Monday, December 17, 2007

V is for Vienna Sausages

I used to love those things as a child. That and chewable baby aspirin. Do they still sell baby aspirin?

U is for Universe

I'm working on this one . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

One of my favorite 13th-century poems

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.
- Rumi

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

T is for Thanksgiving

That is so predictable isn't it? This will be a different Thanksgiving than recent years past. We have decided to stay in Pittsburgh and won't have any family visiting us. That is not because we don't wish to see our family as they are always welcome, but we have been very fortunate to see much of them over the past few months. It is nice, actually, to spend time with good friends that we haven't seen since summer. The expectations are different. Not better, but different. This Thanksgiving, the friends that are making the long drive to see us from St. Louis are the Snows.

The Snows are really the only couple (family) that Chad and I both feel really connected to. Greg is a friend from college that Chad admires and has kept in contact with and Jessica, his wife, is someone that I have come to love and connect with over the years. She and I are definitely kindred spirits, which I have found is very rare. I adore this entire family and am honored that they have chosen to spend their holiday with us.

So, without being trite, I am grateful this Thanksgiving for a healthy family, really good friends, and the absolute pleasure that I feel to be loved and to love right back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

S is for Shoes

Ahhhhh . . . I love to buy new shoes. It doesn't matter if they are flip flops, slides, black boots, winter boots, sneakers, running shoes, sandals, crocs, you name it. They always fit and they brighten my usually mundane wardrobe. Chad does not share my love of shoes but then I don't share his love of tools. To each his own.

Little boys clothes are boring to start with. To my further disappointment, Sam had an extra wide foot for the first 6 years of his life which thus limited our choices to just a couple of styles. No cute shoes for him. My days brightened a little when sweet Henry did not have a wide foot. I had so much more to choose from! Red Chuck Taylor's were among my first favorites. And then the heavens opened up and gave me a girl with a petite foot. Not only was I set free from stripes, rugbys, dinosaurs and sports appliques but I could buy shoes to match! It gets even better. At nearly 20 months, she already seems to share my attraction to those pretty things we put on our feet. We can be shopping for groceries and if there happens to be a random display of shoes she starts taking hers off to try them on, without any prompting from me. Just today, I brought her home a new pair of brown boots with little pink flowers and her eyes lit up while she instinctively plopped down to try them on. Do I dare count how many shoes she's had so far in her short little life? Not to mention she's only been walking for 2.5 months. Let's see . . . I can count about 13 off the top of my head. Is that bad? They're just so tiny and cute that I can't resist. Plus, I rationalize that I can pass them down to cousin Ava.

The weather is finally turning cold here. You know what that means. I pretty much wear the same old clothes but I get to switch shoes! I'm still waiting for the perfect day to break out my new Merrells.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

R is for Risk

What is your definition of RISK and when is the last time that you took one? Really took one. Of all the people that I know, Chad is the biggest risk taker. He goes forth with his ideas with full force and passion and seemingly has no concept of failure. At least if he does, it doesn't stop him. I am his biggest supporter, besides his mother. I am able to say now, after MUCH personal growth . . . . what is the worst that can happen? There is nothing that I can imagine that would be worse than not following your passion.

With that being said, what is my passion? I am passionate about my husband and children but that is obvious and easy. That is not a risk. Is there something out there that I really want to do but am not doing because I'm afraid to fail? Does there have to be more than I have now? ? Am I searching for something that isn't there?? I think that there is something more there to be discovered. I don't feel like I am empty but I do feel that I have great potential to do more and make a positive impact on others. I just need to figure out how to figure it out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Q is for Qdoba

Duh! The business endeavor that we have chosen to pursue has been a HUGE part of our lives for the last 6 years. It has been a great source of stress and of accomplishment. It has paid our bills and wracked them up at the same time. It has forced Chad to, in my opinion, push himself in ways that he has always been capable of but never been called upon to act. It has forced me to think about what is really important and also what it really means to be a wife and mother. I married Chad because I loved and adored him and he loved and adored me (more) and made me feel safe and special. Nine years later I have realized that he is so much more man than I ever dreamed of. He is smart, determined, ambitious, driven and always loving and supportive. Succeeding in business for the right reasons is important to him and even more important is his family. He is able to handle tremendous stress on a daily basis and still make it home to put his kids to bed, make their soccer games and cub scout meetings and still, after nine years, let his wife know that she is loved and respected.

Building a business has been very hard and required much sacrifice but ultimately I think it has reminded us that if everything goes up in smoke we will always have each other and that will always be enough.

