Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Got Elfed!!

Seriously, this is the best 10 minutes I've ever spent! Follow the direct link below....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Our sunrise in the backyard this morning....

How cool to wake up to this. The colors were amazing... I love living here!

The House of I Love You's

Almost every night after my kids go to bed, I begin the ritual of cleaning up the place. Sure, I have basically cleaned all day, but now is the time for getting the last of the clutter into its chosen resting place and doing the most guilt-ridden deed: tossing some of the day’s or week’s artwork.

I have always hated this job which can be understood by my possesion of two enormous plastic bins full of every piece of art ever accomplished. The bins are currently sitting in our office as a constant reminder to me that I must go through them and purge. Weekly, Mike asks if he can take them down to the basement and I say, “No” for fear that I will never do what needs to be done.

And now, things have gotten worse. Logan is writing like crazy, in her tiny little adorable print. My countless pictures of rainbows and flowers have morphed into “I love you’s” (always with a backwards “y”) and they are everywhere. I am having a terrible time throwing any of them away and I am just not sure how to go about it. We’ve all been caught in the act recycling some random coloring book page that we were sure didn’t matter, but when does an “I love you” not matter? Each one of them is so endearing and sweet and full of, well, love, that I think, for now, my pile will grow. There will undoubtedly come a time when I am begging for those sweet words to come from her lips, so while they're pouring out of her fingertips….. I just may collect them all!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spread Some Cheer

Will someone please explain this scenario to me?

I am driving in the morning with a minivan full of kids. We’re on a road inside a strip mall and waiting to turn left into where else? You guessed it, Starbucks parking lot. I am in the left of two lanes. All of a sudden, an obnoxious man in a very expensive luxury vehicle lays on the horn behind me. I am waiting there because there is oncoming traffic in the lane I need to cross, but I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you that. He could go around me, but won’t and apparently does not see the other lane next to us both. So instead, he blares and beeps and makes a huge scene out of a mom and her three kids under 5, trying to safely get everyone around town and get the blood flowing with a little caffeine.

What was this guy, and all the other guys like him trying to accomplish? I couldn’t help but think that this was a true sign of the season at hand – it’s like a buzz you can feel in the air – stress levels and blood pressures are rising. I’m sure that guy wasn’t a bad guy, I’m sure if confronted with the chubby youthful cheeks and baby blues of my three kids, he would have felt pretty stupid indeed. Hopefully he would’ve mostly felt the need to chill out, take a breath, to not be in such a terrible hurry.

I kind of hope he figured it out on his own, you know? I am not immune to the stresses of the season and have had my own lapses in judgment. On Black Friday, without thinking, I grabbed my cold cuppa joe and dumped out of my door in a parking lot and was instantly ashamed. Some poor person pulled in after me and probably stepped right in the puddle. Ugh. It seriously was on my mind for the next couple of hours. I won’t be doing that again.

So here’s to remembering to slow down this season, to give everyone a smile, to let them cut in front of you in line or on the road. Here’s to making the holidays merry for everyone and spreading some cheer as far as it can go.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Ahhhh, the holiday season has begun! I’m happy to report that my shopping is 99% done – I think that I am getting better at this every year. I love to get out and enjoy the hustle and bustle and festivity of the stores just before the holidays, as long as my lot has already been purchased. Happily, I only need some toy dinosaurs, snow cone syrup and something for my father-in-law, my biggest annual challenge. It will happen though, with the perfect investigative work of my wonderful mother-in-law, Mary. I can’t wait to get her suggestions so that I can complete the task at hand.

In a nutshell, we had a great Thanksgiving. The girls and Finn were dressed up in adorable outfits and so excited to have the family over for a party. I know that it’s a little hard for them at times, unfortunately, they don’t have any cousins yet and I know they wish they did. (This is certainly not a problem that I have the solution for though!) As I looked around the table of adults that were present and enjoying themselves, I felt a touch of sadness. Maybe this is the case for every family at times, but as I thought about each one of them, I realized that every one of us is dealing with a problem that is bigger than the everyday ones we all face; some long term in their nature, some scary, some with great health concerns, some facing the holidays with loneliness, and some going back to a place they thought they left behind long ago.

