Monday, June 30, 2008

searching for the right words

Tonight I am searching for the right words to tell my two fireflies (especially the younger of the duo) that the last of the three little kittens that I have been trying to "nurse" into at least teenage cathood passed away this afternoon.

You see, my youngest firefly loves all kinds of fuzzy little critters & had fallen head-over-heels for those sweet baby kittens.  He is so gentle and loving with the little guys, too.   I waited a few days before telling him that Marshmellow (Mel for short), the first of the kittens to pass away, had done just that.  He took it fairly well when I explained that he was really sick.. which my fireflies were somewhat aware of.  Then on Saturday morning I discovered that Fluff (the 2nd fluffy white kitten) had passed away during the night. I was heartsick over it because I had tried so very hard to help the little guys.  I buried Mel & Fluff under our redbud tree in the backyard & the fireflies have gone down to "visit" with them.

This afternoon I went out on the back porch & called for Curtis (my youngest firefly named the kittens.. and the black & white one for some reason was dubbed "Curtis".. which he always pronounces "Turtis").  He didn't come like he usually did.. he followed me around all the time "talking" to me.  :)  I did hear him meowing & I looked all around the porch to see where he might be.  I discovered him down under the steps that lead to the sidewalk & backyard... I don't know if he had fallen in between the porch & the top step(that is a hefty fall.. so I am really hoping not) or if he simply crawled under there on his own.  Anyway.. I just knew that he wasn't long for this world by the way that he cried out to me.  

There is barely enough room for me to get my arm in between the steps & the wall to the backporch, but I wasn't going to let him just die under there.  I worked for what seemed like a long time & was finally able to get him out and took him up to the porch.  I placed the poor little guy in the little box that he's been sleeping in.. complete with his towel.  It wasn't very long before he wasn't breathing anymore. The fireflies don't have a clue that he passed away. I know that it is going to break their little hearts because they had become so attached to the little guys (especially Curtis).

Curtis was a cute little kitten. He really enjoyed climbing up on my husband's chest the last few days when he'd be out on the backporch reading one of his books.  I am going to miss having my little shadow & laundry buddy, too.  Curtis was  a little "talker" and incredibly curious about everything!  :)  

The fireflies & my ladybug are fast asleep for tonight... I will figure out a good way to break the news to them tomorrow.  I had high hopes for this being a good week.. this will be the 3rd kitty funeral in a week's time.  Geez, come to think of it.. this is the 4th pet funeral in a month's time.. (3 kittens & Eduardo our pet turtle).

**Yeah, in case you're wondering.. "Eduardo" got his name from one of the characters on "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" on Cartoon Network--we got him after my oldest firefly's 1st grade class hatched him from an egg.**

good intentions & a great day

Ok, so I had the best intentions of posting something yesterday, but in the end it just didn't get done.  In fact, very little got done around our house yesterday, but we all had a good day & enjoyed just spending time with each other.  The kids got to swim for a while at my folk's house in the afternoon, too.

Yesterday morning we slept in a bit & went to church with my folks.  I was a little surprised that my husband was hip to the idea of visiting with them, but he said that it would give them a chance to show off the fireflies & our little ladybug to their friends.  The service ended up being their congregation's patriotic choir program, but it was pretty good.  I am super proud of my fireflies... their behavior was perfect!! :)   They were well behaved, polite when spoken to & quietly respectful during the program, too.  (unfortunately for them... we've seen their good behavior in action so we know that they can do it!).  ;)  Actually they are pretty well behaved & know what is appropriate for a worship service, etc.  

With the exception of our little ladybug, the fireflies have been going to church since they were 2 weeks old--it's old hat to them.  Ladybug was born 5 days before Mother's Day last year.. her debut was on Mother's Day at just 5 days old.  I had waited so long for my precious little girl that I wanted to show her off to everyone!  I have to say that last year was one of the best Mother's Days that I have ever celebrated-- I was so proud to show off my beautiful family.

Today the weather is beautiful(although we do live in the midwest & that can change in the next 10 minutes!).. sunshine always helps bring a smile. I know that it will come as a big surprise to my readership(all like 4 or so of you!), but I have a big list to accomplish today.. I've actually already gotten a lot of it done & it's only 9am! Thanks to the fireflies sleeping in a bit today(they are up now, but being quiet) & my little ladybug is still snoozing away upstairs.   :)  

I'm off to tackle yet another list & a brand new week with lots of wonderful possibilities...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

another busy saturday

Today is Saturday... a day (at least around our house) that it known to be super busy.. packed with lots of "to do's" and events to take part in. Today is certainly no exception to that "rule".

My husband has already gone & mowed his Mother's yard(a sore subject with me.. cuz she demands that he does it & never reciprocates with any gas $$ for our mower--or our vehicle either for that matter--when my husband takes at least an hour away from us to go across town to mow). Oh, sorry... didn't mean to get on my soap box! ;)  Now.. where was I?  Yeah.. so, he's mowed her yard & is now about 1/2 way done with ours, too.

