November 12, 2013

Well, I never thought I'd be saying this, but my little Christmas baby has rubbed off on me over the last few years. I find myself wanting to put out my decorations, hit play on my Elvis CD, and watch Rudolph.

But strangely, I am getting resistance on the home front. What gives?? I know it's early, I'm well aware of the Halloween candy still sitting on the table. But with the weather changing(only slightly lol), I'm in holiday mode. 

Perhaps it's because I don't have much to do during the day. Perhaps it's because I love the nights of sitting with hot chocolate and staring at the lights. But I'm pretty sure it's because of the family that I am blessed to have, with now four amazing children that I can't wait to spend the holidays with!

It could be worse. I could still be living in the days of Alex listening to Christmas music year round and wanting the tree up in July :)

November 4, 2013

Facebook gets my thumbs up!

I know I'm not the only one here that is heard some of the terrible stories that come along with the demons of Facebook. Friendships are questioned, friendships end. Boys and girls fight, both young and old. People break up, people get divorced, and so on. I've heard Facebook is nothing but trouble, Facebook is the devil, I would never join Facebook.

But how about the other side of Facebook? The amazing side of Facebook? Sure there's other social media, but nothing quite as far-reaching as Facebook. The friend you haven't seen in 20 years since high school or childhood. The long-lost family that hasn't heard from you in ages. The family that you miss far away, but you feel like you're always there celebrating with them for the special occasions because you get to hear about all of the different steps along the way, and see all the amazing photos.

Sure I have to had my share of problems on Facebook, but have also had the privilege of mending relationships through Facebook as well. I have formed better friendships with people on Facebook. I get to chatter with cousins I miss so much. I have a new found respect for and stronger relationship with a family member through Facebook, that I never thought possible, and I am so grateful for.

There's the easy idea that if you don't like it, close your browser window or delete your Facebook app. But I say take the time to use it to its fullest potential! :)


October 9, 2013

He's not the problem, their list is.

Last week we went to the boys' annual checkup at the pediatrician. You know the appointment, you wait for what feels like an eternity, just to get into the tiny room, be poked at for a minute, then released to pay? Ya. But when I checked out I was given a new kind of 'receipt'. On each was the child's stats from the current visit, along with any other pertinent health happenings from birth to now. And I was faced with this on the top of Alex's paper:


PROBLEM LIST. That was the first thing I noticed. Those ding dongs that just want money, see my son as having problems. Nice. But after I got past that title, the list below it hit me. Hard. 

Our Autism journey has been nothing short of a miracle as most of you know. I wish I had documented more of our last 7 years. But now is so different than then. Alex is mainstreamed. He doesn't shut up. He's funny as hell. Yes, he struggles with his words sometimes, his anger sometimes, definitely with schoolwork. Isn't that what being a normal 8 year old is all about?

Sure, there are days I'll see him do something a little 'off' that gets my mind running, and I slip back into some dark memories. Thankfully those days are far and few between. Some newer friends don't even know our story or how far we've(he's) come. And that's ok with me, we just more forward.  

The Problem List upset me though, because most days I can forget about it. Ignore it. But it reminded me that these societal labels will follow him for all of his days. I'm so grateful they no longer define who he is, but it still hurts. 

I guess I need to see the positive side of that list(me, positive?), and look at it like a badge of honor. Oh Autism? Language Disorder? Yea, I remember those....we kicked their asses. 

Ho, Ho, Nooooo!

Why am I being handed Christmas lists already? It's way. Too. Early. I have way bigger things to think about(um wedding in 13 days!), and spending an obscene amount of money on items that wind up sitting in a closet until at least July is not a priority.

I can remember asking for things when I was younger, and getting maybe 1 of the items on my list. My dad would give my mom a very tight budget for Christmas shopping, and she stuck to it. I got some nice items that I still have, but the list was usually out the window. So why is it so different these days?

I find myself making sure I got everything on the lists, and then some. I save up for half a year to top the previous Christmas, and I'm pretty sure the kids now expect it. Which is why this year I'm all about operation 'scale back.' Sure, I was ticked when that Strawberry Shortcake doll wasn't under the tree, but I was grateful for what was. We were taught that you don't get everything you want, and there are going to be disappointments now and again. 

Perhaps it's another area of life where we go too far for our children, myself included. Setting them up to expect too much in life? Then how will they cope when things don't go the way they hope, or they don't get everything their hearts desire? A small dose of disappointment might sound mean, but I say it's healthy in the long run.

