Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas?

My halmark movie was interrupted by a flash of what I thought was Christmas lights out my living room window. 

Opening the curtains the whole way revealed that it wasn't Christmas lights.....

Firetrucks on one side of Norfolk

And the smoke appeared to be spilling out the north side.

Hope all is okay over there at Norfolk.

Thank you firefighters!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Favorites

I already posted all my random thankfulness thoughts.

And obviously I forgot to mention how thankful I am for my long-time friend and harley mama~
you know who you are and I'm sorry that I sometimes take our friendship for granted!  You are the best.  And want to know what I learn from you?  Hard work, being humble and having fun.  You always listen to me and when I'm not talking you track me down and find out what is up.  You. Are. A. Class. Act.


Here's a couple of my favorite Thanksgiving pics from this year:

A wagon full of cousins. My kids, my sister's kids, My brother's kids and one of my cousin's kids.....

...but we were missing this kid who was busy napping.  Lucky.

And we were all missing Uncle Shawn and Aunt Suzie.....these kids all belong to them.

 Then we had a couple of Thanksgiving weekend food frenzies at the Grunders.
Here is Brian's dad...can you tell what he is thankful for?  ;)

Looks like there is more than one thing on his list of thankfulness!

Jim and Sharon
Oh yeah.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I am thankful.
Got a lot to be thankful for, actually, but unfortunately, sometimes I lose sight of that. 

Booo, me.  Not cool. Good thing there are holidays like this one to kick me in the a$$    remind me of that. 

Specifically, I'd like to make note of some thoughts of involves a cast of characters.  So if you are familiar, then I apologize.  If not, here you go:

*Nathan, aka: the Wildcat.  He makes doing the right thing look cool.  Not many teenagers can do that. I love how he will stand up for what is right....KNOWING that he has some influence...rather than stepping back and being worried that his "influence" would be jepardized.  I want to be more like him.

*Marisa, aka: Marz.  I have witnessed her be HUMBLE in this last the midst of teenage drama that goes along with being a teenage girl.  She is far more mature than I give her credit for and even far more mature than I sometimes am.  I need to be more like her.

*Claire, aka: Clarie-Bear.  The girl lives up to her name and numerical position in the family.  It ain't easy being the middle child.  I love how she wants to make sure she is heard and not lost in the crowd.  She is unique and she want the world to know it.  I could learn a lot from this girl.

*Danielle, aka: Tookie.  The baby of the family.  She is a reminder to me of how time is moving on...faster than I want to acknowledge.  She is my "baby" but not really a baby.  All of the things that I have taken for granted with the others, I am getting one. final. chance. to particpate in with Tookie.  4th grade is a milestone.  And I want to finally catch up with this one!  (i graduated from 4th grade myself and have been a mama thru it 3 times....this is my last "hurrah" in 4th grade.) I am finally catching on with this girl.

*Ty:  Brian's oldest.  He is home from college.  Love this kid.  Always have.  He has always had a big heart and a big mind.  I often wonder which one is bigger.  It is interesting and it warms my own heart to witness him as he has grown up...even when his heart and his mind must be arguing with each other!  I am certain that he is so smart, that he knows which one  (the heart or the mind) should rule...and that success will come his way.  He takes good care of his own mama, and I respect that in a young man.  I have learned alot by watching this guy mature...not that this will be the case with Ty....but watching him grow, mature, work hard and experience life has taught me that money doesn't always mean success...but it doesn't necessarily exclude it either. 

*Brady:  aka: the TRUE "in the middle" of all of this.  This is a guy who is one of the biggest blessings of my life but he probably wouldn't believe it if I told him.  He is the true middle of Brian's family and the true middle of all of us.  My oldest....the Wildcat....looks up to him.  And he has not failed in that role....even though he never knew he had that role.  I love it how this kid takes care of his business and his family....and still cares about what I think, even tho i am not family.  We have butted heads in the past as well as joined forces.  Together, we are strong.  So thankful for this kid and all he adds to my life and all he teaches me.

