On Friendship

Last night was great. Three of my best girls and their husbands and kids hung out and it was awesome. My friend has an amazing house with an equally amazing play room on the second floor that keeps kids occupied for hours. A few times I went up there and Megan and her buddies were having a band concert/fashion show. I had a moment…I might have died of cuteness for a minute.

The fact is, I miss my best girlfriends. We are all spread out in different cities and I hate that. I wish we lived in the same neighborhood and could borrow a cup of sugar or a babysitter when needed. I long for friends like them in my city. It is so hard to make true, great friends as an adult. Most of the time I feel so isolated. I live in a really young neighborhood, but I have not been able to develop the type of friendships I long for. One of my goals for 2013 is to put myself out there more and make some good friends…or at least extend myself enough to invite neighbors over for playtime/adult conversation time.

Alas, my goals are going have a whole post of their own…

20121230-130307.jpg I am going to miss lazy mornings with coffee and delicious creamer and staying in jammies until noon. Every break I fall into a lovely routine of slow mornings of coffee, playing games, and watching shows. I love that more than anything else. My kids got some rocking toys from Santa this year and I have really enjoyed playing with them!

In other news, I created my first snowman ever. It was not easy and did not turn out well, but Megan and I had a blast.

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She also LOVED LOVED LOVED making snow angels. And I loved watching her do it.

20121230-130806.jpg Please ignore the fact that she was not in proper clothing at all. Do not call child protection…we were at my moms and she was lucky to even have boots. We only stayed out long enough to have cold noses and finger and then headed inside for the obligatory cup of hot coco.

Tyler napped during all of these happenings, but I could never have a post without him in it…so here you go:

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Enjoy your Sunday! I will be hanging out at home…I am not leaving today. YES!!!!!!!

Merry and Bright

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We had a wonderful Christmas holiday. It was filled with just the right amount of running and visiting and hanging out at home. There were many highlights, but I think the best part of the extended holiday was being with the people I love.

20121228-080004.jpgespecially these two

We will continue our celebration this weekend as we head to one of my oldest, dearest friend’s home for an old fashioned family get-together. There will only be a couple of my girlfriends and their families missing (they live far far away!). It is going to be a lot of fun. It’s strange to look at life now and see all of the girls I spent so much time growing up with. I have been friends with many of my girls since we rode to kindergarten together a million years ago (more like 30). Now we have our own lives and are own families, but we are like an extension of each other and I just love it.

For now, I will photo bomb this post with some great pictures from the last few days…

20121228-080514.jpgTy’s favorite gift..Buzz Lightyear!!!!!!

20121228-080606.jpgMegan as a princess

20121228-080726.jpgopening presents…he “got it” this year

20121228-080816.jpgshe was very neat about opening gifts

The Most Wonderful Time…

The eve of Christmas Eve…oh how I love this day. I feel like this is the calm before the storm. There is nothing really going on except cleaning and shopping and just hanging out. Football is on (Go Bengals!) and I am in the middle of making Crock-Pot Candies and homemade Buckeyes. Life is good. Megan is running around in her undies and Tyler is trying on every pair of shoes he can find. I tell ya, it is true bliss. Like a Norman Rockwell painting…only not.

20121223-150812.jpgWe make Buckeyes every year together per family tradition..oh, and Santa loves them!

I am in a good place. A happy place. I love my life. I am blessed. This may or may not be my last blog post until the new year. I am off work until January 3rd and am planning on unplugging for a few days. I am looking forward to spending a lot of time playing and visiting with people I love. I am also going to write down the ups and downs of 2012 and a few goals for 2013.

I wish all of you in the Internet a very Merry Christmas! Peace and joy and live to you and yours!

Christmas is Not Just a Day

I make it a point to always say “Merry Christmas!”. You will never hear me say “Happy Holidays” and I will never apologize for my beliefs.

In our household, Christmas is a way of life. It is not just a date on the calendar but a start to a new year in Christ. We celebrate Christmas every Sunday when we gather with our community in prayer. We live Christmas when we give of our time, talent and treasure throughout the year. Christmas is an attitude of living each day to the greater glory of God. Christ is in my heart 365 days a year and I am installing that feeling into my children daily.

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Christmas Day may be filled with too many presents to count and more food than should be consumed in one day. We have spent the last few weeks preparing ourselves for this special day just as we would prepare for a very special birthday for any of our children. We will celebrate with family and friends, but we will also spend time in prayer and worship celebrating the greatest human being who ever lived.