I know, I know, easier said than done :)

ps- no lectures on the true meaning of Christmas, or the gift of family and love....I get all that, this is just a ramble about the goods!

September 12, 2013

Me -n- Google

I noticed the weirdest thing this morning. When I went onto Google to find some information, I found myself automatically typing in "Should I.....". I stopped after the results came up and though 'wth, when did I trust Google so much to ask it's OPINION on matters of life?' Sure, I love Google... we get along well. I am a pretty rad searcher gal, and always find what I need. But this is a way deeper relationship with Google than I planned on having.

Do I not value people's opinions enough so I ask a search engine? Do I just need some affirmation of my own decisions? Am I just that naive? Not really sure. She(yes, my Google is a she) did give me the results I was hoping looking for, but I'm not sure if I trust her. I'm sure she could have given me lots of results on both sides of the fence, but she went with all the positive ones as her top choices. Is Google now in the business of just pleasing me and telling me what I want to hear?

I don't want my bad choice to ask Google her thoughts to effect our relationship. I am going to really try to make a conscious effort to just stick to fact-based searching, and not ask what she thinks. Besides, any time I ask for opinions from others, I don't really take them into account anyway(well except my guy of course). I beat to my own drum, and make my own decisions(I feel a theme in my posts lately?).

So Google, please don't think I'm being rude. I don't want to break up, but I do want to just be fact-friends. I don't like you like you or need you to say what I want to hear. I hope you can respect this, and give me the information I need, not want. :)

September 11, 2013

Fell in a hole, and happy I did :)

My days are different lately. I will spare you all the drab details, but what I will say is how life can change in the blink of an eye(yes, literally). I'm not a good decision maker, and have been known to make my fair share of lousy ones. But what I can say on the flip side, is that even if I make a crap decision, I somehow, always dig myself out of the hole I got into, and come out clawing and stronger.

That's how I feel today. That's how I've felt for a few weeks now. Shit, I'm in a hole. A big hole. A hole that I didn't fall into, I actually jumped in. My best move? Some would say absolutely, positively not. I (not today but at times) say hell yes. If you don't change and take a leap sometimes, how does life move forward? Isn't that why they call it a 'leap of faith'?

You might not have my back this time, or during some of my previous decisions, and that's ok. There have been times I was on the outside looking in on someone, just shaking my head in disbelief of his/her decisions. But our job as friends/coworkers/family/whoever, is to just watch. Sure, offer support or help if you have any, but if not, just hush. I know it's silly but I really tell my kids the good ol' line from Bambi all the time: 'If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.' I think adults need to hear that more than kids do.

I'm a fighter. I like challenges. If you don't like what I do, or how I go about things, then get out of my way. I have mountains to move, and no time for anyone standing in my way!

September 9, 2013

Summer doesn't have to be a countdown to school! (never posted!)

**DISCLAIMER!** Sometimes I use the blogging app, and apparently this never posted:( Enjoy anyway, even though it mentions summer, it's still a great thought for every day with our children!


I've been busy really enjoying my summer with the boys home. And I just finished reading my blog book! I've been trying to read a few books a week, but so far have been disappointed with every one I've gotten through. What are you reading right now?

Back to our summer. When the boys were smaller, I have to admit, I was not a hands-on summer mom. I would do the daily routine and duties that were associated with having small people(fed them, took them to the park, play dates), but I never really jumped into the summer with them. A few years ago I learned the importance of being really present with them. Not on the phone, not texting or watching tv, just with them. I've learned to take them fishing, to the beach for the day, hiking, or just play board games with them. I know it sounds fairly simple, but if you have growing children that are 'bored' during the dog days of summer, then you probably realize how difficult it really is.

It might take some work and getting used to, but I promise it's worth the effort to take that time with your children. There are no emergencies around the house: laundry can wait a little longer, dust won't hurt anyone for another few hours. Some day they will all be busy and not want to spend so much time with us, so the time is now.

Try it! Even if you can only do it 1-2 days a week, it will make a difference. And it makes the day go by faster(and with less fighting!). It's all about the memories we make, one of the best gifts we can give them for later in life.


 PLAY. LAUGH. LOVE. FUN!!
                        
         

Currently, September!


July 29, 2013

I'm here, I'm here!

I wish I could show you my office desk right now, but I'm too afraid to even touch anything no less take a picture. This wedding invitation stuff is no joke. 

