Monday, December 30, 2013

Almost a New Year!

Almost a new year.  And a new year will bring new stories and new adventures from my hearts.  We've add a lot of fun.  I'll write more in the new year!

Here is a little bit of my little Santa man.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fourteen years ago....

Each week at church we sit roughly in the same spot.  Most everyone does.  We always sit behind a young lady.  She looks like she is in her early 20's.  I don't know her very well and can't remember her name right now.  We know she is an aide at an elementary school.  We exchange pleasantries and greetings and "have a good week" with her every week.  

When I look at her, I see myself 14 years ago.  I have been going to that church for 14 years now.  I was in my young twenties and didn't know anyone.  Eventually I became a little bit more involved in the church but I always sat by myself week after week.  After a few years I started to sit with Charlie.  First as friends.  Then as a dating couple.  Then as a married couple.  Soon we were bringing our baby to church every week.  Then we were a couple again as we enjoyed an hour of quiet with Laci and eventually Calvin in the nursery and Sunday school.
 
As much as I enjoy looking at myself 14 years ago, I am more looking forward to watching this young lady's life unfold, hopefully still at our church.  I look forward to seeing who she starts to eventually bring to church with her and I look forward to watching her family grow someday.  

Speaking of future spouses, I was watching a Bible DVD with the kids yesterday.  There was the story of Isaac and Rebekah.  I told Laci that I pray for her future spouse.  She then said "I also look forward to finding out who your son-in-law will be."  I love that instead of her looking forward to meeting her husband, she said my future son-in-law!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Unconditionally....

This morning I was upset.  I was upset with something I did last night.  I couldn't sleep last night and I kept praying "Why do I keep doing this?  How can God forgive me?  How does God always forgive?  How will my kids forgive me?  How do I forgive myself."  I got to a stop light and stopped for a minute and heard this on the radio "Unconditionally".  It was Katy Perry's new song called "Unconditionally".  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  God does love us Unconditionally.  Always has.  Always will.  Our family loves us Unconditionally.  Always has.  Always will. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A perfect Fall Sunday Dinner...

I had one of those perfect Sunday dinners yesterday.  It gets dark early now and was a beautiful fall day.  It was already almost dark when the kids and I were making dinner.  We made a simple Sunday night dinner.  Pancakes and scrambled eggs.  For extra fun, we made an apple crisp for dessert.  I even got out the apple corer / peeler machine.  Laci loves using that.  The kids had a lazy Sunday afternoon playing and watching TV.  By 5, they were ready for a break and we were all in the kitchen.  They normally don't help me but Charlie was taking a walk so I told them this was a special dinner for Daddy.  That made it extra special too.  We made hot chocolate to go with dinner - that was something my family did growing up often on Sunday nights.  

As I was taking a moment to enjoy the moment, Calvin spilled his hot chocolate all over the counter, cupboard and floor.  Moment over.  :)  

Somehow Laci had it in her head that this was a special surprise dinner for Daddy even though he knew what I was making before he left.  So when he got home, she kept him away and then led him into the kitchen with his eyes closed.  So sweet and just perfect! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Saying goodbye.

November 1 was the 20 year anniversary of my grandpa's death.  I remember so many details of that day.  Answering the phone when my aunt called (she never called).  Giving the phone to my grandma and realizing why my aunt was calling.  Driving to Iowa for the funeral (the one and only day I ever missed school for a personal reason).  I was 16 and my grandpa was the first person I was close to that died.  I remember looking at him so peaceful in the casket thinking that he would be cramped.  He would need to stretch, right? No.  He was dead.  He looked so different.  Fortunately, at that time, I journaled and wrote down every detail and feeling from that time.  I don't remember much about my grandma at that time and how she was.  It was my grief and I was missing my grandpa. 

Charlie's grandma died a few months ago.  She was 94 and had Alzheimer's.  She had been "gone" for a few years.  It was sad but it was time.  I met Charlie's grandparents a few months before our wedding in 2004.  A year after that, they moved back to Indiana.  They had lived in Arkansas the past 40 years.  Charlie's grandparents became my surrogate grandparents because I had lost mine.  They were important to me and I made sure we visited them a few times a year.  By the time they moved back here, his grandma's alheizmers had already started.  Several years ago, Charlie's grandpa pulled me aside and said "I wish you had known her when she was herself."  I wish I had too.  

At his grandma's funeral my focus wasn't on her.  It was a celebration of her life and I learned so much about her, her life, her past and who she was.  I learned so much about all my grandparents at their funerals.  These are the things I want to teach my kids about their grandparents while they are still alive.  At her funeral, my focus was on his grandpa.  They were married for 72 years.  They knew each other their entire lives.  They were never apart and were very dependent on each other.  These last few months, she needed a lot more care and they were separated for the first time ever.  He would wake up and spend his days sitting by her side.  I wasn't sure how he would do without her.  
 
