Archives for February 2010

The Winter Blues

It’s that time of year. The time of year when Lee and I both being ramping up our desire to move to Florida. The time of year when I drool over beachside properties. The time of year when I just struggle. 

It’s the time of year when I look at pictures like this one, which I took last June in South Caicos, and get a lump in my throat as I long for heat, shorts and the smell of salt in the air:



I’ve never thought of myself as a bluesy person, but I’m really feeling bluesy this winter. Part of it is hormonal, I know that. I’m still trying to get things in order after the third born and my body is still not working the way it’s supposed to be working. But a lot of it is just this feeling of blah that comes with being cooped up a lot.

I’m tired of school schedules. I’m tired of the day in/ day out routine. I’m tired of everyone being on top of each other, fighting and bickering. I’m tired of trying to keep the house clean and fighting things like dripping snow boots and layers of clothing. I’m tired of laundry and I’m tired of the TV. I want to send my kids outside and know that they will stay there for a solid hour, expanding their imaginations and exercising their little bodies. Even they are feeling sluggish and blah.

We’re all just tired.

When I was growing up, our family moved to Wisconsin for six years. Wisconsin – the land of the never ending winter. I remember my mom getting very tired of the cold weather and snow and thinking she was loco. Snow was fun! The sledding, the snowmen, the igloos we built in six foot drifts. It was a blast!

Um, I get it now. Winter is not fun as a grown up. Sure, I might enjoy it if I got to sit inside in my jammies all day long reading a book in front of a roaring fire. But I don’t get to do that. 

The monotony of winter is what really kills me.  We can’t run out to the park to get out the afternoon squiggles; we can’t go to the Zoo to satisfy the itch for exploration; even running minor errands becomes a chore as we have to pile on jackets and sweatshirts – and then there’s the 6 year old, who hates, nay – loathes – wearing pants.  It’s a day to day struggle to get him to dress appropriately in the cold weather. 

I’ve given up, by the way.  I’ve decided to pick my battles and when we are home, if he wants to wear shorts and a T-shirt, he’s welcome to do that.  He knows to put on a sweatshirt if he gets cold.

So, I’ll quit complaining and get on to my question.  What do you guys do to break up the monotony of winter?  How do you fight the winter time blues with your kids?  What are some fun activities you do with your kids to keep the TV off and keep them from killing each other? 

Suggestions are not only welcome, they’re imperative to my sanity.

Wordless Wednesday: The Shadow

Sloan has a shadow these days.  It follows him wherever he goes and does whatever he does.  He doesn’t seem to mind, though.

Not yet anyway…

For more Wordless Wednesday shots, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

The Minivan Mom Runs – Part 2

It was 1994 and we were in Spanish Wells, Bahamas for a family reunion.  I know, awesome place for a reunion right?  There are some definate perks to having missionary grandparents.

This was the summer that it became apparent I would no longer be able to compete in the high jump at school because of back issues so I was trying my hand at running.  Spanish Wells is 2.5 miles long and a half mile wide so I mentioned that it would be fun to run around the whole island.

“I’ll go with you,” my cousin Sean piped up. 

“Great!” I said, glad for the company.  And especially glad that it was Sean as in my eyes he was the bees knees – he still is. I have a lot of admiration for him.

“I’d like to come too, if that’s alright,” my Uncle Cletis said from across the room.  He’d recently begun running himself (or maybe he’d been running for awhile, I forget).

“Fun!” I exclaimed.  “We’ll go early in the morning before it gets too hot.”

Except, there was just one thing.  It was the hottest summer EVAH down there.  Which meant that by 7:30 am, which is when we rolled out of the house, it was already in the ’90’s.

About a half mile into the run, I realized I’d made a grave, grave error.  Graaaaave error.  My first clue came when I looked down at Sean’s calves as he kept pace in front of me.  They were thin and muscle-ly.

“Do you run a lot?” I heaved, sweat dripping into my mouth.

“I have been,” Sean replied.  “Actually, I’ve been biking a lot.   I’ve been doing 70-80 mile bike rides along with my runs.”

