Sunday, November 30, 2008

"You Light Up My Life" Sunday 11/30/08 edition


These people have had a huge impact on my life & will continue to do so even well after they are both gone. I felt that it would be appropriate to honor my Grandma & Grandpa today, which would have been his 89th birthday. I still love & miss him very much, but am very grateful to still have my grandma in my life. The following is what I wrote to share in a 'memories' book for my Grandma this Christmas. I know that she will enjoy reading it & I hope that you do too.
So to my Grandma & Grandpa~I love you guys!

My Memories of Grandma & Grandpa

Many of my memories of Grandma & Grandpa consist of sitting around the table spending time with them. I remember coloring at their table as a child, sitting at the table listening to Grandma sing a lullaby to one of my baby cousins and of course, enjoying one of the many “light lunches” that we have shared over the years with them. The memories that are most special to me though are of when we would sit around the table playing games.

Two games I will always connect with Grandma & Grandpa are “Rummikub” and “Up & Down the River”. Any time my family was at their house, you could bet that at some point “Rummikub” would be brought out of the playroom for all of us to play. We would all sit around the table trying to be the first one to win and it was great to be the winner, but they always made sure that the last person didn't feel like the “loser” too. If you were the last one, you would end up with Grandma on one side and Grandpa on the other side both trying to help you figure out how to get all of your tiles played-very rarely did they fail to find a way for you to “win” too.

Up & Down the River” is another game that always makes me think of Grandma & Grandpa when I play it. It was the first “real” card game I learned to play and they were the ones who taught my sisters and me to play it one time when we were sitting around our table at home. It was a simple game that was easy for us to understand and kept us content until we could figure out other card games like Pinochle.

Playing and learning the games with them was always fun, but many times it was the other things going on around the table that turned the games into such great memories for me. I remember listening to both of them telling stories while we were playing the games and there was always laughter, whether it was laughing at a funny story or joke that they had told or whether it was just laughing along with Grandma as she got herself tickled over some story that she was telling, we were always in for a good time when it came to “game time” with Grandma & Grandpa.

There are so many other memories I could share, but these are the things that still to this day always bring a smile to my face when I get the chance to play them either around Grandma's table or my own because they remind me of the many happy times that I have had the pleasure to spend with Grandma & Grandpa.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Sound of Music...

is filling our house once again!

The reason, you may ask, well that would have to be the addition of a piano to our home about a month ago. It belonged to one of my best friend's parents & was the piano that she had played back in the day. They were wanting to get rid of it due to some home improvements & the fact that no one was really playing it much anymore (all of the kids are grown & moved out). They were getting rid of it for a great price...my friend contacted me about it (she has a great memory for anything her friends' mention that they are keeping a look out for)...we jumped at the deal & the piano has now made its new home in our house & with our family.

What can I say about it? I LOVE it! I grew up learning to play the piano & especially around this time of year-you could be guaranteed to hear either me or one of my sisters playing it. Christmas songs were always one of our favorite things to play & you could bet that come November we would start "practicing" them (the result being that we weren't practicing our actual lessons!) :)

My mom & dad still have our piano & a couple of years ago, my in-laws also purchased a piano to have in their home for people to play. It was great to be able to play whenever I was visiting my parents or Scott's, but I have still yearned to have one in my own home. Playing the piano is kind of a therapy for me...by no means am I a concert pianist...but there is just something very relaxing about being able to sit down & play through an entire book of music. It was great to have a piano right next door at my in-laws, but the idea of having to go over to Scott's parents everyday just to play the piano was a bit unpractical on my part & would have been a bit of an inconvenience for my family (aka Luke & Scott) & them too, I believe, but, no worries, my piano book is always ready for when I do head over that way because I know how much they like to hear the piano played. Being able to play in my own home has been such a wonderful thing. An added bonus is that Luke really likes it too & loves to sit next to me & "play" with me while I am playing. We have shared many "duets" in the short time that the piano has been with us. He already exhibits such a love of music that it warms my heart to see him trying to play it (& of course I'm hoping that someday he will WANT to learn to play it too!) It has just been so great to be able to sit down in the morning before work, after Luke & I get home, in the evenings, or just whenever I want & play something, making for a happier & more relaxed mommy & wife! :)

So to the newest addition of our household: the piano!