P is for Purpose

I would like to wake up each day knowing that I live my life on purpose.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

O is for ?

I haven't posted in a long time. I have had a really hard time coming up with anything that starts with O. I have missed writing and reading others' posts so I think I'm going to just move forward. I will come up with something for O later . . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

N is for Never

  • I've never climbed a 'real' mountain. I don't think I want to but the fact that I'm still thinking about it makes me think I do.

  • I've never been really athletic, although I wish that was. I don't think it's completely out of the question yet.

  • I've never developed a taste for 'real' martinis (i.e not a cosmo), although I see that in my future.

  • I've never pierced anything except my ears and I'm totally ok with that.

  • I've never been a waitress or a bartender but I've always wanted to be one. I haven't totally ruled it out just yet.

  • I've never been a blond and have always wanted to try it. The maintenance is such a bitch though.

  • I've never adopted/purchased a pet and kept it until it died. I really think I'm doing it this time though : )

  • Since I can remember, I've never lived in one place for more than 4 years. We're going on 3.5 years here but we've already purchased a new house.

  • I've never had a one night stand.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

M is for More

I want to focus on ENOUGH rather than MORE.

Friday, August 31, 2007

L is for Lucy

You knew that was coming, right? Lucy is pure joy and love wrapped in one awfully cute package! She lights up a room to say the least and is surely the brightest spot in my day. Sorry, boys: ) She has so much personality and is so sweet that one cannot be around her without smiling, even when she's being a pill. I never really wanted a girl but she came at exactly the right time in my life that I could fully appreciate and enjoy her. Remind me of this when she hits puberty.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

K is for Kindergarten

Henry had his first full day of kindergarten yesterday and loved it. He rode the bus to and from school and took his lunch and ate in the cafeteria. It was a big day for all. It was much more emotional for me when Sam went to kindergarten. This time it was pretty easy. I think I saw a few tears in Chad's eyes though. It was little Lucy who took it the hardest. All I heard ALL day was "Ham? Heny? Dada? over and over and over. She is so excited when we go to get them from the bus. Very sweet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

J is for Juleah

I thought for days what I would do with J. All I could think of was Joy and Jesus for which I could not come up with anything that seemed from my heart.

So, J is for Juleah, my sister-in-law. I don't have any biological sisters so I do appreciate when a woman comes in to my life that I consider a sister. I have had best friends and a step-sister by marriage that I was extremely close to but, sadly, am not anymore. Juleah is a person that upon first meeting I dismissed as someone that I could never relate to. She was too young, too spoiled, too redneck, etc. I think she felt the same way about me but with different adjectives. To my absolute pleasure, I can say today that I was very wrong! I think we have both grown from that first day that we met and thus have been able to open our hearts to one another. She is a true delight. I love that we are different and can revel in those differences. I respect her as a mother and wife which are two of my big measuring sticks.

We cooked an entire "Brooks Family" Thanksgiving dinner together in 2006 and did not argue or disagree once. It was of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had, as I love to cook. We slaved over the famous 'Brooks' dressing and baked two different coconut cream pies - hers had a little more coconut, mine had a little more vanilla. It was a memorable and bonding experience.

I can say, without question, that she is one of the (few) people if my life that I fully trust and love.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I is for Independent

Being independent is a valuable quality that I learned at an early age. My, now passed, grandmother used to tell a story of me calling her at work asking where the tuna was because I needed to make sandwiches for me and my father. I was all of 5 years old.

I remember saying with great conviction that I never wanted to get married because I never wanted to depend on someone. I never wanted to have children because I think I was tired of being depended upon at a young age. I vehemently did not want to rely on another and in turn did not want someone to rely on me. I wanted to be free. This served me well in many circumstances but also left me lonely in many others.

I am, right now, the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I can say that without a doubt. I am also the most dependent and the most depended upon that I have ever been. I have given up having a career to care for my children and my family, without any regrets. I am completely dependent on my husband to make the money that sustains our lifestyle. My children are, in turn, dependent on me to care for them on a daily basis. It is at times a very helpless feeling and at times a very powerful feeling.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

H is for Hot

I am tired of being hot and sweaty everyday and not having central air. Fall is my favorite season and I can't wait!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

G is for Growing Up

I can't believe the kids are growing up so fast! Plus, it also means I am getting oooold. Sam is finally about to lose his first tooth one month before he turns 7, which is much later than anyone else we know. I was really enjoying looking at all those baby teeth in his big boy mouth. Once the adult teeth come in they look SO BIG comparatively. You can already see the big tooth coming in behind the one that's hanging by a thread. It makes me sad.

