Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peace. Love. Joy. 2010.


A year in review....wow.  So much amazing stuff has happened this year and I am only the person I am today because of the network of love and support from friends and family.  Let's hit some highlights...

~Um, yeah....I had another C-section last December and gave birth to the (second) light of my life...
Evan Reed Thomas Anderson....boy extraordinare..

~Lauren broke free from the "I'm addicted and attached to my mom" thing...whew!  How nice is it to go out now and leave her with a babysitter and she could care less?  Or she's dying to go to pre-school?

~I've gainfully employed a lovely girl in the neighborhood that I can count on to watch my children.  THIS IS BIG PEOPLE.  I owe my sister Tracy props for her "get a grip and get a sitter to get a life again" speech.

~We survived the depression....we have enough money to pay the bills, send Lauren to pre-school and still shop at Target and take the occassional mini-trip or plane ride to Sissy's house.  I realize how hard and SUCKY it has been for people this year.  I acknowledge my good fortune in so many ways.  I also thank the good  lord for being able to stay at home with the red head and boy extraordinare.  I might be crazier for it, but I know (like, KNOW in the pit of my stomach and heart, I will NEVER regret these precious moments and opportunity)  I can always get another job.  That's what I said when I quit my job 2 weeks after returning from maternity leave. 

~I made a bunch of money selling a bunch of stuff on Craigslist and called it my "business."  I mostly sold all my baby stuff and that means.............shop is closed!  (moose out front shoulda told you)  No more babies here.  I'm old and need to go to Napa and celebrate being 40 in two more years sans the breast pump.

~I realized that time might heal some of the pain of losing someone but the occassional crying jag will still happen.  It's just life.

~I committed to a great work-out program prior to my 20th Class reunion in July, kicked ass, felt great, fell off the wagon and got back on again.  I feel much more powerful and energetic when I just get off of it and get on it!  I'm currently obsessed with Jillian Michaels Biggest Loser DVD series of RIDIC KICK YOUR ASS work-outs.  30 mins.  in and out. and done. thank you! 

~OH, what else?  I'm ready for bed and love you all!!!!!!!!

May you realize that the life you have RIGHT now is the most perfect life you will ever live!  Resolutions......please!  Life in the moment.....try to do what is right and good....teach your kids to be good human beings and laugh everyday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas....


LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!!!!!!!

Christmas isn't Christmas without it....


"Each man's life touches so many other lives.  If he wasn't around, it would leave an awful hole."  -Clarence

I'm not sure when it became a holiday tradition, but it's these kind of little things that make the holidays fun.  And also knowing that the traditions I create with my children today will be carried on (in some fashion) long after I'm gone.  Very cool!









And we can't forget.....Can you see the silly lamp?  I just remembered I have "A Christmas Story" on DVD!  What a better time than a cozy snow day inside to indoctrinate the red head??? 

Enjoy the traditions you share with your family and start a new one this season : )

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jolly Jibberish...


Yep, it's still me with nothing to say but fourty-thousand ideas all trying to be first in line.  What is so funny is that the iTunes just started playing..."Restless" by Gordon Lightfoot.  HA!  It's the universe ONCE AGAIN trying to tell me something.  And someday I'll understand!

The iTunes started shuffling after the red head came into the office to "have a dance party" and listen to "All the Single Ladies" by Beyonce but got mad and walked out because I wouldn't play it loud enough for her 4-year old taste.  Excuse me!  Your brother is sleeping.

The cards have been mailed, the gifts wrapped, several parties attended, many drinks of cheer had, and I don't bake (thank goodness) so that isn't even on my list.

I find myself enjoying all the really little stuff and feeling I could do without the big stuff.  The in-law family party on Saturday night went something like this:  I'm Wil. E. Coyote in a dust-storm....toss in a couple of kids (one teething and crabby and up WAY too late) an appearance by Santa and a bunch of gifts and wrapping paper and no idea who they are from.....holding crabby kid, staving off melt-down from 4 year old, many drinks..............and WHEW...........we got home and I just wanted to curl up in a ball in the corner and forget the whole thing ever happened.

