More of the Same…

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Did anyone else have a “bah, humbug” holiday season???

I sure did… and it was BAAAAAAAD!  In fact, it was so bad, that I actually canceled our annual family Christmas get-together for the first time in over 25 years!

Even though I knew it wouldn’t be the same without having the extended family together in one place for Christmas, the boys were going through an extremely difficult “rough patch” and I just really needed a break… especially after the “kiddie-brawl” we had on Thanksgiving Day!

I am DETERMINED that THIS is going to finally be MY year… but, so far, 2016 hasn’t started out much better.  Other than being a new year, nothing’s really new… it’s just more of the same!

Since the beginning of the year (only 25 short days ago!), I’ve had…

ELEVEN appointments for Jimmy & Jeff,

TEN losing billion dollar Power Ball tickets,

EIGHT days of waiting for the insurance company to decide whether or not Jimmy actually NEEDED the new medication his doctor prescribed… TWICE!

(I seriously entertained the thought of calling them and insisting that since they CLEARLY have more medical knowledge than his physician, perhaps he should be in THEIR care while they “ponder” that decision.  I GUARANTEE it wouldn’t take them 8 days to figure it out!),

SEVEN trips to the store and STILL kept coming home without the one item I always manage to forget to put in my cart,

SIX items stolen at a New Year’s Day auction,

FIVE calls from the school (3 of which were FYI calls, and 2 “PLEASE COME PICK UP YOUR CHILD… NOW!” calls),

TWO days of worrying and frantically searching for a missing teenager (who is thankfully now back at home with his mom… SAFE and SOUND!),

ONE costly repair bill for a broken washing machine,

ONE broken vacuum cleaner belt (naturally it broke immediately after I accidentally dumped the contents of the vacuum onto the carpet!),


ONE huge hole in a closet door made by an angry child wielding a large roll of paper (yes, PAPER!!!).

Heck, all of that and I didn’t even get a partridge in a pear tree!

But, I DID get HALF of a rabbit carcass left right outside my back door (an obvious a trophy… courtesy of my golden retriever!).

Of course, this is in addition to all of the routine stuff around here that seems to quickly zap whatever energy I can muster on a daily basis… cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry, arguing over whose week it is to clean the litter box and why homework needs to be done right AFTER school and NOT at bedtime, and the struggle of trying to squeeze in the time to concentrate on getting my semi-new business off the ground.

Oh…. and, let’s not forget about the never-ending “perks” of having a set of 12-year-old twin boys who are obviously going through some not-so-pleasant changes!  At this point, with all of their constant bickering, primping, arguing, and emotional outbursts… I can honestly say they are worse than raising GIRLS!

To top it all off… I once again made a resolution to quit the nasty and costly habit of smoking… especially since my insurance company is making it very hard for me NOT to try.

Not only would eliminating this habit put a crap-ton of money back into our checking account, but our weekly insurance premiums will be cut in HALF… just by going through the smoking cessation program.

It sure seems like a WIN/WIN situation!

They even assigned a cessation “coach” who will call me every few weeks to see how the “plan” is working and to help me develop some alternative “stress reliever” techniques.

Alternative stress reliever techniques… Hahahahaha!

I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  Gum???  Exercise??? Meditation???  Busy work???

If I’m really lucky, maybe she’ll suggest medication… or a much-needed vacation… or even drinking!!!

Then again, I’d probably forget to put that in my shopping cart, too!



How I Outsmarted the Smarty Pants!

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

OMGoodness!!!  HOW is this already the end of November?!?

In just a few short weeks, Christmas will be here… and I haven’t bought a SINGLE present yet!

Christmas has been my favorite time of year since I was a small child.  It was the one thing that I remember getting really excited about year after year.  Maybe that’s why it has always been so important for me to try so hard to make it just as exciting for my own kids.

Even though the cost of raising five kids never left a lot of “disposable income” throughout the year, somehow we always managed to make sure they all some pretty meaningful gifts under the tree.  I guess that made me feel a little better about not being able to “indulge” them a little more throughout the year.