And then there's sweet Henry, going off to kindergarten and riding the bus. He will still be my baby boy for awhile longer though.
P.S. after I posted this the first time, Sam lost his tooth while on his playdate. He's convinced the tooth fairy will leave him either $5 or a small toy.

G is for Go

I think I feel the need to GO too much. It would be good for me to take more time to just BE.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

F is for Friendship

I have been surprised, and then not so surprised if I'm honest with myself, at the friends that I've gained and the friend that I've lost this year. What do I require or appreciate in a friend? There are definitely different levels of friendship, as we have all experienced. Someone that I held dear to my heart for years is suddenly not my friend anymore and I am actually much better for it. But was it really suddenly and why am I better and does it really have anything to do with her?

Who holds the ticket to unconditional forgiveness no matter what they do? Anyone? Your mother? Your sister? Your best friend from high school that knows all your secrets? Apparently my mother does. Although everyone has to forgive their mother for something. I always remember the quote, "you forgive your mother once you become a mother" or something along those lines. That is definitely true. When I became a mother I experienced feelings I had never experienced before which made me appreciate my mother all the more. Thank goodness my mother is not a hard person to forgive.

My step-sister, the only sister I ever really knew (besides you JULEAH) and a very close friend, is right now on the 'do-not-forgive' list. That would be me totally in the grip of my ego, right?? I think her horrific behavior has gone on so long that I can no longer speak to her no matter what she has to say to me. At this point, she has nothing to say so the point is moot.

I think this is just me rambling but I think if a person is obstructing how you want to live your life then you have reevaluate the relationship. Everyone deserves forgivness no matter what they do but just because you forgive them doesn't mean they have to be an active part of your life. Maybe my posting should be F for Forgiveness.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you" - Lewis B. Smedes

F is for Family

I feel so blessed in all ways to have the family that I do. I love my little family here in Pittsburgh. Chad, Sam, Henry, Lucy and Mojo fill my heart with joy every single day. I love that I have reconciled all my differences with my parents and have overcome childhood 'stuff'. I feel tremendous love from them every day no matter how far away they are or how often I talk to them. I love that Chad's family has taken me in as one of their own and shown me unconditional love. I am truly grateful.

F is for First grade

Sam will be going to first grade one week from today! A new school, a new bus, new everything. I know I will be anxiously waiting at the bus stop at the 3:30 next Tuesday to hear how his first day went. I met his teacher last night and really like her and really like the new school. I think we made the right decision.

Monday, August 20, 2007

E is for Ego

I love to study the ego. I have read many books that discuss this topic and how to move beyond it but the one I'm reading now is by Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth; Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.

From the book . .

"Ego is always identification with form, seeking yourself and thereby losing yourself in some form. Forms are not just material objects and physical bodies. More fundamental than the external forms - things and bodies -are the thought forms that continuously arise in the field of consciousness. What you may be aware of as a voice in your head that never stops speaking is the stream of incessant and compulsive thinking. When every thought absorbs your attention completely, when you are so identified with the voice in your head and the emotions that accompany it that you lose yourself in every thought and every emotion, then you are totally identified with form and therefore in the grip of ego."

"Once you realize what the ego is and how it works [you will find peace]. When forms that you had identified with, that gave you your sense of self, collapse or are taken away, it can lead to a collapse of the ego, since ego is identification with form. When there is nothing to identify with anymore, who are you? When forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from it's entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment. You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications. You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with. That's the peace of God. The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am."

Friday, August 17, 2007

D is for Diligent

Chad is the most diligent, hard-working person I have EVER met. He has been working day in and day out to get the house ready to sell and he never stops. Besides the fact that he has nine restaurants and is opening more. I get tired just watching him. I get tired taking care of my 1lb dog.

A to Z: D is for Ding Dong

This is what I just told my children to stop acting like. Is this effective parenting?

A to Z : C is for Choice

I completely believe that your life is created by your choices, conscious or unconscious, responsible or not. If I am happy or sad, fat or skinny, angry or joyful, lazy or productive, I created the situation by my choices. Today I will make responsible choices: )

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

B is for Boys

Boys are the center of my life right now. These sweet boys are a constant reminder of the importance of being in the moment and of the joy that is Life. They force me to be present when I might otherwise be off in my own little world. They continually push me to be the best that I can be. They love without reservation and feel their emotions deeply. Their laughter and their cries come from deep within their souls. If I pay attention, they teach me something everyday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A is for ALL I seem to do is laundry

I am going to do an A to Z Encyclopedia of Me at the urging of my mother. She is doing one on her blog.