Grandpa Fred gave Grandma Dorothy this in the 8th grade. 
And she kept it... for 80 years. 
 
 
We took the kids to visit Grandpa a few weeks ago.  It was a good visit.  He is doing well.  As well as he can be.  He did say that he still misses her and he often turns while watching TV to talk to her, forgetting that she not there.  The kids know Grandpa Fred and know what to expect when we visit.  I'm so glad that they have that relationship with him.  
 


  I love the map in the background.  There are pins for where all of his kids, grandkids and great grandkids live.

I have read a few articles lately talking about the importance of kids knowing where they came from and passing down those important family stories.  I don't know why but apparently kids that know their family history have more confidence.  I can believe that.  I love family stories.  I spend a lot of time talking to Laci about her grandmas, grandpas, their families and telling them those little stories - like when Grandpa got lost on his way to kindergarten or how Grandma used to have sleepovers with her friends and her favorite afterschool snack was vanilla and chocolate ice cream swirled together.  I show them pictures.  I tell them about their great aunts and great uncles.  I want them to know where they came from so that they know who they are and where they are going.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A few extra minutes...

In an ideal day, the kids would sleep until I go to work.  Charlie gets up at 5:30 and runs while I get ready for work.  When he gets home at 6:25, I leave.  He wakes the kids up at 7:00 a.m., gets them dressed and throws them in the car.  It's a pretty easy and simple process.  The kids both eat breakfast at school.  But inevitably one kid is up before I leave.  

Some days it makes it hard to leave.  Calvin is really clingy lately and cries when I go to leave.  I have told Calvin that taking a shower is not a mother/son activity!  I don't need him to shut the shower door, hand me a towel or flash the lights on and off while I am in the shower or putting on makeup.  Try that someday!  Sometimes I lie and say that I am going downstairs to get something and will be right back.  Then I run downstairs and leave.  It doesn't take him long to figure out I have left.  He will then throw a fit.  Fortunately I am gone and it is Charlie's problem.  Sometimes he will run down to the garage door crying when he sees my car is gone.  Once he ran down naked and went all over the laundry room floor!

But lately, I have been enjoying those few extra minutes I get with each kid.  Yesterday, Calvin and I snuggled on my bed before I turned the TV on and just laid there and giggled with each other.  It was so sweet.  Today Laci was awake.  We laid there in my bed together for a few minutes before I turned the TV on and left.  It was only a few minutes but it is a great way to start the day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Moms don't get sick... Do they?

Oh yes they do!  Last Sunday morning, I woke up feeling cruddy and sick as can be.  I got myself onto the couch when Calvin came in at 6 am.  By 9 am I was feeling a bit better and figured I could make it to church.  I was wrong.  Halfway through the service I was regretting having come.  But the sermon and the service was wonderful and really hit me so I knew I was supposed to have come.  By the time we got into the car, I was in pretty bad shape.  Very nauseous.  Charlie picked up lunch for him and the kids and we went home.  I immediately went to bed - or the floor.  When I don't feel well, I prefer laying on the floor then on a bed.  I am not sure why.  And that is where I spent the rest of the day - floors, beds, couches.  If I was laying down, I would feel a little bit better but 5 minutes after I would try to sit up or stand and I was ready to pass out again.  It's funny because the kids were running in and out of my room and I found myself watching Disney - whether they were with me or not!  :) But there is nothing else on Sunday afternoons.  

But Charlie was wonderful on Sunday.  I don't know how I would have gotten through the day without his help.  He fed the kids.  Laci fell off her chair at lunch and took a faceplant on the floor, chocolate milk going everywhere.  He cleaned it all up.  He even took the kids Trunk or Treating at church in the afternoon.  I was so sad that I couldn't take them but I was so glad he did.  He helped them with dinner and gave Calvin his bath.  That was quite a challenge because Calvin was having a giant tantrum at that point.  I am so thankful for his help Sunday.  By 8 pm, I was starting to feel a little bit better and was optimistic I could go to work on Monday.

Laci was so sweet too.  She spent a lot of the day laying in bed with me too.  Her face and neck still hurt from her fall.  She still has a bruise on her face.  She would come over and give me a kiss on the cheek and ask me how I felt.  I told her that I didn't feel good but I would be okay.  She said "That is how I felt when I had the lice."  Not exactly the same thing but she tried.  I told her that we made it through that and we will make it though this.  Monday afternoon when I picked her up from school, the first thing she asked was "How are you feeling Mom.  Was work okay today?"  She is growing up into the sweetest, loveliest little lady.  I'm so proud of her and my family for helping me and taking care of it when I needed it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sometimes you don't know how good you have it...