WELCOME, we're so glad to have you here with us!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"You Light Up My Life" Sunday: 11/23/08 edition


This person is obviously very special to me.
This person is always there for me even when I have gone completely off my rocker! :)
This person puts up with me even though I give him a hard time ALOT of the time.
This person is my best friend.
This person probably knows me better than I know myself sometimes (even though I would never admit it in public & it is not an endorsement of him 'always being right'-because he isn't always!) :)
This person always lets me know that I am loved even on those occasional days when I am not such a lovable person.
This person is the love of my life.
This person doesn't get upset when I don't listen to his stories for the 1,000th time. ;)
This person has stayed by my side through thick & thin over the last 8 years, never wavering, even when times have been tough on us.
And finally...this person has caused my love for him to grow even greater over this past year by watching him be such a great father to our son!
So, Scott, here's to you!~Love ya!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A,B,C,D,M?

That's right, my child is a genius. The babysitter informed me yesterday that Luke had learned his first letter & I confirmed it for myself today! In fact, he gets a big grin on his face each time he says it so he must realize (as I do) that he is one smart little cookie. I couldn't be more proud! :) (Maybe I should start looking into college applications-I'm sure that he is going to be some kind of prodigy or something!) I could go on & on...

What's that?

What letter did he learn, you ask?

Oh, well, um, yeah...he learned the letter M...

as in M&M's!

So maybe he won't be a prodigy, but he is smart enough to learn the name (which of course just happens to be the name of a letter!) of one of the good things in life! That has to count for something, doesn't it!? :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Glad to not be a "widow"

Many of my friends become "widows" this weekend each year. Why, you might ask? Well here in Illinois, it's the first weekend of shotgun season for deer hunting. Their husbands were out in the woods this morning at the crack of dawn & probably stayed there most of the day & will repeat this process again tomorrow & on Sunday. Silliness & Craziness is what I call it! There was an 11 degree windchill outside this morning when I was getting ready for work-NO way would you have gotten me or Scott to drag ourselves out into the woods in that kind of cold just hoping to see a deer & maybe shoot it. Unfortunately, for lots of my friends & family though, they lose their husbands (some of my cousins even have wives who suffer from this affliction too) to the woods & deer every year at this time. Family events & planned outings must be scheduled around this date each year. Weddings, births, & other special occasions can no way, no how be planned for this weekend or people have to at least accept the fact that possibly my friends & most definitely their husbands will not be in attendance.
So, I am glad that Scott does not suffer from this 'hunting' disease & that he shows no desire to ever try it~it does make life easier this time of year. I can't say that I get off completely 'scot-free' (get the pun! hehe) because he does have a major 'baseball'(or sports in general) affliction that I just do not get as much enjoyment out of as he does & baseball does last for 9 months out of the year & of course you can't forget about all of the offseason news, trading, health reports, etc., but at least we can plan around it since he can usually catch his game on the radio when we are on the move.
So to all of you "widows" this weekend~my heart goes out to you & I wish you a Happy Hunting Season!
Enjoy one of my favorite "hunting" songs (please don't judge me because I find it absolutely hilarious!) ;) & in your honor I will be reading Bambi by Felix Salten this weekend! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm so [not] excited [yet!]

The school was buzzing today~the kids saw it, cries of excitement could be heard up & down the hallways & the teachers just shook their heads in disbelief! What causes such a commotion at an elementary school?

SNOW!!!!

"Look, it's snowing...it's snowing!!!" is what I kept hearing over & over during my prep time today. There is a kindergarten classroom just across the hall from where my 'desk' is & they were definitely excited about the snow during their 'center/play time'. I could just imagine all of them huddled up next to the big window in their classroom watching the snow fall & calling out to their friends who hadn't yet made it over to the window to see the glorious event.Indeed, snow is about the only type of weather that gets the kids truly excited. Rain, well it's okay, but then you can't get outside for recess & many of them don't like that (teachers especially don't since it means that they'll be cooped up inside all day with lots of extra energy!) A nice, bright sunny day is fantastic, but the kids just don't completely appreciate them until they don't have one for awhile. However, snow always gets them excited even when it happens in April! They just LOVE it & I can't blame them. There is just something about watching the snow fall that is calming for me, but I can't say that I was too excited to see snow just yet~it can wait a few weeks & then stop snowing once March rolls around for all I care :) I'm just not quite ready for winter yet I guess.
As for the snow today, the kids were very excited, but unfortunately for them, it was nothing more than a few flurries~none of it stuck, but they're ready for it!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"You Light Up My Life" Sundays

