One to remember

Every year I hope to get one perfect picture of my kids together during the holidays. It’s the one time of the year that I can almost guarantee that they’ll all be dressed up and some what coordinating…. Yes, I know I can try other times of the year but I have teens so that should be enough explanation, ok?

Anyway, this past weekend we had our first holiday gathering and I brought my camera along and snapped pictures here and there and when the kids were standing near each other I took that opportunity to take a couple of them together.

the girls.... posing

Is this the one to remember? Nope. It was missing their brother who is in a constant state of motion unless he is asleep.

The kids

Oh look!! Two of them are smiling nicely! Andrew obviously didn’t want his picture taken and I think Natalie was talking to someone near me. So, this one isn’t the one to remember.

After the last picture I gave up. One day I will but until then I have all these cute and silly pictures of my kids that remind me of exactly who they are. They sweet, smart, fun loving, honest, and most all … they’re mine. I love them all more than they’ll ever know. So while I may never get that one perfect picture the ones I have are all ones to remember.

MemoriesCaptured1

I am linking up with Allison and Galit for some great fun and fond memories that we’ve all captured. It took me all week to get to it but I finally did it!

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I’m not ready

Recently my dad was in the hospital for an aneurysm behind his knee. Nothing all that difficult to take care of and from what we were told pretty low risk. He even was able to go home early because he was doing so well.

Almost a month after his surgery he started to have pain in his leg and was having a hard time walking. Being the strong, stubborn man that he is he let it go until he couldn’t take it anymore. My mom took him to the hospital where they found out that he had a blood clot and possible infection in his leg. Now the simple procedure turned into something much more serious. Possibly even life threatening.

Worry, fear, and concern all started to seep into every inch of my being. I wasn’t ready for this.

My dad is very important to me and he may not know it either. I look up to him and don’t know what I would ever do without him. When I’m with him I can be a kid again… I can relax and know that he’ll be there to help me, protect me, and love me unconditionally.

Call after call from my mom brought more fear and anxiety to me and it didn’t help that she was beyond stressed out and wasn’t asking all the right questions. Her worry and concern were not helping anyone in the situation.

I am not ready to lose my dad. I can not imagine it…. I don’t want to. I want to live in complete denial that he will ever get old, get sick, or even die. I don’t know what I would do without him in my life.

He was moved to another hospital, the one where the original surgery was done and the one where the vascular surgeons worked out of. There he would get the proper care and answers that we all wanted. A decision came that they were going to do surgery again to make sure what they thought may or may  not have been infection wasn’t causing trouble with the vein transplant.

In less than an hour we had our answer… it was a small infection and they cleaned it all up. But more waiting to hear back from the infection disease doctor about whether he would need to have a shot daily for infection.

Doctors are busy, I understand that. What I don’t like is waiting. Waiting when it’s my family that is worrying over what may or may not be. Worrying that there may be something wrong and that it could get worse while we sit there. So many times I wanted to scream at them! Move like you care a little more… move like you should for the amount of money you’re making. Something.

Again an answer came and my dad was to have daily shots of an antibiotic to help with the infection. This is something that my mom has to do everyday and it takes almost half an hour to do because it goes into a something that is similar to an IV and it has to be flushed first, then the antibiotic goes in slowly, and then flushed again.

I’m not ready for my dad to get old. I’m not ready for him to be sick.

He’s been out of the hospital for a couple of weeks now and is doing really well. It doesn’t stop my worry though… worry that this is just the beginning.

I’m not ready for this stage of my life.

#iPPP ~ Just Dance

Over the weekend the kids wanted to rent Just Dance 3 for the Wii because I’m a mean mom and haven’t bought it for them yet (or any other Just Dance game… maybe for the holidays). Our big plans for the night were to hang out together and play video games.

This was the first time that I can remember both of my older girls setting the phones down, walking away from the computers, and really spending some quality time together. I really enjoyed it and I think that they did too!

Now, to protect myself from the laughter that would be heard around the world I won’t post any pictures of myself playing the game. It’s to scary and I deleted them and the video that my lovely children took of me. Honestly…. I can’t afford the therapy you’d all need either.