My neighbor has just gone back to work.  She has been a stay at home mom for almost 6 years.  She and her husband own a business and they are now both working there together.  I was asking her how that was going.  Being a working mom is all I know but I imagine there is a bit of transition in going back to work.  She is working three 12 hour shifts a week and her husband is staying home with the kids while she works and vice versa.  I think that doing that and having 4 full days home with the kids would be easier than having to jump into 5 days a week.  We were talking about housework and if Charlie helps or not.  I told her about our system.  As I told her about our system, I realized that it's not bad.  We clean the house on Sunday.  Charlie does the floors, toilets, trash and yardwork.  I do the kitchen, family room and laundry.  During the week, I cook dinner and he does the dishes.  Not much else cleaning wise happens.  Sunday afternoon the house looks great.  By Friday, it's a disaster pit.  This past Friday it was so bad that I couldn't even find a clean spot on the counter without crumbs to fill out a form.  But Sunday afternoon, it was clean again.  She seemed impressed - mostly that Charlie does the dishes every day.  I reminded her that this was an evolution and not a transition.  We have been doing the two working parent thing a long time.  It's all we know.  But it reminded me that we have a good system.  

When I got home, I told Charlie about the conversation.  He was pretty proud of himself because it made him look good.  I was proud of him... and us too.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Calvin and his jammies

Sunday, we got home from church and lunch at noon.  As we pulled into the driveway, Calvin yelled out "Yeah, time for jammies!" 

Calvin loves his jammies.  He would wear his jammies all day if we let him.  He loves when we are all in our jammies together.  I think he just loves being home and being in his jammies, especially all of us together.  Jammies mean staying at home to him.  Every morning, if he wakes up early and I am still home, the first thing he asks is "Mommy in jammies?"  If I want him to go back to sleep, I will try to say "Yes, I am in my jammies" even if I am fully dressed.  He has caught on to that though.  He knows that if I am in my jammies, it is a stay at home day.  If I am dressed before he gets up, I am going to work.  :(  It makes me a little sad to have to tell him that I am dressed and leaving soon.  He is goign through a stage where he doesn't want me to go to work in the morning and cries for me everyday when he wakes up. 

We also laugh because for babies, there really isn't much difference between clothes and pajamas.  Now that Calvin is a little older, his clothes are more real clothes although he still mostly just wears sweats / athletic pants and t-shirts.  They are much more comfortable and easier to pull on and off than jeans and pants. 

The other night, Laci and I were out at her first girl scouts meeting.  Calvin and Charlie had a boys night.  Charlie later told me that Calvin wanted to put his pajamas on early and he thought it was because he was tired.  I reminded him that he wasn't tired, he just loves his jammies. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Working Mom Pep Talk

Sometimes I have to give myself a Working Mom Pep Talk.  Being a Working Mom is hard.  I knew it would be and I was right.  As the kids get older, it is actually getting harder to be a Working Mom.  That was surprising.  But I am the worst kind of Working Mom there is.  I like being a Working Mom.  I would probably work even if I didn't "have to".  I don't feel guilty for being a Working Mom.  I feel guilty for not feeling guilty.  I was ready to go back to work.  I am a good Working Mom.
 
Don't get me wrong.  My kids are number 1.  They are ahead of my job.  They always come first.  But it's hard when I hear people talk about how much they don't want to be a working mom but have to be.  It's hard when I hear people talk about how hard it was to go back to work.  It was hard for me too.  But I never made a thing about it.  I just did it.  I couldn't put pictures of my kids in my cubicle for a year.  If I did, I would have stared at the pictures too much.  Even now, the pictures of my kids are on the side, away from my view.   I would still stare at them if they were right in front of me.  Sometimes I feel like I am being judged as being insensitive and an uncaring mom for being okay with working.  
 
My kids are good kids and they are not being hurt by having a Working Mom.  Sometimes I think they are better, stronger kids because of it.  But that may be an excuse to make myself feel better. 
 
So sometimes I just have to give myself the Working Mom Pep Talk.  I'm a good mom.  I'm a good Working Mom.  I love my kids as much if not more than any other mother out there.  And my kids know it.  That is what matters.  Not that I work.  Not whether I feel guilty or not about it.  That it's all about my kids... not me. 

Mother Daughter Nit Picking

I am currently in the middle of every parents worst nightmare - That dreaded four letter word - LICE!!!
 
The fear started a couple of days after Laci's birthday party.  The school nurse called and said that one of the girl's from Laci's birthday party had lice.  I am cursing my mom for giving me the cute craft kits for visors to do at Laci's party!  Really, hats fro 6 year olds.  Urg.  I talked to the nurse for awhile in the most inconvenient of times (Charlie and I were driving to the cemetery at his grandma's funeral) and the conclusion is that there was nothing I could do but wait.
 
