Monday, November 12, 2012

Milestone Birthdays

Wow this weekend was crazy! November is a crazy month for us here we have three of our four kids with birthdays in November. They line up very nicely for my horrible memory the oldest first and so on. Since the boys are first and only 7 days apart we celebrated both their birthdays this weekend.

I've always wanted to be the kind of parent that could give a car for a kid's 16th birthday or a new computer for their 18th you know the type of person who has a money tree in the back yard. Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, that's not me LOL.

I invited the boys to come home from college for a birthday celebration but made it clear to them since neither has found a job yet in this economy and we are paying all their bills that their birthday presents would be gas & grocery money to survive another week.

My baby boy turned 21 last week so the first conversation we had after hugs for everyone and time to settle the dogs down was about how he celebrated. He was so cute, I knew he didn't have money to go to the bar or anything because I give them the money they need and there is only enough to survive, I figure if they want to have fun they need jobs ;-)

He said his friends all pitched in so he could join them at a bowling fundraiser for their school and it was on the evening of his birthday. Being a guy he didn't say anything like us women do about it being his birthday, thankfully a young lady he knows told him Happy Birthday at the bowling alley and then a friend bought him his first beer. I've always said beer is nasty, I don't like it at all never have, sorry if that offends any beer lovers out there. My son said it wasn't near as bad as I make it sound LOL.

What makes me feel good though was that we had a great conversation about him turning 21 and how so many people thought he should have been obsessed with the idea of getting drunk. He wasn't, isn't and I'd like to think that our open honest conversations about drinking and the effects of having drunk to much alcohol are part of the reason why. I'm not a prude, but I have always wanted to share my thoughts honestly with him and shared that if he wanted to drink more than a drink he should do it somewhere that he could stay the night such as a friends house or at his own home, he agrees with that concept.

My younger son turned 19 not such a landmark event as 21 but equally as celebratory in my mind so we had a great dinner with cake and ice cream for desert. The entire family laughed and chatted at the dinner table The boys stayed until late in the evening (when their laundry was finally done lol) and went back to their home in Saginaw.

All this is making me a little nostalgic, remembering his first birthday but I guess that is what happens when you have a child turn 21 that "one" just brings those things to mind. My boys are growing up and I feel privileged that I am not just mom but also a friend and confidant to them. They are great MEN, I'll try hard not to call them boys any more. Whoa, I never thought I'd have three MEN that I love so completely in my life.

My 19 year old comfy in his trailer he shares with his brother in Saginaw. :-) They are still waiting for an oven but at least they got a fridge. It is a nice trailer and as Jake the 21 yr old says much better than living in the dorms with strangers that don't clean up after themselves. Since the younger sibling doesn't cook he cleans up from the meal and they share household chores.

   The oldest 21 with his baby sister and her friend at camp this summer - couldn't find anything more recent, he seems to disappear when the camera is out lately.

Have you recently celebrated a "milestone" birthday with your children? Are you feeling as nostalgic as I am or am I just a sentimental momma? Please comment & let me know. I enjoy reading them.                                                            

Monday, October 15, 2012

Strange Sitters to New Friends

Over the years I've held several different full or part-time jobs. It was difficult to keep a job when the boys were young because Jim's working construction meant he worked long hours till the job was done and then had time off in between jobs. Sitters want the kids there on a regular schedule which made it nearly impossible to keep a regular sitter for long. I had heard of a lady who babysat through a friend and she was great for a while but then I realized from talking to the boys that she was trying to get the boys to call her and her husband mom and dad.  So, I  put an add in the paper and met with a couple of people.

The lady that I decided to hire was great and we became good friends chatting before I left for work and after I got home. We even had her and her boyfriend over a few times for dinner and a game of cards. I felt much better knowing that she was at my home with my boys when I left for work. I learned that she was married but the marriage wasn't working out she had left him and her two teenage children before I met her.

