Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Marzee

Dear Marisa,

Happy Birthday, teenager.

I fell in love with your the very moment I set eyes on you. 
And now, 13 years later, I want to tell you how much I love you.
But words fail.
Because I just don't think that words actually exist that could even come close to expressing how much you mean to me.

You are so special and so deserving and you work hard and are so brave.
I wanted to give you everything that you wanted for your birthday. 
Unfortunately, I can't give you everything. 

But I did let you throw a party. 
I hope you had fun.

I enjoyed getting to know some of your friends better. 

And seeing you interact with your friends was another reminder to me of just how special you are.

I am a lucky mama. 

I love how I can count on you.
How brave you are.
How fun you are.
You are just so darn nice.

I love how you crack yourself up...

When I grow up I want to be just like you.

Happy Birtday my sweet girl. 

love, Mom

P.S.  Please don't ask me to throw another party for a LONG time. 
This poem crossed my inbox. 
I love it.
What do you think?

We may never see tomorrow, there's no written guarantee
And things that happened yesterday belong to history.
We cannot predict the future, we cannot change the past
We have just the present moment, we must treat it as our last
We must use this moment wisely for it soon will pass away
And be lost to us forever as a part of yesterday
We must exercise compassion, help the fallen to their feet
Be a friend unto the friendless, make an empty life complete
The unkind things we do today may never be undone
And friendships that we fail to win may never more be won
We may not have another chance on bended knee to pray
And thank God with humble heart for giving all of us this day. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Non-Vacation-Vacation

The kids and I are on "vacation" this week.

And by that, I mean nothing.


I've been working from home this summer.  And it is hard for them to understand that...even though I am home, I have to work.

Because there is that whole "food, clothing, shelter" -type of things.  you know. 

But things were starting to look ugly around here. 

Mom needing to research, interview, write, have quiet, and BE HERE....but not really BE HERE ....and that was starting to take a toll.

Resentment on the part of the older kids was starting to set in. 

Older kids needing to take care of little kids.
In between doing their own things. 
RESPONSIBLE practice, weight lifting, school stuff that happens in the summer.

Plus those little summer things that kids like to do with their friends....sort of a downer when you have to have a kid sister times 2 tag along. 

So mama has declared this week and some of next "VACATION."

We aren't going away.

We are FULLY participating. 
In everything summer has for us.
For this week and next.
With no deadlines.

Helping family move.
Visit with family.
Take care of grandma (get home from the hospital, please!)
Movie today....Mr. Popper's Penguins.  It will be fun to compare this to the book.
A birthday party tomorrow.  With 19 of our closest teenage friends.  Who all want food.  And a bonfire.  check.
Visit with Great Grandma....tomorrow for lunch.  Thinking the Hill of Beans.

And.... the rest of the week.  And next.....
Well.  I don't know.  We are just going to let it happen.
And go with the flow of summer.

7th Grade Softball

These girls are fun to watch play ball.
I can see many state tournaments in their future!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Softball is her favorite sport.
And she is my favorite lady wildcat.

Marz will want me to do a slideshow of the thousands of softball pictures I have.
So stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day of the Year

It is the longest day of the year. 

In the literal sense... opposed the the emotional/proverbial/me-complaining-about-a-long-day sort of blog post you may be used to.

I have a lot on my mind.
But today it feels better to express the things I am thankful for. 

This young man.
He takes such good care of his mama.
And actually takes pride in it. 
Young Man. 
I am a lucky mama.

Natural ingredients
Blended together
Tastes like it should be bad for you....
....but totally not.

This girl.
Doesn't always like to read.
She struggles in a way that her older sister never had to.
Making it difficult to try, when she is really thinking of measuring up.

Here she is reading out loud to her mama.
And mama is loving the effort
But mostly
Mama loves spending time with this girl.

Good Job, are better than you give yourself credit for.

And this girl
Watching TV
After spending the afternoon with a friend
And telling me
that there is
that she is tired......

Marz wouldn't let me take a picture of her.
But it wouldn't feel right to mention things that i am thankful for without mentioning her.

yesterday, I posed a question to all of my kids....and all seemed to want to answer in a way that they believed to be positive.  For me. 

But Marz didn't say a word.
And her silence spoke louder than any words could have.

And her silence was a word from God to me.

thank you.
mama loves you.

And here is the NON-PICTURE
to go along with the NON WORDS she didn't speak:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Dear Brian,
I've always admired you
And how devoted to your kids that you are
Even now
As I continue to watch in the wings
I am amazed
at how
You discipline with love
Love with respect
Let go
And hang on
all at the same time
when it comes to being a parent.
It's like a beautiful blend
of how things should be
Without analyzing
or questioning.
Just going with the flow
of Fatherhood.