Wait...  And check Laci's head.
Wait..  And check Laci's head.
Remember, I have no idea what lice look like or what I am looking for.  Every night as I look at Laci's head, I remind her that if I see anything, I will scream.  But I don't see anything.  Two weekends after Laci's party, I see a lot of head scratching.  But I don't see anything in her head.
Monday at lunch, the school nurse calls again.  It's the lice.  So I go to pick Laci up.  The main reason is to spend the afternoon going through her hair - a very time consuming process.  When I get to the school nurses office, it is a party in there.  There are 3 girls from Laci's class having a great time together.  The nurse shows me the lice and what to look for.  As predicated, I jumped and screamed a little.  Ugg. 
 
Laci and I head off to the store for nit picking supplies and spend the afternoon working on her hair.  We shampoo her head and wash all the pillow cases in the house along with Calvin's blankie and Dogs and her sleeping bag and blanket.  And then the real work starts.  I meticulously go through every strand of Laci's hair, picking up, killing and throwing out the lice and as many eggs as I see.  It was gross.  Laci sat on the floor watching spongebob.  I hate spongebob.  There weren't too many lice but that is relative.  I don't know how many a lot is.  I feel confident that I get all the lice but my confidence level is low when it comes to the eggs.  The directions are to wash the hair again in the shampoo 7 days later to get the eggs that have become lice.   
 
As soon as I am done, I shampoo and shower myself.  I just feel dirty.  I try to put my children's needs and fears first but I have long hair - my terror level over my own hair is pretty high.  Calvin also gets a shampoo Monday night.  I know he doesn't have the patience for nit picking so if I find lice in his hair, the clippers are coming out.  
 
We finished at about 4:00.  So we headed off to Barnes & Nobles to use the birthday coupon for a cookie. After that afternoon, we deserved a few minutes of downtime.
 
The more people I talk to, I have realized that nearly everyone has gone through this.  I am not alone.  As I was leaving work Monday, my coworker gave me a peptalk .  She had done it several times with her daughter when she was growing up.  
 
We are not done with this nightmare yet.  I picked a few more eggs from her head last night.  I think I will have her do an extra preventive shampoo tonight as well as Monday night and maybe next Friday.... But the one thing I will remember is that when it was done, Laci told me that she had a good afternoon with me and she was glad we got to be together.  I won't say that nitpicking is now my favorite mother/daughter activity but these days I will take what I can get and I will always have that special afternoon with my daughter in the middle of this nightmare.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mama's Bible - Mel McDaniel

I don't know where I have been for the last 30 years but I just discovered Mel McDaniel yesterday.  I downloaded his greatest hits and found this gem.  If you aren't a fan of country music from the 80s (which apparently I am!) The lyrics are below.  This is the message I want my children to learn from me.  This is the greatest gift I can give them.  
Mama's Bible

Verse: 1 
I use to be afraid of dying when I’d think about having to go, 
now I know I’m gonna live forever mama’s bible tells me so, 
it said that just believing is the key to it all, 
and that I’m forgiven every time I fall. 

Chorus: 
Hallelujah, hallelujah, mama’s bible tells me so. 

Verse: 2 
When it rains I know he’s crying for the love of all mankind, 
and he hurts inside just like us when he’s left behind, 
but I know he is my shepherd and he’ll never walk away, 
because he gave us Jesus for a friend on judgment day. 

Verse: 3 
All I’d loved are cared for had either changed or gone, 
I reached for mama’s bible for strength to carry on, 
like my heart it gathered dust like it’s pages I was worn, 
and as to life for both of us oh Gabriel blow your horn. 

Ending: 
And I’ll trust in mama’s bible till it’s time for me to go, 
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Daddy Daughter Date Night

Saturday night was a Daddy Daughter Date night at our local Chick Fil A.  I had heard about these events and quickly signed up Laci and Charlie.  Their date almost didn't happen when Charlie was unexpectedly given two tickets to the Purdue / Notre Dame game.  He spent the day debating between going to the game or going up there to sell the tickets.  

Chick Fil A does a great job of setting up these nights.  Part of the restaurant is blocked off for the event.  The tables are set with flowers and tableclothes.  The whole purpose is to promote fathers and daughters spending time and talking together.  So the placemat is filled with discussion prompting questions and they are giving a booklet to take home to "continue the conversation" full of more discussion questions.  The dads and daughters talked about the day the girls were born and what things they enjoy doing with their dads the most.  There was a band and a balloonists.  There was even limo rides around the parking lot.  All and all it was a very sweet dinner for the two of them and I am glad they got to spend that hour together.



Calvin and I did not have that special mother / son night.  Calvin had fallen asleep after the party and I woke him up at 6:30 so he would go to bed that night.  He is a complete disaster grump when he is woken up. I made a frozen pizza and since it was such a nice night, I thought we could enjoy it outside.  I was wrong.  I finally got him calmed down enough just to take a stroller ride around the block.  This was our attempt at a special dinner.  The look on his face pretty much sums it up.  Maybe our special Chick Fil A Mother / Son Knight in the spring will go better.  
 