People who don't have kids should not be allowed to plan parties and invite people with kids!!!!!!!!!!!  This time of year can bring out the best and worst in all of us and so far I've been able to manufacture the inspirado of niceness.  Sure, you go ahead in this really long line.  Sure, you can come into this lane of traffic.  Sure, I'll donate some change to your red bucket.  Sure, I'll give you a smile.  Because it's all we've got people!  If we can't be nice we can't be anything at all.  Even in the stressful times.  If it isn't about you then it works!  It's what makes the world go 'round.

Side bar:  I'm obsessed with making brussel sprouts.  Pan-roasted with olive oil....get them nice and brown and toss in some butter, chili flake, and end with a drizzle of honey.  My own concoction.  I never thought I liked brussel sprouts until this came my way.  To die for!  If you think they are bitter or gross.........try these.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season.  Whatever you celebrate, do it with love and laughter.  I've got big plans for 2010.  No "resolutions".......just reality and a splash of cool mom finds her groove!  : )

Friday, December 4, 2009

Through the fog, or looking glass...or whatever...


Yes, it's been like FOREVER since my last post.  I log on and sit here and look at the page and think about all the things I could write about or should write about.  I'm in a funk.  It's like when you go into a really great furniture store and get the itch to redecorate your entire house....It's like, can I stop reading other people's books and write my own????  Can I stay off of Dooce.com and just get down to writing my own blog?  I write stuff here that is just as good and relevant, I'm just not getting paid $40,000 in ad revenue.  (and look, I love Heather Armstrong, I'm just sayin'.......she got in when the gettin' was good and blogs were new and cool and now we are just SAT-U-RATED people!)

So, things are good.  Holidays have hit.  Lauren turned 4.  F-O-U-R ....four, four, four!  (Flashback to 4th quarter at the high school football games when the cheerleaders would rally us up and hold up four fingers and yell it out)  I have this itchy little itch......I'm getting older.  I'm getting restless.  I want to do something.  WHAT?  I have ideas all over the place.  I need another drink.  There was Thanksgiving and decorating the tree and Macy's parade.  Now my son turns ONE next week and I'm like...........huh?  Where in the hizzel did that year go?  And it's just going faster and faster and I'm not one of those people to let life pass me by without ENGAGING. 

Yes, I see and feel and relish the day, the beauty, the love, the joy-filled bucket of chicken that is my life.  I adore it.  But I have never, EVER been able (thus far) to quench this little itch inside that speaks to me of greatness, of possibility.  Perhaps that is the purpose of my life.  Still, we life in this NOW society and I admit I have that disease as well.  SEARCHING. SEEKING.  BEING.

I love that when I call my friend Janet she listens to me blah blah blah about all this and then says..."Yes, but you need to be okay with where you are at, cuz it's really great."  And then I'm okay for awhile.  Working out helps.  Maybe some Xanax would help too...(ha ha) 

So this is what I have for you right now folks:  Twilight series has been read.  Done.  Whew, thank goodness.  It was good fun.  Movies were a little disappointing but I need to see them again.  So, per my usual post-reading a really engaging book funk, I have landed on something that speaks to me.  Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.  New York Times Bestseller.....Frank Lloyd Wright....Oak Park, IL....love affair....complicated.  1900's. 

Off to bed with this read.  I'm 108 pages in. 

I feel better already.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fun with Gourds....aka "mom's break free" !!!!!!!!

Okay, SEE PEOPLE....this is what happens when stay-at-home mom's don't get out of the house as much as they should.  They break free to Lake Geneva, WI for the weekend, have a few drinks and the next thing you know you are at a bar and find a simple 'ol innocent gourd decoration (with a delightful little smiley face drawn on it....not by us) and we find ourselves delighting in the photo shoot of said gourd and us.  Seriously, it was ridiculous fun and this is just a warning to all other SAHM's (stay-at-home-mom's) out there to BREAK FREE or you two may find yourself in a bar with a glass of wine, girlfriend and a GOURD!!!!!!!!!!!!!  : )

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where my life began...