I tried to think of something more interesting for A but all I can think of is all the laundry that awaits me. Laundry to pick up in bedrooms and bathrooms, laundry to carry down to the basement, laundry to sort, laundry to check for stains, laundry to wash, laundry to fold, laundry to carry upstairs, laundry to put away . . . .

Yesterday, when I was sorting through my huge pile in the basement I found two dead baby mice amongst the clothes. Yes. We had found two live baby mice the day before. Apparently all were orphaned by a mouse we caught in the pantry. It was disturbing in many ways. Sam was sad because the babies had no mama. Against my wishes, Chad indulged him and let him care for the live ones until they died later that day. Sam experienced closure that way so it was actually good. I felt like I was in some sick suburbian version of the Godfather coming across those dead ones in the laundry.

It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you, right?

Saturday, August 4, 2007


I was going to change my blog to be for those only "INVITED" because I was starting to feel I should not have invited so many people that I KNOW to read it. That is me worrying about what people think. I vow not to do that anymore. Going forward, realize (YOU reading this), if you haven't already, that I am not perfect and politically correct all the time. Who you thought I was may not be who I really am but that really changes nothing . . . except for your perception. I am loving and trusworthy and loyal. I have a tendency to 'tell it like is' according to my MOOD at that particular moment. I also have open ears to those that disagree with that mood or opinion. I am blessed that I have loving supporters whatever I choose to do or say because they know the love that springs from my heart . . . although when I told my mother we were getting a chihuahua she let out an emphatic "Nooooooooooooooooooo".

Why do I feel like I have to defend myself when it comes to the dog? I know it stems from the fact that I purchased an expensive Pit Bull 3 years ago only to give it away 1 and 1/2 years later. My children and I still get teary over Bullseye. I just knew that I was not the best I could be in that situation.

So . . . am I trying to atone? Why do I really want a pet? Is it a substitute for a 4Th child? I think that's what Bullseye was . . a substitute for a third child. Once I became pregnant with Lucy I promptly gave the dog away. Should I examine this compulsive need to care for something? Is it for ME or for the CHILDREN or for both. Is there an underlying motive or is it a basic need? I think saying it is a basic need would be a cop out.

Maybe it's not complicated at all. Maybe it's just that kids like dogs and I like my kids. Maybe it's just LOVE. That puppy looks at me like I am his world . . similar to a newborn baby. It is a profound feeling to feel needed like that. I have gotten used to being needed. What happens when I'm not needed anymore?

Friday, July 20, 2007

In retrospect

In retrospect, after reading my last blog I realize that it may have sounded more negative than I had intended. I have a tendency to say things without tact. Or at least with less tact than I intended. That was made clear by the look my husband gave me today after finally reading my last blog. It is hard to say what you really think without offending people. That being said, everything I say has everything to do with ME and nothing to do with anyone else. I was pleasantly surprised at the warm feelings I felt on my most recent trip to OK. However, I don't think that was the predominant feeling that was communicated in my writing. It is hard for people to realize this who haven't been in my shoes. I really have bad memories of my first 21 years in Oklahoma. Memories that make me shudder in my shoes. Not because I had bad parents or shoes from Payless (although that was horrifying). The fact that I am not miserable NOW is a big accomplishment for ME. My writing is more of a mind dump than a comment on the people who happen to be included in the thought process.

I also find it interesting that I love writing and most people are complimentary. My husband, however, thinks I should look elsewhere for my next career. He is not impressed.

I will strive to write about my feelings without wondering what people think although that seems quite difficult at this point. When will we get to the point that we really don't care what people think??

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I have been in Oklahoma now for 7 days. I have 12 more days to go! Oklahoma used to be a place that I despised with all of my being. For the longest time, when I thought of Oklahoma my mind was only filled with awful memories of blended families that did not blend well at all. I remember having way too much responsibility at a very young age and longing for someone to take all of that away.

So, where does that bring me to today. I no longer have anxiety attacks at the thought of visiting here; nor is tequila quite as appealing. That is a big hurdle, let me tell you. I actually look forward to the trip now. I'm not quite sure 19 days was a good idea but I'm still holding out for the best. I really want to recount my experiences here without being condescending or derogatory. Things here just happen to be different. Not better or worse; just different.