 

Cake... Charlie's Weakness



Cake is definitely one of Charlie's weaknesses.  It may be his only weakness.  This weekend was Laci's 6th birthday party.  We had some leftover cake.  When I went to bed Saturday night, there were at least 4 pieces left.  When I woke up Sunday morning, there were only two pieces left.  Laci asked for a piece for breakfast - after all it was her cake.  I told her not for breakfast but she could have a piece later.  As we were walking out the door to go to church, i noticed that now there was only one piece of cake left.  In light of the promise I had made to Laci earlier, this note was totally appropriate! 
 



Monday, September 9, 2013

Our Annual Family Picture - Year 9

If you don't know our family story, Charlie and I both went to Purdue.  But not together.  I joke that he didn't wait for me.  He had graduated before I started.  But Purdue has still always been a very special place for us.  We have gone to many basketball and football games through the years.  We even got engaged there at the Engineering Fountain on Valentine's Day 2004.  

I have a large family scrapbook with one page for every year.  I love that it chronicles our family and is an easy way to watch us grow in one spot.  So every September near our anniversary, we take a family picture.  Since we often go to Purdue football games, we have started a tradition of taking our family picture at the Engineer Fountain - the place where our family started years ago.  I love having that picture to watch our family grow and change. 
 


I think I need a new Purdue shirt - I am wearing the same one almost every year.  :)
 


 

I love that they get to play in the fountain that we used to run through at Purdue.  Of course, when we were there, the metal barrier was not in the middle and we could run straight through.

As we walk around Purdue, we always tell Laci about our time there - what buildings we had classes in, what dorms we lived in, why it is special to us.  When we asked her this year why the fountain was special she said "I know, I know... it's where you got married."  She is completely unimpressed already!  :)

Blue Team. Move It Out...

One of Charlie and my favorite movies is Ocean's 11... followed by the entire Ocean's 12 and 13 franchise.  It has become of those movies for us that we quote constantly and can find a quote from it for almost any occasion.

There is a scene at the end where Brad Pitt and company are the make believe squad team.  As they leave the casino, he says "Blue Team.  Move it out."  For some reason, Charlie has latched onto that phrase.  For years, as we leave the house, he says "Blue Team. Move it out."  Laci, of course thought it was based on the clothes we were wearing and would say "Dad, you can be the blue team.  I'll be the pink team.  Mom is the green team."  

This has caught on even to Calvin.  The other day, we were getting ready to go to the Purdue football game.  It was a very trying morning and Calvin had gotten up at 5:30.  Calvin and I were ready to go by 9:45.  He picked up a princess back pack and filled it full of random things - books, a baseball glove, some cars and fruit snacks.  As he was walking around the house wearing this back pack, he was saying "blue team. blue team. blue team. time to go!"  It was pretty funny.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Harsh Realities of Life - too much for a 5 year old

Maybe I have scarred Laci.  Sometimes I don't know how much "truth" to tell her.  Sometimes I forget she is only 5 years old.  

The other night she was listening to the radio at bedtime as she always does.  I went in to check on her and she was crying and terrified.  An Amber Alert was on the radio. I didn't hear the details so I simply explained that a child was lost and they put it on the radio so that everyone would look for her and protect her.  I didn't want to scare her more but reminded her that that is why she needs to be careful when playing outside.  
After she finally fell asleep, still scared, I looked at the details of the Amber Alert.  A little girl was taken by her mother who recently lost custody.  I didn't know how much to tell Laci.  What a horrible situation.  I know that a 5 year old can't understand why a little girl can't be with her mother.  

Charlie said that the next morning, Laci talked to him about the Amber Alert.  She knew the name, age and description of the little girl.  She had heard and listened to the entire Amber Alert.  

That night I read that they found the little girl in Louisville.  Police had found her and brought her home to her dad.  At bedtime, Laci asked if the little girl had been found.  I simply said "Yes".  I didn't know what to say when she asked "Who found her" and "Who took her".  I told the truth.  I explained that the police found her and it was her mother who had taken her.  I went on to explain that we do not know why the little girl's mother had to take her and we do not know why the little girl's mother was not allowed to have her.  We do not need to know.  That mother loved her little girl but there was a reason that we do not know that she was not allowed to have her right now.  I continued and reminded her that I loved her very much and will always take care of her and keep her safe.

A few minutes later, I went in there again and she was still upset.  She told me that she is scared that when she grows up and has a child, the police will take her child away.  My heart was breaking.  I goofed and told her too much.  I explained again that she is a very good, kind and loving person and she will be a very good, kind and loving mother and no one will ever take her child away from her.  "How do you know, Mom?"  "I know because I know you.  I love you very much and I know that you will love and care for your child as much as I love and care for you.  No one will ever take your children away."