Oh, did I just say wedding? Ya, that's where I've been for the last month. Planning for some super fun nuptials in September! So many words can describe the hecticness I am experiencing, but I'm sure most of you can already imagine. I don't know how some gals spend over a year(and a year's paycheck!) planning a wedding. I'm pretty sure I have it all in check, and am being very conscious of time, money, kids, etc., but of course being a freak for details it gets tricky at times. 

Stay tuned for updates when I actually remember to do so! I am trying to get as much done as I can before school starts to ease that last minute pressure :)

July 4, 2013

Double digits!

Can it really be? My baby is 10? TEN.....it just doesn't seem possible. Ten years ago I only saw 4th of July fireworks from a hospital window. Ten years ago I was just a girl who wanted a baby more than anything in life, not knowing what an emotional roller coaster it would be. Ten years ago I wasn't even half the woman I am now, because nothing has ever made me grow up or evolve more than having Chris. Ten years ago I didn't know how great life would be ten years later.

Chris is an amazing young man, with an incredibly bright future ahead. I know I sometimes expect way too much from him, but its hard not to knowing how absorbent and grand his brain is. He has dreams of being a marine biologist, magician, and the guy who cures cancer. Whatever his path and life, may he be happy and healthy throughout his journey.

Happy 10th Birthday, Christopher. I hope today is a great start to your year ahead! xoxo
                                  

July 3, 2013

OMG.... You get up SO early!

I hear that comment all the time. Have since I was young actually. I was never the gal that slept my day away. My parents got up early, so it just became habit. But with the habit came some clarity of why people get up early.

To me, the early hours are the best, most important part of the day. Sure it's coffee time on the porch, but its also bonding time with the family. My guy leaves for work at 7, so that one or two hours before he leaves is a time to relax before the hurry, talk, and watch nature from the porch together. We have some of our best conversations at 5am when we are recharged!

And my boys. They are early risers for sure, since they were born. Our early morning hours together are lovely. They are still quiet from just waking, and not fighting. But they are also so sweet, and cuddly. We might watch tv in bed, hang on the porch, or just sit at the dining room table. Wherever we are, it's our time of day to really connect.

Spending that extra time together also sets everyone's day in motion. It's a fact that a good start to your day yields a much better attitude throughout the day. 

With so much hecticness in life as the kids get older, I appreciate our morning routine. It might not be something every is able to do, but it's worth a try.  I hope it's something we continue to have as a family for years to come!
                                       

June 29, 2013

Blog Friends: You too NEED one!



I have to share with you what came in the mail last night...so excited!

A few months ago a friend said she loved reading my blog, and thought it was a great way to leave my thoughts for my children some day. I never thought of my blog like that until that moment. What an amazing gift for them to read when older. Imagine if our grandparents blogged(guess it was called writing a diary back in the day lol).

I started worrying that someday my blog would be deleted... it would be lost in cyber space, and I couldn't let that happen. But how great would it be to have my blog turned into a book!!?! Turns out that is so do-able, and wait til you see it!

I decided to just start with the first three years of my blog(established in 2008!). I didn't want the book too big, and I am in no way done blogging, so knew there would be a volume 2 at some point. Ok I've made you wait long enough, here it is!


I could show you tons, but you get the point. It's a nice, big, hardcover book, with about 400 pages. The site I used was SharedBook, and I highly recommend them. The process was easy, and their customer service was wonderful.

I'm not ready to share the book with the boys yet, but I'm thrilled to have it! Now you know what to ask for this holiday season :)

June 19, 2013

Advice for the youngins......

I know some of my readers are young(er) than me, so I wanted to share this if you've never seen this. It's a column that was written in 1997 for the Chicago Tribune, and I'm sure has been read at countless graduation ceremonies since.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '98: Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

June 18, 2013

I have no witty title for this one!

I just saw this and got a little ticked:
Don't ask why I got ticked, I'm not too sure, it just doesn't sit well. If you're having a day where you are feeling down and pessimistic, you could care less about this silliness!

I have a lovely life and lovely things, I don't deny that. But I'm a gal that always wants more. Not material things, just life happenings.  I'm having one of those days where I question every aspect of one area of life. How did I get here? What can make it better? Why is it never enough?

I've said before that I'm a pessimist, and I firmly stand behind that self proclamation. I find it easier to see the negative, then be pleasantly surprised at the positive when(if) arrives. My judgement is severely clouded today though, so I don't even know what I feel. 

I can tell you I'm smelling change in the air though. No idea if that will change my perception of this life area, but I know it will make me feel something I don't anymore. 

I'm Currently...

Thought this would be a cute addition to the blog every now and then. It's a great way for a quick overview that still makes me have to think a little!

June 10, 2013

One more candle on the cake today.