I used to love picking out gifts for each one of my kids.  I would spend all year just “listening” and “watching” so that I would know exactly what they were interested in.  Then I would scour the sales papers and see where I could get the best deals.  I still remember leaving my house in the wee hours of the morning just so I could stake my place in the line that was already snaked around the outside of the building… in freezing cold temperatures… waiting for the store to open its doors on Black Friday… just so I could snatch up those deals!

Of course that was waaaaaaay before the Thanksgiving Day sales and the 24-hour stores!

Seeing the surprised look and squeals of excitement from the kids as they opened their gifts on Christmas morning made it ALL WORTH IT!

As the kids got a little older, I began to  notice that the surprised looks on Charlie and Ryan’s faces had sort of faded… and the squeals of excitement were more “reserved”.

I didn’t get it.

I KNEW  I had gotten them what they were hoping for, and they SEEMED to be happy that they got it… so, why didn’t they LOOK like they were… or even SOUND like it?!?

It all started to make sense the following year as I was putting their gifts under the tree.

As I laid the gifts out, I noticed that each one that was marked for Charlie or Ryan had an itsy bitsy tear in it.  It was strategically placed and just enough that “someone” could identify what was wrapped underneath all that colorful paper!



I was so determined not to let THAT happen again that I spent months trying to think of a way to keep things “under wrap”… so to speak.

One day while I was at work, I mentioned my “dilemma” to a couple of co-workers.  One of them shared that they knew of someone who had written the names of reindeer on the gift tags instead of the names of their kids.

PERFECT!  Since I had already figured out that it was only the two older boys who were snooping, they wouldn’t know which gifts to look at if none of them had their real names, right?!?

It sounded like a plan to me… so I decided to give it a try.

I took a piece of paper, wrote down five reindeer names, and then randomly wrote one of the kids’ names next to it.  Once I wrapped the gift, I referred to my list and wrote the reindeer name on the tag.  Then, into the box it went, back into the “hiding” place in the basement, and no one would be the wiser (except ME, of course!)  😉

Over the next few weeks, I checked my not-so-very “hiding place” often… just to see if any of the gifts had been tampered with.  I could tell that some of the packages had been re-arranged, but… WHEW!  No rips in the paper!


It looked like I finally figured out a way to see those surprised faces on Christmas morning once again!

That is until….

I was setting all the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve and I suddenly realized that I had somehow managed to “misplace” my list!  You know… the one that told me WHICH kid was WHICH reindeer?!?

THIS was going to be BAD!

All I could envision were the looks of…. TOTAL CONFUSION!

I was pretty sure the boys wouldn’t want to open gifts of make-up or porcelain dolls… the girls wouldn’t want to open Little Tykes and Fisher Price toys… and the baby certainly wouldn’t know what to do with art supplies or tie-dyed what-nots.


For the next two hours I was in panic mode throughout the entire middle of the night search and recover mission.  I did eventually find my list… still in the same “safe” place that I had hidden it, but I vowed that I would never do THAT again.

I did manage to get some surprised looks and squeals that Christmas morning, but I also caught a couple nasty looks thrown my way from my husband as he was trying to hand out the gifts AND figure out which kid was Donner and which one was Blitzen!

Okayyyyyyyyyy… back to the drawing board…

I have to tell you…

The following year, I had a total epiphany when I was wrapping gifts while the kids were in school.

I finally came up with… THE… PERFECT… PLAN!

Every year I would do the same thing… wrap the gifts, tag the gifts, and then stack them all in a large box.  Then, I would lug the box down the stairs to its “hiding place” and on Christmas Eve, I would lug it back upstairs.  … And that’s when it HIT ME!

Why take the box downstairs to its obviously well-known hiding place, when I would just have to haul it back upstairs anyway?!?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to just “hide” the box full of wrapped Christmas gifts… IN PLAIN SIGHT?!?


So, after wrapping enough gifts to fill up a large box, I taped it closed, and WRAPPED THE BOX so that it looked like one huge present!

