Saturday, December 12, 2015

Half Way To 90

This week I turned 45. I'm only half way to 90...and since I plan to live to at least 100 I'm thrilled to have plenty of fun years to go.

The season is busy and the kids' sports schedule is crazy and Cam was working my actual birthday so we planned a night out for family dinner on the one night we could all make it.

Disclaimer: In case you ever look at my family's photos and think...oh how perfect they all are. In case you ever read my stories and think...oh how Pollyanna they all sound. Well let me give you some reality. About an hour before leaving for dinner one child (to remain nameless) was being crabby and TERRIBLE to a sibling. A bicker fest ensued and then Cam came home in the middle of it. The guilty kid had been sent to their room and Cam went to talk (YELL) at said child. Wow! A big downer right before dinner. Soon three of the five kids were crying. I was hollering at Cam and Cam was still hollering at naughty child. A real mess. We hurried into the van and I had doubts that we should even be going. After a uncomfortable ride in the van we managed to arrive on time for our reservation. Slowly we began to talk and sit close and make up as we waited for our table. We gave apologies and extended forgiveness...even if some gave it begrudgingly. One sweet child sent me a text from Cam's phone saying "I love you. I hope your special dinner isn't ruined". I texted back "the wonderful thing about forgiveness is getting to start fresh". And so we did.

Moving on now. We went to our favorite special place and waited extra long for our favorite table. We even got to have our favorite waiter.

There were lots of toasts and happy times!

I had a delicious dinner of steak and lobster tail and then a huge bowl of peppermint ice cream with fudge sauce. Oh heaven!

It was a lovely dinner and although it started out rough it ended up wonderful!

On my actual birthday my day started with Sean bringing me a cup of tea. He set his alarm on the iPad and got up to surprise me. What a sweet boy! I bought toaster waffles for the kids' breakfast. They are always asking me for them and I thought, "why not, an easy breakfast means a gift for myself". After taking the kids off to school I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure. It was heavenly! A real treat! Then off for some shopping and a few errands. After school the kids helped me tidy up the house. Sis cleaned the whole bathroom by herself to surprise me! Then we got into our cozies and had take out for dinner....Teriyaki! Then we watched choice. I LOVED it!!! A wonderful day. Too bad it only comes once a year. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Open Joy

Poor Tuba suffers from bad bloody noses in the winter time. This last week he has had several. His nose is sore and stuffy and swollen. He might also be fighting a cold. He is cranky.

One day Cam had to go pick him up from school due to a nose bleed that took a long time to stop. Then yesterday his teacher called to tell me he wasn't feeling well. He was very crabby, didn't want to eat and...was very crabby. 

Cam and I went to pick him up. He didn't have a fever and seemed happy enough once we got into the car so we decided to stop at the library. 

We ordered hot drinks for a treat and sat for a while. Tuba loved his hot cocoa and perked up a bit more. 

As we entered the main part of the library Tuba noticed these amazing origami birds. He was entranced. It was a true Kairos moment seeing his face and the joy he felt watching the birds twirl. My eyes got all misty as I watched my sweet boy. 

It reminded me that a friend of ours once said that Tuba is Open Joy. She told it to me in Greek and even wrote it down for me.  He truly is....Open Joy. Pure. Even when he is crabby.

We always go to the Children's department to see the fish. Tuba loves watching them swim. 

We stopped at the grocery store and Tuba had a ball pushing the cart around for us and saying hello to everyone. 

Once home he got into his cozies and Cam built him a big fire to sit in front of. Bliss. 

Today he still wasn't feeling great. He stayed home with me. We puttered around the house cleaning and decorating. He was a good helper. 

I'm reminded when my babies were....well babies and a little part of me enjoyed it when they got sick. It's nice to slow down, snuggle up and enjoy time together. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Slice of Fall

Outside My Window - Today the sun is shining brightly and it's cold. The grass and rooftops are covered in white frost. Beautiful! The photo above was taken several weeks ago on a girl's weekend getaway to the beach. It was beautiful too.

From The Kitchen - The kids are cutting pieces of leftover pumpkin pie to have as a second breakfast. Today's lunch will be snack left over from Thanksgiving AND dinner will be leftovers that my mom sent home with us. Yum! I will be hoarding the gravy. So good.

