Late to be a Tad Thankful

I don't know if you've seen it, the people on facebook finding something to be thankful about every day. Around the 28th it should start to get interesting...they have already mentioned things like food, family and shelter, so they'll have to start being thankful for their local Starbucks barista or the fact that their toilet chose to work that day.

I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of annoyed when I saw that people were doing this. Thankfully, not too many of my friends decided to participate, so I feel as though I should make up the difference here on my blog.

Since it was the Ides of November yesterday, I'll do the 15 Things I am Thankful For. This is in no particular order, seeing as how I am sitting in my basement office contemplating whether or not I brushed my teeth today.

1. The ability and privilege to work from home. I am home literally every other day, and it was a long, hard fought battle at work to get this arrangement. There is something to be said for going into an office every 48 hours and conversing with people that you conspire with to make your company a profit. There is also something to be said for knowing that the next day, you don't have to hear the same voices in the background every minute and that you don't have to shower in the morning if you don't want to.

2. My pets. Sure, Kale can be a pain in the ass a lot of the times. And half of the time, you wonder where Fonz is. The other half of the time, you wonder where Sampson is. But in the morning and at night, all three snuggle up around me and give me the opportunity to pet down my blood pressure.

3. My bed. See above for morning and night.

4. My kids. Samantha and Charlotte have taught me that I can indeed endure pain. (Yes, I got an epidural, but I was in back labor before my knight in shining scrubs arrived.) They also have taught me that I have more patience than I ever thought I would, and that the patience does in fact run out. They are beautiful and smart and charming and have stolen my heart. And for that, I will be forever grateful. Even when there is poop on the floor and Kale is eating it and then Charlie decides to run and the same time. While not wearing a diaper.

5. Prozac. Because if the above situation would have happened pre-meds, I would have ran into my bed and cried and probably whacked the kids and the dogs and even Sampson, even though he did nothing wrong. Now I can deal. And even laugh about it.

6. My husband. Sure, he works a lot. Like, A LOT. Ask any of my neighbors. They will tell you. But he loves us, and everything he does is for us. He let me get another dog when everyone, including him, thought I was nuts. He doesn't yell at me when the house is a mess and there is no dinner because some days I just. can't. deal. He is my rock, and he is happy to do it. Plus, he makes me laugh. Like, A LOT. He knows just what I need, when I need it. And isn't too bashful to say so. Plus, there are a lot of light bulbs in our house that wouldn't get changed if it wasn't for him.

7. My DVR. And cable television in general. Not only does it provide a great baby sitter for the kids when I am trying to get work done or on the rare occasion I am making dinner, but it provides me great entertainment as well. NCIS, Parenthood, NBC5 news, (how you doin' Matt Rodewald?), How I Met Your Mother re-runs, Hoarders *shudder*, and the opportunity to watch  my Purdue sports when I can't attend in person. I would be bored if I had no TV. Either that, or I might be more well read.

8. The internet. I have learned so much from the www that it is ridiculous. I hear stories of other people's ways of life (like the Pioneer Woman), stories of how common stillbirth actually is, what to do for heartburn, and how to get the skunk smell out of dog's fur. It also has greatly enhanced my ability to buy lots of crap that I may or may not need in a short amount of time.

9. Michigan...the state, the lake, the cottage, the boats, the friends we have there. I love Michigan. I especially love our new cottage, and the couches in it, and my bed in it, and my kitchen in it, and the front yard. I am thankful that our friends put up with my kids and dogs, and for all that my in-laws have done to help us enjoy our life there.

10. My phone. Sure, sometimes I want to throw my Droid 2 against the wall and switch to the new iPhone with AT&T. But really, my phone has enabled me to be more addicted to the internet and Twitter and Facebook and blogs and checking the weather and traffic and e-mail at any time. And anything that helps with addiction is clearly something to be thankful for.

11. My ability to use proper grammar and spelling. I know the difference between they're, there and their; wine and whine; lose and loose; through and threw; your and you're; although I will admit sometimes its and it's throughs me threw a lupe.

12. Drive thrus. I don't know how we would eat half the time it wasn't for fast food restaurants and the capability to get your food without getting out of your car. I just wish there was a drive thru for milk and bread.

13. Family. Like, all of them. The sisters, the brother-in-laws, the cousins (hundreds of them!) the aunts and uncles, the nieces and nephews, and of course the parents of both me and Workaholic. Each and every one of you has made a special impression on my life. From my cousin I showed in my last post cuddling with his daughter, I learned how to have a good time and enjoy yourself. (hint: it starts with Busch Light) And he also taught me that even if for years and years you make mistakes and don't know what to do with your life, it is never too late to become a great husband and father. (OK wife and mother) I have so many family members, blood and not, who reach out at just the right time and remind me of who I am. And for that I am forever grateful.

