Category Archives: Mommy Monday

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!



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…



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 😉



Got JELL-O?!?

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Remember when the recipe for JELL-O Jigglers came out? It was such a “fun” twist to an old favorite! Kids thought it was great that they could eat JELL-O with their hands, and all of the “cool” parents jumped on the bandwagon to make these fun treats for their kids in all different flavors and shapes.

Raising five small children was not a “cheap” task… even with both parents working, “disposable” income was pretty much non-existent. There were always incidentals that would eat away at the budget… outgrown clothes, lost shoes, broken windows, stitches, braces…

You know… the “oh crap! stuff”.

I was never much on providing a lot of sugary junk food for my kids… I opted for fresh fruits and vegetables instead- and they were surprisingly okay with that. In fact, fresh veggies with dip was one of their favorite after-school snacks! I could never seem to keep enough of it in the house.

But JELL-O?!?


And EASY to make!!

And kids LOVED it!!!

I remember being at the grocery store right around the time when JELL-O Jigglers were first introduced. They were offering free Jiggler molds with the purchase of 2 boxes of JELL-O… so I bought a couple of boxes and went home with my strawberry JELL-O and my “cool mom” Jiggler mold.

A few nights later, my husband and I left the kids with a babysitter. On those occasions, I would always try to have a special treat for them (okay… so maybe it was a “bribe” 😉 )… IF they were good for the babysitter. With 5 kids always going in 5 different directions, babysitters were VERY hard for us to keep- I had to do whatever it took to keep them coming back!

So, I made those fun JELL-O Jigglers… ONCE!

After my husband and I had returned home, I remember walking through the living room, past the dining room, and into the kitchen for something to drink. When I opened the refrigerator, I noticed that the whole plate of JELL-O Jigglers was gone.

To me that could only mean ONE thing… the kids behaved for the babysitter!!!

YAY!!! It worked!!!

But then…

I walked back into the dining room, turned on the light, and…

Something didn’t seem quite “right”…


The light was on… but all I could see were… SPOTS! Not those tiny little spots that eventually disappear when your eyes adjust to the light… these were huge RED SPOTS!!! My walls and my once white ceiling were now “decorated” with more than a dozen random red blotches!

YEP… leave it to MY kids to discover that not only was it fun to eat those JELL-O Jigglers with your hands, but apparently it was a riot to launch them through the air and watch them stick to the ceiling, too!

To this day, I’m not exactly sure WHAT the babysitter was doing at the time all this fun was going on, and I’m still not sure WHO the “ringleader” was… but I have a pretty good idea.

This has to be one of my kids’ all-time favorite childhood “heartprints” because they still talk about it and laugh about it whenever they get together.

I haven’t made JELL-O Jugglers since then, but maybe it’s time to be a “cool grandma” and try those “fun” treats just one more time- I mean, they come in sooooooooooo many more colors and flavors now!

Then I can send a plate of them home with each of my grandkids… right AFTER I tell them this story, of course…



Ewwwwww… YUK!

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

I cannot even begin to tell you how utterly grossed out and FREAKED OUT I am right now!

Last night, while driving back from the restaurant, I happened to turn my head slightly to the left to look at a sign on the side of the road when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something… moving

Since we were traveling on a side road with virtually no traffic, I QUICKLY brought my car to a complete stop, flung my driver’s side door open, and swoooooooooooshed a spider OFF MY ARM!

Whew! I HATE spiders- the ONLY time I will squash one is when there isn’t anyone else around to do it for me!

I’ll admit- this wasn’t a big hairy spider… in fact it was actually kind of small, like maybe the size of a pencil eraser. But it was orange-ish… and ugly… and a SPIDER!

Anyway- we continued on down the road (with one LESS passenger!) to run an errand.

Afterwards, we went home, let the animals out, got the boys to bed, and then I sat down to unwind and relax a little bit.

About 10 minutes into my “relaxation session”, I thought I felt something drop down into my shirt. After the spider “incident”, I was afraid it was another one… so naturally I started doing the “spider dance”… you know… looking down my shirt, in my bra, shaking my shirt, hopping up and down, and frantically brushing off any area of my body that I could reach…

Finally satisfied that I was just still a little jumpy from that totally ICKY thing crawling on my body earlier, I went back to doing what I was doing.