It wasn't long before Jim's job was done and he was home for a few weeks. During this time she decided to go back to her family which left me without a sitter once again. She was still my good friend and since I was a stay-at-home mom again she invited me to come visit her and her family which lived a couple of hours away.

My fabulous husband has a knack for knowing when I need some time off from being mom. He suggested I go for the weekend and enjoy myself. I went for the weekend and had a great time it was the start of a great friendship and I went back several more weekends. We would rent sappy movies and drink wine coolers, relax together and talk. I needed those times when I wasn't mom for a day when I could just relax.

Eventually her teenage daughter came back with me and stayed for the week during the summer. We had lots of fun together. Our closeness brought joy to both families. We remained that way for some time, till they moved away.

Why do I share this story? God has blessed me with so many people in my life sometimes they were there to provide what I needed like in this story when I needed a friend and a break. Without family to provide these things I've had to rely on friends. Other times I have had people come into my life so that I can help them. This was a time that was a little of both.

Please leave a comment have you had a strange sitter? Have you met a stranger and instantly connected knowing that you were going to be great friends? Has your life been blessed by someone or have you been used to bless another? Please share or leave me a link to your story.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lost and Found at the Fair

The summer when Jake was five and Justin was three, I was selling goods at our local fair and setting up shows for a home show company. A friend's daughter from church had agreed to take the boys around the fair while I was there so they could have some fun.

The day was going pretty well, I had sold some things off the table and given away a lot of catalogs which might lead to future sales. As the afternoon wore on I was getting a bit bored and then looked up to find Jake walking alone toward me. My first reaction was anger, that he was alone. After that flash of emotion passed, came relief that he was smart enough to know how to get back to me.

I asked him where the babysitter and Justin were and he said the bathrooms. I asked him if he walked away and he said he couldn't find them. So I ask a neighboring vendor to watch my things and allowed him to lead me in the direction where they had been. I was sure that the babysitter was going to meet me half way frantic with panic over not being able to locate him.

He lead me out away from the rides toward the barns and I noticed there was an ambulance sitting in the middle of the road between the barn and the bathrooms but the lights weren't on and there were a lot of people gathered around so I kept scanning the crowds everywhere for the babysitter and Justin.

Finally, as we get about 50 yards from the ambulance I hear my name being called on the loudspeaker, and they are asking me to report to the ambulance in front of the cow barn. My heart starts to beat a little faster and we started walking a little faster. As we approach the ambulance the I see the babysitter first and she is crying, she was very upset. I immediately thought something was wrong with her, she had gotten hurt somehow. I gave her a quick hug and ask the ambulance attendant what was going on. Then I hear Justin crying and sobbing. He was in a state sobbing the way a child does when they have been crying for a little while and they are running out of steam but are still not wanting to stop crying.

The ambulance attendant explained to me that he had been kicked by a cow. He explained that the cow would have killed him had it actually kicked him, but instead had lifted him up with the thrust of its leg and he hit his head on the cement. Since he was only 3 and the ambulance guys were strangers he wasn't having anything to do with them until I got there.

I wrapped my arms around him and held him for them to examine. They couldn't find anything wrong but were afraid that he might have a concussion and wanted me to keep an eye on him and not let him go to sleep. I agreed and our motley little crew walked away from the ambulance back toward my booth.

My poor babysitter was so upset it was all I could do to calm her down. Having babysat a lot myself as a teen I really felt her pain and could easily imagine how horrible and scary the whole ordeal was for her. I let her talk and reassured her that everything would be fine and that it was okay. At the same time I was trying to reassure myself.

I sent her and Jake off to get something to drink for all of us and settled in to calm my still shuddering and sobbing little Justin. I rocked him and kissed him and tried to keep him from going to sleep. They came back and while her and I were talking he drifted off to sleep. I nudged him to wake him up and he woke up for a second and then his eyes rolled back in his head in a weird way that I had never seen before and he went limp in my arms. I asked the babysitter as calmly as I could to go get the ambulance worker and have him come over to us.

