Monday, December 28, 2009

Family Time

On the 26th, we had big plans to go to see A Christmas Carol as a family. Instead, mother nature dumped a foot of snow on Oswego in record time and we decided against our limited movie theater travel plans. It was a gorgeous snowfall. The kids and dog got out to play in it and it seemed to never stop. When we made the call to stay home, we had a houseful of disgruntled kids (like that had any right on December 26th) and needed a plan of action.

Our first attempt was an on-demand purchase of Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. As Mike and I cackled outloud, the kids made faces at each other as if to say, "What's so funny about this?" About half-way through I had an idea. We pulled out twenty or thirty old video tapes of the past eight years and hooked the camera up to the TV for some home movies.

I had eight or so tapes that weren't labeled, so I grabbed those first. As soon as we popped one in, I knew I was in for it. I nearly sobbed through the first hour, so shocked at seeing how Logan and Riley had grown, marveling at Riley's two year old performance of "Kiss the Girl" and instantly recognizing the undeniable sweetness of Logan's personality that remains the same so many years later. Babies' births and first cereal feedings and bare feet in spring mud were all over the screen. We even saw Maggie, our fifteen year old cocker spaniel wearing the red sweater she needed to keep her warm that last year and Harley, and her enormous, loving presense. I couldn't move from the TV.

It's that old cliche "They grow up so fast!" But it's true. In an instant I knew that there were really only four people that mattered and I had no need to worry about anyone else or the holiday stress that buries all of us this season. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying each other, the way we should every day.

On Sunday, Mike and I took the kids sledding. We had a ball, all of us diving in and sucking up the two hours of constant laughter and fun. For our finale, we went back to the car for some G-rated (as Mike put it) tailgating of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. It was life as we want it, real "in the moment" stuff - traditions in the making.

As we move into 2010, a new decade, there are a few lessons learned from this one. First, we need a new camcorder - I can't support this new hobby with the hours of needed rewind time on the current model!! But seriously and most importantly, Mike and I will find ways to enjoy the short window we have with these amazing little blessings we call our kids, in spite of everything that's going on in life. Now that we've seen those videos, we know our time with them will surely be gone in the blink of an eye.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Funniest Moment - EVER!

Our family has been blessed by new arrivals to our neighborhood this summer - the perfect fit for those of us that already pal around together. Jennie and Scott have come from Scotland to Oswego - we're still wondering how they ended up here - bringing with them loads of laughs, music, friendship, a killer accent and two adorable kids. (One is Finn's age and they have regular playdates which makes this mom's world a whole lot happier!)

Before I go further, let me say that I've received advance permission to memorialize this moment on the blog (if not, I would still be begging to obtain it!) In November, shortly after we started meeting up for happy hour on the occasional weekend, us Anderson's were down at Jennie and Scott's for a few beers on a Friday night. As usual, the kids melded together easily. The girls were working on some sort of performance (ugh) and the boys (HUGE UGH) were somewhere upstairs, having a great time. For a few moments, we were just hanging out- adults relaxing from a long week. And then it happened.

I remember this in such a blur that you'll have to bear with me on the details, but here's the gist of it. Logan comes downstairs with something in her hand. She announces, "Finn and Blair were playing in Blair's mommy and daddy's room and they were playing with THIS!"

At this point, I am looking more at the adults' faces than my beautiful and innocent daughter, who is holding a hot pink twelve-inch penis-shaped vibrator in her hands. Mike's mouth instantly changed into a perfect circle and his eyes nearly jumped from his face. Scott had only what could be called a complete look of horror come over him and Jennie? Well, Jennie moved with the lightening speed only to be found in uber high-budget action movies like Mission Impossible. In a literal blur, she raced to Logan, grabbed the gadget and disappeared upstairs.

I immediately fell into a lump on their kitchen floor, my stomach tied in the tightest knots from the kind of furious laughter that I haven't felt in years, tears streaming down my face. Mike and Scott had similar reactions. After looking at us sideways for a moment, sweet Logan bounded off, onto something else.

When Jennie came down five minutes later (I'm sure the dildo is somewhere in the rafters of their house now) she was horribly embarrassed, but laughing right along with us. After another five minutes of snide remarks by the guys and belly laughs by all, all I could say was, "Well, this has certainly taken our friendship to a new level!"

Later we heard the story of how this fuchsia apparatus, a gift from Jennie's bachelorette party ten years ago, has never even been out of the box. (Uh-huh.) In order to retrieve it, those darn boys had to climb a tall dresser and get it from the box in the back of a drawer.

I guess you can say those boys are determined to ensure that everyone has a good time!

Thanks to my good friend, Jennie, for being the best good sport of all. And for letting me relive this on the blog! There's no doubt we all have a thing or two in the drawers that should stay there and there's also no doubt we'd be 100K richer if we had only had a video camera on!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Halloween 2009

Logan on parade at school - "celestial sourceress".
Riley on parade at school - "Bratz cheerleader".

