Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Books Continued...

3. High Five! by Ken Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles, Don Carew, and Eunice Parisi-Carew
-This is one off the bookshelf at school.  We have a major leadership/team building theme at my school and this is one that I've heard some of the teachers talk about so I picked it up.  Quick read.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
-I enjoyed this story and now am willing to see the movie! :)

5.  Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell A. Barkley, PhD
-very informational and good resource

6.  Raising Boys with ADHD by James W. Forgan, PhD & Mary Anne Richey
-some of the same info, but easier read...would definitely recommend this as a quick resource to anyone wanting to learn more about this disorder

7.  Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
-powerful book!  I have heard a lot about this author, but hadn't read anything of hers yet.  This was a random pick from the library...I just happen to turn around and saw her books on the shelf and decided it must be time to try her out :)  For a random choice, I chose well because the storyline of this book fit right in with one of the time periods that I always like to read about.  Partially set in WWII, but instead of Holocaust Germany...this was set in Stalin's Russia so I got a different perspective than I have read before.  Would definitely recommend this book to others!

8.  The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah
-2nd pick of hers dealt with infertility/adoption...wow, I sure can pick 'em...
This book was good and the author definitely captured what it's like to be the "infertile" surrounded by people with children/people who are "family, family, family" when one has a very difficult time dealing with conflicting feelings of happiness and deep sadness that happen at the same time as a result of those same people AND how those same people try to understand, but never really can.  I liked the ending, but in some respects I felt like it was just a bit 'far fetched'  in real life I'm not so sure that such a neat and tidy ending is really how the scenario would have turned out.  That would be the only thing I could say about this author and the books I've read thus far is that "neat and tidy" endings are wonderful to read, but sometimes they can be misleading from how real-life goes...I guess that's why it's called fiction ;)

9.  Picture This How Pictures Work by Molly Bang
-read this book as part of one of my summer classes...it made me think about art and how artworks are put together in a way I had never thought about before...hopefully this info will help in my class too :)

10.  Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto

11.  Ways of Seeing by John Berger
-read this as part of my research for my research project about teaching visual/art elements to enhance reading comprehension with kids...I found it to be an interesting read and learned about how to look at artwork along the way too...and this is coming from a [maybe former] non art loving person! :)

12.  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

13.  Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus

14.  Dear Genius The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom by Leonard S. Marcus
-read this and the previous book after my summer class and learning about how picture books are made...these were both about the publishing industry

15.  United States Catholic Catechism for Adults by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
-read this as part of our diocese's adult education effort this past year.

16.  The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson

17.  Honus and Me by Dan Gutman

18. Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey

19.  The Name of this Book is Secret by Psuedonymous Bosch

The last four books were read as part of an award list for elementary students at school so if you're interested in children's lit (3rd-5th)...check them out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Welcome to the World!

It's a girl, another niece! 
(Now don't tell me this news would shock you :)

Lydia Brooke

Congrats to my brother-in-law, Pete, and his wife, Jenny!  And congrats to big brother Wyatt and big sisters Brielle and Carly!

We are so grateful for her safe and healthy arrival into this world and can't wait to get to know her as she grows!

We love you Lydia!

Grand Totals:  Nephews-2  Nieces-8
(Yeah, it's slightly lopsided, but we don't care because as you all know...I have the cutest nieces and nephews ever! ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

May The Fart Be With You!

If you are expecting a graceful, ladylike post, you will probably want to avert your eyes to another blog at this time.

If you are my mother, you are going to be immensely proud and will probably need a tissue for when your eyes start tearing up from all of those proud feelings you are going to be experiencing.

If you are still with me, enjoy! :)

Last week one morning (not sure if my alarm clock had actually gone off yet or not, but not really the point), Luke came into our bedroom and crawled into bed with me.  Scott was already up and getting ready, so Luke and I enjoyed some snuggle time.

Well, I started to experience some gas and so I thought that I would just set it free, silently of course, but my body had other ideas.  I let one loose and it was a LOOOONG, SLOOOW, LOOOUUUD one!  Definitely not what I was expecting!  I believe I said "Oh my!"

Luke looked at me and said (in a serious voice that sounded like he was about to cry),...
 "Mommy, I'll never be able to fart like you!"

I (trying not to laugh at just how cute he was) responded, "Oh, you will honey!  Someday you'll be big just like me and you'll be able to fart like that too!  You just have to keep working at it!"

He felt better after that and I did too! ;)

P.S.  Thanks to Luke's former preschool teacher for the title of this post...her sarcastic retort was perfect! :)

October Spook!

(Yes, I realize it is actually November now...I'm a little behind!)

Two or three weekends before Halloween...I got bit by a cat...a black cat, nonetheless.

It was one of our several "barn" cats and I'm sure it was hungry (probably thought my foot was a chicken leg or something), and as I stepped out onto the porch barefoot to feed them, it bit me.  I screamed...the cat unhooked and looked at me in shock...the children behind me started screaming...and I just kept thinking-did that cat actually just do that!  It had.

Did you know that a cat bite bleeds?  And it doesn't like to stop...
As I'm trying to fix up my foot, I hear choruses of "Mom, why did the cat bite you? Does it hurt?" from one child and "Oh no...katty kat...bite mama...ouch...boo boo (whimpering voice)" from another child...repeat all of these 20,000 more times for the actual experience!

Well, I got it cleaned up and briefly wondered if one should visit an E.R. (since it was the weekend, of course), but thought "Nah, it's just a cat!"

Scott had been away visiting his brother on this particular weekend and got home about an hour after all of this had occurred and as soon as he walked in the door, the children replayed the events described above for him.  And the bite still hurt.

After all of the children were in bed and with my foot still hurting (pretty bad for being several hours later), I was still wondering whether I should have gone to the E.R. or not...if it had been a dog, I rationalized, I wouldn't have hesitated...so I googled "cat bite treatment".