Love You

Not sure why I do this....

I seem to have hit a point where I seriously doubt myself at every corner I turn at. 
I doubt my ability to make a proper living for myself and kids.
I doubt in my abilities as a writer.
I doubt my effectiveness as a parent. 

I have thoughts that I am not on the right path, maybe I should get a different job, a respectable career......
.....I just doubt.

Seems to be a cycle I go through with these thoughts. 

And if you make one comment about this having anything to do with a "cycle," I may have to kick you in the shin. 

Don't doubt that for a minute.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Marisa Conducts Her First Interview

Marz is working on a book project.  "A Book By Me"  is  written by children, for children.  Marisa is writing "A Blessed Life," a story about Dr. Paul Hauk, who was a part of the U.S. Army that helped to liberate many jews.  Someday this story, along with many others in a series by young authors, will be distributed in schools and museums across the nation and abroad.

She had the chance to meet with Dr. Hauk today and conduct an interview.

Here is Dr. Hauk telling Marisa and my friend Lori about the battlefield and where he had to drive.
He was born in Germany, moved to the U.S. as a young child, and ended up serving in the U.S. Army and fought in Germany.  Becuase he knew the language, he drove high ranking U.S. officials around during the war.

Here is Dr. Hauk explaining how things weren't "that dangerous."
Excepting for that time he remembers almost being bombed.

Here is my young author with the main character of her book.
What an opportunity for her to learn about the publishing process, from start to finish.

People have been telling me lately that she is taking after her mom with all of this writing and talent.  That is very nice to say; however, I know better. 
Because the truth is, I hope to be just like her when I grow up.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SlideShow Update

Because there is so much going on here, I thought I'd let the pictures do a little more of the talking.

In case you don't recognize anyone here....there are 2 high school (gulp, having trouble saying that) ball players, 2 jr. high ball players, 1 ball player in the minors league, and 1 incredibly gorgeous 10-year-old who is my summer-ball-game-buddy.   


There is just something romantic and relaxing and peaceful about this sky....

.........but the knats and mosquitos making their presence known ruined the mood.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let's Catch Up

This and the next few posts may be for the benefit of me and the fact that I have a few "let's catch up" phone calls that I should be returning but can't seem to come up with the time to.  (Sorry dad and sharon....and's what we have been doing the last few days.)

If you don't mind, I will let the pictures do most of the talking.....

The Wildcat has been playing ball.
When he is not playing ball, he is practicing ball.
When he is not doing that he is lifting weights at the school.
On his first week of summer break, he woke up early each morning to go for a run or lift weights and sometimes both. 
He is motivated.  Let's just say that during the school year...I have to wake him up.  Now, he is waking up on his own.  And waking me up too. 
Our "motivation seasons" are apparently flip-flopped.

Today I sent him off to Washington DC. 

I was forced to lay low with the camera....against my will, I might add. 
I didn't cry until I got in the car. 
Claire said "Don't me sad, mama." 
And I said I wasn't.  I'm just so proud.  I don't worry for him.  He's alright. 
It isn't that I do not want him to go.  I do.  He is going to have so much fun.
But letting him go is hard. 
And I'm finding that each time I do, it isn't getting easier. 

We ALSO.....celebrated a VERY SPECIAL birthday this week. 
Tookie is 9!!!!!

And did you know that 9 is half way to 18?
Tookie does.  She's very good at math, you know. 

I am not so good at math.  Maybe the right way to say it is that I just don't like math. 
I'm a visual kind of here is what I see when I think of math....
Se this jar with beads?

There are approximately 3,285 beads in this jar.
1 for every day for each day from now until she turns 18.
I take 7 out of the jar each week. 
And each week this is a reminder of how each day that I have with this little girl matters.  I mark them with a bead.  Sometimes I want to put all of the beads back and start over so I can do it better.  But I guess I will settle for the next three thousand.  And try my best to make each bead count.

In other news:
I'm busy.
If you call and I don't answer then I am working on stuff.
 Or I'm feeding people that call me "mom." 
Or...I might be trying to nap.
Or hide. 

Coming Soon to a Weekend Near You:
We will be hosting about a half a dozen 9 year olds for a sleepover.....all of which have a goal to not sleep.
And maintain a proper sugar high. 


Marz is one of the young authors on the *click here:"Book By Me" *project that will be receiving some red carpet treatment this weekend at a chuch in the quad cities. 
She wants to wear this:

I'm so proud.
But I'll try not to cry. least till I get in the car.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One of those Days

We have been moving at the speed of light around here this week.  But I need to take a deep breath in.....and then out.

And remind myself to keep doing that. 

Because I have come to the end of my day here and just realized that it is actually tomorrow. 

It's just one of those days.