Born in a barn to teenage parents with no money or food or social standing in the world, this precious babe grew to be the most known person in history. Christian or not, everyone knows who Jesus was and who he is. Doesn’t his mere existence teach us a huge lesson about the possibilities everyone has in this world? And his motto of being a servant for others teaches a lesson in service without speaking in words.

So in preparing myself for the coming of our savior I have promised myself that I will spend more time smiling than stressing about presents…I will spend more time dancing than standing over a stove…and I will spend more time affirming my love for people than shopping for the perfect gift. I believe the perfect gift is one that does not have to be purchased but is the gift of the presence of our loved ones, both friends and family.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”~Isaiah 24:15<!

Craft-Tastic Christmas!

After yesterday’s downer post, I thought I would bring some cheer to my good old blog! Yesterday was a fantastic day!!! Being a teacher, this time of year is just crazy and with my mom’s surgery, I have been pretty absent lately. So, last night I decided to do something fun and creative with Megan and Tyler. I went all out and we created graham cracker “gingerbread” houses.

I put together the houses with six graham crackers held together with Pillsbury Easy Frost no-fuss Frosting. Then, I let the kids go to town with a bunch of different toppers which included red and green morsels, Skittles, fruit snacks, and sprinkles.

M & T loved the project and did such a neat job on them. I thought it was going to be a complete mess and I promised myself not to get all Type-A about the clean-up…but to my surprise a Christmas miracle happened…they took the project very seriously and did not want to spill a thing!

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Don’t their cheesey smiles just jump off the page??? That is happiness in a less than $10 project!!! Our Elf on the Shelf, Chippy, even got in on the fun!!!

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Okay, one more cute picture and then I am out. Goodness, I just love those two.

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All We Can Do Is Pray

There are no words for what happened on Friday morning. God bless all off the families who lost loved ones and are hurting in a way I cannot even imagine.

Tonight when I get home I will be hugging Megan and Tyler a little tighter.  Tomorrow when I go back to work I will do my best to keep my students safe and loved while in my care.

Please join me each night as I pray for the community that has lost their innocence.

Filling the Bucket

I am still at the hospital…helping to nurse my mom back to health. I was surprised this morning at how well she is doing. She has had zero pain medications since coming out of surgery last night. She is a trooper, I tell you, a real trooper. Hopefully if things go well today she will be on. Her way home either this evening or tomorrow morning.

I have been reading a bunch of books lately on positivity and how to change your outlook in order to make the world a better place. I think at times we all fall into the negativity trap. It is easier to snap back at people or become angry at sales people or people waiting in line or bad drivers or annoying co-workers or really anyone. I know I have had my fair share of “Negative Nancy” moments in the last few months. And it makes me feel terrible. And it makes the recipient of my negativity feel terrible too.

One of the best books I have read on this topic is by Tom Rath and it is called How Full is Your Bucket?. I read this book yesterday and could not put it down (yes, I am a nerd, I read an entire book in one sitting…I had a lot of time my hands). This was just the book I had been looking for! The basis of the book is to start “judging” yourself by how much positivity you give out. Are you a bucket filler or a dipper? If you spend too much time dipping and not enough time filling you need to re-evaluate how you are living your life. I highly recommend this book. You can purchase it here.

In the coming weeks I am going to narrow down a list of things I want to work on in 2013. I know that being a bucket filler is going to make the list!

And, since I am feeling very nostalgic and missing my kids terribly today, I thought I would share a picture (or three!) of them from last Christmas. Tyler was not yet a year old and he had brown hair!!!! What a difference a year makes!

20121214-112409.jpg My baby under a tree!

20121214-112734.jpg In her princess dress

20121214-112628.jpg Matching PJs…I die! Oh, and that is Tyler’s gift she is hoarding…some things never change!

Sitting in the Hospital

My mom had surgery today. Really big time surgery. She had a cadaver bone fushion on two disks in her neck. She was in surgery for close to four hours and is now in recovery doing well.
This is the first time I have been back to a hospital with a parent since my dad became ill. Have to say it has been a trying, difficult, emotional day. But it is coming to a quick end and I could not be more happy.

Life is so random…you never really know when the shit is going to hit the fan and you are going to be left sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for a loved one. It sucks. Big time. But, I felt very supported and loved today. I knew there were so many people in the wings hoping and praying that she would stay positive and push through.