Did you know that 80% of cat bites become infected with various strains of bacteria and can be considered worse than dog bites due to their "needle-like" teeth that can inject bacteria deep into the tissue?

I didn't either...and even after reading several horror stories, I still decided to see if it would be "better in the morning".

It wasn't.  It wasn't way worse, but it definitely was not better.

I limped my way through Mass and around the in-law's after church.  When we got home, I told Scott that I was going to the E.R. (even though I'm sure he thought I was being overly dramatic).  The doctor scolded me for waiting so long and asked if I knew what the worst thing is that could happen from a cat bite.  I jokingly asked if she was going to have to amputate my foot.

She did not think that was funny...

My infection was not the worst case scenario, but it was slowly spreading from my big toe area up the to the top of my arch so she gave me antibiotics and told me to see someone else within 24 hours.

So on Monday after school, I hauled myself in for another appointment after watching the top of my foot get just a little bit redder throughout the day.  I learned that what I was taking was not even strong enough to kill "cat bite bacteria" so I got a brand new prescription and after much elevation, H20, and plenty of big white pills, I can now say that I am fully healed!

Moral of the story:  A cat is not "just a cat" when it comes to bites...seek medical attention! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What did he say?

Is the question I found myself asking about a song on the radio this weekend.  The song was a song I have heard many, many times over the years. The song is also one, in which, I don't understand most of the words the lead singer (Tom Petty) is singing.  I have always sang, "You don't have to run from me" every.single.time because that was what I thought it sounded like.  Apparently, this weekend my ears were working and I heard, "You don't have to live like a refugee" and I said to Scott "What did he just say?"

He did not seemed surprised by the lyrics and he did not seem surprised by my complete misinterpretation of these lyrics all of these years either. :)

Here is a video of the song with the lyrics...just in case maybe I am not the only confused person ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-TBpKGACmw&feature=player_detailpage

Saturday, September 29, 2012

August and September (an update)...plus a tale of two months

Well, today marks 3 months as a family of 5.  Laugh at me or not, but it really took me almost the whole first month to realize that this family of five included three kids aged 4 and under.  It was chaotic, but not like what I expected after hearing people around me (whose kids are close in age and whom like to throw those type of statistics around :) talk about the craziness that ensues.  I don't know...maybe it's called lower expectations, or a more easy going nature, or maybe just not expecting so much out of myself or the kids themselves except for them to be themselves, learn how to share space/toys with each other, and allowing them each to adjust at their own pace.

In the last month, Luke has made great strides and shows great pride in his "big brother" role, plus he turned 5!  He really enjoys telling people about how he is a big brother now and him and I have had many conversations about why the girls are living with us now; the possibility that the girls could eventually go back home; how he would help and why we can't help their mom and dad;  and how he never wants the girls to leave now.  If you were around the first two months, you know that during that time there were many conversations that went "I love my little sisters" one minute to "I don't like having little sisters! Send them back!" the next so he has made tremendous progress! :)  He also started kindergarten in August and as with everything...it has taken time for him to transition, but we just came off of our first WHOLE good week so we're hoping that he is finally settling back in to routine again...what more could a mom ask for! :)

Big sis (age 2 1/2) has made so many subtle, but great strides since coming to live with us that my heart just swells with pride for her!  When she arrived, she maybe had 10-20 words and everything resulted in a scream/tantrum with the word "MINE!" yelled at the top of lungs!  Every.single.thing went in her mouth (no matter how gross!) and she was constantly spitting at Luke.  Let's just say I was so caught up in their arrival, the changes taking place, controlling interactions between all of the kids and trying to make sure I was doing everything (paperwork/appointments) that I was supposed to do, that I was not completely aware of just how tremendously behind she was with regards to her behaviors.  After the first meeting with a screener (about 1 1/2 weeks in), it became quite obvious to me...and then after several more meetings with other screeners, it was even more obvious, but by that point she had already begun to make loads of progress.  Oh, she is still behind in many areas, but the girl can share when she wants to now; she can and does use the word please now (and sometimes even without prompting); there is still occasional spitting, but nowhere near like it was; she no longer screams at every drop of a hat; she has learned to give hugs to say she's sorry; she has added several more words to her vocabulary; she can do our block puzzles without becoming instantaneously frustrated AND I watched her do one all by herself this week!; she LOVES books; she has one of the prettiest smiles and she loves to cuddle/give hugs...what more could a mom ask for! :)

Little sis (age 1...she celebrated a birthday the day after Luke's!) started out so sweet (and she still is, of course), but is starting to show her spunky side too!  She has gone from a 10 month old girl who was a good crawler, but much preferred to be held any chance she got (and would just cry until someone picked her up).  Normally, I would not have given in every time, but due to the trauma they were initially experiencing caused by all of the changes they experienced in the course of a few days...I knew it was better to just pick her up, comfort her, and make her feel safe/secure than to assume I was caving in to a tantrum at that point in time.  Once she knew, we weren't leaving her and she wasn't leaving us anytime soon...she became great friends with the floor! :)  I witnessed her shocked/scared reaction to pulling herself up in her crib for the first time and the girl has never looked back!  She has learned to crawl up the stairs, is not afraid of trying to get to any place she wants to get to, she can climb into sister's bed, and she just took her first couple steps without holding on yesterday!  Of course, I placed her on her feet just a few feet away from me and started clapping for her to come to me...so it might have been somewhat "staged" but she did do it and she did it again several times!  I could tell by the look on her face that she thought it was fun, but she is also just not quite brave enough to do it by herself yet!  She is a sweetie, lots of fun, and can always make the rest of smile...what more could a mom ask for! :)

AUGUST:
Hot, Dry, and Bugs!
The drought continued on around here and our house was descended upon by bugs of various kinds.  The first week brought the discovery of bugs in the hair, so I battled lice for the first two weeks of the month.  The second week brought the girls getting sick with a fever for 4-5 days (as we continued the battle against lice)...it also brought some lovely visits to the doctor and hospital by myself with all three children in tow.  I was frazzled, but I'm sure that we were quite comical at times too.  I just kept telling the doctor that the "circus" had arrived.  The third week brought the start of school and Luke being sick on the first full day of school!  We thought we were in the clear the last week, but on the final day of August Luke got sent home sick from school (he was NOT actually sick come afternoon time) and little sis (on her birthday, nonetheless) got sent home sick from daycare with a 102 degree temp in the afternoon.  We already had a follow up appointment set for that afternoon so that part worked out fine, but the nice surprise was the doctor sending us back to the hospital for other tests.  Needless to say, both of these children were perfectly fine by the next morning, aka, September!