I've gotten 3 kids up, dressed & fed; done two loads of laundry(& counting); gotten a kitten ready for burial in the backyard this afternoon(one of the 2 remaining kittens that I've been trying to help along since their mother has been leaving them alone for long periods of time);  made a couple of phone calls; checked email; am in the process of posting another blog entry; cleaned up the family room for the 10, 000th time(today!)... I could go on, but I don't want to bore you with all the excitement in my life! ;)  

This afternoon we are going to a surprise 60th birthday party open house for a sweet lady from our church. Nora was my oldest firefly's Bible class teacher when he was in the 4 & 5 year old's(what seems like yesterday!) and she is now my younger firefly's teacher.  It's a come & go thing, so that will be nice--they have a small house & the fireflies get cabin fever quickly there. ;)

On a happy-ish note.. we discovered that although my husband's paycheck is supposed to be direct deposited on Monday the 30th, for some very nice reason unbeknownst to us.. they direct deposited it yesterday! :)  That is the kind of surprise I like to see when I look at our account online... unfortunately, far too often it's a "surprise" that makes you want to throw up.  

I suppose it's about time to see what all else I can accomplish today.. oh, I almost forgot we have to go to the library today, too!  :)  At least the fireflies are getting along well today & our little ladybug is in her perpetual good mood, too.  In fact, it's just about ladybug nap time---maybe that will help with my list of accomplishments, too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

update of sorts..

I actually got a nice little nap at my folk's house this afternoon & my little ladybug ended up falling asleep on her Grandma's lap, too! Unfortunately, before she(& I) fell drifted peacefully away to napping land.. she bumped her little head on the arm of their gliding rocker. She's got a bump right between her beautiful little eyes now.. I thought for sure that it would look a lot worse than it does & that she might end up with a shiner around her left eye, too.  Unless you knew what happened this afternoon.. to look at it you really can't even tell(thank goodness.. but at least she had her pictures taken at the photographers last week).

The fireflies got to swim for a little while this afternoon.. not as long as they wanted because we had thunderstorms come through our area with lots of thunder & some lightning.  There was a lot of griping from both of them, but they got over themselves and enjoyed watching a couple of shows about UFOs on the History Channel while I napped on the couch. :)  So, it ended up a win, win kinda thing for all of us!

We have an exciting evening ahead of us.. we're going to make homemade pizzas & watch some old "boys" stuff that my husband got from Netflix.  I believe that some Johnny Quest & Stingray(much like Thunderbirds.. Supermarianation stuff from the '60s) are on tap for our viewing "pleasure".. it's definitely more a boy thing than my thing.. but they'll enjoy it. Oh the sacrifices that a Mommy makes for her fireflies! ;)

It sure was nice to get a little break & get to take a nap to finally get rid of my monster sinus headache this afternoon.  My folks are pretty awesome.. we have our moments when we disagree on stuff(don't get me wrong.. and my Mom & I haven't always had a super relationship), but they're always there when I(we) need them.  Although my husband may not agree with me all the time about them... they are far less psycho than his mother & way more bearable to just hang out with, too! ;)  I know a lot of people who whole-heartedly agree with me on that, too.  (seriously!)

 I am blessed and sometimes I take that for granted.. I take them for granted.  My Dad is 71 now & my Mom is 70, both have numerous health issues and I know(although I don't like to think about it) that in not too many years from now they won't be with us any more.  That scares me a bit, so when I start to think about that eventual reality I always push it back into the "I'll deal with it(or not) later on" part of my mind.

I suppose that it is time to get in gear & start making some yummy homemade pizzas!! :)  I cheat a bit & use Betty Crocker's pizza crust mix(it's only 88cents a pack at our local grocery store & all ya do is add water to it!), pizza sauce & then whatever toppings everyone wants. Typically the fireflies & I have a hamburger pizza & my husband like hamburger, pepperoni & sometimes jalepenos on his.  I like the ease of the crust mix & it is a fun family activity getting to build pizzas... occasionally I will just use canned biscuits for the "dough/crust" and the kiddos love that, too.  Cheap & yummy fun for the whole family!  :)

just when it seemed the fog was lifting..