My mom is my hero. She has whole-hearted supported me my whole life. Even as an adult she somehow makes me feel like her little girl. There is nothing I want more in life than to make her proud. I think I have said before, she is a living saint. She is loved by so many people. When you meet her, you are instantly blessed to know her. When she says she will pray for you she means it…I think she has a direct line to the Big Guy himself. People are lucky to know her…but I am the luckiest of all.

So Interwebs…if anyone is reading tonight…can you please say a special prayer for my mom tonight? I would so appreciate it.

“For I know we’ll the plans I have for you, plans for welfare not woe; plans to bring you a future full of hope!”
~Jeremiah 29:11

Snug as a Bug

We have a bath time ritual. It starts downstairs when I ask the kids “who is ready for a bath?” They run to the steps and pretend to sleep on them. It is adorable. I walk up and make a big deal about how “Megan and Tyler are sleeping on the steps…I guess I will have to step on them!” And then I pretend to step on them. They think it is hilarious…and so do I. I need to take a picture of it.

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20121213-134956.jpg updated:I caught a picture of it last night!

When we get to the bathroom I like to let them play in the tub for a while. They love their little toys and I like the time to fold laundry, clean the sinks, and sometimes even the toilet. It is a nice way to wind down the day.

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The best part of our ritual is when I get them out of the tub. Tyler is always first. I pick him up and swaddle him in a towel just like I swaddled him when he was days old. It reminds me of that little newborn babe. I also yell out “Machito Burrito” which has no real meaning except that we know it and it is funny to us. Then I get Tyler dressed and the same thing happens with Megan.

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It is not a big deal, but it is a treasured memory that I am making with my kids. In the back of my head I am always reminding myself that it is the little things that I remember about my parents and my childhood. Sure the trips we took and the birthday parties they planned were always amazing. But the most precious memories I have are of my dads “kiss through the bars” when I was going upstairs to bed and my mom waking us up in the morning saying “let’s get up, it is your special day!” Even though it was just an ordinary Tuesday.

I want my kids to have a life they can look back on with fond, happy memories of the ordinary life we lead. To us, it is special.

I want to write…but I have been sick for 100 days!

Unfortunately, this blog has taken a back burner to the non-stop, very annoying, monster flu of 2012. This is week number 6 of heavy cough, sneezing, upset stomach, sore throat, running nose, over-all ick! There is not amount of penicillin, Z-pack, NyQuil, Tylenol Cold and Sinus, or anything else that will cure me of this horrid state that I am in…and every morning I think I am going to be better and everyday is a disappointment. I feel like my life has been on hold since the week before Thanksgiving. Oh, and don’t worry, the kids have the same thing…so it is just a hot mess in my neck of the woods.

In between illness and despair and horribleness we have had some fun! And Christmas blessings! And travels! No no no, my family will not let the plague stop us from having the best holiday season ever! The question is…where do I start?

I guess I wil start a couple of weeks ago. In Cincinnati the Ohio National Insurance Group does an awesome Christmas Village every year. When we went the weather was great and I only had one sick kid (Ty = ear infection) and the kids loved it. Megan went especially crazy over the train ride to and from the festivities. It was amazing. She also loved hanging on the displayed and acting like she had never been out of the house before. Tyler loved holding onto me for dear life. Per his M.O.

20121210-172011.jpg Ty is creeping in the red vest

We also headed up to Canton, OH for the Ohio High School State Final football game. Many of my former students play for Cincinnati Moeller and I wanted to get up there and cheer those boys on! They did not disappoint. Moeller creamed their opponents and I might have just gotten a bit teary-eyed when I saw those boys hold up the trophy. I am so pleased not only that they are stellar athletes, but men for others as well. Megan slept through the whole game (Meg = unknown illness that deserves a post in itself). I had to get a picture of Ty with the field behind him. We all know he is going to be on that field in 16 short years.

20121210-200751.jpg can’t you see that smile on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

This past weekend we went to the UAW “Breakfast with Santa.” Can I just say, it was incredible. D you remember when you were little and you went to and old fashioned Christmas Party? It was just like that!!!! Every kids got a little present and went to different stations for craft projects and cake walks and make your own hand print ornament and all sorts of fun stuff. I love things that are family -centered and fun for everyone. It was such a wonderful time. We will be back year after year after year. Megan was a trooper and walked right up to Santa to get her request in for a “Pizza Kitchen!!!” and “Doc McStuffins doctor kit!!!!!” And she even wanted them painted on her cheeks…precious, I tell you.

20121210-172117.jpgshe settled on a snowman!

I am hoping this week I will return to a regular blogging schedule…but we will see, it depends on if coughing takes over my life…again.