This way, I could just leave the box under the tree and under my supervision!  Nobody would dare snoop in a box where they might get caught!  Then, on Christmas Eve, all I would have to do is unwrap the box, take the presents out, and place them under the tree…

How cool is that?!?

Of course, when the kids came home from school, they all wanted to know WHO was getting the huge wrapped present that was sitting next to the tree.  Since I had already anticipated that question, I was all prepared with an answer… “It’s for Aunt Sue.  Uncle Jay is leaving it here until Christmas so she won’t see it.”

Surprisingly, they totally bought that explanation and I was able to get another 3 years out of this method before they caught on… but I was sooooooo proud of myself that I had finally outsmarted the smarty pants!

Now that they all have kids of their own, they’ll be going through the “snooping” phase soon… but heck… I’ve already done the hard part!  Sheesh… I think I made it too easy for them!



It’s The Thought That Counts… Right?!?

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a 12-year-old???  Or how a set of twins can process things at totally opposite ends of the spectrum???

I know I sure have… and still do!

Like today, for instance…

The boys and I were on our way home from running an errand and somehow the subject of Christmas came up.

It was just this past summer that they “discovered” where all of their COOL Christmas presents REALLY come from.

Up until that point, I had been very successful in keeping the fantasy alive by reminding them that WE certainly couldn’t afford to pay for all those things that “magically” appeared underneath the Christmas tree… and how would I find the time to BUY them… or WRAP them… and where on earth would I HIDE them?!?

That logic totally pacified them… and also seemed to be buying me a little more time to continue using the “naughty-list” threat… or at least it did… until they had a little chat with their great-grandma this summer.

Oh well… so maybe it was time for them to find out… you know- before they become the laughing-stock of middle school.  It was still a good run while it lasted.


Now that they “know what they know”, they’ve begun to “experiment” with the concept of gift “giving”.  Apparently the two of them have had some discussion about this and came to the conclusion that they want to buy Christmas presents for US because we “work so hard” and “always give to everyone else”.

They’ve decided that this year it’s OUR turn to receive gifts… or at least it WILL be if grandpa agrees to reinstate their allowance!   😉

So, I spent the entire ride home fielding a barrage of questions…

What size boots do you wear?  What kind of perfume do you like?  What’s your favorite movie? Do you need a new attachment for your mixer?  Do you need more furniture to paint? Do you like leather coats?  Would you wear a nice bracelet?

After careful consideration of my answers…they both announced that they had figured out the PERFECT gift!

Jimmy said, “You can never go wrong with chocolate!”  (<<<<<Smart boy, right?!?)

And Jeff?!?

He wants to buy me a box of HAIR DYE!

Ok… I know I’ve always been taught that it’s the THOUGHT that counts… but, HAIR DYE?!?  SERIOUSLY?!?

I’m not quite sure if he just has a lot to learn yet… or if he’s trying to tell me something in his own awkwardly “subtle” way… or if this is simply “payback” for the toothpaste he got in his stocking last year…

But, either way… for his sake, I really hope he ends up marrying someone with an incredible sense of humor… sheesh!



Apple Crisp

Hi everyone!

It’s What’s Cookin’? Wednesday!

I don’t think there’s anything that screams FALL like APPLES do… apple cider, apple butter, taffy apples, apple pie, and apple crisp!

There are TONS of recipes on the Internet for apple crisp… and I think I’ve probably tried a good portion of them over the years.  A lot of recipes use rolled oats, and even though that’s now a staple in our home, it wasn’t in the past.

That’s one of the reasons why I love THIS recipe!  The ingredients (minus the apples, of course) are something I always have on-hand!

Apple Crisp

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

For best results, use a couple different variety of apples... sweet, sour, juicy... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... they're ALL good!