Also from the kitchen is a huge stack of dishes waiting for me. Phooey.

I Am Thankful - This morning I'm especially thankful that Cam didn't have to go to work. He was on call. He got up early and took Mr. P to his basketball early game. I'm thankful I was able to stay home with a the other kids in our pjs. Sis has a bad cold and needs to rest and stay inside today.

I Am Wearing - Ummmm.....pjs. Of course. Really cute new ones....polka dotted pj pants and polka dotted night gown. AND my new favorite thing, a cardigan, made of cozy sweatshirt fabric with a fleece lined shawl collar. It's like a warm robe but short like a bed jacket. I'm in LOVE with it. And slippers on my feet. Toasty warm.

I Am Creating - I took my sewing machine out of deep storage recently and have been sewing up a storm. I have three quilts ready to have the backing attached. So fun! 

I Am Going - Outside today! A nice walk in the sunshine. No shopping for me. Don't get me wrong...I love shopping but not on Black Friday. Ever. I think the whole world should stay home in pjs and eat leftovers....oh, and go for a walk.

I Am Reading - I just finished Little House In the Big Woods. I read it outlaid to the kids...mostly George was my audience. It was fun reading the other night when we had a huge windstorm and no power. We had candle light and lanterns and we could imagine ourselves right in the Little House. Although we ate cereal and bagels for dinner instead of cooking on a nice hot wood stove.

I Am Hearing - Rocket is chewing a dog bone. Sis is petting his head and telling him, "oh, I love you", in her best baby voice. Tuba is laughing and I can hear George and Moses talking in their room as they clean it. Actually, they are singing, "shake shake shake, shake your booty". They are hilarious! I guess shaking your booty helps you clean faster.

I Am Planning - I'll put Thanksgiving/fall decor away today in preparation for Christmas decor. We usually get our tree this weekend...we shall see. What I'm really planning is to have a chill holiday season. So far so good. I have taken a few things off of my annual festivities and I'm feeling calmer this year. I plan to do less, go less places, decorate less, cook less, entertain less and ENJOY more. Slow down and soak in my kids and have peace. 

One Of My Favorite Things - Books! And kids reading. It's so wonderful to see my kids reading and enjoying a good book. 

Other favorite things.

Geese flying overhead
An afternoon coffee with cream
Having my hair brushed
Dark chocolate

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week - Basketball tournament, indoor soccer game, tree shopping and tree trimming, church...and that's just the weekend. 

A Picture Thought I'm Sharing - 

It's a Dog's Life
- And a boy's life. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Working Again

Big change for me. BIG! Over the summer I talked with Cam about the possibility of me going back to work. Since Cam's schedule is so great and he is home about half of the week now I could start substitute teaching again. 

I waffled and went back and forth for several months. It has been thirteen years since I worked...and by that I mean since I earned a paycheck.

I had a hard time deciding what to do. I truly LOVE working hard at home for my family. I LOVE being a mom. I LOVE taking care of my house. LOVE! There is NOTHING I'd rather do. 

So....I made a good old pro/con list which always helps me sort things out. 

Pros: a paycheck
Exercise my professional skills
Add to my Social Security fund. Truthfully this was the biggest factor. After looking online at my SS statement it realized that I needed to earn some credits toward disability. Now of course I don't plan to become disabled but if I did our family would need the financial support. 

It could make my life chaotic.
I might hate it.

My wonderful hubby informed me that if I hated it, I could quit. And he reminded me that I always worry about change creating chaos. It's a process for me. 

So I went ahead and decided to fill out the application. THAT WAS A HUGE PAIN!! Seriously! I did not have a resume. I couldn't remember when I went to college...I'm talking exact dates. I didn't know what years I worked at which schools. I couldn't remember what my degree minor was in. I'm serious. It was a total pain to gather and make phone calls, "hi, I worked for you once upon a time, can you please tell me the dates". Yep. Several of those calls. 