Just Dance 3 Party

All the kids joined in!

Andrew thought that it was a lot of fun to stand in front of where his sisters were playing and dance! He spent a lot of the evening dancing away.

Just Dance 3 Party

See the pic on the right... that's what happens when I don't pay attention.

Except for the time while I was playing and he decided to climb on the table. I guess it’s easier to play with trains that way.

So here’s the thing…. Just Dance is a serious work out and if you have no rhythm it’s even harder! It just looks like you’re flaying about! But it was a lot of fun and I think that if I were to keep playing I might actually lose weight and look good doing it! Then maybe… just maybe there’d be a picture of me playing the game (don’t hold your breath though).

I think we need to make it a regular family event… maybe even make it into a contest or something fun.

Have you played any of the Just Dance games yet? What do you think of them?
I’m linking up with Liz & KLZ for iPhone Photo Phun because well…. my iPhone is awesome and I take about a million pics a week on it! May as well share them!

iPhone Photo Phun

Yesterday

This week I want you to take me to your version of 8:00 -AM or PM, fiction or creative nonfiction- in 200 words or less.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
It was 8am and I hadn’t heard anything yet. Maybe she had slept in from the exhaustion of the emotional roller coaster that she was on yesterday. I called the house phone and there was no answer, so I tried my step moms cell and finally an answer. They were still at the hospital waiting is what she told me.

I tried to remain calm and understanding about the situation but with emotions running high it was difficult . How could they forget? Were they busy with an emergency, was it the change of shifts, or were they just plain forgetful? You simply don’t forget to write something on a chart. Regardless, no answer from the hospital would suffice.

I willed the tears to not fall again. Deep breath in and out slowly until I felt better.

After several days of worry yesterday was to be the day we’d get better answers. Healing would begin. But it is held off another day.

Today I will visit my dad in a different hospital and today there will be answers.

Yesterday is over and tomorrow will be a better day.

Readers Night

 

Once a month one of the local schools hosts a program called Readers from Birth which focuses on introducing books and reading to kids.

I had heard about the program before but thought that maybe Andrew was to young to go even though it is for kids from birth. This week I gave in and took him along with my grandmother in law, cousin in law and her 2 year old daughter.

I have to say that I was a little concerned because Andrew doesn’t sit still for anything…. ever. And on top of that when we’ve taken him to the mall and let him run around the play area with other kids he’s had the tendency to get a little.. rough. Like full on shoving and that is usually our cue to leave before I become one of those moms. I didn’t want to go to an event and have him run around like a crazy kid or start pushing people around.

We went and it was pretty neat that they had everything all set up for a craft…. I think it was more for the parents since my cousin and I ended up doing most everything aside from a little of the coloring from the kids. Although, Andrew did like helping with the glue stick.

Readers NightI love how the event is run by pre-school teachers who were great with the kids and seemed to really enjoy what they were doing even after spending the entire day with little kids.

The teachers believe in reading and starting from a young age is important so once a month they put on this program and share reading with all the kids.

They simply didn’t read the books to the kids. They made it fun and interactive with felt boards, songs, dancing, and puppets. The music and dancing with the puppets was one of Andrew’s favorite parts of the night as you can tell by the blurry picture.

Dancing at Readers NightSomething that came as a surprise to me was that he actually sat down for a couple minutes and almost paid attention to the story! I think that it was more because all the other kids sat down and listened first, but as I suspected it didn’t take long for him to give up on that sitting still thing and get up to run around.

Once all the stories & songs were done they passed out juice and cookies for all the kids. My kid… the odd one… wouldn’t eat the cookie covered in frosting and sprinkles. A Lofthouse cookie to be exact! It’s okay… I didn’t let it go to waste.

Readers Night - snack and a new bookWhat a better way to spend the evening than playing with kids your own age (one of them being your cousin), drinking juice, and reading the new book that they gave everyone!

I think that he had fun and it’s a great way to introduce kids to books and reading. Next month we’ll be going again!

Do you take your little ones to reading night or a similar event?

There’s no place like….

I heard something the other day…. there’s no place like… and of course it got me thinking. There’s no place like what? A lot of places came to mind.