  • 4 cups sliced apples (3-4 apples, depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter ( softened )


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Coat an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray
  3. Peel, core, and slice apples
  4. Layer apples in the prepared baking dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup water
  5. Sprinkle half the cinnamon (3/4 teaspoon) over the apples
  6. Cream butter and sugar with mixer - gradually add flour to create a "crumbly" mixture
  7. Distribute crumbled mixture over the apples
  8. Sprinkle with remaining (3/4 teaspoon) cinnamon
  9. Bake uncovered until apples are tender and crust is golden brown (about 30-40 minutes)
  10. Cool slightly and serve warm
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This simple recipe is just packed with flavor… and makes the house smell ohhhhhhhhh so good!  I normally double the recipe for a 9×13 baking dish and it’s always gone the next day!

And whoever invented that little handy-dandy contraption to peel, slice, AND core the apples in one-shot is a GENIUS!  It sure does make all these apple recipes sooooooooooo much easier to throw together 😉




The Joke’s On HIM!

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Almost every mom I know has “cursed” their child/ren at one time or another… I mean, how could they NOT?!?

Kids can be soooooooooo frustrating sometimes.  Especially the pre-pubescent ones!

I have one of those… well, actually two… but this one particular 12-year-old of mine seems to thrive on creating chaos wherever he goes… at school… on the bus… family outings… shopping trips… appointments… cookouts…. birthday parties… and especially at HOME!

He will argue about anything… he will nag you about everything… and he will not stop until he gets his point across LOUD AND CLEAR!

He’s always right – I’m always wrong… his punishments are never fair… and, even though I’ve raised 5 children before him, he knows waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more about parenting than I could ever hope to!

His behavior isn’t anything I condone, tolerate, or encourage… and the majority of the time, it usually results in a consequence (sometimes I CAN choose my battles)…

…which of course begins the cycle all over again.

To be fair, part of this “chaos” can most certainly be attributed to any one of the many neurological “disorders” he has been diagnosed with over the years… but some of it is just plain defiance…

…and, unfortunately, a very real part of “growing up”.

Anyone who has ever raised a headstrong child knows how horrendous the tween years can be.

Thus… the mother’s “curse”!


And anyone who knows ME, knows that I was a FIRM believer in that curse”… at one time anyway.

Raising my first child… Charlie… was VERY similar to raising this little “mini-Charlie”.

He was also a very headstrong, anti-authority, know-it-all type of child.  We went to war on many occasions during his tween years (and beyond!)… and, like many mothers with challenging children, I “cursed” him… A LOT.

Fortunately, he eventually grew up and grew out of that phase.  In fact, when he wasn’t fighting his demons, he was actually a LOT of fun to hang out with.

I remember the day he called to tell me that he was going to be a dad… I was thrilled!  Not just at the prospect of having another grandchild… but at the prospect of HIM finally being on the “receiving” end!

And when he told me it was TWINS, I was ECSTATIC!  All I could do was laugh… and lovingly tell him that nobody deserved it more than he did!

He just chuckled and said, “Yeah… I thought you’d get a kick out of this… that’s why I called you first”.

Since then, that “curse” has come back to haunt me MANY times over!

And now, whenever I hear a stressed out mom “cursing” their child… I cringe… and then I offer a few “words of wisdom”…

“Be careful what you wish for- because one day YOU may be raising that child!”

Recently, after a particularly trying weekend with Jimmy, I threw caution to the wind and I “cursed” him.

Apparently he has heard me offer my so-called “words of wisdom” to other moms on more than one occasion because he immediately felt the need to remind me (in his own words, of course!) of the possible “consequences” to “cursing” him.

I’m glad to know that he DOES actually listen when I talk… but the joke’s on him…

By the time HE has children of his own, I’ll be too darn old to raise them!

I hope he has TWINS…



Wooden Bench Make-Over

Hi everyone!

It’s Fun Project Friday!

How many times have you passed up a piece of used furniture that would be perfect for your home,  BUT… you didn’t buy it because it wasn’t the right color… or it needed some TLC… or it was grossly outdated?!?

That’s the kind of furniture I LOOK for… the kind of furniture I LOVE!!!

If it’s functional, has good “bones”, and is priced right… then you can bet it’s coming home with me!