The two or three minutes that it took for him to get to me seemed like forever. I told him what happened and he checked his pulse and said that we were going over to the hospital with him. So I climbed in to the ambulance with him and off we went. He woke up at the hospital and fought with the nurses who were trying to put an IV in his arm. I think it took three nurses to hold him down. Meanwhile I was trying to call my husband and leave a message so that he would know what was happening.

They decided to send us to the big city children's hospital for x-rays and observation, so we were packed into the ambulance again for an hour long ride. The worker who was riding in back with me said it was okay this time if we let him go to sleep because they had all the monitors hooked up. Finally, he went to sleep and a moment later I took a deep cleansing breath and started to cry.

The ambulance worker immediately started telling me that it was going to be okay. I told her I knew that he was going to be okay and that everyone was great and I appreciated her concern. I then told her that I had to cry I had been holding it all in for nearly four hours being strong for everyone else and now in this quiet moment while he was sleeping, before we got to the hospital and they woke him up for tests, I needed to get it out and cry it out so I could be strong for him again. She understood and held my hand and let me cry.

Justin was released and good as gold three days later. We had a bit of a rough time in the hospital. He had a fractured skull and there was some swelling of the brain but he got better quick and as soon as he could hold down food we were out of there.

Later everyone told me they were amazed at how calmly I reacted to everything and how reassuring I had been to everyone else. What they didn't know was that I was a wreck on the inside the entire time from the moment I heard my name over the speaker. I was running on auto pilot, it felt like someone else was being me and I was along for the ride all calm on the outside while my mind was racing a hundred miles an hour on the inside. If it wouldn't have been for the quiet time to cry in the ambulance, where I released my anxieties and prayed for his health and my calm, I wouldn't have been such a good mom.

I think back now and that song "Jesus Take the Wheel" comes to mind, I don't think I could have been that calm collected person on my own without His strength.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pink Robes & House Fires

Just kidding, this isn't our house it wasn't this bad. 

Our old farm house had the kind of heaters that were not forced air but ran along the floors attached to the walls the length of the room. In some rooms they were on all the walls in others only some. I think they had water running through them. Hopefully you get the idea anyway.

I kept my beautiful fluffy pink robe hanging in the bathroom about a foot or so above the vent, it never got hot from hanging there but one day while going to the bathroom I noticed that the bottom of my robe was turning grey. That puzzled me. I got the boys ready for school and off on the bus then went to confront my husband about the robe because I was sure he had something to do with it.

He looked at my robe, got down on his hands and knees and then looked at the vent, then he put his nose right up to the vent and sniffed. He got up and calmly said, "There is smoke coming up out of the vent."

I couldn't see or smell any smoke, I thought he was crazy. He went outside the bathroom and pulled up the carpet on the floor. Under the carpet was the removable door to the basement, just a Michigan basement but for some unknown reason the heater was down there. Then he lifted the door and flames shot up to the ceiling from down below. I shrieked and he threw the door back down, grabbed my hand and we ran outside. Stay here he said and ran off around the other side of the house. He is such a smart man, to smart sometimes. He ran to the back of the house and turned off the gas at the tank. Then he came back to me and told me what he did and that he was going to check to see if that did the trick or if we needed to call the fire department.

He went in and came back to get me. The fire died when he turned off the gas. He then called a friend's dad who worked on heaters and he said that it wasn't properly ventilated down there and we were lucky to be alive. The heater was trashed so we installed a new one up above the basement and made sure that it was properly ventilated.

I said he is to smart because I often think, that old house could have burned down if we would have just went outside and called the fire department and I would have been fine with it. Oh, but we would have missed so many adventures that I've yet to share.

I do think that we have had an angel looking out for our safety though and he was working overtime in that old house.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have you ever had a house fire? Even a small one?

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Skinny dreams

I had a very strange and memorable dream last night. Maybe it could be blamed on my recent guilt over gaining back some of the weight that I worked so hard to lose. It was my own fault though because of some very poor and self indulgent choices. Maybe I should just blame the dream on watching to much sci-fi type shows lately with all the crazy things that happen on those shows.