Just when it seemed like the fog was lifting & I was getting over the allergies/cough & cold... surprise!  I woke up feeling lousy again this morning. Despite getting a good night's sleep.. ladybug slept peacefully last night & as a result.. so did I! :)

Hopefully with a little help from allergy medicine and ibuprofen, I will quickly be on the road to feeling better. My head is pounding from a huge  sinus pressure induced headache right now.  I so.. wish that I could just crawl back into bed and disappear for a few hours until the medicine works it's magic--reality is that my fireflies & little ladybug need their Mommy.  Perhaps ladybug will take a nap with me in the recliner later on while I put in a movie for the fireflies to watch! ;)

Although I don't feel like doing anything at all today... the show must go on!  I am working on the never-ending laundry(which actually I don't mind doing that much.. yeah, I am one of those weird freakish people that actually enjoy doing laundry!) and hope to get the kitchen tackled later today, too.  Really not a great deal left in the kitchen.. a few dishes & the not-so-fun j0b of scrubbing the kitchen floor.  Usually I just sweep & use the swiffer wetjet on it, but it needs a serious deep clean... so I will have to break out the big guns this afternoon(or maybe tonight after the fireflies & ladybug are in bed... less feet to walk across it while it's still wet!).  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ladybug wrestling .. round #2

Last night was round #2 for me & my little ladybug.  She had been perfect at bedtime & went to sleep with no issues at all.. or so we thought!

At 20 minutes til 2am this morning she awakened with a dirty diaper & bad diaper rash(all my kiddos have had horrible diaper rash whenever they were cutting teeth).  My husband seemed to be sound asleep (of course.. he probably wasn't pretending given that sleep is his super power.. as he is quick to admit), so I got up to take care of her.  After a diaper change & heavy application of medicated cream, she seemed like she might just snuggle into my arms and go right back to sleep.  Well.. my hopes quickly faded on that front when she saw our dog & cat in her doorway--they had come to see what all the fussing was about.  Ladybug LOVES critters & she proceeded to talk to them, wave at them, clap for them & blow them kisses. :)  

While it was sweet to watch her spreading her little social wings with some of the four-legged members of our family... please keep in mind that it was 2 o'clock in the morning & I had to be up early to get my oldest firefly ready for a field trip his summer science camp was taking to the St. Louis Science Center today.

So.. I woke up my husband to let him know that I was taking ladybug (& my pillow) downstairs to the family room to get her to settle down(I hoped!) and go to sleep with me in the recliner.  I didn't keep track of what time it was when she finally fell soundly asleep on my chest, but I felt like I didn't get much more than an hour & a half of actual sleep last night.  

I am praying that she will sleep soundly tonight & that the fireflies will sleep-in tomorrow morning, too.  We don't have to be anywhere tomorrow & my husband will be driving our vehicle to work.  It is inconvenient to only have one vehicle, but we are blessed to have my folks living very near us, as well as my Aunt, too. They are great to help with transportation & free babysitting(on the rare chance that there is "extra" money to go on a "date" with my husband).

If the weather holds out(and attitudes  of the fireflies!)..  the fireflies, little ladybug & I will probably go to my folk's house to play in their swimming pool.  I told the fireflies that they might still get to play even if it rains.. as long as there isn't any lightening.  I mean, hey, they're gonna get wet anyway! ;)  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the pitter patter of little feet

 My little ladybug almost took a couple of  "solo" steps today.  She started to & then realized that she wasn't holding onto anyone or anything & quickly grabbed my leg.  She had a huge grin on her face & was babbling at me while pointing her adorable, chubby little finger... as if to say "Hey Mommy.. did you see what a big girl I am?!".  She certainly isn't my bitty little ladybug anymore.. how quickly those precious itty bitty baby days went by.  I smiled down at her & told her that I was proud of her & we all clapped for her, too. 

Some good friends of ours at church announced this week that they are now expecting Baby #4!  (which is somewhat interesting since they had said that they weren't having anymore kiddos when we were all discussing the subject this time last year).  Anyway.. I am really happy for them & praying that all will go well her pregnancy.  She & I were pregnant together back in 2002 when I lost my son, Elijah(& another little one in February of 2003, t00)... in fact my due date with Elijah was supposed to be on my birthday and just 2 weeks ahead of when she was due to have her second ladybug.  We've been through a great deal in our friendship when it comes to the pregnancy thing...  it was hard to watch her go through her pregnancy with no issues at all after having lost my babies.  I will never forget how hard it was to hold back tears when I held her little ladybug the first time... very bittersweet. 

I will also admit to a twinge of jealousy when I heard their news, too..  knowing that my husband doesn't want any more kiddos & that we couldn't afford to add any more little ones unless we were to win really big playing the lottery.  Honestly though.. if things were a lot different financially (& I could convince my husband), I would have another baby in a heartbeat.. well, I would wait until my little ladybug was a little bit older.  

It hurts to know that my husband isn't hip to the idea of any more little ones---even if we were to win the lottery.. but I guess (like a lot of other things in my life) I just need to get over it & not think about the subject anymore.  Unfortunately, it seems that I am entering another "season" of parenting..  whether I am ready to give up those precious itty bitty baby days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

feeling a wee bit better(while riding our roller coaster)...

Although I didn't sleep well last night & I woke up with very little voice and a lovely hacking cough... by mid-day, I was starting to feel a lot better(physically at least). 

