Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oh Snap! Oh Boy! It's Double Digits!

This week my bouncy baby boy will turn the big

In honor of this momentous occasion, here are three good things about my sweet A - the most awesome 10-year-old ever!

2. He's got the beat! He's a percussionist,
and he's pretty darn good at it.

3. He's a good sport! He plays soccer, he watches soccer, and he's a fan of the White Sox and the Blackhawks too.

1. He's a silly kid with a sweeth tooth! He likes to act goofy, and he loves to eat dessert!

Happy Birthday bubby!
I love you!

Friday, April 20, 2012


My blog post about junk drawers Plan A went down something like this:
Sue: I've got junk yes I do, I've got junk, How 'bout you?
Brian: No, I don't have a junk drawer in this house.

OMG! Unbelievable! Outrageous! Everyone has some junk, in a drawer, in a place, somewhere in their house, most likely in the kitchen, no?

Nope, not that guy. Of course not, he doesn't even make lists! I sigh a heavy sigh, then I go with PLAN B - a call out to my facebook friends, friends of friends, high school and college alumni, and people on the street (no, not really, I'm not that crazy.) "Hey everyone, help me out here with a bit of research for my blog. Name ONE GOOD thing you have in your junk drawer. OK, GO!"

The people stepped up, thank you very much! Here is a list in random order of the many good things found in our junk drawers:

Safety pins, screwdrivers, batteries, glue dots, lip gloss, tape, pens, pencils, Velcro, paperclips, menus, flashlights, binder clips used for snack bags, Box Tops for Education, random chargers, super glue, Post-its, old pass keys, a rock and of course, just junk!

Check out this fancy screwdriver from Ronda M. of Houston, TX - thanks Ronda!

But wait, there's more! Here are some of my favorite responses:

  • Birthday candles both new and used, though I'm not sure why I kept all these small burnt candles!
  • I have the watch my Dad used to wear. It doesn't work anymore but it reminds me of him. He passed away 12 years ago.
  • A 10 dollar bill from 1937.....weird huh?
  • One of those cheap-y cork screws where the plastic that covers the screw goes into the hole into the top to form the handle. In case of emergency!
  • I've got a string of rhinestones in there from doing my daughters hair a long time ago for prom :)
  • A list of what's in my junk drawer... :) 
  • My teeth (huh, really?)

    Oh, but I don't want to leave out our junk drawer, no siree Brian! We have lots of stuff crammed in there including these three treasures:

    2. A small monkey that grows into a big monkey when you put it in water
    3. Glow-stick bracelets
    1. Chuck E. Cheese tokens

    Do you have some good junk in a drawer? Let me know, and I'll send it over to Brian's house. Happy Friday!
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    I am what I am

    Often being a mom with limited abilities to do certain things because of chronic illness gets me down.

    • Can you you go on the field trip to Starved Rock? Nope, mommy can't climb up all those steep stairs.
    • Can you come outside and build a snowman with us? No, you know it's too cold outside for mommy to play in the snow.
    • Can you kick the soccer ball around with me in the backyard? Nah, wait for daddy to get home.

    Can you do this, can you do that, can you . . . ah, the list goes on and on. It's frustrating, and it makes me sad because I really want to do all those things and more, but I simply can't.

    My life as a mom is not quite what I expected. I am not the "be all, do all mom" that I thought I would be. I am imperfect. Despite my imperfections, there are things I can do, and most of the time I can do them quite well.

    2. Cheer, motivate, and inspire: Miss O is a gymnast and plays the flute. My son A is a soccer player and a plays percussion. I can attend gymnastics meets, soccer games, and musical concerts. I can drive them to and from practice and wash leotards, warm-ups, and stinky soccer clothes. I can remind them to practice their instruments. I can clap, cheer, and let them know it's OK if they lose a game or make a mistake. I can give them smiles and high 5s, take photos and videos, and brag about them to my friends. I can be proud.