Then there was the fact that the application required letters of reference. Profession references ONLY. Hmmmm....since I didn't have a job for thirteen years that was difficult. I ended up asking the amazing teachers at my kids' school to write letters for me. These are teachers that I have volunteered in their classrooms. Perfect! They actually wrote me the most wonderful letters!! They made me sound terrific and I was humbled...and I was inspired that I might actually be a good candidate. 

After working on my resume and letter of intent I had Cam take a look at it. He told me to go for a walk and he'd spiff it up for me. Whoa!! He took my stale, dry, boring data and turned it into a real resume!! I love him! And in case the medical gig gets old he can open up a business doing resumes. 

So after a VERY long couple of weeks gathering papers I was able to send off my application. Then another VERY long wait time while they processed it. VERY long. 

But finally I was cleared and ready. 

And guess what?!!! It's been amazingly fun. Seriously fun!

I am only subbing at my kids' schools. I only sub the days Cam is home. He gets Tuba off of the bus while I'm gone. I take the kids to work with me and they love it. They sit quietly and play on the computers while I read the sub notes and get ready to teach.

The best part is that because I've spent so many years as a volunteer I know all the kids. That makes the job fun and much easier. I know many of the teacher's routines and I know the way the school works. It's great! 

I am working only one or two days a week so I still have plenty of time for my favorite job taking care of my family and home. It's a perfect balance. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Soccer Palooza

Great pic of credit to his assistant coach. 

I mentioned earlier that three of the kids played on soccer teams this year. Whew! It was busy and fun!!

All of the kids had lots of friends on their teams...and lots of siblings came along to practices which made the six practices a week really great! Plus three games a weekend = lots of time to see friends. Tuba adores going to EVERY practice and game so that made things easy too. He's the family cheer section.

The season is almost done and since the weather has turned....rain, windy, cold....I'm glad to be done.

Although I truly loved watching the kids play this year. In the past I honestly never understood why anyone liked soccer. BUT...that was because the only reference I had was watching four and five year olds play. Okay, THAT is not soccer. Now, the kids are a bit older and they are learning more and there are more kids on the field and it's finally interesting! I imagine it will just get better and better. Woot!

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Halloween 2015

Pumpkin carving started off the Halloween spirit.
We got thrifty this year and bought our pumpkins at the local grocery store. Can someone explain to me why the store sells pumpkins for $3.00 each but the farm where they are grown sells the same size for about three times the price?! 

Cam helps the kids carve after they draw on the faces. We tried a new method on a couple of the pumpkins and cut off the bottom instead of the top. That way you lift the pumpkin, light the candle and put the pumpkin back down. 

Sis got Rocket involved too.

The finished product! 

And then...Halloween came in two stages. First, we celebrated at school on a Friday. 
Party, party, party!! 

George and Moses both dressed up as Army guys. They were very excited when Cam got out all of his real Army stuff.

I was the Queen. 

On Saturday we headed out to a Halloween party...but first some face painting.

Sis was a mermaid and she picked out this great wig to go with it. She loves it but she was shy to wear it out to the party. I think it's pinktastic!!

The littlest two.

And my scary older two.

Oh...much better. Not so scary now. Such cuties.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Unexpected

There are many things in life that are unexpected. Some of them are hardships and some of them are thankfully gifts.

I didn't know that when I had kids I'd meet so many wonderful families and make so many friends. It's been a true blessing.

I have lots of groups of friends...I really like people! There are family (which most of them are my friends too), my close girlfriends, church friends, couple friends, childhood friends, neighbors....and the awesome school community, sports community friends. And of course lots of overlap of all those groups.

Several school families we first met when our kids were in preschool. It's been fun to watch the group of kids grow together.

There were several years that the only adult interaction I had on a daily basis was chatting with the other parents at drop off and pick up. I'm telling saved me!!! Now I get out more but I still love seeing all the friendly faces each day....and chatting. And the teachers! So many of them I now call friend. 

Then there are the sports parents. Love them! I look forward to each season so I can chat and catch up with those groups of friends. Plus, the carpooling is a life saver!

I am blessed by so many terrific families and their friendships.

Kairos Moments - Haven't blogged that for too long!

1. Driving in the van to church and looking at the swollen river full of debris about to breech the bank. There was beauty in the swirling waters.

2. At church the priest's wife was standing next to her sister who was visiting for the day. The hugged and embraced with arms around each other. The love was palpable.