Hmmmmmmm…. I suppose that would explain the mountain of inventory I have stockpiled in the barn, wouldn’t it?!?   😉

I stumbled upon this wooden bench at one of the local thrift stores, and when I saw the $4.99 price tag on it, I knew I HAD to have it!

Three months later, I finally figured out what I was going to DO with it…

Structurally, it was a very solid piece of furniture… but cosmetically- it was just plain U.G.L.Y. !

The first thing I did was to clean that baby up!  Then I took it completely apart.

There were tons of scratches and the finish was very worn, so the seat was sanded down to bare wood, stained, and a polycrylic topcoat applied.

The hardware for the legs were scrubbed and given a fresh coat of ORB spray paint.  The legs and supporting pieces were primed, painted with some soft blue chalk paint, distressed, and waxed.

It already looked sooooooooooo much better… but… it just didn’t seem to be “finished” yet.

So, I found a stencil…








…grabbed some painter’s tape…









…and stenciled away!

Remember the Before???

 Well… check out the After!!!


Isn’t it amazing what a little bit of elbow grease, stain, and paint can do?!?

Don’t forget to CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE to LEAVE A MESSAGE and let me know what YOU think!



Cinnamon Rolls

Hi everyone!

It’s What’s Cookin? Wednesday!

The Fall season has arrived… and before you know it, the temperatures will be plummeting and that white stuff will be falling out of the sky… grrrrrrrr!

So how do WE survive the long, dark, frigid days of Winter?  We BAKE!  

Ok… so “WE” don’t bake, but I do!

Those pre-packaged cinnamon rolls you buy in the grocery store do not even compare to these huge, fluffy, homemade ones that make your mouth water and your house smell ooooooooooooooh so good!

They are definitely time-consuming to make, but hey… what else is there to do when it’s too cold to go outside and you’re sitting in the house asking yourself WHY you’re still living in the snow belt… **sigh**

Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Yield: 12

Serving Size: 1


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3-1/2 T sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter (the real stuff is best!), melted
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped (coarse) pecans
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk


  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until it cools to room temperature
  2. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar and let stand until foamy- approximately 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, butter, and remaining sugar. Beat in the cooled milk
  3. Begin adding the salt and 4 cups of flour until it forms a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes), adding the remaining flour as necessary to keep it from getting too sticky
  4. Place dough ball into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set bowl in a warm area until dough doubles in size (about 1-1/2 hours)
  5. Prepare two 9" baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms with waxed paper and coat with spray
  6. For the filling...
  7. In a medium sized bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and butter together
  8. After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and roll out onto a lightly floured surface to an 18 x 12 inch rectangle.
  9. Spread the filling mixture over the dough and sprinkle with the chopped pecans
  10. Using the long side, begin rolling the dough in a jelly-roll fashion and pinch the seam to close
  11. Cut the roll crosswise into 12 pieces approximately 1-1/2 inches thick. Place 6 pieces into each prepared baking pan
  12. If baking immediately, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area until the buns double in size (approximately 45 minutes). If baking the next day, just cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate
  13. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  14. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls until bubbly and golden brown (about 30-40 minutes)
  15. Transfer buns to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes
  16. For the glaze
  17. Add 1 Tablespoon of the milk to the confectioners' sugar, gradually adding more milk as necessary to make a smooth glaze
  18. Drizzle glaze over the rolls and ENJOY!
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These cinnamon rolls are great ANY time… but are the absolute best right out of the oven.  Make up a batch and throw one pan in the oven for an after-dinner “snack”, and pop the other pan in the oven in the morning to have with your coffee.

Because these do not contain a ton of hard to pronounce additives and preservatives, they tend to get a little stale faster than the store bought ones- so be sure to store them in a tightly covered container.

Don’t forget to CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE to LEAVE A COMMENT and let me know what you think!



Resuming Our Regularly Scheduled Chaos…

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Whew!!!  What an incredibly BUSY few months it’s been!