Have you ever had this feeling that your life is so changed from your past life and all the crazy stuff you used to do....who you used to be....what you used to wear.....who you used to hang out with....the work you used to do....that you are like "how the hell did I get here?"

I had this similiar feeling all night as I fed the kids, bathed the kids, made dinner, read the bedtime story and did the tuck. 

As I was wiping the cookie sheet pan dry, I thought to myself....."I am not quite sure I could ask for anything more than this."  And what is "THIS" really?

Let me sum it up in like a gazillion words or so, so you really get the full effect..........crying, pouting, tantrums, toys askew, see-thru green "soothies" (binkys), diapers, dry hands from the constant washing and hand sanitizer, tiredness that never goes away, poop diapers, laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning up dinner, loading and unloading the dishwasher, bottles, kisses, hugs, screaming, loving, picking up and dropping off, in and out of carseat, strollers, lots of coffee, paying bills, shopping, groceries, loading and unloading, errands, .............it is all so perfect and perfectly imperfect.  

I may have been born for this job.  I cannot imagine doing anything else.  (RIGHT NOW that is!  I've got dreams, plans and irons in the fire my friends!)  I do this job well.  (oh, sure....there was Monday night when I got the "talk" from husband about the yelling.............the yelling from me....about everything and at anyone...particularly the red headed almost 4-year-old that I live with.....yeah, there was that.  But that was a moment.) And right now I've got two healthy, happy kids asleep after a bath.  There is quite possibly nothing better.

Oh, and yeah..............I'm going away for GIRLS ONLY weekend.  Could THAT the reason for my good mood??  hahahahhahaha

The above picture is when this "next phase" of my life began....giving birth to Lauren via C-section 11-17-05.
It is when I experienced love on a whole new level.  One I couldn't possibly have imagined or begin to explain.  There are no words.




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'Lil Pumps!

The little ones represent!

We like to switch it up...


Spider Man and Lighting McQueen costumes....

HAPPY HALLOWS EVE!

Swedesboro, NJ...home of Tanta Tracy and Cousins Liam and Declan!  Face painted candy corns...who could ask for anything more?  And what is the deal with those low double pumpkin things I'm sitting behind???  Um, yeah....!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Treats!





This is what I call "BAKING"........
meaning, I don't!  Pre-cut and ready-to-bake orange pumpkin cookies and frosting from the jar (cream cheese frosting no less!  YUM!) are certainly good things!  I whipped up several colors with food coloring and put out a heaping bowl of candy corn and pumpkins.  All to Lauren's DELIGHT and happiness!  Now, I will admit the cookies and frosting were not the most delicious....but it was all about the decorating and not the act of baking itself.  Super fun!  Happy Halloween treats : )




Friday, October 23, 2009

The red-headed Pirate meets Blue Man Group...



Nothin' like a good painting craft while wearing a pirate patch!  Um, yeah, this may look cool and I did go get the camera and all to capture the moment for you but the clean up later was not fun and this is not washable paint!  One Halloween shirt ruined and blue paint on my sliding glass door.  Ah, but who am I, a mere MOTHER, to squash her creativity? 
Oh, and I failed to mention that really big awesome wooden ROCKING HORSE that is now hiding in the garage. (please see photo)  I mean, what is a mother to do with a big wooden rocking horse all painted up?  As my friend Kelly said (and she taught me well)  bedtime is the best time to "weed" through all of your child's artwork.  And Kelly said it best when saying, "And a piece of paper with a blob of colored paint on it does not equal art and I'm not keeping it and I don't feel bad!" 
Seriously, she gave me the freedom to not feel bad about tossing the MILLION or so pieces of art that Lauren accumulated in ONE, I repeat, ONE lousy year of pre-school!  I only keep the good stuff now and so I've eliminated....hmmmm, let's see....about a gazillion pieces of paper shoved in a big artist's envelope in the crawl space to someday be discovered by Lauren when she's 25 or something and says "Are you kidding me Mom?  You kept all this?  Why would I want this?"  : )

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trend Setter?!


