The week in review

Well, it has been one interesting week that’s for sure! It started off with a really crappy Monday… I mean this was worse than any other Monday ever. But the week did get better as it progressed and Thursday was my Friday!

Yes, 3 day weekend people. Of course it will be busy because my sister in law is getting married on Saturday and there is all sorts of stuff that needs to get done to pull it off. I should mention that all 3 of my girls are in it, my husband is in it, and that leaves me & the toddler. Oh.. pants are okay to wear to a wedding, right? I sure hope so because of all the weight on lost on the awesome Cinch program none of my dresses fit and of course I waited till the last minute to try them on, but it is easier to chase a toddler in pants!

Just in case you missed some of my amazing…. not so amazing… and tear inducing posts this week I’ll give you a bit of a recap!

Monday I brought back the Monday Menu! I actually have recipes sitting in draft form waiting to be finished and posted so it should be around for a couple more weeks.

Tuesday I shared a post that was for Wordful Wednesday and I had to share a bit about our weekend trip to the Lego KidsFest. Seriously, check to see if it’s coming to your town and go!

Wednesday was a short post because I was sharing my letter with everyone at Letters for Lucas.

Thursday I had two posts because I forgot about a book review that was due… oops. One was a fun Halloween craft and the other was a racy book review.

That’s my week in review. Nothing spectacular really.

I hope you all had a great week and I’ll see you Monday!

To Young….

Today (Tuesday) I learned that another young life has been lost… A boy who was in 10th grade at my daughter’s school took his own life. Why? According to my daughter it was probably because of bullying. What really got me was that she said everyone is bullied at some point!! My first thought was what the hell!?!? Why? Why do school not do more? Why are kids so damn mean to each other? Don’t parents teach anything anymore?

I’m at a total loss.

Since my daughter has been in high school there has been a death each year. Freshman year another kid took his life because of bullying, last year a boy just never woke up, and then the one on Monday. Three young lives cut short. Three sons lost. Three families left grieving.

My daughter is upset. She knew this boy… she walked by him every day at school and talked once in a while to him. Today she told me that he reminded her of her little cousin because he had these big brown eyes and really long, dark lashes. She too is lost.

Of course the school has counselors and what not to help the kids deal with this situation as they do all the time. But what about the kids who are getting bullied? Who is there to help them? What about the kids who are bullying others? Who is there to tell them to knock it off or help them?

There are so many thoughts running through my head. Why didn’t he say something? Maybe he did and nothing was done or not done in a timely manner. Are the kids who are bullying just teasing and goofing around like kids tend to do and those on the receiving end just more sensitive then others? Why didn’t someone stand up for him? Maybe they did… maybe it didn’t make a difference. I have no answers for the hundreds of questions I that are swimming around inside my head.

The only think that I do know for sure is that he was to young. He was to young to die… I’m sure that he was a bright kid and and a great future ahead of him. I know that he has left behind a grieving family and friends. All of who have more questions then I do… and so many of them start with why.

I now worry that my kids are being bullied. I worry that they’re bullying other kids.

So how do we stop this? Can we stop it?

We won’t know until we try.

Talk to your kids. Get them to speak up when they see someone bullying another person. Tell them it’s okay to do it too, because sometimes there is fear of retribution or being called a tattle tale. They may be saving a life… the life of a friend.

Keep an eye on your kids for the signs of them being bullied. Yes, there are signs. Be involved with your children and with the school(s) that they attend.

I think that we need to teach our kids to be more open minded and accepting of other kids who may seem different from them. We need to teach them to befriend everyone and to set an example for other kids in their social circles. We need to teach them tolerance. We need to teach them kindness and love. We need to teach them fairness and that it’s okay to be different without fear of being bullied.

As parents we need to be there because ultimately we are the ones who set an example for our kids and teach them.

Have you had to deal with bullying yet regardless if your child was the bully or the one being bullied?

Today I’m linking up with Shell for PYHO because I had to share this. Sorry for the rambling, grammer, and spelling issues… I just wrote today.

A homecoming

This week there was a homecoming in my town. The first ever of it’s sort.

One where almost everyone turned out. One where the middle school kids all walked down to the main street downtown and lined the streets with flags in hand.