I know that the conversations and harsh realities were too much for my 5 year old.   I know she is almost 6 and an "old soul" almost 6 year old but she is still a little girl. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

After Dinner Walks

We started a new routine this summer.  Charlie's schedule has been modified slightly and we started eating at home on Saturday nights.  On the nights that all four of us eat at home, we have started taking an after dinner walk.  It has been really nice.  On Friday nights we still do Taco Bell and after dinner usually go out for ice cream or to a park to play for some family time also.

On our dinner at home nights, during dinner we talk about what we want to do.  Last summer we played tennis several times but we haven't played tennis at all this summer.  There is a small pond full of blue gill and a few big cat fish that we sometimes walk to to feed the fish.  Our favorite walk this summer has been over the bridge to the adjoining neighborhood.  They built the path and bridge about 3 summers ago and we love it.  Once you get past the neighborhood, you had hidden back behind trees and a creek.  You forget you are so close to home.  The neighborhood has a park and basketball court also.  We usually walk the mile to the other park and sometimes a little further to their pond to feed the fish.  Laci takes her bike and Calvin gets pushed in his tricycle.  We usually play at the park for about half an hour (or until Laci has to go to the bathroom) and then turn around and walk home.  On the bridge we stop and look for animals.  We have seen turtles, deer and a heron.  Calvin even saw a kangaroo once!  :)  By the time we get home, it is time for bath, bedtime shows and bed.  We are all worn out.

I am looking forward to the fall walks with the leaves changing color and the crinkle of the leaves as you walk over them.  I am not sure what we will do in the winter when we won't be able to take as many family walks.  Laci loves card games.  Maybe we can teach Calvin a few games.  I hope we can continue the tradition of family time after family dinner.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Katy Perry and Peyton Manning

It's probably safe to say that Laci may be the only child who confuses Katy Perry and Peyton Manning.  The only reason I can think of is because Perry and Peyton both start with P?  It took me a few months to realize that this is what she is doing but it finally clicked the other day.  She loves Fireworks by Katy Perry.

1.  In February, when I put make up on Laci for the first time for her dance recital, she looked in the mirror and said "I look just like Peyton Manning!"  Seemed odd at the time but now I think she meant Katy Perry.

2.  A few months ago, she mentioned Peyton Manning and I said "Do you know even know who Peyton Manning is?"  Her response "A famous singer?"  I think we have all heard his duet with Kenny Chesney (Whatever it takes) and can confirm he is not a singer.  :)  She meant Katy Perry.

3.  A few weeks ago, we went to see Smurfs 2.  As the credits were rolling, I realized that the voice of Smurfette was Katy Perry.  In the car, I told her that.  Her response:  "The football player?"  Goodness.... now she has confused it the other way.  

It is fun to have her know a little bit more about pop culture even if she gets most of it wrong.  Justin Bieber is still Justin Beaver.  :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars... A Review

I finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green last night.  It was the latest book selection for my book club.  As I started reading the book, I remembered that one of the bloggers I read is a John Green fan and had written a review awhile back about this book.  At this point, I was about 75 pages into the book and could not get into the book at all.  I was not a fan.  I reread the review.  She talked about how good the language was in the book and listed several quotes.  I did not get it at all.  I chalked it up to her being an English teacher and me being an Engineer.  I love a good well written story - the language is usually over my head and when I read, I skip most words and only read the gist.
 
So at about 100 pages, I was still moving along.  I will tell you that before I started the book, I did not know that John Green is from Indy - where I live.  My favorite parts of the book became identifying local spots - the art sculptures at the Art Museum, Castleton Mall, Meridian Hills, the street locations.  Just yesterday, i was at the corner of 86th and Ditch and looked at the Speedway and thought, Ah, that is where Gus went to buy cigarettes....  I almost took a picture!
Then the characters went to Amsterdam.  And I got into it.  It finally became the book I couldn't put down.  I recently read The Dinner and Gone Girl and the thing that those two books had in common is that as I read further into the book, the more I hated the main characters.  In the beginning, the characters were very likable and at the end I despised them.  This was the opposite.  As the book rolled along, I became to like the characters more and more.  I could have done without Peter Van Hooten but I am sure there was a reason for that bizarre storyline and character.  
When the characters were in Amsterdam, I began to see the quotes.  I became to appreciate the language.  Some of the quotes were a bit over the top and pretty silly but some were poetic.  I was crying at the end.  My scale for a good book is how much I cry at the end.  I began to question and ponder a little bit more the life and death questions that these characters face - especially when you are facing death as a teenager and knowing that you will not have a long life.  I loved the end and the whole concept of big and little infinities.  Big and Little Infinities may be what I take away from this book.
 