SEPTEMBER:
Wetter, Cooler, and Healthy!
If there could be such a thing as a completely opposite month, this month would be August's opposite.  Everyone stayed healthy the whole month (granted we do still have tomorrow left!)  It rained on the very first day of September and for the first several days...I give all the credit to the rain :)  I swear it washed away all of the bugs that were floating around in the dust outside-that's my theory anyway!  It has been a nice month-I  wonder what October has in store...hopefully only good things!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Made It! Such a relief...well, sort of!

Long lost blog readers!  Remember me, probably not...remember my last post, probably not...well I'll give you a minute to scroll back down and give it another read if you'd like.  Don't worry, I'll wait...

waiting...

waiting...

waiting...

Oh good!  You came back!  Thanks! :)

Well, I think God read that post and LAUGHED at me.  Not just a giggle, but a great big old belly LAUGH!

I am so happy to say that I finished up with my last day of class yesterday, but my brain hasn't caught up yet because it keeps wondering what homework I need to be doing right now and then it remembers and says "WHEEEEWWWW!" I'm DONE! :)

Now back to that laugh...later that same day (of my near drowning post) we received a call from DCFS asking if we would take not 1, but 2 little girls (2 year old and 10 month old) for a long term placement!  (I'm pretty sure He was thinking~lady you haven't see anything yet!)

I was extremely nervous about taking them, only because I still had 3 weeks of classes left to get through including a major research project), but I also knew that "3 weeks" was a short-term problem not a "forever"  problem.

We accepted and our lives have already been blessed in many ways by these two girls' presence in our lives!   For me, it brought almost instaneous "healing" from the residual effects of infertility and a feeling of this is where we should have been all along.  For Luke, it brought "sisters" (although he is now beginning to realize that he may not have had it so bad being here by himself ;)
For Scott, it gave him a week of being a "stay-at-home" dad instead of a week of vacation :)

We have also gotten a lot of questions/comments about "how is it going's" and "I bet you're a lot busier now's"

To answer the first question, going from 1 to 3 kids, to be perfectly honest, felt like the most natural thing in the world.  Yes, there are more fights, especially when a 2 year old gets thrown into the mix, but I can't really say that it has been much "harder" than Luke all by himself is at times.  It's always better when we can get simultaneous tantrums going...then everyone gets it out of their system at the same time! :)  The biggest problem has been my own self-induced sleep deprivation due to many late nights completing assignments paired with Luke's early (5:30-6 a.m.) wake ups and that would have been happening whether the girls were here or not.  It has been hard at times, but it has also been very good too!

To answer the second comment, I always think "Ummm, have you never met my boy Luke?!"  He is busy enough all on his own...just ask anyone who has ever babysat for us! :)  Honestly, the two girls together are still easier than my dear, sweet Luke all by himself at times.  So, other than much more laundry and actually having to keep on top of my dishes, it's really not too much "busier" around here either! :)

Today marks three weeks of being a family of five and the plan is to just keep enjoying all of them while we've got them!  Because, really, aren't all of children just on loan to us from God anyway?  
Welcome to our family Bis Sis and Little Sis!  We love you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whew!!!!

Just coming up for a momentary breather!

The last couple of weeks have left me feeling like I am just barely treading water.  My summer classes have started and besides the long days away from home, there has been quite a bit of homework to do every evening too along with busy, busy weekends.  One class will be ending next week, but until then...I still have a lot of work to get done within the next week!  I will not deny that I am very much looking forward to that class dropping so that I can actually have my mornings at home back again...at least until school starts back up again!

Classes are going well and I haven't drowned yet, so I'll "just keep swimming" and look forward to next Thursday and getting some time back!  (Until then, please don't judge my house or my eating habits! ;)

Until my next "breather"!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Why not do I have..."

*This post may go places that cause some readers (if I have any left ;) much discomfort and for that I apologize, but it IS true to form of what has been happening in our little world as of late.  You've been warned! :)


This is how many of Luke's questions start out when he can't have something that he wants.  I usually like answering his questions, but as of late his BIG question has been stirring up lots of things that I thought I had a fairly good handle on as of recent years.

Over the past month or so, the ending to his question is "...a brother or sister to play with?  I want one!"

WHAM!  Infertility has stuck its ugly head up again and it came at me in the body of an almost 5 year old.

It gets even better when the question comes in this form..."Mom, do you have a baby in your belly?"  I always say "No, my body hasn't ever done that or worked that way."  To which he replies, "Get one in your belly Mom! "Why not can you get one?"

Oh how I wish this terrible thing would only have ever affected Scott and me...I hate that it's ugly fingers are now affecting my child!

I tell him how blessed we are to have him and that he has cousins who he can treat like brothers and sisters, but  when time with any of them is too far and in between, even ones who live close, he doesn't really buy it.  Plus, they all have their own siblings and with that comes him naturally being held at a different status by them...he is a "cousin" not a "brother" even though he himself would love for that feeling to be different on everyone else's part.