For instance, Chad's mom's house, where we spend the bulk of our time, is a good 25 minutes from what I consider to be civilization, i.e. Wal-Mart (super, that is). Although this version of civilization makes you want to hold your pee and rub down with sanitizer as soon as you walk out the door, it is still an upgrade from the Vian liquor store which requires you to purchase everything from behind the counter and who's bestseller is "cheap" per the big bellied, red faced man at the register. I have made the trek to "civilization" at least every other day. The people I find myself shopping next to are very friendly and seem oblivious to the fact that there are well-groomed people elsewhere in the state that are not shopping for bacon and Boones (the only wine available in the wine isle). Inevitably I found myself behind someone with a huge basket of goods divided into different categories depending on what qualified for food stamps versus other types of state aid. It took me a few times of trying to practice the Zen of Waiting in Line while wondering why the line was so g*d*ned slow before I figured that out.

The silver lining of my trips to civilization were, however, the STARBUCKS right down the street. There is quite a dichotomy existing in the same town where you are legally allowed to sell wine in the grocery store but the only choice is BOONE'S and you can then drive down the street and order a $4 cup of coffee which is way more than the cost of a bottle of said Boone's.

Despite the tone of my above observations, I was surprisingly able during this trip to readily surrender my own version of civilization for the one that so simply existed in Eastern Oklahoma. The gorgeous sunsets overlooking Lake Tenkiller were captivating. Each day the sun seemed to slip away in a different but deeply intoxicating fashion. It was like a lover calling to you at the same time each day that you knew you couldn't resist no matter who else was demanding your attention. How would she reveal herself that day? Would she slowly sink behind the horizon while enveloping everything in her path with amazing color. Would it be the day that you were ready to watch her, like an impatient voyeur looking out the kitchen window, only to find her gone before you knew it? Would you suddenly notice the time and the dark clouds only to find that the thunder had scared her away? And then ahhh, there comes the day that the stars align and you sit down just in time to breeeeeathe and drink in the beauty of her glow across the lake and know that the big bellied man at the liquor store and the woman in front of you at Wal-Mart, food stamps in hand, daughter with no shoes and twin babies drinking juice out of their bottles might possibly be enjoying the same sunset. And if they weren't, they might very likely be wishing for that moment where they could sit and experience a similar moment of peace and beauty before the chaos of their life resumed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Raccoon update

We still have raccoons getting into our trash at night but that is mostly our fault for not putting the lids on tightly, etc. However, I did hear through the neighborhood grapevine that soon after we had sent Mama and Daddy raccoon to the gas chamber three little, hungry baby raccoons appeared on the doorstep of my friend one block over. She called her neighbor who happens to be a stay-at-home dad and he apparently "took care of them" Soprano style. Poor raccoons. Just trying to live their little suburban life. Speaking of the Soprano's, I will watch the season finale tonight although I haven't been keeping up.

On another note, I have been reading Echkart Tolle's most recent book, A New Earth, and it is very good. I hope to share some of it soon. He shows how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. It's fascinating and thought provoking and I would love to discuss it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Saga Continues

Just when there was nothing going on in my life another egg appeared in our abandoned nest. One lonely little egg. Sam noticed this afternoon that there was a Robin sitting in the nest. I took a peek when no one was looking. I had seen a bird earlier this week that looked like it was repairing the nest. I had left it there just in case since I read that a bird might have two or three nestings in a season. Do birds care if they are an only chick?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Huck Finn

Although I've never read Huckleberry Finn I do think Sam is Huck Finn reincarnated. That, or Jeremiah Johnson (movie starring Robert Redford in 1972). Today Sam went on a play date and the Mom took Sam and Alex to the nearby creek. When I went to pick him up I saw him wading waist deep in the creek and covered in mud. In the three hours they had been there the two boys had searched for a stick, found some string, found an actual fishing hook and fashioned a fishing pole. They dug for worms and managed to catch two rainbow trout and two salamanders. We now have a small trout swimming in our Sponge Bob fish tank. What do you feed a domesticated rainbow trout? I have no idea. He'll probably start by eating the poor beta fish we already have. Girls do not do this on play dates.