I felt bad. I thought about giving a toast alluding to what I was thinking about, but then changed my mind – my thoughts just weren’t well – thought out. And the last thing I wanted to do was let my kids know that there was anything sad about their day. Rather quickly, my thoughts transformed themselves to a better place and here’s where that place is: gratitude.

I am sad that we are all going through so much. It does not seem fair. But this is what being an adult is all about and all of these unique and wonderful people are surviving and persevering and making the best of it. I think the good time they appeared to be having was the real deal. I know that it was for me. I currently have some health issues that I am dealing with and I was tired from all the preparations, but I was enjoying myself and so thrilled to be hosting everyone in our new home. We all have our challenges, that is for sure. But it seems that we are up to them. We are grateful for the family that we have that came together as one amidst a whole lot of troubles. We found relief and humor and love in each other’s presence and there are not many things better than that.

So this year, I am thankful for my family – the immediate one for sure – but the extended one too. Whatever form or shape we may be in, whatever challenge we face, I am thankful to be in this life with all of them, whatever comes our way. Anyway, I just know there are better days ahead for one and all.

And by the way, the food was great, if I do say so myself!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hi My Name is Molly....

…and I think I may have a problem.

I have to give credit where credit is due. I am addicted to something and as much as I hate to admit it, I must: I love High School Musical!

I swear, I could let the girls play it all day long (but I don’t – I swear!) Finn dances like a mad man to it and actually requests it by saying “Whoa, whoa, whoa” and mimicking one of the songs. The girls think it’s the bomb as well, but I am pretty sure that it’s me who likes it best of all.

Let me just say that with six years under my belt, I officially hate children’s television. I can’t even bear to watch anything animated with the possible exception of something just released from the theaters. But even then, I can only watch it ONCE. And we all know how often that happens. I don’t care to see or hear the same episodes of Arthur or Curious George or to watch the Disney princesses navigate through their tragic lives to their happy endings one more time! If, for whatever reason, I am forced to sit while one of these shows is on, I stare at the wall and think, about anything else I can think of!

And then came my savior – a new, non-animated, real, mostly cheesy, I’ll admit, story similar to Grease but much more Disney squeaky clean. I love this movie! The music just makes me happy, I love knowing all of the words to all the sappy little high school angst-filled songs and love that my kids love it to.

At some point on most days we watch part of the movie. On those days you can find me jamming out to any of the given songs – I can’t even tell you which one is my favorite since I like them all so much! I guess those songs make me remember those days in high school, the good and the bad and revel in the fact that I am no longer there. Anything that can make you rock out while putting away dishes and changing loads of laundry is a very good thing.

I am serious though, it really may be a problem. Last week, the girls and I spent a good hour replaying the end song, “We’re All in This Together” over and over so we could learn the dance moves. I’m not as quick of a study as I was back in my cheerleading days, but I am getting it, the girls are totally into it and most importantly, we’re having fun! What could be better?

By the way, Mike could not hate it any more. Just goes to show you who has the good taste around here!! :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bizarre Love Triangle

Okay, so if I had imagined it, which I have not, I would have guessed I’d be writing this post in ten to fifteen years. It seems that we have a little love bug on our hands with Miss Riley. Apparently, there was a classroom romance in the works between two of her classmates and all of a sudden, she’s gotten in the middle of it!

The teacher told me that she has never experienced this boyfriend/girlfriend stuff in a 3 year old classroom before. She wanted me to know about it, just in case Riley said anything. She has mentioned this little guy’s name before, but I thought nothing of it – of course! I guess the first little girlfriend has lost her spot with Mr. Casanova, who is now going around telling everyone that Riley is his girlfriend. Girlfriend number one is totally devastated and cries all through school! Now the poor teacher has been forced to separate the boys and girls so that she doesn’t have to deal with the emotion of it all in the classroom – can you even believe it?