It hurts when he sooo wants someone else to play with (besides me of course :) and there just aren't any good options at these points most of the time.  Either people with kids around the same age aren't home; or the parents are at work/kids at daycare; or it comes up late in the day and going to a friend's house would take a bit of a drive which would mean getting there around supperish time, or a spur of the moment type of play date is not overly welcomed due to schedule conflicts, etc, etc, etc.

There also seems to be an abundance of pregnancies announcements/births, as of late, which are wonderful things to celebrate, but which also takes us back to his second question and why I don't have a baby in my belly.   He tells me "it's not fair" and "[insert name here] don't need another brother or sister.  [insert name here] already has one...can I have it?"  or "Can [insert baby's name here] be my brother/sister too?"

How do you explain to a 4 1/2 year old that the world just doesn't seem fair sometimes and that sometimes there is just not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it?!

I'm so glad that he is growing up, but I hate that he is now getting big enough that our grownup problems can now in their own unique way upset him too!

I'm sure there are many benefits to being an only child, but being forced to be/have an only child due to infertility is definitely NOT one of them.  Sorry bud!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank You Mom!

Thank You for...

*always being there when we need you most...

*printing off all of the pictures on your camera and giving us even the most random ones..."well your elbow was in it so I thought you might like it"...of course, I am kidding with that line...but the "random" ones are sometimes the best ones too or at the very least-good for a laugh...

*showing us that life is about helping others, not just serving ourselves/our own agendas, although you may grumble from time to time about it-you still always step up to help others whenever they ask it of you...

*demonstrating for us that church is just a natural extension of our lives by showing what it means to serve it and that it is not just an obligation that we are supposed to fulfill each week-even though we may have grumbled about this one from time to time as kids :) ...

*loving your grandkids and always welcoming them into your heart and home...

*all the times you remember to tell all of us girls about things, instead of telling 1 or 2 or us something 3 different times and forgetting to tell one of us ;) ...

*babysitting!!! ...

*being you!

We love you! :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My name is...

(or has been)...

"Anita"

"Anita Jean"

"Neet"

"Anita P"

"Mom"

"Aunt Anita"

"Mrs. S."

and most recently added to the list...

"Luke's Mom"

It feels strange walking around school being referred to as "Luke's Mom" by the littlest people in the building and not "Mrs. S", but it also feels really nice! :)  Luke never attended a 'daycare' and the kids he always played with were either cousins, friends' kids, or kids from church...all of whom called me by something else on the list above so this has been a new experience for me.

It's a name I am very proud to carry! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Animal Farm

It seems that this is what we are becoming.  Technically, our house is sitting on the place that was always the "family farm", but it hasn't really been much of a "farm" farm for many years now, however, if Luke has his way...it may just get there again someday.

I would just love to hear someone try to argue that my child does not LOVE animals.  Since Scott and I have lived here, we have always had cats.  Do they get much of the glory that comes with being a "pet cat"?  No, at least not from us.  They help keep the mice at bay and they are pretty much free to go on as they please.  We keep them fed and watered...then they're somewhat on they're own.  Luke, on the other hand, refers to these cats as his "kitty friends", "catty friends", or "my buddies" on most occasions and insisted that they have a house, despite the fact that they can get into the old house or any of the sheds/barn/old buildings on the property.  So, last fall, Scott built them a house and we painted it.

Scott has always had a deep fondness for rabbits and finally got back into raising them a year ago in February. As expected, Luke took to them immediately and has been loving on the new litters of baby rabbits that we've had.

Then last August, we decided to add a dog to the mix, Chester.  Appropriately enough, we picked him up on the day of Luke's 4th birthday!  He loves the dog and even had to open the van door before we left for town today, just to say goodbye to Chester.

I write about all of this because today we picked up a fish.  Luke has been wanting one for quite awhile and we used this as an incentive for helping with things around the house.  He finally earned it yesterday and today we brought home a fish!  As I've said before, Luke LOVES it!

When I remembered that we also have a can of worms sitting on the porch (he brought them home from the sitter's and we're hoping to use them for fishing at some point), which we refer to as our "worm farm" and he refers to as his "worm friends" I decided that I better write about our ever growing "farm" before the next animal arrives...whatever that may be! :)

And when I say that Luke loves all of these things, I mean he loves them.  He always refers to them as "my [insert type of animal here] friends" and is constantly trying to give them hugs and kisses.  I would not even be shocked to find out one night that he tried to give one of his "worm friends" a kiss and tell it goodnight.  He also always makes sure that all of these animals know he will miss them too, if he is leaving.
He is nothing if not sweet!  That's for sure! :)

So...quite by accident, we are apparently becoming some sort of animal farm, I guess! ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Luke's 1st Race!

Luke was very excited this morning to run in his first "race"!

He has been watching me train and has watched or heard about me running in several "races" now and is constantly asking me if he can come with me when I run.  Most of the time, I have to tell him no because the distances are either too long or with the races...I've been afraid that they will be too much for him.

Well, today, my cousin and her family hosted their 2nd annual event in honor of their baby boy who died after struggling to live for about 8-9 months.  We were unable to make it last year due to my first 1/2 marathon being scheduled for the same weekend, but those of us who did the 1/2 wore the t-shirts from the event in his honor during our 1/2.  This year, Scott and I didn't really decide until last night that we were for sure going and then when we looked over the list of races (10K, 5K, 1 mile fun run), we decided that maybe the whole family would just do the 1 mile race, since Luke has been wanting to run in a race for awhile now.  He was excited and nervous when we told him that he was going to get to do a race! :)

After our hour-ish drive, we finally found the right location and got out of the van...in the pouring rain...

We got registered, grabbed our bibs/chips, and got ready.  The race was delayed for quite a bit due to lightning and then finally we got the go ahead.

