Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why I'm Not an Interior Designer

I was flipping through the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens the other night. 


Monday, November 29, 2010

A Successful Thanksgiving?

It's Monday and I'm back to work.  The sky is nearly black outside my window.  The rain is pummeling the pavement.  Puddles are overtaking parking places.  But none of that matters.  Nothing can darken my spirit today.  I am filled with light.  I just spent four days at home with my boys.

Yes, we ate homemade stuffing and green bean casserole.  Yes, we went shopping.  Yes, we raked leaves, decorated our blue spruce, made leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce, broke the wishbone, made fires in the fireplace, baked sugary, buttery desserts and were really, really thankful.  But it is not any of these Thanksgiving-related events brightening my heart right now.  

It is instead the little moments, the unexpected, unplanned events of the long weekend, that are inspiring me today.  Like last night, and my four year-old in his blue striped pajamas standing next to our dining room table after his third bedtime snack (and way past his bedtime) giving me a private performance of his upcoming school Christmas program.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Minivans, Magical Creams and the Mommy 15

I'm having a little blogging block.  So I'm posting something I wrote about two years ago, before I started blogging.  Happy Thanksgiving!

I knew I was getting older when, looking back at 2008, I realized my favorite purchases of the year were our seven-passenger Dodge Caravan and a facial cream called “tight, firm and fill.”

Sure, I may just be one birthday past that milestone of middle-age -- you know, the new 20? -- but age isn’t measured only in numbers. Age is calculated by the size of your purse (the largest Land’s End has to offer), the questions you ask yourself in the mirror in the morning (“Am I too old for these UGGs?”) and the items on your most recent Christmas wish list (teeth whitener, gym membership).

It feels as if I overslept Frau Watson’s first period German class and woke up a wife, mother of two, minivan-driver and thirty-something. In these difficult times, people losing their homes and jobs, I know I should be concerned with more important things. Problem is, I just can’t seem to stop asking myself, exactly when did I grow up?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Know You're Married to a Baseball Coach When...

This one is for you Coach. 

1. You can tell the difference between an 82 MPH fastball and an 86 MPH fastball.  No seriously, I can.  Once after a baseball game Joe asked me what I thought of the team.  I responded, "Honestly honey, I thought our guy didn't seem to be throwing very hard."  "Well, yeah." Joe replied.  "He was only throwing about 82-84.  You're used to seeing 86-88."  Seriously?  I surprised even myself on that one.

2. Your four year-old son who is just learning how to play basketball says, "Mom, I just scored a run!" every time the basketball makes it into the goal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This morning, while dark shadows from the magnolia trees behind our house still shook and shivered across my bedroom window, I heard the soft shuffling of little feet in my room.  In the quietness of the early morning hours I heard a “flump.” Four year-old fingers, I figured, flipping on the bathroom light.  Then another “flump,” followed by the steady whirr of the bathroom fan. 

I went right back to sleep.

It is not unusual for Christian to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to, well, wee-wee.  And lately he has preferred to use our bathroom, rather than his own. Ours is a few steps closer.  But I suspect there is also another reason.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home

In a rare few moments of quiet this morning (the boys were already strapped into their car seats in the van) Joe and I sat down at our kitchen table (well, Joe sat, I was filling up my travel coffee mug) to write out our first mortgage payment. 


There have been several oh-my-goodness-we-are-homeowners moments in the last 33 days since we closed on our first house. But this moment quite possibly tops them all. 


Naturally, signing the papers and getting the keys were BIG moments, too.

Getting the long-awaited keys on Oct. 14, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Welcome to the Midwest?

Being new in town we've heard the phrase, "Welcome to the Midwest!" quite a lot recently.  It's awfully nice of folks to welcome us here, and yet I find the phrase curious and unexpected.  The Midwest? 

My mother is from North Dakota and my father grew up in Minnesota.  I started grade school in South Dakota and my sister Brooke was born in Wisconsin.  I have relatives in Illinois and Ohio.  My brother-in-law is from Michigan.  I thought I knew all about the Midwest.  Then we moved to Southeast Missouri.