Our sourceress was under the weather and had her hair straightened for the occasion!

The cheerleader and last year's spidey wait for the bus.

This year's spidey shows off his dance moves at the school party.

Anyone See Mike in This?

People say all the time how Finn looks like his Daddy. I don't think I've ever seen it as much as in this picture from Finn's Blackberry Farms field trip. It's unbelievable!

Time Flies....

Sadly, much has been missed during this last one-month blogging hiatus. I'm glad to report that, from a working standpoint, things are very busy. I actually have my first "on newsstand" article out this month - although it's still a local magazine, but you have to PAY for it. If you're interested and in Chicago, pick up the latest issue of West Suburban Living magazine. If you're more interested in the details of us Anderson's, read on...

Here are the October blog posts that will never be....

"Malfunction Junction" - in a matter of two months, everything is breaking around here. My watch, my sunglasses, our coffee maker, our DVD player (thank you Finn), our first batch of paper shades in our bedroom (they are the only ones left in the house, I swear!) Our iPod is even at max capacity. Just in time for Christmas - ugh!!

"Poison Control - Installment 3" - This is the story of Finn climbing up the shelves in our bathroom last week and chewing multiple ibuprofen. Four hours later, I found orange spit all over my bathroom - I had no idea that he had done this and he was fast asleep. After waking him and listening to his crying and doing much research, we finally determined that he had indeed spit all the meds on the bathroom floor. Yes, this is our 3rd call - for Finn.

"The autumn virus of 2009" - Sick kids, one week of fever, sore throats and coughing and no work time for mommy. Glad to announce everyone is almost healthy around here.

"Miley Cyrus" - Mike and I took the girls to see her - yes, Mike and I. It was a trip and they were more in awe than nutso. It was a good time.

Life is busy. Life is full. Life is good. More to come...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I had reason to write out our weekly schedule yesterday and it's so ridiculous that all I can do is laugh. I'm publishing it out here with hopes that someday I'll be laughing for an entirely different reason - possibly because I will then think it's taxing to write for few hours, garden a bit and then go visit my grandkids.

So this is Fall 2009

Logan school 8:30 to 3:30
Molly gym 9:30 to 10:30
Riley school 12:30 to 3:30
Finn school 12:30 to 3:00
Molly work 1 to 3
Molly work late / Lauren babysit 4 to 7

Logan book club 7:25 to 8:25
Logan school 8:30 to 3:30
Molly gym 9:30 to 10:30
Riley school 12:30 to 3:30
Finn gymnastics 1 to 2
2nd Tuesday - Logan Brownies/ Riley Daisies 3:30 to 5
Riley gym 4 to 6 (will change to 6 to 8 in November - I will go and work there)

Logan school 8:30 to 3:30
Finn sports camp 11 to 11:30
Riley school 12:30 to 3:30
Finn school 12:30 to 3:00
Molly work 1 to 3
Logan choir 4:30 to 5:45
Molly work late

Logan school 8:30 to 3:30
Molly gym 9:30 to 10:30
Riley school 12:30 to 3:30
Finn playdate with Blair in afternoon
Molly work until late / Lauren babysit 4 to 7
Riley gym 4 to 6 (will change to 6 to 8 in November - I will go and work there)

Logan school 8:30 to 3:30
Molly gym 9:30 to 10:30
Riley school 12:30 to 3:30
Finn school 12:30 3
Molly work 1 to 3

Don't even ask about the weekends....


Last night while waiting for Riley at gymnastics, Logan came up to me and asked me to pull her tooth out, said it was twisted all the way around and she couldn't get it. So I did - right then and there.

You see, for every single tooth that Logan has lost, other than the first, this has been the game plan. She doesn't like to pull the trigger on that final pluck, so I get in there and do it for her. It all started because they would get so loose and literally be blowing around her mouth with each breath. I was too scared to let her go to sleep for fear she'd choke.

I think the mom next to me at the gym was horrified, but it works for us.

I was glad to have her lose the tooth, it has been a long time coming. But I immediately felt the dread of what might be asked of me in the wee hours. You see, Logan is far too analytical and inquisitive to just put her tooth under her pillow or ask Santa for a toy. No, this child writes the tooth fairy a letter, with lists of very mature questions and requests frameable images from the big man. Her antics have resulted in much running around and massive amounts of time spent with photo software.

These aren't easy questions, either. They involve things like what happens to all the teeth the tooth fairy collects. Once she received that ridiculously contrived answer, she had many more. Last night, the tooth fairy was asked to produce a picture of the leather bag she collects all kids' teeth in. (In case you didn't know, she waits until it's full and then scatters them across the sky to twinkle with the stars.) Going with this was a late night decision made last year after an hour of research online - still makes me cringe!

Anyway, I have no idea how things got so complicated. There was no image readily available of the leather bag last night, so I bunted and hope it won't come up again. She was thrilled with the letter she received and the $1 bill. I was thrilled it was so windy that she slept with Riley in her room and left her tooth in her own.