This past week has been marked by a tragedy in my "extended" family. One of my second cousins died early last week. Now if you know me in real life, then you know that I have many, many, many 2nd cousins (hundreds actually) so this type of 'distant' relative dying usually wouldn't have much impact on me, since I actually don't know many of them-it would be sad, yes, but more in the sense of hearing that a stranger had passed away not a close relative.
This time was different though-I actually knew her & grew up with her & her siblings. In fact, her mom calls my mom her 'big sister'. My aunt was her mom's college roommate & her godmother. Her mom & dad are in my mom & dad's card club (again, if you know my family-you know that playing cards is a HUGE deal!) I grew up going over to her house with my sisters occasionally while mom would do her shopping. I also played volleyball against & with her sister. I could go on & on. I can't, however, say that I knew her super well-she was always younger than me-one of the 'little' kids just like my youngest sister & she fell just far enough behind me in school (grade wise) that she was always at a different level (middle school vs high school, high school vs college, etc) again just like my sister, but I can say that our families are close & that she will be greatly missed. She was only 24 (2 months younger than my sister in fact) & her death came very suddenly & totally unexpectedly. She died from a blood clot that went to her lungs-she had just had surgery a couple of weeks ago to repair an ankle injury [she was a college volleyball player] & the clot developed sometime afterwards. She was going to medical school to be a doctor for people in rural areas & had just received her white coat 2 days before she died. It is a tragedy, but through all of it-the one thing that everyone agreed on is that she was very much loved & was a good person to her family, friends & anyone she came in contact with. In fact, many of the things that were said about her at the funeral are things that I hope people will say about me someday when my time comes to an end. She did much with the few short years she was given & she definitely let people know how much they meant to her.
All of this has inspired me to use my blog to let people know how much they mean to me, so Sundays here at "Faith, Hope & Poop" are going to be called '"You Light Up My Life" Sundays' & each week I will feature someone who 'lights up' my life & tell you just why they are so special to me. I hope that you will enjoy it & that you will go out & tell those that you love just how much they mean to you!~Kindra, here's to you! Rest in peace lovely lady.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Intervention time!

It's taken me quite a long time to come to this realization, but I'm finally ready to admit that I have a problem.

"Hi, my name is Anita & I'm a bookaholic."



That's right-I'm addicted to books-I just can't fight it anymore. I LOVE them! If I see one that interests me, I'll buy it, borrow it or swap for it-I'll do whatever it takes to get my eyes on that book! Yes, this results in many hours of reading for myself or to my loved ones (aka Luke & Scott-if I think he'd be interested in whatever it is I'm reading at the time). I know, I know, it can only lead to me becoming more imaginative/creative/maybe smarter/worldly/etc., but once I start a book I just can't put it down until it is all finished. It has even lead me to carrying (hiding) them in my purse when I leave the house-I just can't be without one! I've also got them stashed in places (piles) all around the house just waiting for me to get to them, in fact I think I may have a pile in every important room of the house minus the bathrooms & the kitchen (oooo think of all the cabinets that I could fill with books in those rooms!) ;) If I ever somehow find myself in a circumstance where I don't have a book (heaven forbid!), I'll read anything I can get my eyes on-magazines, newspapers, signs, cereal boxes, license plates, anything!
I probably should have done something about this problem a long time ago, but what can I say-I just don't want to fix it so please don't plan an intervention anytime soon or try to refer me to your local ABA (Addicted to Books Anonymous!) If I ever do need to find a solution, maybe I can find my answer in a book somewhere... :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans' Day!