Of course the random thoughts came into mind like the Wizard of Oz but the I was back on track after a moment.

So there’s no place like what? What comes to mind first?

Home. Of course there’s no place like home.

Walking into your home after a long day at work or after being away on vacation is comforting. It’s the sight of the pictures of your friends and family welcoming you, the messes you left, or the perfect organization you have. It’s the smell that is unique to your home, again welcoming you in. Your home is special and always a place you can relax, laugh, and play with your family.

pumpking carving

Carving pumpkins at home

There’s no place like…. the beach.

The sun shining down on the sand warming it so when you walk on it your feet are enveloped in the heat or the water glistening with each ray of light that hits it. The beach is a wonderful place to sit back, relax with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. It’s also a great place to spend the day splashing in the surf with the kids, building sand castles, and eating a picnic lunch. The beach can be almost anything you want it to be and what’s even better is that they’re all over… whether it’s the beach at a local lake or the white sandy beaches on a tropical island there really is not place like it.

Kids on the beach

My kids on the beach in Mackinaw City

There’s no place like…. cuddling with a baby.

Cuddles from a baby are amazing. They make you feel safe & warm even though you’re the adult holding the baby. Holding a baby brings a smile to your face and can brighten anyone’s day no matter how bad it’s been. Holding a baby is love… pure and simple and there’s nothing like the joy you feel when holding your baby for the first time.

Newborn

Holding my newborn

There’s nothing like… sleeping in a big bed alone.

I love this! I love being able to make the bed perfectly and then climb in and position myself right in the middle. The comfort of the cool sheets below me and the weight of all the blankets and comforters above me. There’s nothing like being able to spread out in bed… diagonal, across the middle, or however you want. Now this is not to say that sleeping with my husband is a bad thing but every once in a while when he’s gone I look forward to that time where I can hog the entire bed, pillows, and blankets!

There’s no place like….what? Well, it’s your turn so tell me!

 

Mom Fail?

Lately conversations with my oldest have been strained…. tense… or whatever you want to call it. But today I feel like today was a total mom fail (again).

Cait

My beautiful Cait

My oldest, Caitlin, is an incredibly smart, talented, and beautiful child. And I’m not just saying this because I am her mom… it’s proven by the grades she gets (her current GPA is a 4.50), the awards she has gotten for band & choir competitions, and through conversations with teachers. She’s well behaved, doesn’t get into trouble at home or at school and does what she’s supposed to. Almost sounds like the perfect child, right?

This is what’s bothering me. She is very focused, very driven, and wants to excel academically. That’s good. But it seems to come at the expense of everything else. And by everything I mean that she doesn’t go out with her friends ever, she doesn’t go to school events (like the homecoming dance), she doesn’t take part in all the fun things that make high school a little more enjoyable and make it more than just education.

I feel that one day she is going to look back at her time in high school and regret not having enjoyed the time she had. The time when responsibility was next to nothing, the time when you can just have fun with friends.

Then I learned something. Something that shouldn’t really shock me since it happened when I was in school. Drinking… lots and lots of underage drinking.

She told me that all kids do is go out and party and drink. They’ve come to band camp practices still drunk or hung over this summer. Really? Is this all there is to do around here? What the hell!

I’ve been trying to push her to do things with her friends but she pushes back and doesn’t do anything with them. I get the normal excuses… there’s nothing to do, what are we supposed to do, and so on.

I thought about it for a minute and there isn’t a lot to do around here where I live for teens but you can still make your own fun. Go to the movies, rent a movie, hang out at each others houses, or go to the park and play (Yes, teens can play at the park too!). All of these ideas were scoffed at.

She’ll go to the movies with her boyfriend or watch movies at his house or ours. But other than that she is at home with us.

She’s to grown up. Having fun & being silly doesn’t seem to be part of who she is anymore.

This is where the mom fail part comes in. Is this my fault? Did I push to hard for her to do well in school when she was younger? Did I not give her enough opportunity to have fun, play, and do things with friends?

The answer is I simply don’t know.