14. My friends. You know that saying that you can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends? There is a reason for that saying. Because when your family pisses you off and makes you cry, you pick up the phone and call your friends. And they agree with whatever you are saying and sigh with you and say, "That is why you can't pick your family." And then they tell you a story about their own family that is so. much. worse. And you laugh and feel better. I have friends near and far, and they are there for me. No matter what.

15. Coca-Cola Classic. I know, I know, I should end with something sweet and sentimental. But I get all sentimental when I taste that bubbly sweetness sliding down my throat. Mmmm...

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Between Here and There

A few weeks ago, I wanted to show you all this picture.

It is a tree down the street I drive every day. The photo wasn't perfect, and I couldn't per-fect it, so I decided not to write this post.

This post about fall. Fall. The season where the leaves fall off the trees, after they change colors. (at least that is what I am teaching Sam)

This tree is one of the first to change every year. For about a week, or less, it is a brilliant shade of yellow. So beautiful. For that week, I drive past that tree twice a day and want to smile. Sometime I do, and sometimes I don't.  

Because then all the leaves fall. And just like that, it is ugly.

Every year, I am torn between whether or not I like fall. Because it means that winter is coming. Snow. Cold. Dark dreary days that never end, but never really begin because there is so little daylight.

But there is beauty, like the tree down the street. And the others that follow, turning brilliant shades of red and orange and yellow, before blowing away in a cool autumn breeze. Or, as was the case this year, wind gusts reaching 60mph.

I am trying to like fall this year, trying to remember the happy parts of winter. SNOW!!! (maybe we'll get another Snowpocalypse!) Snowmobiling, dogs frolicking in the snow, fires, french onion soup, quiet and peaceful weekends at the lake, and family time on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Then there are the stress of the holidays, the inevitable weight gain, crappy driving conditions, coats coats and more coats, wiping wet dog paws every time they go in and out, picking ice out of dog paws every time they go in and out, slush, Christmas shopping at the mall (not if I can help it!), and the longevity of winter. It is just. so. long.

So I took this picture, a perfect example of fall and winter. Brilliant colors with dark, dismal, bare branches. Is it spring yet? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Family Wedding

Did I ever tell you that my parents are from Southern Indiana? My mom's family is huge, my dad's is not. When someone in my mom's family gets married, it's a damn event.

We made a quick trip down this weekend for my cousin's daughter's wedding. She is 23, so so young, but so so smart and beautiful. I have only met her new husband a time or two, but if she picked him, he must be something special.

In the middle of the ceremony, Sam started to throw a fit. I dragged her butt out of church before trying to figure out what she was saying in that 2 year old whiny voice that is super loud and echo-y in churches. Especially Catholic churches with hardwood floors. Yeah.

As it turns out, all she wanted was to see the bride "in her pretty dress." She couldn't see because, well...she is 2, and we were near the back of the church, and there were people in front of us. So I promised her that we would see her up close and personal, and even take a picture with her. I have connections, you know.

The time came at the reception for a picture to be taken.

Please ignore my crazy eyes.

Notice how Sam was all, "Why are you making me do this?" And how she is holding someone's cell phone? That is because she realized running around like a banshee was waaay better than taking a stupid picture with a girl in a pretty dress. The cell phone was a bribe. (Shut'd do it too.)

The wedding was a great time, kicked off by the bride and groom walking down the aisle at the end to the Purdue fight song. Hail, Hail to Old Purdue, All Hail to our Old Gold and Black. And yes, I sang. And clapped. And so did my mom.

I got back to the hotel about 1am after sending Workaholic home with the girls. The mother of the bride gave me a ride, which is totally normal when I look back on my childhood. My cousins were always taking care of me. Why should last Saturday be any different? Just because I am 33 years old?? (for some reason, that town brings out the drunkard in me)

I had to take this picture of an uncle of the bride with his daughter. I idolized this man when I was a kid, and I'm so happy he has a daughter to snuggle with.

In all seriousness, I had a fantastic time. And I would like to thank the family for putting on such a great shin-dig. (Sunday, however, was another story.) This is my cousin (mother of the bride) and her husband (father of the bride). And the adorable flower girl is only 3 months older than Sam, and her mom is totally fine with bribing too. (she ran down the aisle toward her new Barbie doll) 

Can you say cougar?
 Sam had so much fun, this is her when we got home on Sunday. She stole Charlie's pacifier and didn't even make it upstairs. This was after a 4 hour drive. Sampson is her best friend only when she is asleep.