    3. Guide, encourage, and assist: Hands down, I am the go-to mom for homework and school projects especially if it involves reading, writing, or social studies. Math and science are not really my strong points, but I do try my best to help them in those areas. Do they need to come up with a creative idea? I'm all over it. Do they need help with research? Can do! Who can test them on their spelling words or edit/proofread writing assignments - me, me! Who can be sure their homework and/or school projects are completed and turned in on time - ta da, I can do that.

    1. Pray, hope, and love: Each and every day, I pray for the safety, good health, and well-being of my kids, and I have nothing but high hopes and big dreams for their future. Of course, I believe the greatest of all these things is love. Do I show them and tell them I love them very day - you bet (even if they are driving me cRaZy!) Do I give them hugs, kisses, and snuggles? Yes, I do! (when they let me - if you're a parent of tweens you know what I'm talking about here!) Am I an imperfect mom? Of course! But I am their imperfect mom who loves them with all my heart.

    *If you missed the link above, check out my guest post, "A Perfectly Imperfect Life," and other good articles and information about parenting on the site 5 Minutes for Mom.

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Sue on Superstitions. It's Friday the 13th!

    What's good about that? Well it's Friday, the day to kick off the weekend so that's all good . . . but it is Friday the 13th - ooh, very unlucky like a black cat crossing your path, or opening an umbrella in the house, and the classic, step on a crack . . . We all know what happens if you do that (if not, just Google it.)

    Friday the 13th, and the number 13 in general, conjures up old wives tales, superstitions, and sayings you heard from your grandma about bad luck. Hotels often leave out the 13th floor because of this superstition. If I may quote Stevie Wonder:

    "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way."

    On the other hand, there are many superstitions that believers think will bring good fortune your way - that's good, no? Here are three of my favorites from my childhood:

    2. All wishes on shooting stars come true.
    Star light, star bright
    First star I see tonight,
    I wish I may, I wish I might
    Have the wish I wish tonight.

    3. Lucky Pennies
    Find a penny pick it up. All day long you'll have good luck.

    1. Dropped silverware
    At our house, if we dropped silverware on the floor, my mom would say company is coming - a spoon represented a child, a fork meant a woman, and a knife was a man. I'm not sure if this superstition ever came true, and if so, it could have went either way depending on the visitor. For example, a kind friend or relative bringing over a special treat - good! The cranky neighbor who always gets mad when a ball ends up in his yard - bad!

    Good, bad, or just a bunch of hooey. What do you think? Share your superstitions with us right now on this here blog or else! HA - just kidding!
    Happy Friday!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Oh Snap! 3 Simple Silly Good Things

    Sometimes with all sorts of chaos swirling around in my life at any given moment, it's refreshing to take a closer look at the little things around me that make me smile. Like these good things:


    My sweet son A has bunches of freckles across the bridge of his nose. He inherited them from me.


    We like this breakfast-for-dinner dish called Toad in the Hole. The recipe calls for thyme and onion gravy, but we skip all that and just eat it with butter and syrup like pancakes - yum!


    No, not Angry Birds, but three happy little birds the kids and I made together while taking a break from working on school projects the other day.

    Which leads me to a bonus good thing. A song that always makes me smile:

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Easter Goodness

    Easter Greetings, peeps!

    Ah, Peeps - not my favorite Easter candy, but they sure are fun. "Peeps!" exclaimed Miss O as we spotted the brightly-colored confections in the Easter aisle while searching for chocolate eggs, jellybeans, and an egg-dyeing kit in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. We passed on the Peeps (the kids like the idea of Peeps, but they usually do not finish eating them before they get stale) "But they are sooooo cute," Miss O said. I didn't give in.

    Peeps, jellybeans, chocolate eggs, and a large white rabbit hopping about delivering baskets of goodies to children around the world, is that what Easter is all about? No, not really. It's the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and that's better than good, better than great. It's awesome!