Anyone who says &/or thinks that marriage is an easy rose petal strewn walk into the sunset is smokin' something!  Today ended up being one of those days that seem like my husband & I have been married for a lot longer than the 11 years that we are getting ready to "celebrate" next month.  Communication & finances(which are usually the  major factors) were the crux of what upset our apple cart this afternoon.  Maybe someday things will be less roller coaster-ish in our little corner of the world.

Don't get me wrong, I love him with all my heart... and would never in a million, billion years do anything to hurt him.. but there are days when I still have to vent a bit!  ;)  

I think that sometimes people that we know think that my husband must make a lot of money for us to be able to afford for me to stay home with our kids, well... not to burst any bubbles, but.. that isn't the case.  My husband works hard and has been with the same company coming up on 11 years next month(he started there 2 days after we got married).  We made the decision for me to stay home with the kids when we were first talking about having children.. we felt that it was really important to make that financial sacrifice.  The cost of everything is going up, up, up these days & there are now 5 of us on his income(which unfortunately hasn't gone up!), to say that money is tight is an understatement.  (semi-side note.. we also have one vehicle & my husband carpools with someone who works near where he does).

I get frustrated, discouraged and depressed thinking about how we're going to make ends meet every month. God has always provided for us though... I keep having to remind myself of that lately, though.

I must admit to being incredibly tired of hearing folks at church talking about their big vacation plans and the new stuff that they are doing to their homes & what not... I keep my mouth shut & my feelings bottled up, but sometimes I just feel like screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!".  (I know.. real mature, but I am being honest & sometimes I seriously feel that way).   

If only that blasted Prize Patrol van would quit getting lost on the way to my house!!  I have big plans if we were ever blessed enough to win the $10 million from PCH... lots of wonderful, noble causes to support and people to help... only a handful of things that I would do for me--seriously, I always put everyone else in front of me(unfortunately, I am usually too tired to do anything for myself because I've helped everyone else). Also interesting(at least to me) that all those folks that I always put first & bend over backwards to help never seem to reciprocate.  I suppose that is a commentary on our society.

Well, it's off to bed for me after I check on the kittens in the basement.  Hopefully I can get some good, relaxing sleep tonight... I'm exhausted physically and emotionally.  In the wonderful words of Annie.. "The sun will come out tomorrow!" (sure hope so.. cuz I am tired of the monsoons!).

Monday, June 23, 2008

the fog is lifting a bit

I am happy to report that the fog that I have been in the last couple of days is starting to lift a bit.  Despite not feeling great today, I have been tackling my list of stuff and doing a good job staying focused today, too.

My fireflies have had a few sparks & have squawked at each other off and on today, but did manage to stay on task(well.. mostly!) with their job of picking up the toys in the playroom.  My little ladybug has been in a super mood all day & took a wonderful 2 1/2 hour nap this afternoon so that I could get some things accomplished.

A few more smallish things to do in the kitchen & I can mark that off my big list!!  I also managed to get our bed stripped & the bedding washed(and dried) this afternoon, too!  This is really exciting stuff, people.  

Well, we've been invited out to dinner with my folks this evening, so I better get the fireflies lookin' presentable & double-check the contents of my ladybug's diaper bag, too!  Hope you will have a wonderful evening.

allergies & floods & feelin' crumby, oh my!

Yesterday started with me not feeling 100% with my allergies still driving me crazy!  My husband was scheduled to preach at Indian Creek church of Christ in Hardin, IL yesterday morning.. that's about 45 minutes to an hour drive from where we live.  

If anyone has been following the news lately, you know(at least to an extent) that we've had a lot of flooding along the Mississippi river in the past week or so.. we take the Great River Road, which runs right along the mighty Mississippi, to get to our destination.  We also have to cross the Illinois river on our way, too.  We talked to one of the elders up there on Saturday evening & he told us about the detour that we would need to take to get to them for services.  It turned out that the detour didn't take any extra time & although we saw evidence in places along the river road of floodwaters having been on it in the past week, we didn't encounter any problems.

As is my tradition, I baked muffins bright & early yesterday morning for all of us to munch on while we were driving up to Indian Creek.  I discovered a long time ago that muffins are a very transportable breakfast item for the drive & hey, who doesn't like freshly baked muffins?! 

By yesterday evening, I was feeling pretty crumby & was pretty much useless in getting the fireflies ready & tucked into bed(thanks, Sweetheart for taking care of them).  Ladybug & I ended up falling asleep together in the recliner downstairs in the family room.  This morning I am still not feeling 100%.. perhaps a little better than last night, but don't have much of a voice today which could prove interesting if the fireflies decide to spark off each other.

Despite feeling crumby, I am determined to march on in my fight to get all of the items on my lists accomplished.  I will update later in the day on my progress!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

clean up, clean up...