It was the kind of homecoming that I hope that I never have to experience again.

Freedom Riders

We welcomed home a fallen soldier.

He was so young… barely 20 years old and had just graduated from high school a mere two years ago.

High school football star, son, friend, and soldier.

He was honored by an entire community in so many ways this past week.

hearse

He was brought into town by the Freedom Riders, military, police, and family.

I didn’t know him and as a matter of fact I had never heard of him until I saw the story on the news. He was on his first overseas tour and was killed in Afganistan when a bomb thrown over a base wall by insurgents exploded.

Another young life lost… lost to a war that seems to have gone on forever. A war some call senseless. A war that others support.

police

I went to watch the procession out of respect and to honor someone who was doing something that they loved. Something that afforded me the freedoms that I have today.

Watching this was one of the most difficult things that I have ever experienced in my life. It was heart wrenching to think of his parents,  his family, friends, and teachers who all loved him.

It was hard because my sister is an active member of the military and so is my brother in law (her husband) and my own brother is a retired Marine. I can’t imagine this happening to my family… then again who does? We all know that it’s a possibility but never fully accept it.

 

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At then end people gathered to watch the military carry his casket into the funeral home with his family by his side. This is not the homecoming that they had ever dreamt of. This is not how his story should have ended.

soldiers

I stood off to the side as the local MP unit left and tried as best as I could to hold my composure. They were all young… I wanted to reach out and thank them for all that they have done, but the words simply would not come out. I know that it had to be difficult for them too. But a soldier must remain stoic and hold their emotions in.

I called my sister as soon as I was back in my car. I went over the entire event with her… amazed at how silent the town had become as soon as people saw the first flash of light from the police cruiser. I was impressed with how well behaved and quiet almost 1000 middle school students were as the procession came into town.

Old and young… military and civilian… all stood outside together in the fall heat waiting for the return of a fallen soldier. All stood silent with flags and hands over there hearts as tears fell from their eyes.

I told her that I could never do it. I’m simply not cut out to be in the military and didn’t know how she and her husband did it. She explained that it takes a certain kind of person and they do what they have to do. I know that it hasn’t been easy for her and that while she was overseas in Iraq if was difficult. She doesn’t talk about her time in Iraq very much… it’s something that she keeps closely guarded.

I worry that one day that procession will be for her or her husband. I worry that one day it will be someone that I know.

Wordful Wednesday ~ Where has the time gone?

Today my oldest daughter drove her first car home.

Today I smiled as she got out of her car and fondly remembered myself at the same age.

Today I wondered where the time has gone.

Cait1

Where did this baby go?

Where did those chubby cheeks and baby smiles go?

How did we get to 16?

cait2

I look at this little face and wonder where the time has gone. I know that it didn’t just fly by while I was sleeping because I have so many wonderful memories, so many pictures, and so much love to have missed any of it.

My hope for her is that she knows how much I love her.

My hope is that she knows how incredibly proud I am of her and all that she has accomplished.

My hope is that every dream she has comes true.

cait-fall

But for all my love & pride in her I have fear.

I’m afraid of her growing up and not needing me anymore.

I’m afraid of her going away to college.

I’m afraid that I won’t be able to help her when she fails at something.

Cait

Look at her….

Isn’t she beautiful?

I think she is…. but the again I’m biased.

In my heart I know that all will work out perfectly, but sometimes it’s hard to not wish for more time with that chubby cheeked baby.


11 things, 11 questions, and 11 people

Alright! It’s time for a little fun… something lighthearted for a change. I was tagged by Kristy from Pampers & Pinot in the 11 random things and decided to play along!

11-Random-Things-Tag

Okay here are the rules (don’t worry they’re easy peasy)!

Post these rules
Post 11 random things about yourself
Answer the questions set for you in their post.
Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.

Random things about me….