On another note, we still have raccoons in our yard. The two that we caught were female and male respectively. Critter Control Guy says there's probably a litter still out there. Last night we left the cherries out on the back porch and today they were completely gone. As long as they're not roaming around in the day I guess I won't try to trap them and send them to the gas chamber.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Confirmed Catch

Service call from handsome Critter Control Guy $160.49

Marshmallows and peanut butter to bait raccoons $ 5.25

Sending two seemingly innocent, cute raccoons to the gas chamber $103.48

Tissues to wipe away little tears $1.99

Peace of mind that children will not be bitten by a rabid animal PRICELESS

Monday, May 21, 2007

Confirmed Catch

By six o'clock we had a confirmed catch. The raccoon looks so cute and scared in the trap. All of the children crowded around and cooed over him talking about the family that I was taking him away from and slipping pizza crusts through the little holes. What a mean Mommy I am and "who has a job where you take animals away from their families?; that must be the WORST job in the world!" I was afraid Sam and Victoria were going to chain themselves to the trap in protest. Sam says he won't be able to sleep tonight thinking about the poor raccoon being taken away tomorrow morning. And the worst of it is that they all think the raccoon is going to be released into the wild. They have no idea we are sending the cute little wallet stealer to the gas chamber. Literally. What can I say. Someone has to be the strong one. I just keep hearing Meryl Streep over and over in my head in that Australian accent screaming "The dingo stole my baby!" A mama's gotta do what a mama's gotta do.

Raccoon Terrorizing our Neighborhood

The more I think about it the more likely I think it is that the raccoon got the baby robins. I don't know how he could have climbed up the umbrella pole but he is a mischievous one. Besides getting in the trash often, we have seen him out several times in the late afternoon this past week and chased him off both the front and back porches. The boys are always leaving the back sliding door open and Sunday morning we noticed the bread bag hanging out of the drawer clawed to shreds. Yesterday evening I needed my wallet and it wasn't in my bag. I retraced my steps, searched the car and called the stores I visited but still no wallet. I also noted that Sam's bag of candy was missing from my purse. This morning I glanced out the back door and there was my wallet amidst empty candy wrappers all over the back porch! The raccoon had come all the way into the house and into the front hallway and stolen my wallet and the candy from my purse in broad daylight!! Needless to say, I called Critter Control this morning and Kevin will be by sometime today to set a trap. They charge $49 for the service call and another $49 to "dispose" of the raccoon. It will be an exciting evening as we wait for the thief to be caught.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sad news

After watching all morning and not seeing the Mama Robin I peered inside to find no more babies. It appears she has abandoned the nest. But what happened to the babies? I can only assume that she moved them because the nest is still in exactly the same spot, i.e. the racoon couldn't have gotten them. I did a little research and did not find any information about Robins moving their babies. There is plenty of information about them abandoning the babies if they think they are in danger. It did say that Robins often build more than one nest. Let's hope that she was able to safely transport them to another nest. We will probably never know.

Baby Robins Day Four

I am worried because I have not seen Mama Robin at all this morning. She is usually in her nest when I look first thing in the morning and comes and goes frequently. Their was a raccoon on the table yesterday evening eating the grapes we had left out and I'm hoping that he didn't cause her to abandon the nest. That will break my heart!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What have I learned from my Mother?

I was inspired to write this post based on my own mother's post on her blog. I don't have a traditional relationship with my mother in a lot of aspects but WHAT exactly HAVE I LEARNED FROM THAT? I have learned that the maternal instinct is not one that always comes naturally but that doesn't mean that it doesn't come. I have learned that to realize your imperfections and embrace them is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn. I have learned that to forgive and let go of judgment can set you free. I have learned that if you really love it it's ok to spend a little more on it. I learned to tilt my head back while I put on mascara rather than raise my eyebrows so I don't create wrinkles. I learned that a bad day can be made better with a little lipstick and new shoes.

I think what my mother may not realize is that the journey she has taken WITH me has taught me more than what she alone could have taught me had she been "the perfect mother". I am proud of the mother that I am and know that I still have a lot to learn. I am grateful for the relationship I have with my own mother and so look forward to all of the years ahead of us, growing as mothers together.

Baby Robins Day Three

I was trying to shoot a picture today and either the mama or papa robin flew right into the umbrella and scared the SHIT out of me. They were definitely trying to tell me to get away from their babies. I will still try to get a picture each day but I don't want to disturb the family unnecessarily.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Baby Robins Day Two P.M.

THIS is the picture that I SO wanted to capture! The babies heard me coming and thought I was their Mama bringing them food. They are all ready and waiting with open mouths. I love it!!! Two seconds later they were laying down flat because they realized that I wasn't their mother. Priceless.

Baby Robins Day Two A.M.