Today is clean up day for me at our house.  Our younger firefly spent the night at my folk's house last night & my husband and our oldest firefly are going to be going to their model rocket launch in about an hour or so. Ladybug and I have big plans to really get some stuff done around here... much easier with those silly boys out of the house! ;)

My list of  "to do's" is getting a little bit smaller, but still needs some major work.  I am motivated & actually a little excited about being able to be un-interupted in my pursuits today(well.. mostly, I will still have my ladybug with me).

Well.. it's off to get my projects accomplished!! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

music at dusk

This evening we enjoyed spending time together as a family.  My folks had mentioned that they were going to Riverview Park this evening to hear the Alton Muny Band perform.. tonight was to be "Children's Night".  Every Thursday & Sunday evening during the summer for the past 118(yes, one hundred & eighteen years!), this band made up of folks from our community have performed free band concerts.

We decided to take our two fireflies & our little ladybug and check it out.  We're so.. glad that we did, because we all had a great time enjoying wonderful music & relaxing together.  The fireflies joined in the fun with JoJo the Clown(who has been a regular at the concerts for the last 31 years),as she led the kiddos around through the crowd while marching to the music.  After the little parade, she passed out candy to all of her little "clowns".  Our fireflies had a good time listening to the music, and although our ladybug liked the music(even bounced & danced to it some)... she was more interested in having  her hands held and walking all around this "new" place.  It was fun to watch her as she drank in all of the sights & sounds this evening.  

For a little while at least... I felt like I didn't have a care in the world (& that I really belonged) looking around at the faces(young & old) enjoying great music, their community & a perfect summer evening.  Ladybug & I ran into one of her little friends from Play Pals and it was neat to see them interacting with each other.. each little girl starting to spread their little ladybug wings socially(well, as much as 12 & 13 month olds really can!).

We have already decided that we need to make the summer concerts in the park a new tradition for our family. Other than watching my children enjoying their little corner of the world, it was nice to watch my husband relaxing and truly enjoying his family.  I wish that I could have frozen that hour of carefree enjoyment and somehow stretched it out forever.  

I think that sometimes it is hard for my husband to step back & enjoy the fireflies being little boys(and they are most definitely, without a doubt.. 300% boys!).  I suspect that some of that may stem from the fact that his parents divorce became final when he was 10 years old & he never received any kind of counseling during or after.  (I only share that to give some perspective as to what has molded him into the person he is today... never in a million years to hurt him in any way).  I love him with all my heart!

I admit that sometimes I get aggravated at behavior issues (etc.) with my two fireflies & it can be hard to just take a deep breath and remember that they are just being little boys.  We all had to learn, test the limits(& push buttons!) and drive our own parents crazy when we were growing up.. it has been that way since the very beginning. Just imagine what God thinks about all of us?!  I am so thankful for His patience, love, grace, mercy & forgiveness.

May I be the Mommy that He needs me to be to my two amazing fireflies & my adorable little ladybug!  And the wife that He needs me to be for my wonderful husband, too!

hidden emotions...

Wow! I am almost not quite sure where to begin this post. While looking at some other blogs last night, I stumbled upon an amazing story of an incredible family who, although I've never met them in person, I feel like we are old friends. Their faith & example of trusting in God even when they are in the midst of the storm touched me & opened up feelings that I've kept hidden for a long time(although those feelings have never really been too far from the surface).

Most of the folks who read my blog on a regular basis already know about our journey(to a small extent) through losing a our son, Elijah Thomas, when I was just 20 weeks pregnant with him in October of 2002, then the loss of another baby at just 6 weeks into my pregnancy in February of 2003, and again losing a precious little one at about 5 weeks into my pregnancy in August of 2006. We have three amazing children here on earth and three precious angels in heaven, too.

I have debated about whether or not to dive into such a heavy subject like the loss of babies, but I was so moved by what I read on Angie's blog (, that I am dealing with emotions last night & today that I had been trying to keep hidden for quite some time now.

I am asking for patience as I start to take the "plunge" and write about my experiences with losing my little ones, too. I am not a professional writer.. don't claim to be.. just a Mommy trying to take baby steps through something that I have tried to avoid to some extent for a while.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

a good night's sleep

I am quite pleased to announce that I got a wonderful night's sleep last night! I also had a nice, leisurely bubble bath before bedtime, too. I love to take bubble baths long after my fireflies & ladybug have drifted off to dreamland(less chance of having little visitors that way).

The night before last was rough... our little ladybug was having issues with staying asleep for more than 30 to 45 minutes at a time starting very soon after the fireflies were asleep. The first couple of times I wasn't too upset because she is getting more mobile & cuddle times are getting to be fewer & farther between some days. By the time it was 1am and my husband and I just wanted to get some sleep I was getting impatient. My husband had to get up for work bright & early the next morning, so I wrestled with the still wired 13 month old ladybug in our bed. She finally gave up the prize fight at around 20 minutes til 3am! I carefully picked her up & placed her gently in her crib across the hall in her room. She must have truly worn herself out, because we didn't hear another peep from her until I had to wake her up around 8:30am the next morning! This episode(s) is totally out-of-character for our ladybug.. she has spoiled us since she was about 7 weeks old with sleeping all the way through the night, despite the fact that she was a breastfed baby. Even when she hasn't felt well while running a fever or struggling with a cold, she has always been a great sleeper.