The “event of the year” (a/k/a Jared & Kay’s wedding) was a total success!

It’s done… it’s OVER!

Everything was beautiful… food was plentiful… and everyone looked absolutely stunning in their grown-up “fancy” clothes (as the boys like to call them 😉 )!

Not only have we added another beautiful daughter to our nest, but the best part was that she didn’t have to walk down the aisle in sweatpants or jeans!

That’s right… I actually pulled it off… the wedding dress and all the other little tasks were completed AND I even had a couple of days to spare… which, of course, I spent frantically running to a dozen stores trying to find something for the rest of us to wear.

I’m so relieved that I no longer have to “dwell” in the basement where my sewing machine resides, my family no longer has to eat out of a bag or a box, and our home no longer looks like the aftermath of a tornado (though it’s now canning season, so it still looks like a strong windstorm has been hovering over us!).

For three entire months, everything… and I mean E V E R Y T H I N G… has been put on hold.

The only reason my house looked clean and clutter-free for a day or so last month was because my parents came in from out of state for our annual family reunion… and… well… let’s just say I had a really good reason for banning my mom from the basement!

As crazy as it’s been around here, I really love it when my parents visit… phone calls are always nice, but there just nothing a good old-fashioned hug from your mom!  It’s like the next best thing to mommy “kissing it and making it all better”!!!

Now that all of the “events” and summer commitments are over, and the boys are back in school, I can finally focus on getting things back on track and completing all of the little projects that somehow managed to get started, but didn’t quite get finished (but let’s face it… nobody EVER follows through with their New Year’s resolutions anyway, right?!?)…

Like the laundry room… and the family room… and the guest bathroom… and the BARN!

Ugh… that barn!

Just because I haven’t had a spare moment to work on any projects does NOT mean that I haven’t been stockpiling inventory (though I’ve been really careful about doing any more “shopping” under the influence of medication!). I’m such a sucker for garage sales, curb finds, auctions, and thrift shopping that some might think I need a support group…  but, what I REALLY need is uninterrupted TIME to unleash some of this pent-up creativity!

I swear… every time I open the door to our barn and turn on the lights, I keep expecting to hear an “announcer guy” saying….

“…and on our NEXT episode of Hoarders…”  sheesh!

Thankfully, I have a plan for each and every piece of furniture out there… I just need a chance to channel it from my head to my hands… It sounds so simple, but when you have two needy pre-teens… it’s extremely DIFFICULT!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending all of my time trying to play “catch-up”, although I’m not really sure I understand the object of that game very well, because I NEVER win!

But I keep trying…

In fact, I’m so determined to finally WIN at this stupid game, that I’ve created a 100-day challenge for myself…

So… starting tomorrow, my goal is to finish the family room, the guest bathroom, the laundry room, AND reduce my current inventory in the barn to half of what I have in there now…

If my family agrees to suspend the remaining 2015 birthdays until 2016, have Thanksgiving dinner in March, and celebrate Christmas in July, then I REALLY think this is totally do-able!

If not, then I guess I’ll be hearing that “announcer guy” saying…

We will now resume our regularly scheduled chaos…



Grandparents Raising Grandchildren…

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Well, here it is… another year… another reflection on the struggles and rewards that grandparents raising grandchildren experience on a daily basis.

When we first announced our intent to adopt and raise our twin grandsons, I was shocked at some of the responses we received.  We were chastised, ostracized, and criticized by the ignorant and selfish few who felt we were making a poor choice.

A few who wouldn’t, or couldn’t, understand that this wasn’t a choice… it was a responsibility!

We didn’t do it for admiration, sympathy, or guilt.  We did it for no other reason than for the LOVE of family… because THAT’S what family does… they take care of their own.

Four years ago tomorrow, we made a life-altering commitment.