Here in Poplar Bluff, people say "ya'll," not "you guys." Farmers in the region grow cotton, not sunflowers. It is 76 degrees today, and we are in the month of NOVEMBER.  Does that sound like the Midwest to you?

In the Midwest that I know, iced tea comes unsweetened, 50 degrees is considered "shorts weather" and November in Minneapolis? Well, let's just say those urban Minnesotans are thankful for the skyways.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birthday Reflections II

I've known for several weeks that my Birthday Reflections entry called for a follow-up post.  The problem has been that I haven't known exactly what I wanted to communicate in a Part Two. 

I still don't. 

Except to write that, I am OK.  I am still breathing.  Functioning.  Working.  Caring for my kids, husband and new house.  Oh and, don't forget, the puppy. I've been busy unpacking boxes, folding laundry and singing with the boys: "They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight, shunting trucks and hauling freight..." (Actually, I am really just trying to see if I can get Thomas the Tank Engine into every single one of my blog posts.  You know, like the little mouse that pops up on every page of the book, Goodnight Moon?  But I digress.)
The usual. 

After my October 11 post, I received concerned phone calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages and even an invitation to visit a church here in Poplar Bluff. It had resonated with some of you because, as you shared with me, you struggle with the same issues.  It made others of you worried.  And sadly, some of my dearest and most intimate friends?  You actually felt guilty that you hadn't done more, listened more, or encouraged more. 

My intention was not to scare anyone, and of course it was not to make anyone feel guilty. I was not seeking sympathy either, although your messages were lovely, just like a hug reaching across time, distance and my cell phone or computer screen. 

I wrote what I wrote because I couldn't not write what I wrote.  For myself.  The night before my birthday was an important moment, a sort of turning point, and when I sat down to process it, everything spilled out onto the page.  And I was glad, too, because it was a night I wanted to remember.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An Unexpected Treat at Work Yesterday ...

Ok, so I when I started this blog, I was hoping that it would be a kick-in-the-pants for me to write, and an avenue for me to share my thoughts and musings about life as a working wife and mom living far away from home.  I did not set it up to be, necessarily, a "baby book" of my kids.  Not that there's anything wrong with this type of blog.  Actually I love, LOVE reading my friends' family blogs.  It's just not what I was trying to do with this blog. Plus, since this is a public website, I wanted to be careful not to "overshare" things about my children that might embarrass them or invade their privacy later on.  

BUT, (and you knew a 'but' was coming didn't you?) this was way too cute to pass up.  And even though it makes for the second mushy-gushy post about my kids in one week, I thought this would be a nice, uplifting follow-up to my Separation post. 

Some background information on the forthcoming video.  Christian spent about an hour with me yesterday at work, after his dad took him to a doctor's appointment in the morning and before my lunch break when I was going to take him back to school.  I set Christian up at one of the computers in the writing lab on the Thomas the Tank Engine website.  Christian sure brightened my day ... 

... I wish he could visit me at work every day.  

Of course this video, so publicly shared, may embarrass Christian in about eight or nine years.  And I suppose, being the responsible, respectful mother that I am, I will have to do something about that then.  But until that day, I am going to enjoy this clip, every second of  it. And I hope you do, too. 

God's grace is never ending.  His blessings come in all forms and sizes.  Shortly after I took this video, Christian came along with me as I ran several errands on my lunch break.  We went to the pharmacy and the Verizon store before I took him back to school.  Nothing fancy, but we had fun.  After Friday, missing Christian at work as much I had been, God gave us some special time together.  It was exactly what I needed. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


I won't be sharing any intimate thoughts today.  Just some fun photos of our Halloween in The Bluff ...

Our Fireman and Dalmatian posing on the back of a fire truck Saturday night.  The college hosted a Halloween event in conjunction with a local radio station and an estimated 4,000 parents and children showed up.  It was wild!   

Henry kept being mistaken for a girl all weekend.  I guess he does look kind of pretty in his costume.

Ok, before we go any further with Halloween photos, I need to defend myself for a minute.  I ordered these costumes online. I ordered Henry's and I was actually afraid it was going to be too big because it was labeled 2T-4T.  Whoops!  Guess not! And Henry is a small two year-old!  I can't imagine a four year-old in that costume...