Riley overheard her teacher telling me this at school pick up today, so I felt that I should say something. I just told her that she is much too little to have a boyfriend. I said that she can be friends with everyone, including boys, but cannot call anyone her “boyfriend” for many years. She said, “Okay Mommy.” It seems like it’s no big deal to her.

On the way home, I called Mike to let him know, with a chuckle, that I got my blog material for the day. After some needed clarification, I told him the story. Surprisingly he just said, “Hmmmm.”

And then, “So I guess I’ll have to buy my gun earlier than expected, huh?”

The teenage years seem very scary indeed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Second Thought...

I feel that my children have seriously doubted my words and my abilities lately. I mean, what’s the deal? I don’t lead them into life’s situations unprepared, things always get done in time and we’ve only been late to school once this year. (For anyone who read Silver Lining, you know why!) Apparently though, that’s not good enough for them and I have been given the Spanish Inquisition about all sorts of matters this week.

Riley is obsessed with Santa Claus and has asked more questions in the last week than I could have imagined. I don’t think that anyone has said anything though-provoking about the jolly old man to her; I just think she thinks about things differently than her siblings. I’ve been asked, “How does he get down the chimney?” “Are you sure he’s going to fit?” “What if people don’t have a chimney?” and finally, “How does he really know what we want?” Quite frankly, I am worn out on the topic and feel that my answers are showing some serious wear and tear. I wish her three year-old curiosity would be squashed already. I need a break!

Meanwhile Logan is questioning everything I do when we go out. “Do I really need this coat?” “Are you sure that I am supposed to bring this tote bag to Daisies?” “What I mean Mommy, is did they actually tell you to have me bring my tote bag?” “Did you remember to sign and return my report card in my folder?” I can’t get a breather around here! As I laughed at her questions on the way to Daisies today, I realized that maybe I am the one teaching them to be so inquisitive.

There is no doubt that I thought the same way about Santa. If there is another way to look at something, I will undoubtedly think of it to confuse myself, if for no other reason. And as far as doing what I am supposed to do and being prepared, I am always striving for and wondering if I am on target. I am also sure that I am too obviously frustrated at times when I’m not hitting my mark. I guess it’s what they see in me and not what I try to teach them that they are learning from.

Time for a change. No more second-guessing, out loud. Calm responses only for things like being late for school. No doubting the reality of things unless they are absurd. There is nothing like being a kid and no need for any stress in their lives that doesn’t need to be there.

I have to admit though, it’s all pretty cute. Just the fact that Logan is at a point that she actually worried as to whether or not her mom would set her up to look silly was pretty cute. Yep, they’re getting older, but young enough that hopefully, a change in my tune will result in a change in theirs.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Ten years ago today was quite a day.

In a tiny church in Oak Brook I married my soul mate. That little church was packed from door-to-altar with loved ones from all walks of our lives, from near and far. I still remember standing in the doorway to the church, right before the ceremony, with so many tears in my eyes that I couldn’t see a thing. I was terrified to blink because, coming from someone who rarely cries, either the flood gates would open and/or I’d end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker. I didn’t blink.

Soon the tears subsided, my focus came back and I saw only one thing: Mike at the end of the aisle, waiting. There was nothing less than everything I wanted and needed in that very moment, in his look, and I’ll never forget either. The details of that day were lost almost instantly amidst the exciting frenzy of all that had to be done. The constant hum of the love between us and of those that surrounded us, along with the anticipation of all that lied ahead is a feeling that will never go away.

Our decade together has brought us down many paths. There have been major challenges and tiny ones, scary times and the normal struggles that we all face. But mostly there have been triumphs, accomplishments, joy and three particular miracles that have joined Mike and me in a way that we can never share with any other soul. Three amazing little beings have been placed in our care, loans from above that have opened our hearts to depths unimaginable.