3. Feeling Sis's warm hand in mine on the way to the car after school.

4. Sunshine on the fall trees.

5. George's smiling face after scoring a goal in soccer. The pouring rain running down his shining face.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Back to School 2015

Mr. P moved up to middle school this year. He is LOVING it. This transition has gone so well! He likes his classes and likes 5 out of his 6 teachers. He is taking advanced placement math and English. And...he is doing very well with his grades. In band he chose to play the saxophone. So fun! He's made great progress (as's no longer painful to listen to practice). Mr. P also joined the cross country team. 6th graders cannot compete but they turn out for the practices. So basically he ran, and ran and ran...just for fun. He takes after Cam. But, all that running was good for him and it put him in great cardio shape for basketball tryouts. He just tried out for the AAU team and he made it!! Woot! So proud of this guy! The only down side to middle school and sports is that I really miss him. He leaves for the bus at 6:45 am and doesn't get home until 4:30 pm. That's a LONG day. My baby!

The younger three have adjusted to the new school year with ease. My kids truly love school and needed the year to begin after a long and fun summer. 

Baby George (yes he is a baby still) began his first FULL day of school. He is in heaven! He keeps telling me all about how he gets 2 recesses! 2!! George is fantastic reader. I love seeing him curled up with a book. George is playing soccer and is having a great time. He wants to play year-round! 

Sis is off to a great start in 2nd grade. She has some great friends in her class and loves recess too. She is less shy this year and is settling into the classroom routine well. She is in tune with all the kids' feelings and moods. Sis is playing soccer too. She is so fast and is really engaged in the game this year. 

Moses is loving 4th grade. He had a student directed conference and did an amazing job! He told us all about his goals for the year, both academically and goals for home. He made me get teared up with his goal of being kinder to siblings and playing with them more. What a nice boy. Moses applied for the Lego Robotics team. It's very competitive!! 4th and 5th graders may apply and they only accept 10 students. He made it!! It's such a great fit for him....and he is loving every minute of it. They will go to competitions too. Moses is on a soccer team too (yes, that's 4 kids in sports!!! BUSY practice schedule!!). He hasn't played soccer for 3 years and is so glad he returned to it. Soccer is his sport!! He's now looking into playing on an indoor team for winter. 

Tuba was happier than anyone to go back to school! He is in his second year of job training. He is training at a local pizza place. They put chairs down, wipe tables and make pizza boxes. He loves the social aspect of school! Tuba is our biggest cheer leader. He loves going to all the kids' practices and games. He happily cheers for the kids. Good thing...because we spend A LOT of time doing just that. 

On the first day of school Cam and I headed out for a day date. This sums up how sad we were to leave our kids at school. Ha!!

I have so many cute pics of our dogs. In our family we frequently say, "It's a dog's life" when we see our pooches lounging around (while we work and clean) or being spoiled. 

Truly around here, "It's a dog's life".

Sunday, October 25, 2015

And that's a wrap!

Annnnnnnd! One more day of vacation.

We opted to stay at a hotel for one night on the way home. A hotel pool is the BEST!!

The kids go back and forth from the hot tub to the pool. 
Tuba and I just skip the pool.


And that's it. Vacation is over. Boo!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mama and Papa Relax

The best part about vacation is that it's about the only time of year I totally relax. I don't know what time/day it is...and it doesn't matter.

We get to hang out all day long with our kids, eat snacks, and take in the view.

Like I said before we work out every morning on the beach. It's so beautiful!

I love to sit on the deck no matter what the weather is doing...but of course the sunshine is the best! Pjs, sunglasses, magazines and a dog. The best!

Or I perch myself on the sand and watch the kids boogie board with Cam...and soak up some sun.

Cam's had skin cancer so he is good about covering up all of his skin. This is his fave outfit. We all tease him but seriously what can we say since we all wear pjs on the beach. 

We love to walk long walks on the beach...really it's me that loves it but Cam goes along with it.

I don't even know what this is...or when it happened on our vacation. But, there it was in the photos. This about sums up how much Cam loves vacation. 

And that's a wrap. Whew! What a fun time we had. I want to go again soon. 


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