*Brinn:  Brian's youngest.  Even though she is the only girl over there, she is the "oldest" girl when it comes to birth orders between both of our families.  Talk about being in the middle.....It can't be easy going between being the "youngest", the "only" and the "oldest"....then throw in the "middle" when it comes to age.    I have to give her credit.  For all of these roles, there comes a responsibility.  And none of us has she does.  I am so so SO THANKFUL for this young lady.  She has taught me about "step-parenting."  Even though I am not a step parent, I appreciate the role because of Brinn.  I have learned that being there and acting like I am not there can be just as effective when it comes to showing love.  Boundaries can be fuzzy when it comes to a teenage girl and a long-time girlfriend of dads.  But the love behind the relationship never is.  Love this girl.  Thankful that I get to be a small part of her life.  She has taught me that love is is a matter what the size. 

Did I mention Brian?
Ya, I did. 

We aren't married. 
But we do have a life together. 
And as parents, we have a life apart. 
I wish things could be different
But practically, I know things can't. 
This dynamic tends to play with my emotions
So I know that I can't be the easiest
when it comes to dealing
with a long time girlfriend. 


But I am thankful for this guy
and our relationship
with all that I have. 

Other random thoughts of thankfulness:
my new job
freelance writing for the QC Times
Extended family
New friends
Old friends
Old friends that are now new friends
Blog friends
That I get to be mama to my kiddos
That I get to be "rob" to Brian's kids
online shopping
Jeff's Market
Hannah at Westfair
My extended family
Jim and Sharon
Suzie who does my hair
Uncle Shawn...who I see in Nathan every. single. day.
Uncle Lance...and his fabulous family
Aunt Megan and her family.
Aunt Kaylyn...she doesn't know it but she is the first to illustrate to me what it means to be loved and adopted into God's family.
Dark Chocolate.
Kids' teachers. 
Scott and Shari who accepted me without even knowing me.
My landlord and my neighbors.
Keystone Lite...the cheap version of Coors Light.
Potato soup.
Allie the wonder cat.
A Book By Me.

and a hundred other things that I should note like every day but I don't.
Like sharp cheddar cheese and sugar and fabric softener.  Random, I know. 
But I am thankful, nonetheless. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
And thank you for reading and following me here. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The final fourth-grader in our house is about to start her globetrotter project in Social Studies.  They are sewing bags to send an object of their choosing to friends and family around the country.

Danielle chose an object to travel, and I think it is just......special.

The thoughtfullness that went in to choosing this bracelet, in loving memory of Emily Anne Bohnsack, touches my heart.

In our lives for a short while
In our hearts forever
Emily Anne Bohnsack

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bring on the sappy Halmarks and Christmas movies...

...I'm ready!

Today I actually teared up over a Folger's Coffee commercial.
It's the one where the older brother comes home from Africa on Christmas. 

And now I don't think my morning coffee will ever be the same. 

I love those sappy christmas movies and commercials. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So I got a new job

No, seriously...I did.
Done got me one of those jay-oh-bees.

Actually, I was hired for the position a few months ago.
I've kept things under wraps about it becuase the pre-employment process for this job is so intense and takes so long...It felt sort of weird to be talking about my "new job" that I have but haven't started yet-and i don't know when I will.

But now I know.
After taking online tests
proctored tests
been through a background check
a drug test
been fingerprinted
taken a driving test
filled out every form there could possibly be to fill triplicet
I officially start orientation and training next week and the week after
so I can start delivering mail
for the Wilton post office. 

It is only part-time...but the pay is good.

Good enough to allow me to continue to freelance for the Times
and a few other publications that I love writing for. 

In case you are wondering....I am still going to write.
Actually, I will be able to afford the time to spend on writing that I love doing,
as well as those "dream projects" that I have always wanted to do
instead of the writing jobs that may have paid the bills for a while,
but left something to be desired as far as personal satisfaction.