  1. I hate feet… they’re gross. Except for little baby feet they’re cute & chubby.
  2. I was arrested once but not for anything fun & exciting… my cars tags had expired and I transferred the plate to my new car which was at my grandma’s house and I had to get to work. So yea…. I was stopped and given a warning or so I thought till I got a call.
  3. I hate reality tv shows. A lot.
  4. I love watching old cartoons. Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and the Flintstones.
  5. I have a willpower of negative a zillion.
  6. This isn’t big news but I am head over heels in love with my iPhone.
  7. When I’m in the car I am an amazing singer. It must be the acoustics or something but when I get out something happens and my voice sounds terrible.
  8. I like musicals.
  9. My degree is in computer networking/system administration. I have yet to do something in that field.
  10. I’m slightly addicted to Once Upon a Time and Revenge. I never miss an episode of either show.
  11. I now drive like an old lady in the winter & am a huge chicken. This is the reason why.

Lame… maybe. But they are totally random thoughts about me.

Now on to the questions from Kristy.

1. What do you think is the funniest movie of all time?

Funniest movie of all time… I have a few that are pretty damn good. History of the World Part 1, Wedding Singer, and

2. What is your most frequent, daily worry?

I always worry that because I work outside the home that I’m not spending enough time with my kids, especially my youngest who is only 2. It’s hard because when my girls were younger I was able to be there with them half the time and their dad was with them the other half. Now my son… the poor kid is stuck going to the sitters house 40 hours a week. I feel guilty that he won’t have the same advantages that his sisters did. If I’m not there with him I won’t be able to teach him to read, write, use the potty, or anything that I feel is important.

3. Best travel destination?

Disney World 2009

I don’t travel a lot but I have to say that Disney World in Florida really is the happiest place on earth. I’ve only been there once and loved it… a lot. It was like a little kid all over again and I can’t wait until we can go back again.

4. Name one big adventure you would like to still accomplish.

I would love to go back to the Grand Canyon and hike through it and take a helicopter ride over it. That place is one of most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and to be honest pictures do not do the place justice. It really is a must see place.

5. What is your favorite weekend activity?

cupcakes

My favorite weekend activity… sitting around and doing nothing. Watching movies with my kids. Baking! Really, the list here is endless because there are so many things that I love doing and each weekend is different.

6. What could be a song on the soundtrack of your life?

What?!?! Seriously this is a hard question. The first thing that came to my mind is Crazy Train by Ozzy but I’m not sure that it’s the best choice. I’ll pass on this one.

7. When do you feel most energetic?

Normally this is a couple hours after I get up in the morning. So for me that time would be around 8am… by this time I’ve been up since 5:30am and have showered, gotten dressed and ready for the day, and have been at work for almost half an hour.

8. What book are you currently reading?

Ah! Finally, an easy question. I’m reading a few books.

The Midnight Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Quitter – Jon Acuff
Cooking Solves Everything – Mark Bittman

9. What would be your luxury item if you went on Survivor?

Umm… Survivor. A reality tv show… did you see #3 up there? I would never try out for that especially because I’m a wimp and would do all I could to get kicked off right away.

10. Biggest turn on in the opposite sex?

I love cologne. The good stuff too…. not that cheap body spray, Axe. Freshly showered, dressed to impress, and cologne.

11. Biggest turn off in the opposite sex?

I have this acute sense of smell and can’t stand body odor. Then again I don’t know who likes it! Sweaty = gross. Also, guys who are full of themselves and think that they’re the greatest thing on this plant are lame.

There ya have it! My answers and now 11 questions for some random friends.

  1. Favorite song of all time & why
  2. Left side of the bed, right side, or dead center?
  3. What is your favorite season?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?
  5. Is white chocolate real chocolate?
  6. Ideal vacation spot?
  7. If you could change your name to something else what would it be?
  8. Wine or beer?
  9. What is the one thing you can’t live without?
  10. Are diamonds a girls best friend?
  11. What do you do to give back to your community?

Ladies…. consider yourself TAGGED!

Lauren from Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood
Jill from Single Mom on a Budget
Rusti from My Life as an Officers Wife
Liz from A Nut in a Nutshell
Angela from Tread Softly
Kir from The Kir Corner
Kmama from The Daily Dribbles
Jessica from The Unemployed Mom
Gigi from Kludgy Mom
Nicole from By Word of Mouth
Cori from Cori’s Big Mouth

 

Listable Life ~ 5 Moments

5 moments that I would live over again… Only 5?!?!? There are so many moments that I would live over agan in my life simply because they’re some of the best times in my life and other times I would live them over just so I could do something a little different but not change it completely since those moments are ones that have led me to where I am today.