I know our believing days are on the downturn - there are too many kids on this block and in school ready to ruin it all. So for now, I'll keep on running around like a nut to find Rudolph's actual sleigh bell or a photo of him - real photo - with the red nose to boot. If anyone has one, give me a call!

The tooth fairy gave Logan a bit of good advice to bring us through the next phase of things. It said, "Just believe in the magic of it all and the things you want to know will be right inside your mind." She didn't seem disappointed - maybe it will work!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Latest Finnism

I guess some things are just ingrained in us. Like the fact that little girls love to dress up or how little boys make car noises instinctively. I'm sure there are countless examples of this, even into our lives as adults. Things that we just do, or feel, or are, that just can't be explained.

Even knowing that this is true about the human race, I could never have predicted Finn's latest epiphany at his early age. All I can say is, it must be built in.

While we were making lasagna yesterday afternoon, Finn announced, without warning or hesitation, "I have a very big penis."

"You do?" I asked.

"Yes, I do. And my friend so-and-so's penis is a tiny penis. Mine is much bigger."

"What?" I almost screamed from shock. "You haven't ever seen anyone else's penis!"

"I know. But my penis is the biggest penis of all. It's bigger than everyone's."

This all came out so matter of fact - like it's just the way it is. I have NO idea where he would even get the idea that"size matters". I am still confused and shocked a day later.

Some things must just be in the genes. Or the jeans. Ugh.

By the way, "so-and-so" has a name. It has been omitted to protect the innocent. I'd hate to ruin his life at his also early age!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


As of late, I feel this blog is becoming all about Finn. My life is not really that way, but maybe the alone time he and I are sharing is shining much needed light on his awesome-ness.

The other day, I looked outside to see Finn and a pal in our side yard looking very suspicious. I poked my head out the window to ask what they were doing.

Finn answered in his ultra-matter-of-fact tone, “We are going potty in the open lot!” (His tone implied a loud “You dummy” at the end.)

“No you’re not!” I yelled and then explained that their plans did not demonstrate what I believe to be appropriate behavior.

“Okay,” he said, and shrugged it off, his little mind onto something else.

The independent five year old he was with would have none of my interference. He snuck around the other side of his house with Finn watching, whipped “it” out and got caught by his babysitter. Not to mention the fact that in his determination to do what he wanted, he peed all over his own shirt.

It makes a mom’s job easy when your child gets to see blind determination go awry in terms of a friend’s peer pressure. Thanks neighbor-kid. I think our outdoor bathroom habit has expired.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Then Comes a Cousin - finally!

It is with utter excitement that this first-time aunt announces the arrival of

Elizabeth Grace Logan

We are pretty excited over here, that's for sure. Congrats to Tom, Michelle and big sister Emily!


It’s funny how much trouble a couple marbles can cause. The other day, Finn and a neighbor were outside throwing a silver marble around. Somehow, Riley got into the mix and took the marble to try it out. The neighbor, proud marble owner, became instantly angry and proceeded to start calling Riley names like “dummy” and “meany”. His dad jumped right on it and told him to stop, but he persisted in his argument that Riley was a dummy.

All of a sudden, Finn turned sixteen before my eyes and hurdled to Riley’s defense. From his tiny three-year old body he belted out, “NO SHE IS NOT! RILEY IS NOT A DUMMY!”

It was so cute that the dad and I couldn’t help but chuckle as I told Finn it was okay and that we were handling it.

“No it’s not okay! He is saying my sister is a dummy and meany and she is NOT!” He exclaimed.

I think the shock of Finn’s involvement was the catalyst to ending the whole minor offense and everyone quickly went back to playing, as kids do.

Ten minutes later, Finn chucked our neighbor’s silver marble over the fence and into the brush, never to be found again.

Fast forward about five hours. Just as we are ready to leave to pick up the girls from school, Finn emerges from upstairs saying something about the marble in his tummy.


This is another marble that has been showing up in odd places around the house for the last week and apparently, it seemed like a good idea to put it in his mouth. And swish it around. And he sucked it right in.

After a quick call to the doctor and realizing that there was no imminent danger, we settled into the fact that we will now be scoping out bathroom visits for the emergence of a turquoise blue flattened out glass marble, you know, the kind you put in the bottom of vases. Ugh again.

So for as much as I thought my little man had grown up early that morning, I’m thinking not so much.

Still, here are the pictures from yesterday - the day I brought my last baby to the first day of preschool. He loved it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I just went to the bathroom and Finn followed me in.

He said, "Do you want privacy, or me?"

I couldn't say I didn't want him, so I said, "Oh either way is fine."

He closed the door behind him, turned and said, "Hmmm, now where can I sit?"

Will I ever have the bathroom to myself again? Is this too much to ask??

Farmer Finn

Here are a couple shots of my sidekick working in the garden. He seems to enjoy it as much as I do!