“Oh,” I said, swallowing hard.  I think Uncle Cletis chuckled.

A mile into our trip, I thought I was going to die.  The only saving grace was the fact that the scenery was spectacular.  Then we came to a place in the road that was blocked.

“Let’s just run this stretch on the beach,” Sean said all perky like.  Honest to God, I don’t even think he was breathing hard.  Not one to give up and be left behind I agreed with as much enthusiasm as I could muster and we headed onto the white sandy shore. 

Running in and of itself is hard.  Running when it’s 10,000 degrees out is harder.  Running in 10,000 degrees on sand is torture.  As we jogged next to the crystal blue waters and I stared at Sean’s legs, I realized that I’d bitten off way more than I could chew.  But I would not give up.  I told you – competition killed the cat.

The last half mile did not find me hitting any kind of stride.  While the guys picked up the pace (just slightly…they were being nice to me), I huffed and puffed and no longer tried to pretend I was having fun.  I’ll never forget the sight of that house as it came into view.  I won’t foget it because there were angels flying above singing “Hallelujah” as white doves flitted in and out of the windows.

It was glorious.

And I didn’t run with the guys again that week.

I am two weeks into my new committment of running.  I’m doing ten minutes miles now.  I’m waiting for it to get easier so I can up my time a little.  I didn’t have a lot of time to run last week due to kiddos having colds and being unable to go to the gym, but I’m back in it this week.  I will up my distance to a mile and a half next week. 

I still don’t like running.  But, I have to say, I’d much rather be doing it on a Carribbean island, staring at my cousin’s legs than at the gym staring at the backside of the guy in front of me.

Just sayin’…


FYI – I wanted to make you all aware of a couple of things coming up.  This Saturday I will be leading a Lunch and Learn session for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild on publishing for the Popular Market.  The official title of the seminar is “So You Wrote a Novel – Now What?”  It will be from 11:00-12:00 at the Stone Spiral Cafe in Mapelwood, Missouri.

Also, on Friday, Feburary 26, our church is hosting a Ladies Night Out from 6:30-10:00.  There are 13 different breakout sessions to choose from, one of them being blogging, which I am leading.  I will be discussing the ins and outs of blogging, some do’s and don’ts and how to monetize your blog.  Beginners and advanced bloggers are all welcome.  You can find out more information on how to register here.

Happy snow day to you all!

The Birthday Party

We had The Birthday Party this weekend. The Birthday Party that required a lot and very little all at once. Because I just didn’t have it in my to host a party this year, we booked a gymnastics party for the 4 year old. It was well worth the money, in my oh so humble opinion.

Of course, there was a little preparation that went into the party. Namely, making the cake. In general, I like to buy the cake because, well, I’m not that good at making cakes. Actually, that’s not true. I can make a cake fine – I can’t decorate a cake.  Usually, when I try and decorate cakes it looks as if I did so while blind folded, while fighting off a rabid monkey. I’ll wait for a moment while you get that visual in your mind…

Got it?  I know…it’s bad.

But I was determined this time to accomplish the task of making the perfect cake.  And because I don’t know when to take a step back and tone it down, I decided to attempt this cake – the beloved Rainbow Cake from MckMama’s blog.

As expected, the making of the seperate cakes was a piece of…well, cake.  Ahem.  And, as expected, the decorating of said cake made me long for a stiff drink and a Prozac.  And Tia wanted purple icing to boot, so after several tubs of icing were sufficiently colored, I set to assembling the monstrosity cake.

It wasn’t the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.  But it was pretty cute with the purple icing and the hot pink swirls at the bottom.  And, of course, when we cut into it and we saw the rainbow layers, I got ooh’s and aah’s from kid’s and mom’s alike.

But there was more to the party than just the cake!  Of course, my camera batteries ran out seconds after the party began so I didn’t get a lot of the actual party (Lee ran out to buy more before the cake and presents).  But I did get a few and rather than tell you about the party, I’ll let you look and see for yourself.