So my 5 moments…and these are in no particular order.

  • The birth of my oldest daughter, Caitlin. I was so young when I had her, a mere 23 years old. I had no clue what I was doing or how much my life would change when they handed me the most beautiful baby ever. That moment was one I will never forget…. so such a sweet face. So round, soft, and perfect in every way. Pure love and adoration overwhelmed me as I held her and it was like there was no one else in that room but the two of us.

Cait

  • The birth of my second daughter, Natalie. When you’re pregnant you’re always worried about your water breaking and how will you know if it happens. Well, with her I found out rather easily. While chatting on the phone with my mother in law I suddenly felt a gush of warm water that just didn’t stop. There was no denying what it was and within 3 hours I had given birth to another perfect little girl. No drugs, no IV yet, and I wasn’t even checked into the hospital at the time. It was probably the fastest and easiest birth in the world!

Natalie

  • The birth of my third daughter, Lauren. Lauren was born with a full head of dark hair… so much that we could pull it into a little barrette. She was a beautiful chubby little girl with dark hair and the brightest blue eyes you’ve ever seen and was loved & admired by all who saw her.

Lauren

  • The birth of my one and only son, Andrew. The moment I found out that I was pregnant the constant worry and concern started and barely let up until the day that I gave birth to him. Most of us worry while pregnant but after suffering two miscarriages before him every worry was intensified by ten fold. As soon as they handed me that little boy  every fear left my body and was replaced with love.

Andrew

  • Ahh… last but not least. As you probably all know or have figured out at some point or another I was married and went through a divorce and am now remarried. My last memorable moment is the day that my husband proposed to me. There was a little cafe next to where we worked and he had talked to the owner and had it all set up with dim lights, red rose petals scattered across the entry way, signs on the walls, and then a huge bouquet of red roses on a table where he stood waiting for me. Down on one knee with close friends in attendance he asked me to marry him. It was so romantic and a moment in my life that I will never forget.

mikeandjackie

What are a couple moments in your life that you would live over again?

I’m linking up with Nicole from Moments that Define Life for her weekly meme Listable Life.

And because this is full of words and awesome pictures I am also linking up with Seven Clown Circus and By Word of Mouth Musings for Wordful Wednesday!


What’s in a name

When I was pregnant with Andrew my husband and I (and the girls too) went back & forth so many times that I wasn’t sure if we would ever pick a name for him. We just couldn’t decide what to name the baby or I should say that we couldn’t agree on a name.

Before we knew what we were having we had a huge list of boy names and a smaller list of girl names and had to go through a process of elimination which… was very difficult! I seriously thought that once we had the baby that we would never be able to leave the hospital because we just couldn’t agree on a name or worse yet the nurse would have to name the baby. Scary thought, right?

Once we knew what we were having our list was narrowed down a bit. A boy. We were having a boy.

We made it through my entire pregnancy without a name or almost all the way through it. Then one day while at the circus, a mere 2 weeks before he was born,  a decision was made! Yes, you did read that right…. at the circus. No, we weren’t going to name the baby after one of the clowns or anything like that.

At the circus

My husband wanted to name him after himself…. a jr. and I wanted to name him Grayson and we just couldn’t find a happy middle ground. But it was my husbands grandmother who helped us out that day. She suggested that we name him Andrew… after her father. It was such an easy decision at that point! We finally had a name…. Andrew Noel. Andrew from my husbands side and Noel from mine.

andrew

Not Andy. Not Drew. Just Andrew. At least for now it’s just Andrew… maybe in time it will get shortened.

Did you have trouble picking a name for your baby? How did you & your spouse come to an agreement for a baby name?

 

This is a featured post written by me on behalf of Bounty. The opinions and story of naming my son are all mine.

Listable Life – 10 things

I happened upon a post from Nicole over at Moments that Define my Life and that tab has been open ever since. Yes, I did it on purpose… it was a reminder so I could take part in her meme, A Listable Life. Then I forgot life happened, but I was quickly reminded and with a free moment or two I decided to go through with my idea for one of her prompts.

10 Things I’d Rather Do Besides Chores. Easy right? I mean who really likes doing chores? So creating a list with things I’d rather do easy… as a matter of fact I could probably come up with more than 10.