A few hours later (time sure does fly when it’s quiet around here!), I decided it was time to go to bed. I grabbed my PJs off the bed and headed to the bathroom to change so that I could turn on a light without waking my husband up.

I took off my shirt, removed my bra and… OMG!!!… that same #$(%(# spider that I thought I tossed out at the curb hours ago was crawling around on my bra! That “thing” had been next to my skin for 3 hours, and I never even felt it!!!

Honestly, if my husband wasn’t already sleeping, I would’ve screamed like a girl… loud and PROUD!

Instead, I flung my bra into the bathroom sink, shook the spider off, and turned on the faucet full blast for a couple of minutes.

After I calmed down somewhat, I finished getting dressed and went back to the sink to brush my teeth before heading to bed. And just what do you think I found crawling around in the sink bowl?!? YEP! That icky spider… again!!!

How it managed to survive the waterfall from the faucet and all that muck and gunk in the sink drain is beyond me!

So, on goes the water again… this time HOT WATER, and for a good FIVE MINUTES! Ewwwwwwwww! And then I stood there… for five more minutes… just to be SURE that it didn’t manage to somehow climb back up the drain again. Whew! Nothing… good riddance little spider!

Of course, as I was lying in bed, all I could think about was that stupid spider- where it came from, if it was poisonous, if it had bitten me, if there were MORE! YUK!

Then I started thinking that maybe I should’ve taken a picture of it… you know… just in case the emergency room doctors needed to identify the huge hairy spider that bit me and put me in a coma or something!

Sometime later this morning, I finally managed to find a 10 minute “window” to grab a shower. I stepped out of the shower, got dressed, made my bed, put some laundry away, and then went back into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Just as I was reaching out to turn on the faucet, guess what I found?!?

YEP! That stupid spider was back AGAIN!

Big Hairy Spider

Big Hairy Spider

I grabbed a piece of toilet paper, knocked the spider off the faucet and ran out to the kitchen to grab my camera (for the ER doctors, of course!)… hoping it wouldn’t “run away” or HIDE before I could get back to the bathroom!

By the time I made it to the sink, the spider was already crawling around on the toilet paper. I carefully lifted up a corner of the paper, flung it into the toilet, and FLUSHED… TWICE!!!

I don’t know what kind it was, or where it came from, but I swear… if that thing comes back again, I either have an infestation or it’s a mutant ninja spider!

Whichever it is… I can’t seem to get that darned “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song out of my head now… Ugh!



Charlie and Me…

Hi everyone!

It’s Mommy Monday!

Ok, so I may be just a bit “prejudiced”, but I believe that being a mom is one of THE hardest jobs on earth. I have no doubt that being a dad can be pretty challenging at times, too, but there’s just something about the “maternal bond” that a mother has with her child. It’s not like ANYTHING else I’ve ever experienced… and, good OR bad, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

It doesn’t matter if you birth them, blend them, or adopt them- every mother has a path to travel with her child… lessons to learn… and a story to tell.

I have a story for Charlie… my oldest son… it goes like this…

Dear Charlie,

Well, here it is again… July.

July has become a very confusing month for me.

On one hand, the month of July brings back a flood of “heartprint” memories. July of 1979 was the final month of my very first pregnancy… the month that my world as I knew it would forever be changed.

I was going to be a mommy! I was so excited… and scared to death!

I remember not being sure if I was ready for this…

It was a huge reality-check when I entered into the “nesting” phase.. the tiny little onesies, sleepers, and cute little boy outfits all washed and neatly folded, bottles washed, diapers and receiving blankets stocked, cradle set up, infant seat in the car, suitcase packed, etc., etc., etc.

Ready or not, it was time to be a “grown up”.

I was anxious to start this new phase of my life… I just had to wait for you… and wait… and wait!

You were supposed to be here on the 19th of June, but that date came and went… and you still weren’t ready. Sheesh! You weren’t even born yet, and you already had a mind of your own! Finally on the very LAST day of June, I started feeling something… regularly… painfully… and for the next 56 hours!

I can still remember holding you for the first time, your first tooth (4 months old!), first word (uh-oh!), first steps (6-1/2 months old!), first ice cream cone (9 months), first day of school (4 years- nursery school!), first Little League game (6 years), and every single one of your other “firsts”… because they were MY firsts, too.