Why does time seem to go so quickly? It never did when the kids were tiny, the days seemed to be endless. Each year goes just a bit faster than the last. I love to tell the kids to hurry up and get tall so we can ride more coasters, get a little older so we can do more fun family things, but today, when my baby is turning 8, I just want time to come to a complete stand still.

I have such vivid memories of being in the hospital with my sister, patiently waiting for my sweet baby. We ate donuts, watched tv, and laughed all night. Now eight years later, I ran upstairs this morning to be sure to be the first to say Happy Birthday, and his bright eyes made my whole day. He is becoming such a wonderful young man. So kind, polite, and compassionate. I'm proud of all of the strides he has made this year and every year before, and he has changed me in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit sappy today, 8 just seems like a turning point from little to big guy. I'm so thankful for my Alex, and hope he has a wonderful, fun, memorable birthday :)

June 6, 2013

Smile, though your heart is aching.

Today marks the twelfth year since an event changed the way I see life. I have very clear memories from this exact time of day, pulling into my parking spot at my school, getting a phone call on my giant old cell phone. I heard what he was telling me, but just wasn't processing it. For everything I believed in at the time, I just could not understand why someone would be taken from the world at our age. He had started flying a straight course and was turning into an amazing man with a big future. All to be snatched in seconds. 

After that moment I had days on end of coming home from work, sitting on the front lawn, and just staring at the lake that was across from our house. I searched for answers that were just not there. I saw lives change and hearts broken. A mother should never have to feel that deep sorrow that never leaves. It is then that I lost my sense of anything greater than us. That of course continued to evolve over the next few years, a story for another time.

Of course there was joy found within the loss. Families and friends getting together after time apart, consoling each other through awesome stories. I can still remember wearing yellow to the funeral, because I was celebrating. I was celebrating a guy that I knew my whole life and loved as a brother. I had the privilege of being part of their family, and the honor of knowing him. And for that I was grateful, and celebrating the life he had. 

All these years later people still tell their stories and everyone smiles for a few minutes. That time when we...., when he decided to...., his laugh, his hugs, his life. It's a day we face with heavy hearts, but as I sit here on my porch in total quiet, I can smile through the tears, thinking of how many lives he touched and how many smiles he is responsible for today. 

May 3, 2013

So many firsts!

I have forgotten what it's like to have a baby/young child. The puppy(as silly as it sounds), has really reminded me how crappy some things were. She's up crying at night, has to always go to the bathroom, and needs attention ALL of the time.

But I forgot the fun stuff too. The 'firsts'. She was born in February, so she is learning to enjoy laying in the sun. How to play fetch. And today was her first time in a fresh cut lawn. I couldn't wait to take her outside to see what she thought of the smell/texture, and she loves it!

Even though I'm exhausted and she drives me batty at times, I'm enjoying the chance to do things for the first time again.

April 30, 2013

Click your heels together three times and say...



I've told you about my mom before. She's selfless, amazing, and fun. My mom tells it like it is, can seem gruff, but is the sweetest lady around. Family life, career, cancer, you name it, she kicks ass and takes names. Last week was her 29th birthday again, and  I was lucky enough to zip home to NY to celebrate with her, my sisters, and my niece for dinner after work one night.

We are a family that fights. That holds grudges. That can go weeks without a word when life gets busy. But when we are together, everything comes together.We laughed so hard my throat actually hurt when I got home. We ate, we told stories, we caught up on all the current events and gossip. And we laughed. Boy, did we laugh.

Sometimes living away from home, I don't realize how much I miss. Even something as small as a dinner means so much more now. Maybe it's a good thing I am so busy that I put it out of my mind. Otherwise I'd probably be sad all of the time. There's no changing where I live now, but my heart will always be home.

What's life without some good music?

I have loved Shazam since the beginning of time. I did not keep a running record when I recently got a new phone though, so all of my old tags are gone(I think?). But here's what I've been tagging lately. I have no rhyme or reason to my music selections, but they always fit my mood. You can see I went from angry to dancing to sentimental in this short little group a few weeks ago. Nowadays, I Shazam to remind myself of songs I like, not find new music. Then I open up the app when I'm grabbing some downloads. Handy and fun!

April 29, 2013

Rocking in the rain.

I've been waiting months to sit out here and stare into nothingness. And I must say, it was lovely the last two days. But now? Well, now it's 30 degrees again and raining. It's gross, and making me both tired and cranky. And we all know what comes next: we will jump right to a hot summer. Boo. (But at least school will be out!)