  1. Watch paint dry – Yes, you read that right. Staring at the wall while sitting on the couch is better than cleaning.
  2. Sleep – A nap any time of the day is just about perfect
  3. Bake – I love to bake and although it does lead to more work in the end it does provide a bit of distraction for a while.
  4. Write – If I had a free day (go ahead & laugh we all know it won’t happen) I could spend the day writing post after post and be so far ahead that I would have even more free time!
  5. Play a game – If I didn’t have chores to do around the house I could actually spend more quality time with my kids. Of course that implies that they’d remember me since I’m always busy with work or chores.
  6. Exercise – Go ahead and laugh. You’re right… I won’t do that.
  7. Read – Oh, how I love to read. I have shelves of books…. books I’ve read, books I haven’t read, books that I love so much, and others that are just okay.
  8. Scrapbook – I have a ton of scrapbook stuff and it seems that I never have the time to use it! It’s something that requires a couple of hours of time where I can sit and be creative.
  9. Use my camera – I love my DSLR. I really do… but I have yet to spend some quality time with it to figure out all the settings and what they do and the best uses for all the features.
  10. Shop – New clothes and shoes are always necessary. Right?
  11. Watch movies – Only the ones that are my absolute favorites though.
  12. Prepare for my American Idol audition – Let me tell you…. I sound so awesome in the car when I sing that I will sound even better in person. I just have to have the music playing in the background kind of loud. Think that will be a problem for them?

Alright, so I went over. I told you that I could come up with more than 10!

So what would you do instead of chores?

 

My Grandma

Her family came over from Scotland and settled in the thumb region of Michigan and lived there for more years that I can remember.

She lived a life that was long and full and she loved every minute of it.

Parents, siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were all part of her life on a daily basis. Year in and year out she was surrounded by family.

Full of life, love, and the joy of travel. It wasn’t uncommon for her to take off on a whim without letting anyone know…. then again she would also check herself into the hospital if she didn’t feel well without telling anyone too.

My memories of her are dear to me and I hold them close to my heart, pulling them out like pictures and flipping through them from time to time. Remembering the times we spent together are special to me…. but few. Fewer than I would hope for, but more than others I suppose.

There were things she missed that I had always hoped she would see, but her heart was tired. It was her time.

She is loved and missed dearly by all.

My grandma

Daughter. Wife. Sister. Mother. Grandmother. Great Grandmother.

She watches us and all we do.

She smiles with us and cries with us.

She loved and was loved in return.

She is at peace now.

 

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

In a mood

I don’t know what it is lately but I’m in a mood and I can’t seem to shake it.

Maybe it’s the weather here in Michigan. It’s cold (bitter cold this week), windy, gray, and almost always overcast… dismal is a good way to explain it. Where I’m at we don’t even have snow to make it somewhat tolerable and the sun sets so early that it’s like it’s night all the time (I’d hate Alaska… a lot).

Maybe it’s the kids. When you have four kids ages 16, 12, 9, and 2 (well 2 at the end of the month) and everything is non-stop go…go…go… Or NO! Whine…. cry…. scream…. complain…. and my favorite yet…. mouth off.

Maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I don’t measure up to my kids standards sometime.

Maybe it’s my husband’s business. He owns his own business and it’s doing really well but it takes so much of his time that there are times I feel like I’m a single parent. He’s always working…. doesn’t matter of it’s a weekend or not. If a customer needs something he deals with it.

Maybe it’s my job. I realized today that I haven’t had a headache in over 2 weeks…. know what that means? While I was on vacation there wasn’t the stress of work hanging on me. It’s work that is causing my headaches.

Like I said… I don’t know what it is. But it had my stomach in knots last night and in tears for almost two days. All I know is I want things to be normal… is that to much to ask for?

Here’s the absolute worst thing of all. Blissdom is coming up in February and I may not be able to go now that I’ve figured out the total cost and it kills me…. I want to go for so many reasons. I want to meet up with all the wonderful people I’ve met online, I want to learn & grow so I can further my goals, and most of all I want to meet my best bloggy friend ever, Jill.

What do you think? How do I get out of this slump? How do I change the mood I’m in?

*** Don’t forget to enter the Red Gold Tomatoes Giveaway! ***