I'm choosing to keep it simple today, so here it goes:

To all of those veterans who have served our country in the past,
To all of those people who are currently serving our country, &
To all of those people who will choose to serve our country in the future

THANK YOU!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank You Whoever You Were

About a week and a half ago, Luke, Scott & I spent the day in St. Louis. It was a fun day, although we were not there for a particularly 'fun' reason. We spent a little time at the zoo, visited some friends who were in the hospital, & took care of some other things as well. It had been a long day & we decided to stop at Steak-n-Shake in Collinsville on the way home. We sat & enjoyed each other & our food & when we were finished-Scott headed to the register to pay for our food & I headed to the bathroom with Luke to change his diaper. When I was finished, Luke & I headed back to Scott & out the door. I asked him how much it ended up being & he said "Nothing-the waitress said our bill had been taken care of..." My reaction was "What? Someone paid for our food." I couldn't believe it-you always hear about this kind of thing, but it has never actually happened to anyone I know in real life before. It was a very NICE ending to a very LONG day, so....

whether it was
the nice family sitting next to us (the dad took a SUPER long time to get up from the table & left with 2 tickets while his family waited by the door-I thought it was strange at the time) or
the nice older lady who sat behind us & came up to Scott after I had left the table & told him "your son is very cute" or
the lady with two teenage daughters who kept making faces & smiling at Luke while we were eating or
someone else who remains a mystery to us...

Whoever you were-THANK YOU!!!
We will definitely be "paying this forward" to someone else who needs it at some point in the future to repay you for the kindness that you showed us! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Play that Funky Music Mommy!

Location: The Kitchen
Who: Luke & his Mom
What: Hanging out after getting home from work/babysitter listening to a CD

Scenario: Luke is playing with his toys, walking (I know, it's still hard for me to believe) around the house from room to room, & basically just being his own sweet self. His mom is trying to get some work done & some excercise in-dancing to the music-while Luke is content by himself. Luke is playing just fine & then out of nowhere he just starts wailing! His mom comes running to check things out & looks for injuries-she doesn't see anything wrong & Luke settles down. A few minutes later, the same scene is repeated again & then again.

What happened?: His mom finally realized that every time a song on the CD came to an end-Luke would have a complete meltdown-apparently he believed that the music was over for good! Being the good mom that she is, Luke's mom is now prepared & makes sure that she is nearby to console & reassure Luke that there will in fact be another song before the song ends!

Don't let him know about those lyrics "the day the music died" from that famous song-I'd hate to see how he'd react if he thought there would never be more music! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finally...

He is WALKING!!!

It was brought to my attention today that I have not mentioned this here yet & that one of Luke's aunts was unaware of the fact that Luke has been walking for a whole week now!
In my defense, he has been doing the whole "I can take 5-6 steps from Dad to Mom" for awhile now & all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. have seen him do this, however, to walk any further than that still required at least the tip of his finger to be touching something-my hand, the wall, or even just a little bit of material from my clothing-it didn't matter as long as he was touching it. He has also been quite proficient with all of his push toys for several months now too. He can even run while pushing these & likes to perform several "ice skating routines" as I have termed them. Passing the toy from one hand to the other in midstride or just twirling it out to his side while still walking & turning-NO problem!
Last weekend, though, he finally let go. His uncle was home for the weekend & we went over to Scott's mom & dad's that Friday night to visit. His uncle wanted to know if Luke could walk yet & then decided to see if Luke could do it. Luke walked from him to me & of course we all cheered like usual, & after several repeated episodes-Luke decided that walking wasn't too bad. He walked across the room to another family member & just before he got there-he made a U-turn & headed back my direction, but ended up falling down after a step or two. (We decided that if he could make a U-turn, then he most likely has been ready for quite a while, but just needed that little bit of confidence!) We continued practicing with him that night & at one point he scooted over to the toy box, pulled himself up & walked right over to where I was sitting when NOBODY was watching! I counted this as his "first voluntary steps" if there is such a milestone because it was his decision-not us trying to make him do it! He got to practice more the next day at my mom & dad's & then again that Sunday at his Great Grandma's birthday party too.
All week he has been practicing & I guess that I just assumed that word had spread after Friday night's accomplishments, but I was wrong. I found out this weekend that people had assumed it was just more of the same old same old on Luke's part. So, Mary, sorry that we didn't call you! I hope the story helps you to feel like you were there! :) Maybe for the next big milestone, we'll shout it from the rooftops so that everyone will know right away, but don't count on it-I tend to be a bit forgetful sometimes! :)