This was my first John Green book and I am sure it won't be my last.  Especially now that I know he is a local boy.  In the past, when I find an author I like, I read all of his stuff and then find the pattern and tire of it (Dean Koontz, Mary Higgins Clark, Toni Morrison, Chaim Potek, Nicholas Spark).  So I am ready for a new author.
My book club took August off and picked two books for the September meeting.  I now have 3 weeks to read "The Lost Girls".  I think it is a long one so I better get reading! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Good Heavens Child - The terrible threes

We are in the midst of the dreaded "terrible threes".  Ugh. That boy is full of mischief.  He is starting to test us more and misbehave more.  When I picked him up yesterday, he was in time out for throwing a toy at a friend.  We had a long talk this morning about being nice to our friends and to not get into any time outs today.  We'll see how he does today.

 
But I will give him credit.  He does do what he is told occasionally.  The other day he was getting into trouble and I was holding him still on the love seat.  Laci said he had that "evil smile".  That smile that is full of mischief.  I told him if that he got off the couch, he better go straight into his room.  I was shocked when he wiggled off the couch and did in fact go to his room with his tail between his legs.  A few minutes later, he came back into my room with his pouty face and said "I'll be good."  And he was.  

 
A few weeks ago, we were at Charlie's family reunion and he was running around like a crazy 3 year old and getting in everyone's way.  I told him to get out of the way.  Sometimes I forget he listens to me.  A few minutes later, Laci and I started looked for him.  I panicked and looked outside.  He was outside in the corner of the entryway with a crowd of people around him.  I had forgotten I had told him to get away.  But he listened and he left.  Fortunately, people were looking for who he belonged to.  It was funny because the shirt he was wearing had a fake name tag on it and people didn't think he belonged to our reunion because he was wearing the wrong name tag!  I said, he belonged.  He's a Sprunger.  I thanked people for looking out for him and was reminded that mother's everywhere are always looking out for kids, even if they don't know them.

 
At the grocery last weekend, he ran away several times.  Laci is so funny because she used my phrases.  As we were walking around the store, she kept saying "Good heavens, child" - exactly the way I say it.  I had told him we could get new bubbles because we were out.  No bubbles for Calvin.  He started to behave so by the end of the shopping trip, he got a cookie.  Unfortunately, at the check out line, he ran away again.  Fortunately, Laci was fast enough to catch him before he got to the parking lot!  I wish I could have gotten that cookie back out of him! 

 
But he is a smooth kid too.  Wednesday night, he got into trouble and kept throwing a cup of water on Laci's friend.  I scolded him.  It's hard to scold him when he is wearing a Tinkerbell sundress.  This happened twice.  I picked him up and told him that I was disappointed because he was doing what he was told not to do.  He gave me a big hug and said "Does this hug make you happy?"  That boy knows exactly how to play me! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ramona Quimby and Judy Moody

I loved Ramona Quimby books when I was a kid.  The other day we were watching Judy Moody and the not so bummer summer.  It reminded me a lot of Ramona Quimby.  I love the imagination of those characters.  I think those characters are pretty accurate.  I remember myself at 10 or even older with that same imagination.  Whatever I would be doing, I could concoct a crazy backstory to go with it. 

Yesterday, we took a walk after dinner.  Actually, we have been trying to finish most nights after a family dinner with a walk.  It's really nice.  Last night, Laci had on her gymnastics leotard, purple shorts and boots.  I loved her look.  It was a Ramona Quimby look.  I have a feeling that Laci is going to have a Ramona Quimby life and childhood.  I love Laci's imagination and her fearless-ness.  She knows who she is and is okay with that.  I'm really glad for that.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Wedding - The Reception.... Time to Party!

I just realized that I never wrote the final part of my wedding recap.  The Reception.

I was really looking forward to the reception or "The Party" as I told the kids.  I knew we would have fun.  I promised dancing.  I promised cake.  I know now that going to receptions with kids is completely different.  Priorities are different.  Timing is different.  There is a lot of waiting around at receptions.  Receptions are still about the bride and groom, not the guest.  Without kids, waiting is no big deal.  Drinking, dancing and having fun. 

About 10 years ago, Charlie and I went to a wedding with a friend of ours.  He had plans to go out after the reception.  There was a lot of waiting around.  Our friend said "They better get this show on the road.  I have places to be."  To this day, that is one of our favorite lines.  Wedding receptions are not about the guests.  The bride and groom didn't care about our friends plans for later.  There were many times during this wedding reception that I wanted to say "They better get this show on the road.  I need to get my kids home!"  But after mocking our friend for so many years, I couldn't say the same thing.  :)

The reception started fine.  There was the waiting outside the dining room with drinks and hor derves.  Of course my kids didn't want any of it.  I always bring a bowl of cereal or snacks in the kids bag so we were covered.  The reception was at a golf course so they went outside for a bit.  Laci spilled her orange juice and I was hoping that would be the only catastrophe.  I was wrong.  I was in the lobby chatting with the bride's mother when I turned and the bag knocked over a glass frame on an easel!  I was mortified.  The worse part was that I couldn't even blame the kids.  It was my fault. 