We are better people than we were ten years ago, that’s for sure. We have had more life and experience than we wanted at times, but we are making it. We have a little rust and a few dings to prove our mileage. But we are strong. And with each passing day, we are meeting our challenges, striving for more and living a great life together. We are chosen partners in a life full of possibility.

I am a lucky woman, there is just no doubt. More importantly, I am a grateful woman. This wonderful man took me for better or worse and he has proven it on both accounts. I love him more than I could ever hope to put into words.

On the back page of our wedding program, in tiny print on the bottom of the page, these words were written:

“One sweet dream came true today…”

And it did. Ten years ago today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

360 Degrees

I heard a phrase on Oprah the other day that literally kept me up last night and then had me thinking again early this morning. The phrase is 360° Life. It was coined by this magazine mogul, Lisa Black, who runs a seriously successful publishing empire and has a book out called Basic Black. It’s all about being a true success in your life – your whole life. Anyway, I loved her idea of remembering to have a 360° Life, because so many of us seem to forget to do that. We’re either burying our selves in work trying to make our way in careers, striving for that perfect life for our children at home, or for the growing majority, we're doing both. Whatever our path, we’re so wiped out at the end of the day that all we can bear is a little TV and as much sleep as possible. That’s where we begin to fail ourselves.

There is no doubt that I am doing the job that I want to do right now. For me, I just want to be the one here with my kids during the day, so we’re living tightly in order to make it happen right now. Even though my husband doesn’t always get this feeling at dinnertime, most days really are great. (They all have their challenges though, too, and right now I have to say that I remember the work force to be less challenging!) On weekends, which are chock full of all other types of responsibilities, there just doesn’t seem to be a break anywhere in sight. If Mike has other things going on, which he has every right to; my chief complaint is that there is no variation in my life. How many weekends is this going to come up before I just plain do something about it?

I am definitely a self-helper, constantly thinking about and striving to make my family members’ lives and my own better, fuller, more abundant. I can get on a roll and talk and write about it really well, but it’s the long term follow through that seems to have escaped me. But now I’ve got this new perspective from this idea of the 360° Life, which is helping me focus not only on all my responsibilities, but my passions, my plans for me, my happiness – and not only that happiness that is derived from all the wonderful people in my life – but the joy that I am solely responsible for placing in my own heart.

I know that I have done those closest to me a disservice by leaving myself in the dust for most of my married life. It’s happened naturally and I don’t think it could be more common for us moms. It’s what we do and in today’s world it happens with such frenzy we don’t even see ourselves taking our place on the back burner of life. It just happens, if we let it.

So I won’t. As far as my kids go, I will find good in more diaper changes, grit my teeth through the constant milk spills, strive to never say a shameful thing “just because I’m tired” and above all, say “yes” to playing more often. For my husband, well, I guess I could say the same things! We need to make the time for our marriage plain and simple. For me, I will follow my passions and be passionate about what I am so blessed to have. I will stop thinking about what I would love to obtain someday and focus on loving what I already have. I will do things that feed me too and focus on every single aspect of my 360° Life and I know life will just flow and absolutely anything will be possible.

Actually it already is.

Monday, November 5, 2007


There’s nothing like a good hoof in the ear, followed by a trip to the ER to get your weekend going. Apparently (I was vacuuming) Riley was somehow attacked by her Belle Horsey on Friday morning. She had a huge gash on her tiny ear and we went to the walk-in clinic to have it stitched on the advice of our pediatrician. (They thought it was a good option since Riley is scared of hospitals.) I won’t be going back.

I got there with all three in tow and waited in the cramped waiting room with more germs than you could imagine. I was very worried when they handed me a pager and then surprised when we were called in rather quickly. Riley was mid-chorus of “I don’t want stitches!” when we were taken into the room. The doctor took one look at her ear and told me that she would most likely need surgery by a plastic surgeon that same day and that I need to get her to the ER. Awesome. The nurse added, “And mom needs some help today!” No kidding.