Fall Forward

It was a great summer, but school is back in session now and fall routines are underway. As I scope out crock pot recipes (the only option other than frozen pizzas due to afterschool activities) and purchase white boards and three-tiered wall filers to try and keep myself organized, I wonder how people do this with any more kids. To top it off, my feast or famine career is in feast mode. This is, of course, what I’ve been working for, but with my sitter back to school, there’s just no time and other plans will have to be made. Soon.

In the midst of it all, I’ve so enjoyed my solo time with Finn. His ultra-cute three-ness was lost a bit in the shuffle of his sisters and the thirty-some other neighborhood kids this summer. I’d forgotten how great it is to just have one little pal to bum around, jump on the trampoline and run errands with. It truly seems like utter simplicity.

So, as the girls move up and on and hit the books, Finn and I will enjoy our two hours of slow-it-down living each day, until school starts for him next Wednesday. And I’ll run around like a chicken with my head cut off for the other twenty-two.

Here are some shots of the girls’ soaking wet first days of school.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pain, Understood.

I love the phrase “you learn something new every day.” Or at least I did. In the past, I had no idea what people were referring to when they said they had back pain. Sure, I’ve had my share of aches and pains, but nothing constant or life-altering. Until now.

I cannot function. I want to cry all the time. I consider myself one tough cookie, but this is beating me. (I am venting so look out!) For three weeks, I’ve had an annoying soreness in my upper back between my shoulder blades, but this week, it has kicked in to some sort of sheer and awful pain radiating outward from the center of my spine at the bottom of my neck.

I can’t see a doctor until Friday, so in an attempt for any sort of relief I saw a chiropractor yesterday. Unfortunately, he was not able to move anything around in a way he was happy about, so the only relief I’ve had was from the four year old c-section vicodin I took last night. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have the edge taken off. And I only have two left! (Can’t take ibuprofen because it worsens my colitis.)

My kids, obviously too young to understand, are upset with me for canceling a swim date at a friend’s house today. I have several other weekend plans that I will change as well; I can’t handle the thought of cleaning the house or cooking to entertain this weekend, nor can I imagine attending a party that I really want to go to, because I can’t turn my head in either direction, much less stop furrowing my brow from this smothering pain. I am totally overwhelmed.

Isn’t this uplifting? All I want to do is crawl under the covers until it’s gone. I cannot wait to see that doctor.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lake Gaston 2009

I think I live all year for this trip. Even the car ride was good with the new souped up van. I’m sure that I was the most impatient of everyone, only on the way home, my mind already racing into phone interviews and deadlines, not to mention school supplies and schedules. Changes are on the horizon.

But for one week each summer, thanks to Alby and Mary, we get to savor the season, reconnect with family and just spend time enjoying life together.

I used to think that there was some kind of family nirvana I was working towards. You know, a space in life where everyone is happy and peaceful and satisfied. I realize now that that kind of euphoria might be waiting in another life for me, but here I’m glad to count my blessings. Our vacation bliss was of course interrupted with the occasional fight or tattletale. There was some bed-wetting due to late nights, botched bedtime routines and too much soda pop. They didn’t magically become perfect listeners as we hit the waters of Lake Gaston.

What happened was they smiled for long periods, laughed and learned new things together, reveled in each other accomplishments and got 100 percent of mom and dad for eight straight days. And we got them. At their best.

I am so grateful.

This year marks our seventh year of what will now be an anchor in my children’s memories and life, a tradition in the truest sense. I hope they will always love to go as much as they do now. I know their Daddy and I will.

Here are a few of our favorite shots from this year…

Dog Days of Summer

This summer has been a blur. For sure because of the kid-craziness that accompanies this time of year, but also because of an eight-week struggle with our puppy, Jesse. On June 1, she began having all sorts of recurrent and seemingly unrelated problems including eye, ear and skin infections, unstoppable vomiting and other GI symptoms. After a million useless tests (they were sure the vomiting was from a blockage), lymph node biopsies for possible lymphoma (all her nodes were enlarged) and eventually a full GI work up (yes, endoscopy and colonoscopy included), we finally have a diagnosis. Jesse has inflammatory bowel disease, just like her human mommy, but hers is caused from a severe allergy to proteins used in dog food.

Her inflammation is so severe that she’ll be on eight medicines for the next two months, including several that I have taken for years on a regular basis. The chances of me contracting this disease were so small, but to actually choose a dog who has it? I can’t imagine how small the chances of that are! Luckily, in dogs, this is an acute condition and once we find the right food and taper her off the meds, she’ll live a normal life with no meds and a boutique dog food. Could be worse.

Until then, the poor thing is enduring prednisone at high doses and most of you know how I feel about that drug. I can tell Jesse feels the same way. And the kids are under serious training measures to ensure the dog does not eat table scraps. This, by far, will be the most difficult part of the process.