After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Now I’m gonna melt your hearts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…


From his perspective aka A really bad idea

Last night, a nurse lady came to our house to  torture us take our blood as we are planning on changing our life insurance policy.

Let me just make one things clear: I DON’T LIKE NEEDLES.  I had three babies ala naturál for a reason, folks.  Because I DON’T LIKE NEEDLES.  I avoid them at all cost.  I avoid them like I avoid math and science.  I avoid them like I avoid crickets.  I avoid them like I avoid the flippin’ plague.  If a needle being shoved into my body can be avoided then I AVOID IT.

So, I was not thrilled when Lee said we had to have this done.  I reminded him that we had just had this done not long ago and I remember because Sloan stepped on that nurse lady’s scale and broke it and she left a little peeved.

Lee reminded me that that was easily 3-4 years ago.  Blast!

So, when the nurse lady showed up, my hands immediately started sweating as did my upper lip.  Lee got all giggly because as she asked me all the family history questions my voice was curt and my words clipped.  I’m healthy as a horse and as family histories go, mine ain’t too shabby.  I was hoping that she would click her ball point pen, straighten up and proclaim me a fine specimen of health and waive the need for a blood draw.

She didn’t.

So Lee went first.  And while she was prepping him, I busied myself getting dinner on the table for the kids.  In retrospect, we probably should have had her draw the blood in a different room rather than at the kitchen table while the kids were eating.  But I wasn’t thinking about the kids in that moment.

I was thinking about how I was possibly going to avoid passing out in front my family.

As I prepared the drinks, nurse lady stuck Lee’s arm.  And our kids, who are fascinated by all things bloody, stopped mid-bite and stared…in horror.

“Uuuhhh…what is she doing to daddy?” Sloan asked, pizza rolling around on his tongue.

“She’s just testing his blood,” I replied and then swallowed so as not to hurl and further escalate the situation.

Clapping his hand over his eyes, Sloan suddenly got very dramatic (where does he get that?!).  “I don’t want to watch,” he said, his voice all shaky.

“You don’t have to watch, buddy,” Lee said.

“Please stop,” Sloan said.

“Why?” Nurse lady asked.

“Because.  I don’t want my dad to die!”

We all chuckled (well, I tried to chuckle, anyway).  “Honey, daddy’s not going to die.  You don’t die from getting your blood drawn,” I said. (Yeah right – what if you do?!?!)

“Uh-Yeah!”  Sloan exclaimed, dropping his hand and looking at me with very wide, very concerned eyes.  “Don’t you remember Marley?  They put a needle in his leg and he died!”

And we all laughed heartily.  Then Lee pretended to fall over dead.  And Sloan laughed with us…but it was more of a Hahaha, I’m totally serious about this but you all are laughing so I’m gonna laugh along even though I don’t get the joke sort of laugh.

Once we convinced him that nurse lady wasn’t actually trying to put daddy to sleep, he went about his business eating his pizza – though he did keep a wary eye on nurse lady as she prepped me for torture blood work.

And, I am happy to report that I did not faint, although Lee did stand behind me when she jabbed, erm, stuck me just in case.  There was a moment when she was switching tubes and she accidentally pulled the needle out of my arm causing blood to bubble up, which all around freaked me the kids out.  One look at my horrified face and nurse lady quickly assured me that she got enough in tube one so she wouldn’t need to restick me.

Good.  Cause I’da had to get ugly.

And that is the story of the day we nearly put Lee to sleep. 

According to Sloan, of course…

Katya Rose

Moments ago (or so it seems) the doctor laid a tiny, squirmy baby on my chest and said, “Congratulations, you have a baby girl.”

My daughter.

I never thought I’d have a daughter.  And yet, as I held her in that very first moment and looked at her face, somehow I knew her.  It was like I had always known her, her face was so familiar to me.

And now, four years later, I’m wondering how it happened so fast?

How did she go from this?

Baby Tia

To the smart, witty, mischevious four year old sitting on my couch?

Where did the baby go?  The one who’s eyes and cheeks swallowed her face?