What I do know is that I feel bad for pushing her to do things with friends. I want her to know that I love her and want the best for her but also that she needs to have fun, enjoy life, enjoy school, enjoy friends, and everything that goes along with that. I want her to do well in school and life after school. But most of all I don’t want her to look back with any sort of regret. I don’t want her to miss out on anything.

Do I let it go or do I try to get her to do things with her friends? I don’t know anymore.

How to unplug from social media…. or why I didn’t post Monday.

Every so often it’s nice to unplug from social media, blogging, and the internet in general. Then there are the times that we are forced to disconnect whether we want to or not and this is exactly what happened to me this past weekend.

Every so often throughout the summer we head up to the thumb region of Michigan where my parents spend their summer and we camp for the weekend with them. I love spending time up there with them relaxing and watching them interact with my kids (it’s amazing what they let them get away with). It really is a relaxing place to go since there isn’t a lot to do there and the closest city is about 45 minutes away.

I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with unplugging from social media and the internet. Well, this area of Michigan does not have 3G service and the service that I do get on my iPhone is so bad that I can barely use Tweetdeck, email, Instagram, or anything that requires data connection. Let me put it this way…. I posted 2 pictures on Instagram this weekend and one of them took me 2 days to successfully post! 2 days people! Checking my email was a challenge and half the time it wouldn’t pull in the new messages.

So because of the horrible service up there I didn’t post on Monday. I actually pondered it and was thinking that I could do it through my phone. But then as the weekend progressed and I fought to post a picture on Instagram I quickly lost faith that I’d be able to write a post with pictures and have it actually work for me.

What I did instead was use my phone as a camera for the rest of the weekend and was able to capture a few moments that are those that fond memories are made of.

Storm coming in off of Saginaw Bay

There was a storm coming in off of Saginaw Bay & Lake Huron that you could hear for at least an hour before the rain actually reached us. As a matter of fact Andrew and I were heading down to the channel to check it out and my step mom told me to not get caught by the rain and to hurry. So as you can guess we got caught in the rain the moment we got down there.

Playing with grandma

In between down pours Andrew and grandma played in the puddles.

Making cookies with grandma

And when the rain got really bad we went inside and the kids made chocolate chip cookies with grandma. This was the first time that Andrew got to help bake and he loved rolling the cookies into the ball shape with help from his sister.

riding his broom

Andrew has this new fascination with brooms and loves to play with them. So he quickly set aside his toys and grabbed the broom that my parents keep outside to sweep off the deck with and claimed it for his own. It became his new ride around the campground after he swept the road.

Meeting Ronald McDonald

Then we met a new friend, Ronald McDonald, and an old dear one, free wifi. I don’t know who enjoyed breakfast more… Andrew or I! I was over the top with joy with the fact that I could quickly check Instagram (I think I have a slight addiction)!

So if you’re in need of unplugging and really getting away for a while then find a place where there is crappy cell phone signal and no internet access. It’ll be hard that first day or so as you beg your phone to just let you upload one picture or send one tweet but eventually you’ll come to terms with it and sit back and enjoy the simple things.

How do you unplug? Do you ever do it?

I’m also linking up with Taming Insanity for iPhone Photo Phun since I took all these pics with my awesome iPhone!

Taming Insanity

Our Weekend Getaway

This past weekend we went up to Crystal Mountain with the entire family… 13 of us total went. I have to tell you that this is one of the best places to go in Michigan! There is so much for the entire family to do that there is no possible way to be bored!

Instead of me rambling on and on about the trip I’ll share with you some of the pictures from the weekend.

Lauren on the water slide

 

Cait on the slide   Natalie on the slide

 

Andrew smiling   Mtn view

 

family   Beach

 

shoreline   dunes

 

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pictures in the Park

I wasn’t feeling up to writing the post that I had planned on so instead I thought I’d share some of the pictures from our little photo shoot at the park.

These are some of the more fun ones that I took of the kids.

Andrew in the tree natalie in the tree

Andrew & Natalie liked climbing into the tree…. although he had a bit more help than she did!

nat - scrunchy face

I shall call this one Lemon Face.

super mario girls

And this…. is the girls rendition of Super Mario Brothers.

The Kids

They were trying to get Andrew to smile and sit still!