So without further ado, I give you the new face of inflammatory bowel disease…

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lift Off

After much consideration, I bit the bullet and said “yes” to Logan regarding a plane trip to North Carolina and a week of unadulterated one-on-one with Grandmom and Granddad. Like the most confident child in the world, she never felt an instant of hesitation as she sped along the moving walkways and led the pre-boarders down the ramp to the plane. I’m pretty sure she didn’t even turn around to hug me, I just squeezed her uncontrollably from behind and she pulled forward and away.

The wonderful folks right next to us commented on my emotional display by saying, “She’s fine mom! It’s you we’re all worried about!”

Seriously, as I sat waiting and watching for the plane to taxi away from me with my first baby balanced in the wings, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. Was I really allowing this to happen? What mother, in her right mind, would even consider doing this? Horrid foreshadowing of mass tragedies filled my mind as I forced myself to stay put; to let her go in spite of me.

As I waited for word that Logan’s plane was air bound, I flashed back to the day of her delivery. During our long labor, my mom said something that becomes truer every day that I’m a mom. She said, “I always thought that the birth of my babies was bittersweet.”

“What are you talking about?” I barked. What could be better than having this little being on the outside??

“Well,” she said, “When they’re on the inside, they’re all yours. You have so many dreams and wishes for them and it’s easy to protect them. But the moment they leave your body, it’s all about letting go – a little more each day.”

I may have mentioned this before in another post, but all I can say is that I’ve never understood any better than at this moment. I was so proud of Logan for her brave, confident and adventurous spirit; I was so glad to have been able to provide her with this awesome life experience; but I didn’t want to let her go at all.

She landed safely in loving arms. She is having the time of her life. We’ll arrive Saturday and other than the birth of my kids, I’ve never been so excited to see someone in my life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot Damn!

Ever since I’ve had kids I’ve been one of those moms that would say, if pressed, that one of the reasons I make it work staying at home is because I just don’t want to miss any of my kids’ “moments”. Well, I realized today, that there are moments that I’ll miss and do, now that I’m working a few days a week. Furthermore, I will relish in the fact that I am blessedly able to miss these moments and can leave them for my totally awesome and adored sitter, Lauren.

Lauren had all three at the pool today and Finn pooped right on the deck near the water. A nice green log dropped right out of the leg of his trunks. (What’s up with the ineffective mesh thing inside??) She rushed him into the shower and when she came out, a life guard was picking it up. She is mortified. I feel terrible for her, especially because a guy she knows works there. (I may be old, but I remember those days!!) But if I’m being honest, all I’m really thinking is, “Hot Damn! That is money well spent!”

End of summer = Big tip for Lauren

Monday, June 15, 2009

Can I bum a smoke?

I should be working right now. I was - and then I stopped. With all the bizarre situations I have been in, this might take the cake. As my hands shake, shoulders ache and I taste nicotine in my mouth, I have to wonder…. Could this be right?

As many of my close friends and family know, I have been in an ongoing battle with a condition called ulcerative colitis since I was pregnant with Logan. I was blessed to go into remission after her birth and my symptoms didn’t resurface until October of 2007 – what a reprieve! Following the advice of my doctor, I discontinued one of my meds in December of 2006 and that likely led to my problems nearly a year later. Now, almost twenty-one months since then, I am up to sixteen pills a day combined with a few other not-so-pleasant drugs and my symptoms, although better, still persist. I’ve managed to enlist the services of the inflammatory bowel disease guru at the University of Chicago, who helped me get back to normal years ago and plan to keep him as my primary GI doctor now. Let me just say that the university environment has thrown me into a world of the unexpected – which is where I am at this very moment.

Since I started back at U of C, the specialists there have been suggesting that I start smoking, just five cigarettes a day. Apparently, it is very rare for a smoker to have the disease and when you compare cancer rates of the general public, light smokers and ulcerative colitis patients; colon cancer from UC wins, hands down. The Mayo Clinic has done extensive studies on this and they concur that it is successful for an overwhelming number of ulcerative colitis patients. I just can’t deal with actually smoking and I’ve been trying other things since March, but as of my visit last week, I agreed to give the nicotine patch a go.

Now consider this: most, well, all people who use the patch are quitting smoking. They already have loads of nicotine swimming around in their veins. I don’t, so I went from zero to sixty in minutes. I smoked a bit in my partying days, but not since the nineties. So here I sit, at my desk, with my babysitter and three kids swirling around me. I have shaky hands and a huge nicotine buzz. I feel revved up and relaxed at the same time and I taste and smell cigarettes. My leg, where I affixed the patch, aches. I feel like I should be sitting out on my porch with some good old Florida friends and could really go for a beer.