    The story of Easter, Christ's resurrection doesn't end there, Jesus says, "And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20 [GNT]

    Brian and I agree, that's pretty darn good. Jesus is with us everyday, just not on Sundays or holidays. He's the reason for the season. Although that expression is often heard at Christmas time, I believe it applies to Easter as well. It's a time to rejoice, to celebrate, and to share in holiday traditions with family and friends.

    With that in mind, today we share with you . . .
    Ta da! Three good things about Easter:


    2. Coloring eggs: Eggs are a symbol of rebirth, therefore, decorating them at Easter celebrates the risen Lord. When I was a kid, there was just one way to color eggs - the classic Paas coloring kit. These days, there are many, many options to choose from - tie dye, marble, sparkle glitter, stencil, spinning, and more. It's fun to help the kids color the eggs. We don't create dozens, but we do make enough to keep this tradition alive, and to make an egg salad sandwich or two later in the week.

    3. Dressing up: In my view, we've become a bit too casual in this country in terms of dressing up for special occasions and holidays. It's a nice change to set aside the jeans and t-shirts for the day, and gussy it up a bit with something fancy. Miss O and her and little bro A have some new outfits for Easter. I enjoy seeing the little children at church in their festive clothes - the girls with pretty spring dresses and cute straw bonnets, and the boys with their shirttails hanging out of their pants and clip-on ties. So adorable.

    1. Eating homemade sweet bread: A holiday post would not be complete without talking about food, but I'm not really a fan of most traditional Easter foods unless we're talking about chocolate bunnies! I do enjoy my mom's homemade raisin bread called Hoska. It s a sweet loaf of yummy goodness, usually light and airy in the inside and crusty on the outside. It's especially tasty topped with real butter.


    I completely agree with Sue on the first two of hers. I'm not privy to her mom's Hoska, and I'm a little jealous. It did help me, however, find a good starting point and that's bread.

    2) Bread I love bread of all kinds, but at Passover-Easter there are so many good ones to choose from. The unleavened bread is a favorite for it's meaning. Challah after Easter is another traditional bread I try to enjoy. And then, if you have a Great Harvest Bread near you, get yourself a Honey Bunny.

    3) Sunrise I get very sentimental at the two highest of holy days in the calendar. Christmas has the late-night Christmas Eve candle-light service, and Easter has the Sunrise service. There's nothing quite like those late nights and early mornings at any other time of the year. In the winter, it's so dark, and the air is bitterly cold, and the stars seem far away. On Easter morning though, the smell of flowers, coffee, and for me, I'm fortunate enough to live near the woods where sunrise is sneaky and the earth smells like it is exploding with new life. Some people like the beach or other places to watch a sunrise, but I like the first rays of the sun filtered through the trees. It can be as other-worldly as God himself.

    1) Love I know, I know - that's the one in February, but this day is much more about love than any other day of the year. If you follow a tradition of Lent, you're preparing 40 days for this day. If you don't, the week leading up to Easter, or Holy Week, can be plenty of lead-up. Christ's entrance into Jerusalem last Sunday kicks it off. He cleanses the temple by kicking out the super-religious ones who were trying to turn a profit on the sacrifices people made to be there, and on the sacrifices they came to make there. He gathers his closest friends around him and teaches them to incorporate their love for God into their whole lives including eating and drinking. Jesus prays, sweats, weeps and then out of the greatest love ever known, shows us how deep his love is by willingly submitting to the most painful and shameful death ever conceived. He proved that love by his once and for all-time sacrifice to cover everything we've ever done wrong or ever will do wrong and restored the relationship between us and God that was lost in Eden. Then Jesus demonstrated that he is God by coming back from the dead, and is still alive right now. He could have left us the way we were, but that's not what love does. He loves us too much to let us continue with the curse on our heads from the beginning of time.

    And again, the story of Easter, Christ's resurrection doesn't end there, Jesus says, "And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20 [GNT]

    PS - This year, I'm wearing a pink dress shirt, tucked in, no clip-on tie.