We traded a home filled with peace and quiet for a home filled with constant chaos…

We sacrificed our well-earned privilege to enjoy freedom and spontaneity for the struggle of finding a responsible babysitter for an occasional (and rare!) night out…

We delayed the long-awaited reward of being empty-nesters to continue playing the roles of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, hosting birthday parties and graduation open houses, back-to-school shopping, attending school conferences, homework questions, and sitting patiently in doctors’ offices with two very impatient children…

We became a one income family in exchange for providing some much-needed stability, security, structure, and guidance…

We pushed back the dream of early retirement for book rental, orthodontics, karate lessons, piano lessons, sports equipment, band instruments, and college tuition….

We gave up all the fun of being grandparents who “spoil them and send them home” to hear “You’re mean!“, “Everyone else gets to, why can’t I?!?”, and “That’s not fair!“…

Our entire family dynamic changed when we adopted our then-8-year-old twin grandsons.

Has it been easy??? OF COURSE NOT!

Has it been worth it??? ABSOLUTELY!!!

They’re happy, healthy, thriving, loved, and SAFE!

We still have a long way to go, but it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come.

Thank you, God… for giving them a fighting chance at this thing called life…

Happy BONUS Birthday Jimmy and Jeff… we love you!!!



Back to School!

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

And, yes…. I’ve been SLACKING!

Well… maybe that’s not entirely true- I’ve actually been pretty busy in this little nest of ours.

But O…M…G….. it’s finally HERE! The MONDAY of the WEEK I’ve been waiting for since June…

it’s BACK TO SCHOOL week!

We’ve literally spent ALL summer preparing…

Mandatory band program- DONE!
Dental checkups- DONE!
Athletic physicals- DONE!
Required immunizations- DONE!
Eye appointments- DONE!
School registration- DONE!
Cool new school clothes and shoes- DONE!
School supplies- DONE!

We are sooooooooooo READY for this!!!

Ok… so maybe it’s just ME that’s ready!

These 12 year olds of mine are more than a little apprehensive about exchanging the comfort zone of their elementary school for the unchartered “shark-infested” waters of middle school.

They’ve heard the horror stories, they’ve created their contingency “plans”, and they’re cautiously optimistic about starting off the new school year on the right foot.

I honestly think I’m more excited than they are! Not just for the obvious reasons… but, because I remember…

I remember being apprehensive about junior high (as they called it in MY day!)… I was scared to death that I wouldn’t make it to class on time, forget my locker combination, and not make any new friends.

And then of course, there was the anxiety of the dreaded open stall showers after gym class, and let’s not forget the rumors of initiation at the hands of the “upper” classmates. Ugh!!!

Yep… I was S C A R E D!

But… after a couple of really looooooooong weeks… it was all good.

Of course there were times I didn’t make it to class on time, and I definitely had to make more than one trip to the office because I had forgotten my locker combination, but I made a lot of friends… and I made a lot of mistakes.

I learned so much more than academics… most of which were NOT easy lessons to learn.

The transition after elementary school was certainly an eye opener!  In fact, some of my favorite childhood memories came from those two short years… I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything!

Like me, I’m sure that there will be many hard lessons for the boys to learn, too… but, they’ll be fine.  After all… that’s all part of growing up, isn’t it?!?

I’m pretty confident that we’ve been nudging (ok… PUSHING) them in the right direction for the past 7 years, and that we’ve given them a solid foundation of values to build on… so I guess we’ll see if they were really listening.

This will be a very busy year for them- they’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore their interests, expand their social skills, and experience their first heartbreak.

They will learn about the consequences that go hand-in-hand with their new-found freedom and independence, discover a broader meaning of responsibility, begin to build true friendships, and learn a few hard lessons of life along the way.

This is also the time when parents are supposed to start “letting go”… just a little bit.  Even though we spend the first 12 years of their lives “grooming” them for this moment, it’s not an easy transition once the parenting role begins to change from damage prevention to damage control.

These two not-so-little-anymore boys of mine have come such a long way since the day I put them on the bus for their very first day of kindergarten… and even though still they drive me absolutely crazy every single day- I know how hard we’ve ALL worked to get them where they are today…

And somehow… that seems to make things just a little bit better.

But… I’m STILL having cake on Thursday 😉