Luke took off and I stayed with him (Scott fell behind to stay with one of my cousins to help her along the way) and Luke RAN THE WHOLE MILE! :)

At one point, the rain started to come down even harder and he came to a stop.  I asked him if he was okay and told him that we had to keep going.  He looked at me and said, "Mom, this is fun! I like running in the rain!"

We finished somewhere between 12 and 13 minutes (I think?), which I thought was great considering that's what my time tends to average out to per mile on my really long runs.

He loved it!  As soon as we crossed the finish line, Luke said, "Let's do that again Mom! When's the next race?"

I'm so excited that he was so excited about it and Scott and I have discussed some other possibilities for him, but I think it would be okay if the rain kept its distance the next time! ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Darndest Things!

Yesterday at school...
While checking on my kindergartners at the bathroom one of my girls comes out of the bathroom and says "[name removed to protect the not so innocent :)] said 'sexy'!"
Out comes the boy from his bathroom and when I ask him if he said a word that he shouldn't have, he responded, "NO!  I said 'I'm sexy and I know it!'"  (It's a line from a song just in case you are unfamiliar with it-ahem, my mom & dad ;)  I reminded him that it was still not appropriate and that he shouldn't be saying it.

Fast forward to today...
As my second graders are walking out to lunch recess, one of my boys comes walking up to me as he was walking through the gym singing, "I'm sweaty and I know it!"
I couldn't help laughing and now that version has been stuck in my head all day! :)

********************************************************************************

This evening Luke wanted to play in the sandbox so we trotted outside.  Grandma and grandpa's dogs wandered over as they always do anytime we happen to be outside.  This always results in our puppy, Chester, going completely crazy!  He cannot wait to get loose so that he can wrestle, chase, play with the other dogs.  Unfortunately, Chester is also a boy dog and despite being fixed, he does still like to act like a boy dog and do that thing that boy dogs just love to do when one of the dogs is around.

Well, tonight he started to do what boy dogs love to do to the other dog and Luke looks up from his sandbox and says...

"Look mom, Chester is getting a piggyback ride from him!  He sure is holding on tight!"

"Hmm, yeah, a piggyback ride" was about the only response I could give at the time. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gone, but Not For Good! :)

I'm BAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!! :)

Sorry for such a long self-imposed absence, but it has been needed.  Research papers were completed, turned in, graded, and handed back this week.  You may be happy to know that I did very well on both of them...well, at least, I am happy to know it! ;)  I am also entering the last 2 1/2 weeks of training for my next 1/2 marathon on the 28th.  I only have a couple weeks of classes left, as well as, about a month of school left!  My little family has had to educate ourselves on several things and make some adjustments (many that are still a work in progress) over the last month or so too. It seems like there has been so much and yet so little going on here all at the same time.  BUT, I'm back, and that is what I am really most excited about...all of these other things will definitely be leading to several posts on each of the related topics.  I'm hoping to keep filling up my little space here in the blogosphere for awhile longer...but don't be surprised if there isn't another intentional break sometime in June when I'll have several weeks of summer classes schedule craziness! :)

Check back soon! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Geez, Louise!

It's the middle of March already, which means it has been weeks since I have posted! :(

There are several matters around here that I am just itching to write about, but I will save that for another time because right now I should be working on at least one of my two research papers that are due in a few weeks and/or studying for my midterm next week! EEEK!

So, I'm just checking in to let you all that I haven't rolled over and died yet ;)  and just to remind everyone (because I think that I may have mentioned it in the past) just how much I DO NOT like this time change called Daylight Savings Time!  Ugh!

Don't get me wrong the "extra" daylight is fine and dandy, but when it results in my child's bedtime having to move back an hour because it's light outside/still feels like 6 p.m. to him, which results in me having LESS time in the evening to work on things that need to be worked on because my bedtime CAN'T switch for me to maintain my own sanity...it's not a good combination.  I need that time back!

Anyway, enough time spent about what a waste of time Daylight Savings Time is...I have some work that needs to get done! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

It only comes around once every four years and this is my first one as a blogger.  For the most part, it was just another day.

I did get up and run before school today...that was a first in several months.  It felt good and I am easing back into it.  I have been running on the weekends and am now working on getting back to it during the week too!

My kindergartners got to enjoy some GUM today, since Leap Day doesn't come around very often.  Their teacher let them do something that they never get to do, since it was such a special day! :)

My second graders enjoyed a Dr. Seuss Leap Day (and I'm sure that there will be more celebrating in the other grades as the week continues!)

My classmates breezed through their presentations and then my professor breezed through her lesson tonight, which resulted in getting home at an earlier time tonight. Woo-hoo!

Luke has been asking each morning to go see Baby Kyle (instead of going to school), since our recent visit this weekend.  I'm not exactly sure if Baby Kyle is really the big draw or if it's the idea of seeing Uncle Neil and Aunt Beth and being able to visit their farm, basement, chickens, and swings that is actually the bigger draw (even though this isn't verbalized!)  Don't get me wrong, he loves Baby Kyle and he likes to say "I love Baby Kyle and Lucy", but I haven't seen him pay him THAT much attention to him as of yet either.

I can't say that life has been super exciting as of late, but it has been good for it to just be normal. :)

Hope your Leap Day was nice too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Book #2

I finished reading The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult last week.

It was okay.  Not one of my favorites of hers.  I borrowed it from the shelf in the teachers' workroom at school because I usually enjoy her books.  The comic book artwork in between each chapter was okay, but not my cup of tea.  The storyline itself was fairly predictable (maybe I've read too many of her books now...) and I had most parts of the ending figured out before I got there.  If you've been reading hear for awhile, you know I prefer most of my reading to be stories or biographish books that "make me think" rather than reading "fluff" or books that I can guess the ending of long before I get to it (because once I start a book...I have to finish it and it makes it seem to take that much longer when I think I have it figured out already.) Like I said, I thought this book was just okay...sorry for the random/"just okay"ish blog post about it. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to the World!