Seriously, what kind of alternate universe am I living in? I hope this damn thing works.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Times Like These

With all the planning and effort that goes into all that we do, it’s ironic how life boils down to tiny moments of clarity; times when you realize that you’re exactly where you should be. I am so grateful, that right in the middle of each day’s frenetic chaos, I am still able to find these moments and savor them. I wouldn’t have expected one to occur at Just Tires on Tuesday. Nope, I had no desire to go get my tire patched with three kids along for the ride, at all. The four of us sat waiting in Adirondack chairs on a sidewalk facing the parking lot at 3 p.m. on a seventy degree sunny day. We joked and played chair hokey pokey, practiced bubble blowing, took goofy pictures and laughed like crazy. It took this moment of making the best out of something none of us wanted to do to remind me how blessed I truly am, that I like these three people better than anyone else in the whole world and that I can’t imagine my life any other way. Well, I guess I could do without the whining and potty on the floor, but it’s all worth it for times like these.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's a wrap!

The end of May and beginning of June have brought a ton of events our way. Here are just a few shots from the big doings in our neck of the woods….

Finn's 3rd Birthday

Riley and her soccer coach!

Mommy and Daughter Brownie Tea

Off to Kindergarten!

On to Second Grade..... summer officially begins!

So what's on the docket now? Summer is already packed with loads of fun: our annual trip to North Carolina (Logan is heading out a week early for some sailing and alone time with Grandmom and Granddad), gymnastics and pool time, baseball games and block parties and Girl Scout camp and even Great America. Most of all I'm looking forward to a different routine for a few months... we need it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wedding Bells

He moved so lightening fast that you almost couldn’t see him with the naked eye. But he did it. Dressed all dapper-like in his tux and Chuck Taylors, the flames on the side must have inspired Finn’s speedster aisle debut. As far as weddings go, Tom and Michelle’s was top tier and we were so thrilled to be a part of it. The nuptial highlights were their personally written vows that rocked and Tom’s special vows for step-daughter Emily. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. How lucky we are to have them in our family!

As far as the fun goes, the reception was a kids’ dream with a third of the guests falling into the youngster category. The dance floor was full from beginning to end and even my well-practiced rendition of the Hoedown Throwdown (as reviewed by vodka and tonic) went off without a hitch! It was great catching up with family, both new and old, and to watch everyone have a great time.

Thanks to Aunt Michelle and Uncle Tom for a heck of a hootenanny. We wish them everything wonderful in their forever together!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That's funny. Really.

I have a great neighbor who I really do like, but who finds it necessary to give me a hard time, whenever possible, about being an at-home mom. (If he ever reads this blog, I know he knows who I am talking about!) I have to admit, it definitely gets my dander up, to say the least, but I know it’s all in good fun. Being at-home is a rarity in this ‘hood; I’m one of only two moms in nineteen houses that doesn’t work outside the home. The other one doesn’t work at all. I don’t think my neighbor believes that I actually make an income from writing, but whatever. He jokes constantly about “how busy” my days must be. GRRRRR.

Well, here’s this she-woman’s morning in a nutshell. Don’t tell me I’m not busy. And by the way dude, Thursday’s my easiest day of the week.

Woke at 4:30 to work.

Wrote two articles for two different clients and sent them off.

Researched a third piece.

Watered all the flowers and shrubs.

Woke kids. Dressed, fed and got Logan on her way.

Watered the lawn.

Cleaned up the kitchen.

Vacuumed first floor.

Dug out entire vegetable garden, removed all grass and dumped it behind our fence.

Shoveled and wheel barrowed two whole yards of top soil mixed with compost from the pile about 100 yards away from my new vegetable garden.

Planted vegetables.

I swear, I don’t remember anything other than childbirth being as tough when it comes to physical labor. I am skipping my regular Thursday trip to the gym for sure. All this by 11 AM? I doubt I need to tell you how many interruptions there were from the peanut gallery.

With a light-hearted spirit – of course - I challenge my comedian neighbor to a busy-ness contest. Any day. Bring it on!!

Time to make lunch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Man's Best Friend

One of my weekly jaunts takes me to obedience class with Jesse. I love this time for a number of reasons, most notable being the hour of walking that gets us there and back and the time alone with Jess devoted to her training. (As you might guess, at-home training sessions are a rarity.) She is a smart cookie and demonstrates each week that her breed was definitely born to work with humans. This floppy, uncoordinated juvenile delinquent makes me proud each and every class as she transforms before my eyes, picks things up effortlessly and focuses, like a sharp shooter, on the task at hand.

There are several Rowdy Rovers in our current class. It’s been eye-opening to watch them and I’ve realized that the rowdy ones are usually not the bad ones; they’re just reacting to a look or mannerism from a quietly aggressive classmate. And as I listen to our trainer, Mare, I realize that the rowdy dogs are the ones struggling with confidence issues, from lives spent in foster homes or unloving ones, that they need work through. Mare says that nearly all of them can overcome these issues and become happy, well-adjusted pets.

Funny how we have so much in common with man’s best friend. So many of us carry around baggage from the past, struggle to be confident or fight to keep old demons at bay. I’m amazed at how these diligent and loyal hard-workers are able to learn to trust, in humans and in themselves, and rise above whatever happened in their pasts. If only us humans could be as successful!

