Back to Reality

Each time we travel home, after a fun-filled weekend with family and friends, and enter the oppressive craziness of this city, I feel my relaxation slip away and my shoulders start to tense. My heart begins to feel heavy and I dread slipping back into reality. It’s not that I don’t like it here because most of the time I do; it’s not that I don’t have great friends here, because I do; it’s not that there aren’t really good things about our life here, because there are! It’s missing having my family close by and sharing in their daily lives, it’s not getting to hang out with my sister and wander around stores or watch Dr. Quinn reruns together, it’s not seeing my mom more than 4 times a year and being around her comforting presence, it’s not having my boys live close to their grandma and mugga, cousins and aunts and great grandparents and really get to know them.

I hate that these special times have to be smothered with this feeling because it leaves me floundering for a few days, trying to find my footing again.

If you’re reading this: K, I had a lot of fun staying with you. Your home is so beautiful and you’ve done such a nice job fixing it up with such homey touches. I am sorry that we practically destroyed your house and left you with chaos. I’m still not sure why it happened but I’m really really sorry. I loved watching Dr. Quinn with you and playing Monopoly hours after we should’ve left:) I can’t wait to see you again in a few weeks. I love you.

Mom, the bonfire had to have been the highlight of my weekend. I have always been sad that I could never experience that with you. You have the perfect home for a chilly autumn bonfire:) Those roasted hotdogs and s’mores couldn’t have tasted any better! The boys are still talking about it. I love you.

Mama-in-love, we had SO much fun with you at Chuck-E-Cheese’s on Saturday! We saw another one on the way home yesterday and the boys were really excited! They are still carrying around their little “suitcases”:) It was so nice to spend time with you. Thank you for creating a special memory for our boys. You have such a pure and beautiful heart. We love you so much! And we are still really sorry for worrying you yesterday:( We can’t wait to see you soon!

Grandma, I love hugging you and seeing your sweet loving smile. I love that you are still crazy enough to get up at 4 am and shop:) We have a special family, don’t we? I am so glad you came to the bonfire, too, on Saturday and I hope you’re finally warm now! I can’t wait to see you again and hear your familiar, sweet voice and see your eyes light up just because you’re with your family. I love you.

I have so much to be thankful for and that is what I will focus on as I readjust to “reality.” And I do have two little boys, one in particular, who are so excited about Christmas and for whom I can create special memories in the next few weeks. Yes, that’s what I’ll think about today..

Black Friday

I must confess to you: I am one of those crazy, insane people that pours over Thanksgiving ads on Thursday, wakes up at an ungodly hour on Friday and ventures out into the foray of crazy shoppers.

It’s an annual tradition; usually one or two of my sisters, my mom, my grandma, my aunt and my cousin all circle the parking lots like vultures looking for the best spot. We enter the stores and stake out a spot in the lines that are usually snaking around the store and we take turns looking for the amazing after Thanksgiving deals. Do I have a lot of money to shop with? No! By no means! The best part for me is spending time with my family, laughing about how crazy we are, hurrying to get some product that we can’t live without and stopping for our “mid” (early) morning breakfast at Panera. And as we are recharging with a toasted bagel and hot chocolate, we share stories of the morning, usually about people nuttier than we are, we laugh and we plan out out next attack.

Today we hit Kohl’s at 4am, Target at 5am, Panera around 6:30am, Value City Furniture at 8am, Old Navy at 8:30am and Walmart around 9am and back home for naps at 11am! Whew! A whole day’s work in 7 hours:)

Ben thinks I’m crazy and will probably never ever understand this hereditary insaneness that I have. But I’m okay with that. And as long as I’m okay with being crazy then he should be, too:)

I am looking forward to an early bedtime though…

Lights, Camera, Action, oops!

The boys have been looking forward to tonight for days. I even had to draw a little calendar for Samuel to check off the days until today (and tomorrow) because many exciting events have been happening for them. Daddy came home late last night (that was an airplane on the calendar), there is a little car under Wednesday to signify our drive to Ohio and under Tuesday’s square is a little Christmas tree.

Yes, tonight we took the plunge, entered the crazy Christmas fray and decorated our proud little 3 foot tree:) The boys were SO excited that they could not wait for Daddy to wake up from his 3 hour nap to go collect the Christmas gear from downstairs. In fact, Samuel’s tears when Daddy wasn’t “quite ready” to wake up (it was a very busy weekend for him!) showed me how much he had been looking forward to this. He thought that not only was it decoration night but it was Christmas, too. Imagine his disappointment when he realized not only do we have to celebrate Thanksgiving first, but there are still 4 more weeks til Christmas!

We were able to mullify him with sparkly ornaments, colorful lights and dinner while watching “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” It was a lovely afternoon and evening. In fact, I was all prepared to document it with our camera, to share pictures of the colorful lights reflected in the bright eyes of our blondies until….