It's a girl BOY, my nephew! :)

Kyle Anthony

Congrats to my sister, Beth, and her husband, Neil, and the newest big sister, Lucy!

After 5 beautiful nieces on my side, I've got a nephew and Luke has a boy to join in the fun (well in a few years anyway ;)

Grand Total:  7 Nieces, 2 Nephews
(And, of course, as I have once again decided...I have the cutest nieces & nephews around! :)

We love you, Kyle, and can't wait to get to know you as you grow!

Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Good Dad!

Today is Valentine's Day and I did not get flowers today, but I did get something even better...a reminder of why I married him in the first place!

We finally got some snow today (about an inch), but the irony was that there was supposed to be a high of 38 degrees today so I knew that it would all be melted before we all ever even got back home to even enjoy it. :(

So I mentioned to Scott that maybe he could give Luke a ride in his sled since it might be his only chance with the way this winter is going.  He happily agreed to it and so before Scott fed all of the animals and while I loaded up the car, Luke got a ride around the yard in his brand new sled.

Yes, it may have only lasted a matter of minutes, but the smile on Luke's face said it all-pure joy!

What a good dad! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Dream

Growing up, my sisters and I took piano lessons.  They began after I broke my arm during the summer before 5th grade.  Mom had heard that it would be a good way to keep the muscles in my arm strong while the bone was healing.  The bone eventually healed itself, the cast came off, but the lessons continued well on into high school.  I didn't always enjoy (or appreciate it for that matter), but looking back, I am so glad to have had it because nowadays there isn't much that compares to being able to sit down and play an old favorite on my piano.

Somewhere around junior high, my mom started throwing out a "wouldn't it be nice if one you girls could play the organ at church?" from time to time.  Maybe it's the "duty boundedness" or "people pleasing" traits of being the first born, but at some point I expressed interest in this.  My mom hooked me up with a lady for lessons and I learned a song or two.  And, eventually, I tried playing at a Saturday night mass.  Add nerves to trying to play with a singer, plus add in a bunch of other voices (several singing at their own rates) in the congregation and it was too much for my little perfectionisty brain to handle. I don't really remember if the song went that bad or not, but what I do remember is a feeling of never wanting to do that again!  It was too much.  And when neither of my sisters tried after that, well, there went mom's dream too.  Or has it...

Many years later, I have found myself a member of a smaller parish with a smaller parish family.  Instead of multiple organists, we now only have two.  One of whom is one of very best friends.  I have watched these two ladies in recent months struggle with having to split a very busy schedule of Masses between themselves while thinking...maybe I can help.  When they asked for anyone who could help with music for Masses in anyway, I stepped forward to at the very least try!  I learned the chords (not knowing my chords by letter name has been part of my hang up until recently) for two songs and made my debut this morning.

The first song...well, let's just say...meh.  I was not pleased.  I had been practicing it faster at home than people were wanting to sing it and then I let my brain get involved.  That is the first rule of playing for me-don't let my mind get involved, just let my hands do what they need to do, but my brain started thinking about it and then my fingers couldn't seem to find the right chords.  I think I managed to keep the melody going most of the time, but there were several gaps and just out right wrong notes. UGH!

The second song went much better.  I kept my mind at bay and let the fingers do the playing on their own and somehow the singing matched up with how I had practiced at home! Yippee! :)  I was much more pleased!

So, it is going to take quite a bit of getting used to, but being older and wiser now, I am not giving up just yet!  It will take some time and patience and if after several attempts, I don't feel it getting better, well then, we'll see.  But for now, I will keep trying and maybe mom will get an "organ" player just yet. ;)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today's Random List of Events

*This morning...I was perturbed to hear the radio guy talking about the weather.  He reported that areas to the north of us received between 2-10 inches of snow.  Then he had the gall to say that our area was LUCKY to have only received a dusting of snow.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Bring It!  I (er, I mean Luke) want some snow!  Just dump it on us already.  The sled from Santa, snowsuit from grandma, and snow tube from Aunt Beth are all feeling quite neglected this winter and a dusting of snow is just CRAP!  Ugh, that weather guy...

*This morning...was also quite COLD, but I bundled myself up and headed out to the 5K in town that I had signed up for awhile back.  I am proud to say that I have now (finally) completed my first official 5K by running the entire thing.  Now my time was not the greatest-36:30, but I am still so proud of that time!  Why? See the next bullet for that answer :)

*We will make it!  Every single one of us here in the Faith, Hope & Poop household was knocked out by the flu during the course of the week.  It struck Scott on Saturday (at this point he still thought it was just the beginnings of the cold Luke came down with during the previous week), but by Sunday Scott had developed a fever with it and stayed home while Luke and I went to help grandpa celebrate his birthday (still thinking it was just a bad cold.)  On Monday morning, Luke woke up with a fever (& we figured out that this was indeed something different) and he stayed home with Scott (who worked from home) so they could rest together.  By the time I made it home from school that day, I was 99% sure that I had a fever as well and sure enough, I did. Tuesday brought Scott feeling better just weak and he decided to work from home another day, as well as, watch over us other two sickies.  Wednesday brought Scott going back to work and Luke trying to go back to school with me staying home to make sure that my fever was actually gone for good and to rest.  I did go to class that night, but by the time I got home, my fever did rare its ugly head again for a couple of hours.  Thursday brought Luke and I heading back to school together, but then leaving just a few hours later due to his fever having returned.  Friday brought my first full day back to work, since Monday and Scott once again working from home to stay home with Luke (who seemed to be feeling much better for most of the day according to his dad.)  It was a LONG week and we all took very good care of each other!  Unfortunately, the little guy has still been very worn out from all of it..he's been sleeping 12 hours each night 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. along with a 1-2 hour nap during the day too.  This child NEVER sleeps this much...he's a tired little dude!