I am a dog person. And a human person, too. Here’s to all us humans moving forward!

on the verge

As the terrible two’s announce last call in our home - forever (Finn turns 3 tomorrow) - I find it true-to-form that our resident curmudgeon got some zingers in at the bell. Just yesterday, Finn managed the following:

...Refused any clothes that are not made of stretchy cotton, they are just not comfortable after all. Will now only wear clothes with his “arms out” i.e. short sleeves.

...Opened the sliding back door, dropped trou and peed right out onto the deck (and the new welcome mat just placed there.)

...Pushed a stool to the counter and placed a silicone potholder in the toaster over. Then he turned it on.

...Asked me, “Is Jesse acting like a lunatic right now, Mommy?” Seriously, lunatic?

...Climbed in my bathtub while I watched from the shower, dropped trou and peed. Then he cleaned it up with my bath towel and proudly announced his successful urination and clean up.

...Pushed a stool to the counter, climbed up and ransacked the one set of upper cabinets where I keep everything dangerous: hard alcohol, medicine, tools, etc. I found him trying to light a votive with a lighter he found.

...Had a long talk with his father about the merits of nail polish and how much he wants to wear it.

...At bedtime, Finn howled until he got his way and I put him to bed despite a laundry list of a hundred things to do before we excitedly welcome Granddad and Grandmom today. Finally succumbing to the fatigue and enjoying a few moments of bedtime peace with Finn, I started asking him about his day. He said, “Just be quiet Mommy. I want you to lay with me, not talk.”

I’m slightly concerned about his plans for today, but expect big changes at 11:01 tomorrow morning. Do you think I’m setting myself up for disappointment?

Monday, May 11, 2009

mother's day 2009

Is there anything better than gardening tools to replace those lost since last Mother’s Day, a sunflower barely clinging to life due to weekend storage in Riley’s closet, Logan’s delivery of her “Mother’s Day” book with the page that reads: “My mom is funny when she sings lots of weird stuff that I don’t really get.” or Finn's one-hour bedtime tantrum? Nope, there's not. It's all part of the gig I signed up for and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It was a great day full of yummy treats, wonderful mom visits and my hands in the dirt. It ended with a long awaited spa treatment from Logan and Riley, who each took a hand and painted my nails (or fingers, I should say.)

The polish all over the place, but I can’t bear to take it off just yet.

Thanks to all my peeps for an awesome day, especially Daddy, the mastermind behind it all. I am one lucky mama.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yes, it's true. Molly Anderson is Mother of the Year!

The coolest thing since sliced bread; I had to break my "no email forwarding" rule and send this thing out in boat loads. The creative folks at who put this amazing video together have made Mother's Day special for over 1 million moms at last count, all recipients of this incredible effort. It is the best! If you haven't seen it or received it yet, check your junk mail.

I assure you, it doesn't belong there!

Apparently, a secret benefactor is offering to make donations for every additional video sent in support of the work MomsRising does for good family policy in Washington.

Here's mine.... watch it and then go create some for the miracle moms in your life!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem-a-day Challenge!

I just finished!

For the last thirty days, I've written a poem per day on the Poetic Asides blog by Robert Lee Brewer - I was one of around 850 people that posted daily poems based on the author's prompts.

I am not a poet, by any means, but it was such a totally cool experience and definitely helped me to push the creative envelope. What a total thrill to participate, but more so to be able to read all the amazing work written by serious poets! I don't have sights set on a career in poetry, but I look forward to doing it again next year. (April is National Poetry Month.)


I have this theory that an unmade bed leads the whole day awry. Yes, I am one of those nutty people that can’t stand to see my bed a mess and if by some strange occurrence I don’t get it made all day, I will do it at bedtime before climbing in. There is nothing like the reward of crisp sheets, fluffy pillows and a squishy comforter after a long mommy-day. I have a serious love for my bed. And I love it even more when it’s made.

But, occasionally, time gets the best of me and it waits, a rumpled pile of sheets and blankets, until I find a tiny nook of time in which to get it done. Yesterday, that didn’t happen until late, at which point the calamity of my day made perfect sense. “Oh, the bed wasn’t made!” I thought. “That explains it!”

The details of yesterday’s domestic dysfunction are now vague; several tantrums occurred – the drama du jour for two of my children these days – a pant-less trip to Riley’s gymnastics for Finn, and complete destruction of our stairway carpeting by Logan and a tube of the most ridiculous fuchsia lipstick I have ever seen. Stanley Steamer is coming tomorrow.

I swear the money hemorrhage never ends.

And today is another day. Another wet, soggy, gray, thunderous day. But our bed is made and this mama is ready to face it head on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What is wrong with people?