Anyway, my dream was that my sister sent me an outfit. So, I was not happy that my pants were a little tight and opened the box that came in the mail from my sister. I knew she was sending me some clothes that she said would be just perfect but I had no idea what they were.

Inside the box was a tube top, a spaghetti strap tank that had lace sides and a small pair of shorts. The kind of shorts that were popular in the 80's. Now, if I were 16 again this may have been an outfit I would wear. Of course when I was 16 I wore a size 5 so an outfit like that would have looked good too. It should suffice to say that with 20 some years of marriage I'm not sixteen any more. After four kids and years of loving to cook and eat what I cook my size is definitely in the double digits.

Regardless of reality, in my dream I put on the outfit mostly out of curiosity and look in the mirror to see the younger version of my body that was skinny and I looked very good in that outfit. Thanks sis. LOL

 For some unknown reason, I was working in a restaurant. Although I didn't own the restaurant it felt as though someone close to me, like a family member, did own it and I was in a high position. I wore my new outfit to the restaurant and made lots of great tips that night. But, I woke up before the work evening was over. I was sad to be me again, but it was fun feeling proud of my body and flaunting it a bit like I did back in the day.

There is no moral to the story but I did have a smaller helping at dinner tonight and added a salad. So, although I'm not willing to starve myself, I am going to work on staying healthy. I'll never see a size 5 again but maybe someday I will feel like flaunting it a little again. It could happen. LOL

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Girls Rule, Finally!

This house has been evenly divided between the males and females for a long while. Before that the males ruled but they weren't very old when things evened out. Now with both the boys moved out and settled in at college, I am pleased to say that GIRLS RULE, FINALLY! Ha ha.

Oh my, do they rule. With Jim working all the time and me home for this semester they talked us into homeschooling them. So it is girl time all the time. Sometimes I revel in it and we bake and sew together, play board games and really enjoy each other's company; after the school work is finished of course. Other times I want to hide from my teen and preteen daughters, go back to bed, pull the covers up over my head and make them and the world go away. I must admit the latter of the two doesn't happen nearly as often as the first scenario and my waist can prove it.

We have great plans for this time while the girls are in power. I realize they will be grown and gone in the blink of an eye and this time is precious.

Poor Jim doesn't stand a chance with the three of us when we have a like mind about going out for dinner or him bringing something home for us. He has always spoiled us and now I have to mediate for him sometimes to keep those little darlings from driving him to distraction with their requests. LOL

I do have to admit we spoil him back as much as he spoils us. I think the man would starve if we didn't pack his lunch for him and we make his favorites as much as possible. He hardly lifts a finger around the house anymore because he is working and we are here to do it. I spoke about the possibility of getting a job today and Jim was asking me questions. Alicia chimed in quickly "It's okay dad I can pack your lunch as good as mom." He wasn't worried about his lunch but it was cute that she was.

Well, I'm off to bed to get up tomorrow and be teacher, housekeeper, beautician, nurse, dog walker, cook, writer, sales person, wife and mom. Wow those are a lot of hats no wonder I have a sore neck LOL

Please leave a response and let me know you enjoyed this little snippet from our family.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Soft Hearted Son

My now eighteen year old son never ceases to be a source of both laughter and tears. Sometimes he is so funny I'll laugh till I cry and other times he is so sweet he brings tears to my eyes. He is definitely the most honest child I have ever met and loves, LOVES to talk. Okay now that you have a little background this story came about during the upper elementary years while we were still homeschooling and before the girls were born. So, he was 8 or 9 years old.

I love holidays all holidays big or small when I was first married I came up with some really creative ways to celebrate. Some were really sappy, especially on Valentines day. This particular year I had decided to do something special for the entire family but hoping that it would be meaningful and not just a candy holiday. So, while at the grocery store I purchased a small heart container of candy just a dollar each for the boys and a five dollar heart full of chocolates for my husband. Then I took my time, I really took my time, reading through Valentine's day cards in the store for them. Finally I picked one that seemed perfect for each and went on to purchase my supper items.