Until I grabbed the camera only to have it fly through my fingers like butter and land smack down on our cement-like floor. Oops. There was a collective silence as I retrieved the camera and battery which had flown out. “No harm done!” I said blithely, hiding my concern. I could tell Ben wasn’t buying it but the boys had already turned away to complete hanging little snowmen and silver orbs on our little Thomas tree.

Sadly, I must announce that the camera which has taken us through a trip to the Holy Land (Israel), documented our first pregnancy and birth of our Samuel, followed us from Indiana to Illinois where it captured with glee the screaming arrival of Zakkai, snapping pictures of multiple birthday parties, family gatherings, travels to Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and has helped me capture 5 1/2 years of precious memories….has died.

It is with much sadness that I leave for Thanksgiving without my faithful companion. Sigh. At least I have my camera phone, right?

O week!

I can’t believe we’re already on “O Week!” It’s a little harder to do activities now that most of our week is filled up with preschool but we still manage to do little things. Here’s what we came up with for this past week:

O is for:

Decorating Ornaments! Spotted these 99 cent babies at one of my favorite stores (hello, JoAnn’s!) Amazingly and surprisingly, Samuel got a train ornament…or not:) He worked very carefully to color it! Zakkai went for the multi-colored look..

O is for Owls! We did an activity cutting and glueing animals that were either Daytime Animals or Nighttime animals, including owls. Z is working very hard to glue:)

Samuel coloring diligently his animals, all in red!
Owls! Their alphabet books now sport owls. Samuel, having a strange stubborn gene that did not come from me, refused to color his owl. Zakkai quickly abandoned his coloring in favor of cutting everything in site with scissors!

Their Animal craft!

O was also for: Oranges that we gobbled up for snack, Opposites (we worked hard to try and understand these), the color Orange, orangutans, books: “Owl Babies”, “Owen”, “One Duck Stuck”, “One jar of Oil”, “On our way to Sesame Street” and we say, “Marching One by One” (I totally made up that title; I have no idea what the real title is!)
I am happy that P week coincides with several Thanksgivingy (I made that one up, too:) items! We are looking forward to seeing our family this week! What are your plans?

The Measuring Cup

Allow me to tell you a very short bedtime story. One that will fill you with a warm fuzzy feeling and leave you longing to spend time with small children. A-hem!

Once upon a time, I had one of these:

Such a nice glass measuring cup it is was. So sturdy. So handy for measuring liquid. So…likeable.

And then. Then I had one of these:

He was so sweet and I loved him so much and he didn’t cause too much damage so I decided to have another one:

And this one was also pretty cute and did cause a lot of damage but I decided to keep him anyways.

And then this happened:

Take a closer look to my likeable, handy, very usable glass measuring cup:

I mean what is left of my measuring cup.

Any guesses on who “done” it?


You know, I like being girly. Aside from the terrible physical sufferings that we must endure that men haven’t an inkling of, being a girl is pretty nice. Without my femine qualities, I imagine that Ben would be living in some cold, dark, musty library apartment somewhere, probably living off of canned soup and coffee.

Instead of leading such a lonely, female-deprived life, he was crazy enough to choose the girliest of all girls to marry:) Really, being one of five sisters, I hadn’t a chance of becoming a tomboy! So instead of books (well, aside from our bedroom/study) our home is infused with colors and flowers and cinnamon scented pinecones. I can’t help myself! I am drawn to the beauty of fabrics and little touches to make our home warm, welcoming and…femine! Hey, what’s a girl to do when she’s surrounded by boys?!

I am in the process of sewing up some of last weekend’s fabric finds. Check it out!

A close up of the front and back!

I was pretty excited when I found the paisley print to tie in my couch colors! The colors are a little more vibrant in person. I really like them. I have 2 1/2 done and 3 1/2 more to go! Samuel came out the next morning after I put the first two pillows out and said, “Mommy, those pillows are beautiful! I really like them.” Words to warm my heart!

I’m off to sew more pillowcases since I am hubby-less this weekend. And possibly eat some chocolate cake, too. Yes, quite possibly:)

The Box Car Children!

One of my very FAVORITE series of books growing up was…The Boxcar Children. I could wait to see what kind of mystery Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny were going to solve next. There was something so fascinating and compelling about living in a boxcar and cooking wild apple pies with hunks of cheese as a side. Wait, you don’t remember that? Grandfather Alden? Benny’s cracked pink cup? Watch the dog?

Maybe I should keep my memories to myself…..ahem.

Moving on. The boys were so enthralled with the big box I brought home a few weeks ago, playing with it until it was in tatters, that I made a stop at Cosco yesterday just to get boxes for them. Of course I came home with milk, eggs, fruit and animal crackers, too, but that’s beside the point!

The point is: 2 children, 2 boxes, 2 hours of peace and stress-free entertainment.

The boxes lined up and ready to go. Boys? Boys, where are you?

Oh, there you are! “Mommy, can we sleep in here tonight?”

“Yeah, mommy! Can we sleep in here tonight?” Um….right. And what will happen when you tell your teachers at school that you slept in a box last night?

Two little boys driving two little boxes and using two big imaginations. A world of endless possibilities!!