All of the robins have hatched. If you click on the picture you can see that their feathers are a little fluffier. The dark blue circles are their eyes. I just read that baby robins jump from their nest when they are about 13 days old. It takes them another 10-15 days to become strong fliers.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. My loving husband brought me flowers and a card on Friday and a confirmation for a night in a hotel! I was going to go BUT I cancelled(I reserved the right to use that night at a later date).I really wanted to wake up to those three smiling faces on Mother's Day. They were so excited to give me my gift and breakfast that I was definitely glad I stayed home. I was treated to a plate full of doughnuts and a massage cushion! It was so very sweet. Chad took all of my normal duties and I was able to relax, take a nap and then go shopping and to the movies by myself. It was a beautiful and relaxing day. We ended the day by going to the neighborhood tavern, Sunny Jim's, for a burger & wings. We had never been to Sunny Jim's before but it is your typical Pittsburgh tavern (as far as I know). I really want to go back sometime for their "Mega Karaoke" contest. I am still puzzled by the scary, tattered dogs that roam the roof of the restaurant though. No joke.

Happy Mother's Day

Two little robin's have hatched! It's hard to even tell what's what from the picture but if you click on it you can see it bigger. Chad, Sam and I each took a peek and then we saw Mama Robin nervously hopping around in the yard watching us so we quickly scooted inside and two minutes later she was up there feeding her babies. When Sam saw them he said, "Awwwhhh, their so naked; and so cute!"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lessons Learned

It was a learning day for me and Lucy yesterday. The first lesson I learned happened on the way to take Henry to school. Lucy had taken off her shoes and socks in the car, as usual, and was leaning forward to look at them on the floor beneath her. Henry and I realized at about the same moment that I had forgotten to strap her in! It was one of those slow motion moments where you see what's going to happen but you can't stop it. BOOM! Lucy leaned so far forward to look at her shoes that she tumbled head first out of her carseat. I think poor Henry was just as scared as Lucy screaming "STOP THE CAR!". I pulled over, rescued poor little Lucy who has never fallen so far in her short life and comforted Henry who is ever so protective of his baby sister. I'm not sure exactly what lesson I learned. Always strap Lucy in, of course. I'm sure I won't forget that one for awhile. Even Supermamas make Stupid mistakes. You would think after three kids I would at least have the carseat thing down.

Moving on to my second lesson. It was 80+ degrees yesterday and without central air I put Lucy down for her nap with only a diaper on. Knowing how adept she is at those little velcro straps on her shoes I should have known that those big diaper tabs would be no match for her. I went in to wake her up so we could leave to pick up Sam and found her on her tummy, knees tucked under her and cute little naked bottom up in the air. I wish I could have gotten a picture. She sat up, hair matted from the pee spot she had been sleeping in still looking as delicious as can be. I swear she is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Thank goodness she had pooped twice already before her nap.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sam's quote of the day

"My testicles are tingling"

That is a new one in the quest to put off bedtime . . .

Three Little Eggs

I snuck a picture yesterday of our three little eggs. Mrs. Robin is so brave I think. We were all on the back porch this past weekend grilling and eating at the table right beneath her nest with a million kids running around and she just sat on her eggs without moving. What a good mama. Maybe we'll have babies by Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Ten Things Before I Die

  1. I want to live by the ocean
  2. I want to travel to a real jungle
  3. I want to go on a real safari
  4. I want to love my body
  5. I want to have no regrets
  6. I want to know that I loved with all I had
  7. I want to say everything I have to say
  8. I want to have no fear
  9. I want to really test myself physically
  10. I want to find my passion

Friday, May 4, 2007

Robin's Nest

I am completely fascinated by a robin that has built her nest beneath our patio umbrella on the back porch. At first I thought the kids were just gathering dirt and twigs and crap for one of their brilliant but impractical projects, i.e. something for me to clean up. We soon realized that the dirt and twigs and crap kept reappearing under the umbrella. Someone (thing) was determined. Then one morning we actually saw Mrs. Robin and by noon a complete nest appeared. I hadn't even been able to put away my laundry during that time but this little bird created the most intricate of homes for her soon to be laid eggs. I had been told not to disturb a nest because the mother might abandon it so I ever so stealthily climbed atop the table and peered into the nest a couple of days later. I found three beautiful blue robin's eggs! I lifted the boys up during the afternoon when I knew she would be gone and threatened them with their lives if they ever tried to disturb the nest.

Since then you cannot keep me away from the window. She is always there first thing in the morning, sitting atop her eggs quite protectively. Sam (not-so-secretly) wants the robin to abandon the nest so he can give the eggs to his snake but I am determined that won't happen. I love to see which way she is sitting because she is obviously trying to evenly distribute her warmth while keeping a watchful eye.

I read that the incubation period is 12-15 days and my guess is that it's been about 4 or 5 days so far. I will keep you posted and if I'm lucky enough I will get a picture.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What do I want for Mother's Day?