My husband always jokes that his super power is sleeping... well, I would agree with that & believe that both fireflies & our ladybug have been blessed with those genes, too!

The weather is supposed to be beautiful again today & I am doing well with my lists of "to do's"... plus getting a great night's sleep.. that sure makes me a happy Mommy today! I hope that you will have a wonderful day & truly enjoy and appreciate all that God has given you, too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a beautiful summer day

The weather today is absolutely beautiful!!  Sunny, about 80 degrees, low humidity & a wonderful light breeze. I have been drinking in the wonderful aroma of summer all day.

I got my folk's yard finished this morning and enjoyed watching my youngest firefly & my little ladybug play happily together, taking turns climbing & sliding down the small slide at my folk's house.  My biggest firefly was at his  Summer Science Program this morning..  so it was peaceful, no "sparks" flying between the boys.

It seems almost as soon as my oldest firefly gets in the van.. the sparks start flying between them.  Luckily they cut their ritual short when both their Grandpa & I jumped on them about it.  They have been playing nicely together all afternoon & are actually working on cleaning their playroom together, too.  I may have to check their temperatures!  Actually.. my husband promised to take them the the park this evening to launch some of the model rockets that he & our oldest firefly enjoy building together.  It's a fun "guy's" adventure for them & great bonding time while learning a bit about science, too.  To the fireflies though... it's just fun time spent with one of their favorite people.. they love doing stuff with their Daddy.  (me too.. he's a pretty good guy).

I am contemplating making a picnic for us to take to the park, too.  Sometimes the little ladybug & I stay home and let them just do "boy" stuff together.  I think I'll see what my husband would prefer..  it's beautiful out and it might be fun to have a picnic along with watching the big rocket launches. I understand and respect the fact that the fireflies need to have some special bonding time with their Daddy when I'm not around, too though.

My Dad always made a special effort to do stuff with my brothers & I individually.  He & I always had a good time on our "date" nights together & I can remember them like it was just yesterday.  Dad used to take my brother's to Kansas City Royals baseball games & was always super involved with them while they were in Boy Scouts... both of them are Eagle Scouts because of the involvement & fun that they all had together.  I "got" to tag-along on all the scouting "fun", too... I will admit to having fun occasionally, but can remember a lot of times when it was a real drag(pardon the pun-like reference to being a tag-along!).

It seems it's time to distribute some freeze pops to my fireflies.  I hope that you will enjoy the beautiful weather & all of the blessings that God has given you today, too.  Like I have said before, sometimes it is way too easy to take all our blessings for granted when life gets crazy & it feels like we're in the eye of a storm.. but God is always in control! 

Monday, June 16, 2008

mowing & migraines.. fun, fun

Today went relatively well... still a great deal left on all of my lists, but I was able to get the entire backyard at my folk's house mowed for them today. It's not that they really have a huge yard, but neither of them are physically able to mow anymore because of heart problems (among other concerns).

I typically mow their entire yard(front & back) once a week with no issues. Unfortunately, we've had a great deal of rain here in the last couple of months and their backyard is the lowest in their subdivision... they've had a lot of issues with water standing as deep as 4". They, with the help of my big brother, put a sump pump in their yard to help the issue about 7 years ago, but just as we were in the height of our little monsoon season here, the silly thing quit working! I had to wait until the back 1/2 of their yard finally dried out so that I could mow without sinking into the muck. It looks really nice & I should be back on track with my usual mowing schedule now as long as we don't get another mini-monsoon season again.

My agenda for tomorrow consists of taking my oldest firefly to his Summer Science Program that our school district is doing and then going to my folk's to mow the front yard. I ran out of steam to get the whole thing done today.. I had a migraine & starting feeling pretty crumby by the time the back was done. The fireflies & little ladybug had a great time playing at their Grandma & Grandpa's house today. They are all looking forward to us being able to put up their swimming pool over there this week, too. Their fenced backyard is a good location for the pool--our yard is not fenced & I'm afraid it would be an "attractive nuisance" for the neighborhood kids.

Once we were back at home from mowing today, despite the migraine I had a mountain of laundry to tackle. You know it's gonna have to be laundry day when everyone is almost out of clean underwear! (hee hee!) Well, it hadn't gotten quite that bad, but close enough.. so after taking some much need ibuprofen I started on all of it. More to finish up before a nice, long bubble bath & bedtime tonight, too. On a happy note.. the ibuprofen kicked in pretty fast & I am migraine free again!!!

pondering all of my 'to do' lists

I am sitting here this morning pondering what my game plan for the day & well, frankly what the rest of the week is going to hold. Aren't Mondays fun?!