I am sitting in traffic in the city, well, south of the city, just leaving an appointment at the University of Chicago. All of a sudden this older gentlemen quickly approaches my window and knocks on it loudly. He delivers the following monologue, angrily screaming:

“I could not tell if you were black or white, but I came anyway. I ran out of gas and this %^&#$ joker won’t hold my license while I get some money. I work for Ford Motor Company and my name is #(*&#*&. Come with me now and buy me some gas. I can take your name and address and mail the money back to you if you want.”

First, I HATE any reference to racial prejudice, so he lost me instantly with his opening remark. Second, he was angry and yelling at me. Third, I was totally taken off guard and honestly, kind of scared. And finally, I would never consider handing over my name and address to some random angry guy in the city. I would likely help someone out who was in need if I had the cash. But this debit card queen didn’t and anyway, he really had no shot. Didn’t anyone ever teach this dude that you catch more flies with honey?

I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have cash right now and I can’t come with you – I have to get home to my kids.”

Then he f-bombed me.

All this happened while I was talking to Mike on the phone. He was like, “Who’s that? What’s going on?”

This guy must be part of the contingency of folks that honk when I’m not off the block fast enough, or who shake their heads at me when my kids fuss in line, or who ride the back of my van when I’m already over the speed limit.

Seriously, what is wrong with people?

Monday, April 27, 2009


I can't believe I almost didn't take Finn's school up on their $10 photo shoot offer. He is so not cooperative right now - I just didn't think it would be worth the talented Miss Keri's time or even my ten measly dollars. But talented Miss Keri is! This morning, I received a CD of about thirty awesome proofs, documenting her sitting with Finn last week. As our camera-shy little man (quite the handsome devil, I must say) turns three years old in just two weeks, I am beyond thrilled to have these amazing images captured. Thanks so much to Miss Keri and all the wonderful women at Finn's Mom's Day Out Program at Bethany of Fox Valley in Aurora. I am so grateful for them and the impeccable care they take of Finn. I think he's had a crush on each one of them this year - his favorite just keeps rotating!
Without further ado, here's Finn on the cusp of "three"....

Friday, April 24, 2009

whoa is me

Funny how life works. My sparkling new cleaning service has been replaced with an equally sparkling, slightly used and nowhere near as exciting Honda Odyssey. Our other van died unexpectedly yesterday, leaving me with no other choice as a car payment came on board. I think I am in a grieving process. Glad to have the safe wheels, but oh how I wanted those wonderful women in my life. I certainly hope I don't have to wait the life of the loan to see them again! Guess that's the way the cookie crumbles....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God Bless the Cleaning Service

Just a quick note about my recent financially irresponsible de-stressor: a cleaning service. Is there anything better than this? I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I have been able to enjoy my home in a totally clean state, when I didn’t just do it myself for a party. Seriously, people live with the front of their stairs vacuumed?? I have to say, it is surely a luxury in life and although we have no business doing it, we are. For me. For now. When my health-related load lightens, I may reconsider. Or maybe I’ll fight like hell for more writing gigs to justify it. (That sounds more like it.) But for now, God bless the cleaning service. I am in love with these women!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


It’s true that all good things must come to an end. This weekend, we said goodbye a symbol of a time in life that has surely passed us by. I was not surprised at how sad I was to see Mike’s Mustang go on Friday afternoon. I am sure that I have no idea how upset Mike really is about it. Right now, his little white convertible is making its way across the country to be put on a ship and will find its new home across the ocean. It will arrive somewhere in the Czech Republic of all places; a far cry from Oswego. And it’s a good thing. Mike did not need to pass it in the neighborhood on the way to soccer practice in his seatbelt-equipped vehicle of necessity.

We actually sold the car back in early February, but the purchaser was not able to arrange transportation until now. So we waited and grimaced as the weather grew warmer and more convertible-worthy. Of course we said farewell on the first perfect top-down day of 2009. So it goes.

We made sure we savored our last moments with Mike’s baby and loaded up the kids for a joyride around the hood. This was the first and last time we’d all been in it together and the kids were crazy excited. There is nothing like the rush of adrenaline and freedom felt in a convertible classic car, sans seatbelts, music blaring. We hit the road for a hell of a ride.
In those moments I looked around and saw fifteen plus years had gone by in a flash. There is more gray on the head of the man next to me, and I now call him a man instead of a guy. (His muscles are the same size though.) In the back are three people that didn’t even exist when I first rode in this gem, first was allowed to drive this beautiful vehicle or wash it - one towel for “big water”, another for the rest. (I remember once being afraid to tell Mike I had used fabric softener on the drying rags for fear it might affect the Mustang’s paint!) We brought our first Christmas tree home with the top down, furnished our first home with garage sale finds toted home in the Mustang and rode along Florida coastline not nearly enough times in this car. I am sad to see it go.

And as we left it on a car trailer in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Mike just said, “Let’s go, let’s go!” He couldn’t stand to look. But I had to. I cried as I watched it sit among Infinities and Volvos, all going across the sea and wondered what adventures might be ahead for Mike’s Mustang and what might lie ahead for us, too. What a ride it's been already.