Evan woke up from his afternoon nap with this one little sprig of hair sticking out the side of his head!  I mean really!!!!!!!!!  Cuteness factor unstoppable!!!!!!!!  : )

ARRRGGGGHH, Matey!


Welcome to the world of Lauren's Pirate Patch!  You can't see the lovely appliqued butterfly on the side or see the full $12 value of this little puppy.  Oh yeah, and we got TWO of them so when one is in the wash she can still wear one. 

And $12 it gives you this nifty little "slide the arm of your glasses" in the side pocket and "bingo".....cool pirate patch while you still wear your glasses!

Welcome to the world of eye correction my friends!  THREE hours per day and you are most likely guaranteed GOOD EYES and hopefully NO GLASSES beyond the age of first grade.

So what does all this mean?  More work and discipline for mom and one awesome kid who takes it all in stride!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DUM, Da DUM, DUM, DUMMMMMMMM.....


Yes my friends, judge me if you will, but you try an almost 11 month old on a plane for pit-near 2 hours and feel the anxiety of an unhappy Evan.  You too may resort to a (gasp) DUM DUM. 

My sister and I have discussed in great length the long list of things our second born children have done, consumed or have been allowed vs. our first borns. 

I myself am relishing in the fact that I am cool and didn't lose it on the plane and got about 15-20 mins of joy from the whole damn plane with this one lousy, measly little dum dum. 

And I also relish with great joy and gratitude at the fact that I had the opportunity to have this second child.  It has opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I have just LET GO of so much stuff that just doesn't matter.  But when you only have one child so much seems like such a big deal.  It is no wonder my sister and I are so different!  : )  (I'm the first born and the golden child thank you very much........just kidding Tracy!)

I would also like to send a shout out into the universe to all the wonderful and helpful people who are understanding and caring when they see a woman traveling solo with 2 kids.  The woman sitting next to me said, "it's harder on you than on them."  A woman got off the plane and as she walked past me as I waited with the kids for my stroller..........."Hey, we've all been there." 

And for the record, the kids were amazing.  Despite some ear pressure issue induced crying, they rocked.  Hey, I don't want to be cooped up for 2 hours on a germ-filled, recycled air cavity either!  I am happy to go on the adventure of air travel.  I always learn a thing or two about myself and how to navigate through it all e a bit easier for the next journey. 



Hey, if brother bro gets one, so do I!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Butterflies and Blackbirds...

I have previously mentioned my "butterfly thing" (I will save you from the elephant thing right now).  Now, we are not talking scary tchotchkis  involving butterflies and elephants all over my house.  I am into more subtle and or non-descript ways that these winged beings effect me. (and what is the difference between affect and effect?  wondering)

So my daughter and I have this song.  It's "our song."  I dream of being at her graduation from high school or her wedding or some crazy big moment in her life and this song will hold special meaning for her and I'll hear it and bust a major gut.......like major bucket of tears.

She requests that I sing it to her on most tuck-in-for-bed nights.  I love knowing she thinks my voice is perfectly wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!
So I share it with you tonight....

BLACKBIRD

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the lifght of a dark black night.
Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

~Paul McCartney
(and let's not even get started on Paul : )

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Union, IL Cider Fest...Good wholesome Family Fun!


Checkin' out the cool tractors...

Cider Press...whew, that's alot of work!
Makes you appreciate apple cider!




Learning to sew the old fashioned way...

Hangin' with my homey at the homestead cottage...

Running around the "barn" after the barn raising demo...

Just a 'Lil Pumpkin...(Brother Bro)



Mom and Dad are cool....