I have a big list on my "get organized" agenda already & then there are other things that I am responsible for that I need to add to the list(s). My head is already starting to spin a bit & it's not even 9am! Oh the joys of being a grown-up. While I have always appreciated Peter Pan's mantra of "I'll never grow up!"... it's just not practical in reality. Playing with the fireflies & the little ladybug all day doesn't get the house cleaned, dishes done, bills paid, laundry done, etc.. (feel free to insert whatever other "fun" grown-up task you want). I've learned that from experience--although it is a lot of fun & sometimes all that "grown-up" stuff just has to be put on the back burner while some really cool memories are being made. I don't think that thought is always appreciated by my husband when he comes home & wants to know what I've done all day though. Sorry, Babe.

Having rambled about all of that, I better get this posted and get focused on making yet another list to keep myself moving toward my goal(s). Hopefully I will have a productive day(& week, too for that matter).. that is my ultimate goal at least.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sweet Reunion

We had a wonderful time at our big family reunion today up in Palmyra, IL (a town of approximately 700). I was amazed at the amount of faces that I actually did recognize from when I was a child.

There was a lot of reminiscing, laughter & a great deal of catching up to be done today. Several of the cousins had not attended one of the reunions for about 50 years! All of the hard work & hours that my Mom & I put into compiling current contact information on everyone was greatly appreciated, too. I know that when folks go to reunions, be it family or school, etc., there are always a lot of empty promises about keeping in touch.. but at least now everyone is armed with current information if they do decide to actually make good on those promises.

Our fireflies had a good time playing outside with some of their newly discovered cousins today. There was a wonderful breeze and sunny skies for most of the day. Just before we were ready to load our van & leave up there, a thunderstorm rolled in.. complete with some small hail---it quickly passed though and out came the sun again. My husband was able to help the kids fly my middle one's Thomas the Tank Engine kite for a little while, too.

Our little ladybug was quite popular at the reunion today.. a lot of the folks there remember my Grandma(her namesake) and were excited to get to meet her. I enjoyed showing her off and especially got a kick out of looking through old pictures with her in my lap. I had to hold back some tears when we were looking at pictures of my Grandma(her Great-Grandma) that were taken at a reunion in the exact same building(before it was "remodeled" back in the '70s) circa 1960. Only the interior of the building had changed in the picture.. the same upright piano was sitting in virtually the same position today that it was in when my Grandma & her cousin(who was visiting from Texas & who is also deceased now, too) posed in front of it. Time marches on.. but somethings stay much the same... there is some comfort in that.

I haven't heard when the next big reunion is being planned for.. but I certainly hope that we don't wait so long in between them anymore. My folks are in their early '70s now & each have health issues... they used to be the "younger" generation at the reunions & are the link between the older ones who have now passed on & all of the rest of us now. I want to soak up as many memories with them & their counterparts as I can before it's too late. I want my fireflies & my ladybug to experience all the sights & sounds of their family's history, too.

It's been a big weekend with Father's Day & the reunion, but we've all had a great time enjoying being a family. We are so very blessed... sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of that when life gets crazy. May we never take each other for granted.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our Saturday is off to a good start so far... my husband got up early to head to the barber shop for a haircut, the fireflies are both in a good mood and the little ladybug is in her perpetual happy-go-lucky mood. Life is good.

This is going to be a crazy weekend for us. Today is a day full of cooking & baking for me in prep for the big family reunion for my Mom's side of the family in Palmyra, IL tomorrow. It is going to be a big potluck affair with some of the cousins providing the fried chicken and the rest of us are responsible for two side dishes per family. My folks cannot have fried chicken because of numerous health issues, so I am making a crockpot full of italian beef for them to take to make sandwiches. I am also going to make 2 big pans of brownies and 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies, too. I am toying with the idea of making some oatmeal cookies, too... we'll see how time & energy levels go though.

While my husband was getting sheared this morning (actually he didn't look that shaggy!), I got busy and made some of his favorite breakfast treats. I call them Cheesy Bacon Bites---super simple & super yummy. I will post the recipe later today if I have time. I made a double batch so that I can bake the rest for his Father's Day breakfast tomorrow morning, too. I wanted to do something special for him on "his" day since he made an extra effort to get up early on Mother's Day and make me breakfast in bed. For those who know my husband, that is a pretty big deal! Plus, Father's Day is going to be a lot different for our family this year because we are breaking with our 10 year tradition with the family reunion tomorrow.