I'll leave ya'll with a photo of the people who started it all, my mom and her siblings. Thanks for procreating and loving each other so much.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Someone Else Says It Best

I really, really wanted to write something about what has been happening at Penn State over the past few days. If you believe the rumors out there, it could be about to get much, much worse.

I read the grand jury indictment, in it's entirety, last night. It was like a train wreck, I couldn't stop, even though you knew what was coming before it was written. Eight victims, EIGHT. And there are sure to be more. (I believe there may be nine now.) Jerry Sandusky systematically preyed, hunted, and attacked little boys. Boys the age of my nephews. Boys who thought he was a hero. And lots and lots of people knew about it. Yet nothing. happened. Until now.

One of my favorite bloggers, MODG, is a Penn State alum. As is her husband. They met at a tailgate. And I think she puts a very unique perspective on how many people are feeling. People who went to school's with rich traditions, schools that helped form who you are as a person, and how you feel when your school lets you down. what she has to say.

I don't think I need to rant about why it was the right thing to do to fire Joe Paterno. You can argue semantics about how and when it was done, but in the end, little boys were molested. They were lured, bribed, abused, and ...let down by their heros. Grown men should have known better.

I would say that the overwhelming feeling I have right now is...sad. Just as MODG describes it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Screaming

As it turns out, Sam isn't the only one who likes to scream.

Charlie wakes up from her nap every afternoon, and new K goes in and changes her diaper. Before she even takes her off of the changing table, Charlie starts crying. She knows what is coming.

New K will put her on the floor and say, "Come on Charlie, let's go downstairs."

And then this happens.

We are mean, terrible people.

(For the record, if you were to pick her up, she would stop instantly. Of course I didn't pick her up, because I was too busy recording her.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleep All Night? What is that?

I have two older sisters, each with four kids.

One of them has twins.

I remember her telling me after the twins were born that once you become a mom, you never get a full night's sleep ever again. I told her that I would train my children to sleep because I need my sleep. Besides, they would be just like me, and love their beds and love to sleep.

She said that no matter how great of sleepers your kids are, for one reason or another you don't get to sleep all night.

And damn it. She was right.

Both of my kids are champion sleepers. It isn't uncommon for Charlie to go to bed at 7:30pm and not get up until 11am. She'll play for a little while in her crib in the morning, but always falls back asleep before letting us know she is ready to get up.

Sam has been a bit more of a challenge to get to bed lately, and she is up by 8am at the latest. Which isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but I'm telling you, my sleep problems have little to do with my kids.

Typically, I wake up every night at least once. Sometimes I roll over and look at the clock and think "WTF...why am I awake? It is 3am!" And promptly fall back asleep.

Last night I woke up around 3am, Workaholic was getting up to go to work. I listened to the TV from the bathroom, heard him walk out to the kitchen to get milk and cookies (breakfast of champtions) and smiled to myself as he carried Sam in to lay in bed with me.

(She had gotten up when she heard him too and climbed in bed with me. I sent her out to tell him good-bye just to hear his reaction at seeing her at 3:30 in the morning.) Then I changed her diaper and we both went back to sleep, her on his side of the bed and me on mine.

I wish I could get a full night's sleep.

I like to tell myself that I would be much more willing to get out of bed before 7am and start my day if I had slept the previous 8 hours straight. (just let me believe...)

I'm hoping that one day I'll sleep straight through the night again, someday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sam's Sayings

Little kids say the damndest things. Here are just a few things that Sam has said to me lately.

"Mom, I'm leaving. You be good. And be careful. And have fun."

"Mom, here is a piece of paper. These are your markers. Only draw on the paper, don't draw on yourself. If you draw on yourself, I'll take away your markers, because drawing on yourself is bad."

"Mom, this is MY work. Don't bother me when I am working, because that is NOT nice. You work on your work, and I'll work on my work."

"That's such a great idea!" (usually referring to something she thought up)

"Awww...that is sooo cute!" (complete with little girl high-piched squeaky voice)

(talking to Sampson)
"Sampson, you are such a good kitty. I'll pet you nice and that way you won't scratch my face or bite me."

She was talking to 2 tax assessors I let in my house the other day (don't get me started on how bright it was of me to let complete strangers into my house) and when they asked her the cat's name, her response was something like this...

"This is Sampson. We had another cat too. But FelixRoger doesn't live here anymore. He didn't like it here. He lives down the street. He didn't like it here so he went and moved down the street."

The next two are a tie for my personal favorites.

"Don't you say no to me!"

"Mom, I just love you so much."

OK, maybe there isn't a tie.