The rest of the day was spent in preparation for our special dinner when Jim came home. While the boys were doing their schoolwork I was busy with cleaning and cooking. Then when their dad got home I sent them all outside to the barn to do chores together while I put the finishing touches on supper and setting the table. They came in from chores to find a box of chocolates and a Valentine's Day card on each of their plates. They opened their cards and took turns reading them aloud and we had a fabulous beef roast for supper. Ah, but of course this story doesn't end there.

Years later I was helping him to clean his room and kind of pushing him to get rid of things since he is quite the little pack rat. I lifted his pillow and found a stash of twist ties, some papers and an envelope. We put the twist ties in a container on his night stand, and started deciding which of the papers could be thrown away and which ones needed to be saved. I opened the card and remembered but it had been several years, so I suggested we pitch the card. He immediately grabbed the card from my hand and the envelope too telling me as he gently put it away under his pillow. "Mom, we can't throw away my card. I read this card every night before I go to bed and it makes me feel good and have good dreams." In tears at how much my little Valentine's day card had meant to my wonderful soft-hearted son I agreed that the card should be kept.

Last week he graduated high school and soon him and Jake (his big brother) will be moving out together to a place of their own. I have the keys and will be helping them move so I'm thinking after we get his bed all made mom will have to slip a new card under each of their pillows telling them how proud I am of them both and how much I love them. It is a time of new adventures for all of us but we will always be a close family.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Funny Conversation

Jim was getting ready to take the girls ice skating and Alicia was getting impatient.

Alicia: Give me the keys.
Me: No way girlie.
Justin: You have been forbade! (in a deep melodramatic voice)

Alicia walks away and Dad follows behind her to leave for ice skating and we continue the conversation.

Me: Is forbade really a word? (as I grab my computer and start to look it up)
Jake: Yes, forbade is a word it is related to forbid.
Me: Wow! It really is a word and it means the past tense of forbid. I can't believe that you knew
a word that I didn't
Justin: There are all kinds of words that I say that I didn't know that I knew. I surprise my
teachers all the time with the words that come out of my mouth.
Me: You surprised me too!

As we all start laughing, including Justin.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A ROOM of her OWN

As mom's we know that the day will come when our family shrinks in size. Some of us look forward to our little birdies leaving the nest and others dread it.

Yesterday we took my oldest to his dorm at SVSU, not really a big deal to any of us in the family except my youngest who ran in the door the minute we got home and said "Mom will you go upstairs and help me bring my clothes and stuff down?"

I hadn't even gotten my coat off yet but her's was on the floor and she was racing toward the steps.

She was finally going to have a ROOM of her OWN and she wasn't going to waste a minute getting into it. So, as I made way to the stairs, I made a quick mental list of all the things I had planned to do but would need to do later in order to help her achieve her new found freedom. We spent the next two hours cleaning moving and rearranging the two rooms until she was satisfied that her keepsakes and toys were in the best places and her brothers' remnants were cleaned up and tucked away. Then my little girl who won't spend any time in any room of the house alone borrowed my computer and watched her anime shows for the next few hours while I caught up on my list of chores that was pushed aside earlier.

Hopefully our oldest will like his freedom in the dorm at college as much as his 10 years younger sibling loves finally having a ROOM of her OWN and a little privacy even though she likes to keep the door open for now.

As mom I am just glad that she actually spent time in her room (even though it was with the door open) and slept the night alone in the room (even though she had two nightlights, a small lamp and a dog) without waking up once she finally fell asleep. All of this makes me a bit nostalgic but in an appreciative, loving way. I am not the least bit sad that they are growing up, that is what they should do and I'm very happy to see both of them exploring new ground and seeking out new adventures, after all that is how we learn and grow.

Do you have a child who recently moved away to college? How about one that finally got their own room? Please leave a comment and let me know how it all went for you? Thanks.