For the past 10 years we've always gone to lunch at Outback Steakhouse to celebrate with my husband & my Dad and with my little brother. Our very first celebration there was when our oldest firefly was almost 3 months old... it was a lot of fun & so began our tradition. We've added another firefly & our little ladybug in the years since we started and my brother has gotten married and has two ladybugs of his own, too. It has become an unspoken understanding that we will be going there for Father's Day lunch... with the exception of this year. So.. this evening we are supposed to go to dinner with my husband's mother(I will divulge more about her in later posts.. too much drama for today!)--because she has to celebrate with him. (again.. don't get me started!!).

I am looking forward to the big reunion tomorrow though. I have many cousins who I have never met before and now that I am older and have my own children I feel the need to connect with the rest of the family tree. We are all strewn across the country--I worked with my Mom to compile a "Cousin's Contact Information Book" with current address/phone/email information on all the cousins. We made copies for folks to take with them... hopefully it will help us to all stay better connected. My Mom said that she hadn't seen or spoken with some of the cousins since they were all little kids together back in the 1940s! I don't want that for my kids and I, so began the adventure of compiling the information.. thank goodness for the internet!

I have very vague memories of going to a family reunion with my Grandma when I was 4 or 5 years old. In a way it is a way to connect with folks that knew her and get a chance to listen to stories about when she was a child & the cousins played together. She passed away when I was in 4th grade and although we were really close... I just didn't have enough time to hear & truly appreciate all of those neat stories. We named our little ladybug after my Grandma & I am looking forward to showing her off to the few older cousins who are still left. My oldest firefly is starting to appreciate his connection to other generations a bit, too.

Well, I had better get busy with all the baking & cooking! We also have to make a trip to the library this morning, too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

a weight lifting off my shoulders...

I am starting to feel an enormous weight being lifted off of my shoulders as I continue to make major progress in the cleaning out & re-organizing of our house.

Several things have been the catalyst for my making a list (prioritizing by room) of all that is needed to get to my ultimate goal of no more clutter and a great deal more organization... I am tired of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of junk that accumulates around here & I am hosting my Bunco group next month. I used to be a lot more organized & probably a lot more sane, too come to think of it when my world(or most things) were in order.

Although I wish that I had gotten more done today, I am proud of myself for staying on task & doing a thorough job on the areas that I have done. It already feels better to walk into the entry area and the dining room(aka: dumping ground.. cuz there is a large flat surface to drop mail & whatever else on when you walk through the entry way). Old habits die hard.. it's a constant battle to keep up with & I am as guilty of dumping stuff there as anyone else in the family. The only person exempt from that guilt would be my youngest & at 13 months old our little ladybug doesn't clutter too much!

My little ladybug has played & crawled all over the house today. Every time she gets a chance she has made a bee-line for the stairs to go pester our 11 year old dog, who has been trying to stay out of the way of the vacuum on the first landing most of the day. My two fireflies have been sparking off each other the entire day with lots of shouting, too... they have finally gotten their playroom partially under control though. It has looked like 2 tornadoes(hm.. one that is 9 years old & one that is 4 1/2 that is!) have hit that room for a very long time(and we're not even gonna mention how their bedroom looks!). Perhaps we'll have to teach them some "baby steps" of their own in the cleaning of their areas this summer, too.

Well... I better get back on task and see what else I can get done.

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, but I've never been superstitious so I don't think of it as any big deal. The weather today is supposed to be rainy/stormy pretty much all day long so I will hopefully be able to stay focused on my big list of projects.

The kids are happy & playing nicely together so far this morning and since we all got to sleep-in a bit that should help contribute to good moods today. Of course... the day is young and my two fireflies have a way of sparking off one another and then the "fun" begins! My little ladybug is content to play and explore her little world without too much trouble.. although her newly found mobility has started making it more exciting for all of us trying to keep up with her.

My exciting day of cleaning and organizing is about to begin... wish me luck! I will update everyone on our progress later in the day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baby Steps

So... here it is, my very first post on my very own blog. I've only been tossing the idea of writing my thoughts in the form of regular blog posts for at least two years now. My husband has been encouraging me to start a blog for a long time, too.  

I have written down my thoughts & feelings through  hand-written journals since I was in fourth grade, so that part is not a foreign idea to me.   My fear has always been that I am not really interesting enough for folks to want to read my blog on a regular basis. Or.. and this is the biggest reason... that perhaps something(s) that I would share through this sort of format will be hurtful in some way to someone in my family &/or my circle of friends.

So, with all of that said, I start my journey into blogland! I would love for you to join me as I take baby steps and start to tear down some thick walls that I have built up around myself for many years and I open up to the rest of the world with my thoughts & perspectives.

My little girl just turned one and is learning how to walk, so I have decided that we will take our first awkward steps into this big new world together.  My husband has had a blog for several years--although he doesn't post anything as regularly as he used to... hint, hint! And.. my 9 year old son has had his own blog for over a year now, too.  My middle son is just 4 1/2 years old, but I am sure that he will be getting set up with his own blog as soon as he learns to read, too.  So, I suppose it's about time that I join the rest of the family on this adventure.