Sweet Tia

To say I adore this little girl is quite the understatement.  She’s just awesome.  And Lee and I both agree that our time with her has seemed especially fast.  We sometimes struggle to remember her as a baby.  I think it’s because, as babies go, she may have been the best infant on the planet.  She slept 19 hours a day until she was six months old.  She ate like a horse (maybe a pony) and she smiled near constantly.

Russian TiaTia 1st birthday

There’s also the fact that she wasn’t a baby for very long. 

As soon as she figured out she had the potential for mobility, she took off.  By 5 months she was crawling, by 9 and a half months she was walking and by one she was giving me a heart attack by jumping off any and everything in sight.

Tia laughs

Before she was two, she was a big sister – a role that she was born to play.

Big sis Tia

But this contributed to the feeling that somehow she’s just grown up too fast.  I feel like I missed it.  Even though I relished in her girlness as a baby, now that’s it’s so far removed, I feel like it happened too fast.  And now this small person stands before me.  How did that happen?


I love having a girl sandwiched between two boys.  She brings a bit of sensitivity to the bunch.  Not much, of course, because she makes it known she wants to be one of the guys.

Tia and boys3

Tia and boys

I look forward to seeing these relationships grow as they get older – to see the boys protect their sister and Tia look after her brothers.

It’s been one heckova year for Tia.  There have been a lot of milestones reached.  Most good.  Some, ahem, not so good.

Bad haircut

And here we are, Feburary 2, and I’m wondering how we got here so fast.  Tia pranced into our room at 6:15 this morning and, with her tiny mouth inches from my ear, stage whispered, “Moooom.  I’m four now.”

TO2 '09

I know, sweet girl.  I know.

Happy Birthday, Katya Rose. 

Last year, I wrote this post for her birthday.  It’s still one of my favorite posts.  I’m not sure I could ever say it better than that.

Nobody said we were smart

Tomorrow is a big day.  A day when we will begin to see some of the mysteries unravel.  We’ll find out if Juliet is still alive, if Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Jin and Hurley are back where they began, if time got rebooted, if Sayyid lives, and “what lies in the shadow of the statue?”

Oh – and our daughter turns four.  Could the day be more exciting?!

In preparation for the final season of LOST, Lee and I have been staying up, ahem, rather late this last week rewatching all of last season.  And last night, even though we knew that the boys would probably wake up in the middle of the night due to colds, we decided to watch two episodes because we had four episodes left to watch and we, my friends, know what’s important in life.

And sure enough, not two  hours after I went to sleep, Landon was crying/hacking in his bed.  It was 1:01 am.  So I dragged myself up, gave him medicine, cuddled and rocked him and stumbled back to bed. 

At 2:02 he was crying again, so I brought him to bed with me in the hopes that we could both get a little sleep.  At 2:22 he was sitting up in our bed, his chubby face inches from mine whispering, “Hi Mommy.  I yub you, Mommy?  Yere’s (where’s) Woan Tia (Sloan and Tia) Mommy?”  And despite the fact that I needed a crowbar to pull my fatigued eyelids apart, I had to smile at his cherubic little face grinning at me in the dark.

So I dragged myself back out of bed and took him back to his room.  We rocked a bit more, then I laid him down and got back in bed at 3:03.  At 3:23 I stumbled back to his room to give him his doggy book, which had fallen out of his bed and he was insisting be returned to him.

At 4:04 (I swear I’m not making these times up – it was weird) I looked at the clock for the last time as Landon moaned and whimpered from his bed.  The next thing I knew, it was 6:26 and Sloan was standing over the bed.

The timing of all the wake ups was a little creepy and served as evidence that when you spend too much time lost in the mysteries of LOST, strange and crazy things start happening.  Not to mention the fact that you dream about polar bears, time travel and smoke monsters.

If we were smart, we’d forgo the LOST viewing this evening and go to bed early.  But that’s not going to happen.  We’ve made it this far so we’re committed now.  And so I shall drink my coffee, yawn so wide I suck the oxygen out of the room and power forward.  Because life is all about priorities, people!

I’m off now to pack the make up under my saggy eyes…