*If you were keeping a running total there, then you know Luke only made it 1 1/2 days of school, Scott made it out of the house for work 2 days, and I was the grand winner with 2 1/2 days of work.  Yes, technically, Scott was the only one who worked every single day, but we're talking about actually having to get yourself showered and changed here people! :)  We've had quite a bit of quality time together, maybe not quite your Christmas break type of quality time, but in some respects it was kind of nice because we didn't have to worry about parties, plans, gifts, etc just being with each other and getting well.  (Lots of naps helped too!)  It will be fabulous to get back into routine next week though! (AND stay healthy too, hopefully!)

*Luke and I did remember to call our dear girl, Rachel, on Thursday too!  Even though, he insisted that she "doesn't talk" when I asked him if he wanted to call her, I knew better!  And talk she did.  Now it may only have been "yes" to each question I asked her, but that "yes" is one of the sounds I most cherish (as I know her mom and dad do as well.)  This child who was only guaranteed a 50% chance of even surviving after birth is a walking, TALKING miracle and her smile is more precious than gold!  Made even better by the fact that she smiles almost all of the time too!
Happy 3rd Birthday Sweet Girl!  Can't believe you're such a big girl like your sisters now! :)

*Stay tuned for a report about a long time dream of my mother's attempting to come true tomorrow!

Monday, February 6, 2012

65

My dad turned 65 yesterday!

I can't quite believe it...it seems hard to wrap my brain around that.  Of course, many people would never guess that he is that age because he doesn't look it and he doesn't act "old."  It does for some strange reason, however, make me feel old. :)

It was nice getting to celebrate with him, my mom, and my sisters' and their families.  I hope we get to do that for many, many more years to come!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

30 years ago...

I became a sister for the first time.

Now I was only 16 months old and, at this point, was probably fairly oblivious to how much my world was about to change, but I am sure glad that it did!

Constant companion...constant rivalry...endless hours of fun (with a bit of fighting thrown in too along the way)...one of my closest friends.  30 years ago today brought many things into my world and has made my world a far better place.

And now it's no longer just her, but it's also a wonderful brother-in-law with a nice family that we enjoy spending time with when the opportunities arise.  And it's four lovely little faces that feel my heart up right to the top each time I see them!

That's the thing about a sister (or sibling in general for that matter) that no one really ever tells you...when their world expands a little bit more...so does your own!

She has been very blessed to have her own world expanded in so many good ways just as we have been blessed right along with her as it has expanded!

Emily, I hope you have had a great birthday weekend (if you need another glass of wine or a beer tomorrow, just give me a call! ;)

Thanks for just being & here's to, at least, another 30 happy years more!

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life (Before being "Mom") & Death

I found this video tonight and this song always makes me chuckle :)

"Mom" could never have been cool or done anything cool and all of you "Mom's" know it ;)



And I found that video while I was looking for this one...



I had not heard this song for a very long time, but I heard it tonight while driving home from class.  It always brings a smile to my face!
Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Book #1

Until We Meet Again by Michael Korenblit and Kathleen Janger

-An amazing story of one couple's survival during the Holocaust, which I had previously read a couple years ago, but is still just as powerful with each rereading.
-The most powerful sentence for me is the very last one of the book, "Of the 8,000 Jews of Hrubieszow, these three were among the fewer than 200 who survived."

It truly is a miraculous story!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What a Welcome!

I got home around 8 p.m. tonight.  I chatted with Scott for a few minutes and asked if Luke went down okay at bedtime.  He stated that he had gone down really well, then I headed upstairs.

I was just getting ready to wash my face and change into my pj's when I heard the sound of a doorknob turning and little feet running down the hallway.

My first thought was, "I thought he was sleeping, what is he doing up?"

Then I saw a huge smile and heard "Mom! It's so nice to have you back! I missed you!"

AAAAWWWWW!!!!!  (heart melting :)  "I missed you too buddy!"

"Mom will you lay with me in my bed for a few minutes?"

"Sure, let's go."

What an awesome way to be greeted (and such nice manners too, I thought!)
My little man is definitely one thoughtful and sweet little guy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Full Mind

A full mind is never a good thing, well, at least in my case anyway.
In my case, when my mind is full, it becomes all "swirly" and focusing on any one thing becomes very difficult.
My brain feels like it has been bombarded over the past two weeks with both ongoing and completely new things.

My family is always my top concern.
I am constantly thinking about my child, his well being, the judgements of others, and the relationships that he holds so dear yet struggles so much with because of some things that I believe are not always completely under his control.  And he is only 4 years old...
It makes us very grateful for those in his life who are patient with him even when it is VERY hard and for those who try to understand and help, instead of walking away from him.  We are so very grateful for an understanding teacher/school staff and for those close to us who do make time for him, despite the challenges that can bring at times.
He is and always will be my little man and I love him beyond belief and will always want to do the best by him! And I hope that those closest to him will never give up on him.

School is becoming a new priority too.
I began "the grind" this week.  Two days a week of driving an hour plus each way for class.  Sitting in class two hours plus each night and getting home after bedtime makes for some long days. 
Luke and I have made the most of our morning quality time.  I try to get most of the stuff I would usually do in the morning done before I go to bed.  Then all I have to worry about once I'm dressed and ready to go is eating breakfast (drinking coffee too, of course!) and playing with Luke before leaving for the day. 
Scott has done a wonderful job of adjusting to it all this week!  We'll see how he's doing by the time Week 16 rolls around ;)
Somewhere in the midst of all this, I will find time for homework and research papers too!


I am very much looking forward to a night out with some very dear friends next week!  It always does a mind good to get its "rants" out  within  a "safe zone" and these girls are DEFINTITELY a huge part of my sanity keeping! :)  I am also glad to be a huge part of THEIR  sanity keeping too! ;)

I trust them with my family, my "issues" and my life! And I'm more than happy that they trust me with theirs too. Thanks, in advance, girls!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Hero!