You were the first grandchild… the first grandson! You had your grandpa wrapped around your little finger from the moment he laid eyes on you.

The baby years started off rough… colic was NOT fun for either of us! Teething wasn’t a pleasant experience either! But potty training?!? You NAILED it! One week and you were completely out of diapers… day AND night! Your terrible two’s lasted until you were nearly four… but once we got past that stage, it was a whole lot easier on both of us! I was constantly amazed at the personality you were developing… it was soooooo big… for such a little boy!

The funny, loving, and inquisitive side of you always made my heart melt… the mischievous side of you definitely kept me on my toes! You were fascinated with taking things apart to see how they worked… He-Man was your hero… school was FUN… and your brother was your best friend!

You were growing up so fast… and I was still trying to figure out how this whole “parenthood” thing worked.

I tried to teach you the things that I hoped would make you a better person… not realizing that you were also teaching me how to be a better parent.

We both struggled through your adolescent years…

you- trying to gain more control…

and me- not quite sure how much of it I was supposed to let go.

I was beside you as you fought your demons going into adulthood. I was always looking for the answers… for both of us… though I wasn’t even really sure what the questions were. I spent countless nights praying that God would keep you safe, re-evaluating my parenting skills, wondering how I could’ve missed the “signs”, and struggling to find a way to “fix” what you thought was so wrong in your life.

To this day, I’m still not sure if I was unwilling or just unable to understand the power it had over you. It was probably a little of both.

For years, every single day was an emotional roller coaster- fear, shock, disbelief, helplessness, hope, disappointment, frustration, and then… back to fear again.

My heart always hoped for the best… even as my head tried to prepare me for the worst- and you knew, deep down, that you were dragging my heart along with you on your journey through hell.

I know you knew… because you would always pick up the phone to call me. No matter how bad things got for you, you always made sure to “check in” with a phone call every few days… you knew that I needed to hear your voice just as much as you needed to hear mine. Even when you’d say, “I’m okay, mom”… I knew that you weren’t. You were scared- and I was terrified! It didn’t matter how the conversation went… we always ended our calls with “I love you”… no matter what.

Feeling helpless is NOT one of my finest traits… and you knew that, too. I suppose it’s all part of that “maternal bond” I was talking about earlier…

I don’t care what anyone says… it doesn’t matter how old you are… it will ALWAYS be MY job to protect you… because I’m the MOM… and that’s what moms are supposed to do! But I was failing… miserably. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to protect you from the things that were hurting you… because it didn’t work that way. As badly as I wanted it FOR you… YOU had to want it for yourself. It took me a long time to understand and accept that.

People kept telling me that “relapse is a part of recovery”… but it took me a long time to understand and accept that, too.

The two of us did a lot of talking, hoping, promising, forgiving, and crying during your periods of sobriety… but, mostly I continued to pray… and hope. And you know what?!? It worked! YOU did it… I was sooooooooo proud of you! For the first time in years you had the sparkle back in your eyes and the laughter back in your soul.

After you made the decision to take your life back… one day at a time… you began to move forward. You started working toward repairing and rebuilding the relationships between you and your sons. You knew it would be a slow and challenging process, but at least you were heading in the right direction.

You were given another chance at fatherhood when your baby daughter was born. I loved watching you… watching her. You always seemed in “awe” of this tiny little baby. Whenever you held her, there was a smile on your face and a light in your eyes… and you were loving every minute of it!

Then, you took the first steps towards rebuilding the many bridges that you had burned along the way… some took more work than others… others were damaged beyond repair. You handled both situations with understanding, maturity, and respect. I can only imagine how humbling that step of the program must have been for you.

I finally had my family back together again! I really missed your smile, your laughter, and your wit. We all did. It was so nice to see you happy and making plans for the future.

I love that we could talk about anything… and everything… and sometimes nothing at all. You were no longer just my son… you became one of my best friends.

So, WHY is July such a confusing month for me?!?

Because on the other hand, it brings back a flood of heart-shattering memories.

July of 2012 was the final month of your life on this earth… the month that my world as I knew it would forever be changed.

I’m sure I was NOT ready for this…

I love you… always and forever… my son, my friend, my angel,