By 7:30 we were finally in the dining room.  Fortunately, at our table was just the 4 of us and some good friends of ours.  They were wise to serve the kids first - fruit, chicken fingers and fries.  During the dinner, we were good to go.  But as we all know, there is a lot of waiting at receptions.  I promised the kids dancing and cake.  It was getting close to 9 and we had had neither.  "They better get this show on the road!"  The kids were getting antsy.  We were taking trips to the bathroom and hanging out in the lobby.  There were family pictures, toasts, bouquets to be throw.  This wedding was not about us and the bride and groom needs to enjoy every minute of it.  But by 9:30 after the special dances were done, it was finally time to get down and boogie.  Laci was ready.  Calvin was about to fall over he was so tired.  We only stayed for little longer but Laci got to dance a few dances.  I made Calvin dance - I had to hold him because he was too tired to stand.  And by 10:00 we were out of there.  Pajamas were put on in the car and the kids were asleep by the time we were out of the parking lot.  All in all, it was a great reception.  We had a wonderful time.  I am very happy for the bride and groom and wish them lots of happiness.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A wedding... The vows

Sometimes it seems like the wedding ceremony is glossed over in the wedding preparations.  But the wedding ceremony is the most important part.  As our photography called it "the good stuff". 

I think going to weddings should be required of all married people.  Go to as many weddings as you can. Crash the ceremonies if you have to.  When we were first married, we would go to weddings and remember our own.  The anticipation.  Walking down the aisle... The reception afterwards. 

Yesterday was different.  We have been married for almost 9 years now.  It seemed cliché at the time when everyone would talking about "the good times and the bad times".  When you are first married, it is the good times.  You can't imagine the "bad times".  We have been married long enough to have some bumps in the road... little ones and big ones.  I couldn't have imagined at the time the journey we would go through and are still on.  But even though the most difficult times, I know that I am married to the right person and that the tough times are times that you get through - they aren't about the person you married.

A wise women once said that when she was going through some tough times with her husband she would watch her wedding video.  Not to remember the love of that moment and the vows she said to her husband but to remember the vows she said to God.  The covenant she made was not only to her husband but also to God.

As we are going through "the tough times", I needed to see a wedding.  I needed to see that hope and to renew our vows with each other.  I don't think watching our wedding video would have had the impact of the vows that being in the middle of the wedding had for me.  I loved explaining all the traditions to Laci, especially the unity candle.  I love the unity candle and how it represents her family, his family and their new family newly created.  I keep my unity candle on my kitchen sink.  I can't think of a better place to keep it than right in the most used place in my house.  It is burned way down.  My mom offered to replace it with a new one.  I said no.  That burned down unity candle was at our wedding and is a daily reminder of our wedding and our vows, just like our rings



I wasn't sure why we were invited to the wedding.  We hadn't seen her in several years.  I would like to think I had bigger impact on her than I thought when she was a teenager.  But I really think that we were invited to that wedding because God knew that I needed to be at a wedding this summer.  He knew that I needed to experience that all again. 

Charlie pointed out the best line the pastor said at the wedding yesterday.... "Make sure that today is the day you love each other least."  I think that says it all.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A wedding.... The Anticipation

We're going to a wedding this afternoon.  I am super excited.  I love weddings.  The celebration.  The love.  The hope.  The dresses.  The food.  The dancing.  The magic.  This is the first wedding we have taken the kids too.  I am really excited for them to experience that all too, if even in a child-like sense.  I hope Laci feels that magic too and sees the princess in the bride.

Whenever I go to a wedding, I start preparing days before.  I start remembering my wedding and the magic around it.  The rehearsal dinner.  The family coming into day.  Getting nails done.  Luncheons.  It's all part of the ritual and the magic.  I wake up that morning and remember the jitters I felt.  I remember getting my hair done.  Having my friends over for breakfast.  The special moment with my mom as she gave me her last minute gifts.... special gifts from my grandma and special things she had been saving for me my whole life for that day.  I remember waiting to go to the church being so nervous that my friend that was with me get giving me wedding presents to open! Nothing calms nerves like opening salt and peppers shakers.

I hope that Jillian is experiencing that magic right now.  I coached Jillian on my soccer team when she was a teenager and am really looking forward to seeing the young woman and now wife she has become.  I pray that for her today is not about a day but the start of their marriage and their life together.