WOOHOO!!!

The hero at our house today is.....

Scott aka Dad!

With a new tool in his hand and three or four attempts at making it work tonight, he managed to get the main floor toilet working! (We had been without it working the entire weekend and several days last week.)

Why was it not working?

We'll just say that a younger person (who shall remain nameless at this time) likes to unroll toilet paper and fill the toilet with it whenever he needs to spend his time in there dropping a deuce.  He prefers to use the kiddie potty, but manages to use his time wisely when he's in between deuces (during the same visit) or when he's finished, but not completely ready to clean up yet.
The grownups of the house were trying to remember to always put the toilet paper away on a high shelf after using it, but one lucky day (for the aforementioned younger person) and not so lucky day (for the toilet and the adults) the lady of the house forgot to put the toilet paper back on the shelf.  BINGO!  Half a roll of toilet paper + an attempted flush with it in the toilet (never before tried btw) = one majorly clogged toilet and the better part of an evening spent trying to unclog it!

NOT GOOD!

Scott did some internet research and purchased a toilet auger and after 3-4 attempts tonight, there was a magical sound...

a flushing toilet!

Like I said, Our Hero! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lazy Weekend!

It is so nice to have a weekend with nothing on the agenda! 

We are getting back into the swing of things around here and have done a good job so far of trying to start some new habits/routines.  Of course, we did not get them all perfect (and, of course, never will either), but we did get some insight into which areas we need to do a better job with this week.

The joy of having nowhere that we have to be is getting to hang out at home and work on things together.  Today, most of the Christmas stuff was taken down.  The tree will come down tomorrow.  Some cleaning got done and groceries were purchased.  Plus, there was still lots of time to just relax!  It was a good day.

I finally got back to running this week too (after an almost month long unintended hiatus) and places that I have felt "loosening" have started tightening back up in just a matter of days.  It has amazed me actually :)  My goal is to do another 1/2 marathon sometime this spring and at this point it is just a matter of picking which one.  I have also signed up for a series of 5K events to be held in our local community throughout the year so, hopefully, that will help to keep me motivated in between the bigger events I plan on participating in.

Getting back into the school routine went much easier than I expected.  I am anxious to see how this week goes with me starting back to school myself.  Two back-to-back long days every week and fitting in time to study/work is going to be quite the challenge, but I think the family and I are up for it and as always, THANK GOD for a wonderful sitter who doesn't mind having to keep the little guy a few extra hours on class nights!  I sure will miss him on those days though as I probably won't see much of him from the time he and I get to school until the next morning :(

Anyway, here's to the end of a long ramblingish type of post and to the beginning of a new challenge!

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Christmas...

was one of the best christmases I've had in a long time!

I can't attribute it to any one thing or person...it just was.

Some differences:

*It didn't feel like it snuck up on me this year, thus, much less stressed out.  I truly believe the Advent tree played a big part in this.  I had to be prepared ahead of time so that Luke could do the things that were listed in the calendar.  If the day that said "wrap presents" was coming up, well by golly, we had better have all of the presents we needed ready, right?!  If we were "making cookies" one day, then I had better have all of the necessary supplies in place because you can bet your bottom dollar that once Luke checked the calendar...he was going to be ready to start right that instant! :)

*Also, thanks in part to the item listed above, this season felt like more of a journey rather than an event that takes place in just a matter of days.  It was nice to get to experience each day/each family gathering, in the moment, rather than worrying about where we needed to go next and what we needed to bring.

*We had VISITORS! :)  Almost every person in each of our immediate families stopped by at some point during December/Christmas! (Sorry Emily, Eric & girls...the house wasn't completely decorated yet when you were here...maybe next year ;)  This is a rare accomplishment indeed, but we enjoyed every minute of each of the visits!  Now it's on us to sneak in some visits to all of you sometime soon!

*There was no feeling of "it's all done :(" when Christmas Day was through.  It felt like what I think the holiday should feel like.  Happy & Blessed!

Although, it is still a year away, I am curious to see what the next Christmas season will bring and if it is anything like this one, then I'm excited to see it arrive again!
(If Luke has HIS way, I may not have to wait all year.  Christmas may never end because the decorations will never come down! :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions

If you'd like to read about my resolutions from last year, here you go...

http://faithhopepoop.blogspot.com/2011/01/its-that-time-of-year-againresolutions.html

I think that I did really well overall with the first one.  I still have quite a bit of weight that I'd like to lose and I believe that it will eventually come off, but for now I am just satisfied with what an "active" year I was able to accomplish.  I have also developed a taste for eating quite a few more fruits and veggies in my diet which has been a nice bonus!

I didn't quite make it to my 2nd resolution from last year, but you've probably already read about that in my last post :)

And now for this year's resolutions!

In 2012, I am planning on continuing to work on my resolutions from last year to continue bettering my body and my brain, but I am going to focus on two new areas this year.

1)  Organization: I am a person who needs structure (at least most of the time anyway) and I feel like it has been lacking in many areas in recent months.  I am going to be taking classes during most of 2012 and am afraid that this will only become a much bigger problem if left untouched.  So, Scott and I have been discussing and working on plans for organization around the house and with budgetary/household/grocery items.  We've already started implementing a few changes during the past weeks and are excited about jumping into all of it!

2)Gratefulness/Thoughtfulness: I am always grateful for my blessings and am constantly thinking of/praying for others, but I am also not the best at showing this.  A "well wish" that only ever remains a thought is never as good as a "well wish" that is actually delivered either in person, via card, etc.  I am very poor at actually delivering on these things and with a new year comes a chance to be better.

Overall, the goal is to continue working on just being a better person-physically, mentally and emotionally.  Here it goes... :)