Henry asked me a few nights ago at bedtime what I would like for Mother's Day. The first thing that came to mind was a night by myself in a hotel. One uninterrupted night of sleep on crisp, clean sheets without crumbs from someone's bedtime snack. To be able to wake up anytime after 6:30 am without someone in my face asking me 10 times in 15 seconds "can we go downstairs now". To listen to the hustle and bustle of the city rather than the baby I feed, clothe and diaper all day long call for her DADDY as soon as she wakes in her crib. I always let her stay a little longer when she does that. To lay in bed as long as I like and then get up and have a quiet cup of coffee without three little people demanding three different breakfasts all at once all the while negotiating with me about how nutritious the meal has to be.

But then last night I went to bed wondering what I might want if Henry asked me that same question 10 years from now. I think I will long for the nights when little boys climb in my bed in the middle of the night just to be close to their mother; their warm little bodies pressed right up against me. To wake up to a little face ready to kiss me despite my stinky breath. I will miss them tugging at me to get out of bed while updating me every time the clock changes by a minute because someday they will likely prefer me to stay upstairs. Soon my baby girl will be too big for her crib and I will miss the days of her little face so happy to see me (even if I'm not daddy) so I can rescue her and she can be a part of the morning frenzy.

So this Mother's Day I will remind myself to relish it ALL because it will go by in a flash. I will know that I am needed and that feels good. I will remind myself that I am good at my job and someday they will appreciate that. I will be ever so grateful that I am a mother of three beautiful, healthy children with lights in them so bright that they help to keep mine shining.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Metaphor for my Life?

I was on the gazelle today watching Oprah and it was all about clutter and how your house is a metaphor for your life. Well, I don't really have THAT much clutter so I'm feeling pretty good. I'm not embarrassed to have anyone over or anything like that. BUT . . . I cleaned out my diaper bag the other day and oddly enough there weren't any diapers in it. What I did find among the God knows what was encrusted on the bottom of it was about 6 different colored pens, 6 different shades of lip gloss, 2 Swiss Army knives, 2 bottles of infant tylenol, one pink baby shoe, two pkgs of unopened flushable wipes, one movie ready to return to Netflix, one movie ready to return to Giant Eagle (both movies still not returned but due today), two pkgs of Kleenex, various receipts, an empty diapee and wipee holder, plastic container full of baby wipes, a very cute raincoat of Lucy's, grocery list pad, Weight Watcher booklet just waiting for that next weigh in sticker, Trident bubble gum, cell phone . . .. that is all from memory; I'm sure there was more. If that's a metaphor for my life I think I'm in big trouble. The good news is I cleaned it out before I watched Oprah and now it's pretty clean and organized. So I think I'm on the path to recovery . . . stay tuned for what I find when I clean out my car.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Trying to figure it out

Ok, I've deleted cookies and files and reset all of my internet options and now I can get back into my blog. We'll see if that fixes everything. I hope so because I've spent way too much time on this and way too little time on the laundry mildewing in my washer.

We went to the zoo today. Our zoo sucks but the kids seemed to have a good time. Lucy missed her afternoon nap but is still as pleasant as can be.

We got a new gecko today. Not because the first one died but because they were on sale and they apparently live happily in pairs. Rico is his name. Henry kept singing "bingo and rico sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g". Sam quickly pointed out that two boys can't be in love and I said "that's right!!". So much for my open mind: )

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sam's quote of the day

"How can you be pretty but so scary sometimes?"
Someone told me today that I made motherhood looks so easy. It does get easier as the days go by. We talked last night about having another. Chad still emphatically says NO. I think I could do just one more but the clock is ticking. I will be 36 soon and I seem to age dramatically with each child. Maybe three is good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It is late for me . . . almost 9pm. The boys are in bed, reluctantly. . . the mom's have retired because they are forced to . . if not, we feel like bad parents. We long to continue our converations about dreams and jobs and ideas that we have not pursued. Instead we are overwhlemed by making sure our kindergarteners are in bed on time and have practiced their sight words. We strive to make sure their shoes are in their boxes and that their clothes are in the bins. What is the weather tomorrow? Will we have to ensure that they have a jacket or a raincoat? What about lunch? do we have enough to pack a balanced lunch. What will the other moms and teachers think???
This is my first attempt at a blog. I am indeed a virgin. My mother has encouraged me to do this and so I'm giving it a whirl. Perhaps it will be an interesting outlet for the clutter in my mind . . perhaps I will tell an interesting story or two. Right now though my Lucy is napping and my sweet Henry is waiting for his cuddle time on the couch.