Because, seriously....I can research and write about the registered potato varieties in the U.S. if you are paying me to do so, (yes this was a writing project i did) but it isn't a subject that I would have chosen to write about if I could. 

I like focusing on stories about real people....for the newspaper.
I like working with the young authors at "A Book By Me."
I have 3 books that exist in my head that I have wanted to write for years.
And I have a ministry topic that I would like to write and develop and, gulp, go and talk about.

So in my new job, I will be delivering the mail.

But in the background, I am working on delivering a message of hope.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things that make me happy:

Yesterday I threw myself a day-long pitty party. 
Today I needed to balance things out by paying attention to things that make me happy.
Here's what I got so far:

Gas prices that drop right as I need to fill up my tank.

 Homemade cinnamon rolls.
They have to rise for a while yet, but I already love them.

and this guy.
he always makes me happy.

This is way better than a pity party.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week in Review

Chicken noodle soup...Had two kids home on two different days this last week. 
Both with fevers and headaches,
and weak stomaches. 

Marisa....she shoots and she scores!
This was from one of the several ballgames in the last couple of weeks.  I love watching how the girls have improved so much over the last 4 years.  LOVE. 
I tried a little experiment with Marz yesterday.  I have suspected that she has a far more fierce side than what she shows on the court.  So I threw in a little bit of a motivation.  Just to see.  For every rebound, turnover she recovered while on defense and shot made....she gets a dollar. 
Apparently she is fierce.  As well as motivated by money. 
I owe her $14.
Way to grab the ball, Marz! 
(p.s.  this was just an experiment, paying my kids for a good game is not a normal thing. don't judge)

Here's Brinny-girl with a 3-pointer in Maquoketa.  Nothing but net.  She drove us partway home.  Somebody needs to get her permit!
Speaking of watching girls grow up on the basketball's my Claire-bear in her first tournament of the season.  I'm certain she and this group of girls are going to be a force to reckon with!

Me and Brian.  I'm tired.  (and it looks like I have one more chin than Brian does....I don't like it)

Brady making breakfast for his dad for his birthday!  Happy birthday Bri!

What you won't see in this week's scrapbook:

The wildcat had a big decision to make.  He actually was sick about it.  Torn between doing what he wants to do and what others expect from him.  Neither choice is a bad one.  But it had to be his own choice. 
In the end, he went with his heart.
And even though I won't be watching him on the basketball court this season.....I am still his biggest fan!  Love you, kid!

And:  me, fighting whatever sick germs the kids brought home with.  But I refuse to really be sick.  No time for that!

Happy Birthday to the One and Only

Dear Brian,
I wish that I had more to give to you
In the way of a gift
A token to mark how much you mean to me
As a way to mark your birthday.
But I don't
And you and I both know that our own plans
Aren't really our own
As much as they are for our kids.

So I hope that it is alright to share this note with you
As my way of telling you
Happy Birthday
and my gift to you
continues to be something that you already have:

My Heart

You are my one and only
true love.


Friday, November 4, 2011

4 Words


These are 4 words that I look at each morning.
If I ever have a question about whether or not I am supposed to be doing something, I ask myself if it falls within these four categories. 
Makes things so much easier.

All are core to who I am, as a woman and as a mom.

Lately, I am finding myself in situations where I am to 'advocate' on behalf of my kids. 

I'm okay with this role.

It's part of the job.

And a part of who I am.

I can do it. 

For my own kids

 and yours. 


more on these 4 words later.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today's Scrapbook

How I found Claire, while investigating a suspiciaous sound.  She's a multi-tasker.

Me.  Edging some concrete.  I have many talents, it's true.

My two girl scouts.  Selling their hearts out.  Because they love girl scouts and all the fun stuff they do.

Homework/itunes/word ladder/chocolate milk and a big leaf-bowl full of candy. 

What you won't see in pics is me doing an online interview for my next newspaper assignment.

And me doing some work with A Book By Me.  this work is amazing not because I am working on it...but because of the amazing stories of courage and survival that I get to enter in to. 

The End.