On the way to the hospital, I made arrangements for my mom to leave work and pick up Logan and Finn at the hospital and for Mike to take the rest of the day off. We all met there and went in the ER. Immediately the story changed and they said they could stitch her. They were shocked that the walk-in clinic had even uttered the word “surgery.” We were totally thankful that no anesthesia would be necessary; that certainly seemed very scary, but would have been easier! Riley did great and amidst terror and being held down, she managed to hold herself together enough to avoid the papoose. I was glad, after experiencing that thing firsthand as a kid, I was so hoping we could circumvent it for her. We left, four hours after we initially left home, with four stitches in her right ear, a stuffed unicorn, a cherry Popsicle and a Tootsie Roll.

Within minutes of arriving home following a happy meal pickup, she was back to normal, but swooning from all the attention. The neighborhood kids came to check on her, family and friends called and I’m sure Daddy and I let her know numerous times how proud we were of her. She was proud of herself, too, and rightly so. She’s a tough little cookie, that’s for sure. And a lucky one too – I am so relieved that our induction into the stitches club was something so minor!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Aftermath

I was upstairs getting dressed this morning and laughing out loud about yesterday’s post. (Dream Halloween – what a joke!) I don’t even know how I willed that out of my fingers based on the “day after” that I was having. Man did I pay the price.

It should have been a good day, we had our fence installed. As the wife of a perpetual and talented do-it-yourselfer, there is just a wondrous feeling that comes over me when we occasionally have the opportunity to pay someone else to do a big project around our house. Even though the money is going out the window, I feel the direct correlation between the time the other people are spending on the project and the time that Mike won’t have to spend. Anyway, the fence is a good thing.

The kids were so tired. We had to get up and follow the school routine which makes me wish for future weekend Halloween’s only. Finn and Riley did great while Logan was at school, but when we picked her up, all hell broke loose.

Logan got in the car saying, no whining, “I’m too hungry!” over and over. She refused to buckle into her car seat because I didn’t bring her a snack. I finally got her in and she pouted loudly all the way home. The two girls tested the waters the rest of the day by saying “no” right to my face, continually picking up their screeching brother by the neck and bickering with each other as much as possible. They’d come up for water, or should I say – candy – every once in awhile and because I was nursing my own Halloween “hangover”, I’d usually say yes. I want that candy out of the house as soon as possible!

Poor Mike came in at 6 PM to find me doing whatever I could to hold it together, and I did, but I was spent. I literally felt abused by these overtired, ghoulish little sugar monsters who had beat me up all day. I should have just let it all go, but true to form, I tried to reason with my little beasts and all it got me was asleep on the couch by 8:45 PM. And did I mention that they all have colds? Oh well, I guess it’s only once a year, so it’s worth it. Or wait, maybe it’s twice…. The holidays are right around the corner!

Once again, Happy Halloween 2007 – ugh!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dream Halloween

What a great Halloween! After a whirlwind morning of driving here, there and everywhere for this and that parade and a million little errands, we met up with neighbors and ventured out to trick or treat for the first time in our new ‘hood. It seemed that every little person we met along the way joined our clan until we took up half a block! It was sunny and chilly, but we couldn’t complain. I swear, it was like the Halloween of my dreams, with more kids and costumes and decorations than you can imagine! The kids had so much fun – it was like being in the presence of joy for three straight hours.

A new neighbor who doesn’t even have kids got in on the action and generously put up a giant Halloween-themed jumpy thing in their yard (they own the company, got to make a note of that!) All the trick or treators got to hop in and jump to their hearts’ content. It was nothing short of an awesome day for the single digits around here.

We ended the night with a spooky dinner by candlelight. We had goblin brain casserole (chicken and noodles), Frankenstein’s eyeballs (brussel sprouts), monster mush (applesauce) and vampire cocktail (berry juice). It was a completely fulfilling memory – how about that!?!

Hope you enjoy the collage of our cool cowgirl, beautiful fairy and curious monkey. The monkey protested a bit at the onset, but came around as soon as he figured he could suck M&M juice through the wrapper. Actually he hung out in the stroller for the duration, which was a blessing indeed.

Happy Halloween 2007!