Thursday, June 23, 2016

Super Important Stuff

Summertime so far has meant that mommy is a taxi driver.  Baseball, basketball, swim lessons, VBS, doctor appointments, camp, open houses. . .it has been cray to the cray.  And all that ferrying around means a LOT of time listening to the radio (which thankfully is Sirius, which I manage to get for a song (haha!) every time I call to cancel).  Depending on whose week it is in the front seat, we listen to vastly different stations, but many of the children want to listen to the pop stations.  Which means I have to be constantly on red alert, flipping over inappropriate songs and basically all talking segments on those stations.  It's exhausting.  But every now and then a song makes the cut, and then we hear it a ridiculous number of times each day.  A few stats:  We heard T. Swizzle's "New Romantics" five times in one day, and a stupid Justin Timberlake song seven times in one day. It's horrifying.  We obviously need more Chicago, Beatles and the like in our repertoire.  It appears I need to flex my veto muscles more often.

In other news, my teenage daughter was recently on a trip to Chicago with her acting group.  After she left she texted me and told me she would be posting more on snapchat than on instagram or texting me.  She suggested I get a snapchat account and follow her story.

Lemme tell you guys something.

Snapchat is stoopid.

I hated it instantly and never got over it.  It is ridiculously hard to use, annoying, and laborious.  I tried to send her selfies of me (usually with double chins in bad lighting), with little success.  I then began to send her texts telling her how much I hated snapchat.  She suggested filters (!), and later showed me all sorts of crazy things you can do to your face (who doesn't want a dog face superimposed on her face?  duh!).  I still have the app, but as my daughter would say, I'm gonna give snapchat a hard pass.  I'll stick to Facebook for old people.


And last but not least, my almost 7-year-old daughter has learned to text.  It was only a matter of time.  She has been using her big sister's old ipad, and stumbled upon my picture in the texting app.  She was in the other room and texted that she loved mommy.  She came flying into the room, immensely proud of herself and has been texting her siblings and daddy nonstop since.  She has also learned how to facetime and calls all of us from the next room several times a day.
We got our iphones when she had just turned one, so she knows no life without that kind of technology.  Parenting this generation of kids is full of new challenges.  The first one being -- how do I put an end to the use of the poop emoji?  Oh, just kidding!  It always cracks me up.   💩

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stepping up to the Plate

I'm blogging twice in one day!

So, as I said earlier, tonight my middle son played his first baseball game of the season.  He did just fine, and I was so proud of him for getting back out there, even though he was a little concerned about his leg being hit by the ball.  It was a great game, and I sat in the bleachers and watched the whole thing.

And that alone was a big deal.

I had scheduled myself to do concessions duty months ago, before I realized that tonight would be my son's first game of the season.  I called a friend yesterday and asked if she knew of anyone I could call to sub for me, but there weren't many subs to be found.

So I made a plan to have my daughter come with me and tag team: I would duck out if my son was at bat and she would cover for me.  But just before I was ready to leave, my eldest son's coach called me and said he would cover the shift for me, if I could just take the first few minutes until he could get there (and his wife offered to cover my shift next week!). I was really touched - these games are long, and they were willing to sacrifice their time so I could watch my son play.

When I arrived at the concessions to start the shift, another mom from the park told me right away, "You don't have to work!  It's his first game back.  I'll start it off and my son will cover your shift for the rest of the night.  We love your family! Go out and watch the game!"

Two people selflessly jumped in so I could watch my son's game.  This is our third year of baseball and many times we have seen examples of kindness and encouragement and care such as this.  In a world so full of selfishness, what a joy to be a part of this group of people who really care for each other.

I know there's no crying in baseball, but I felt a little teary tonight.


Bits and Pieces #10

It's summertime, and the living is crazy!  We are running at full tilt over here, which is equal parts fun and exhausting.  One thing a busy schedule does not afford me is time to blog, and also time to sweep the tumbleweeds of dog hair out of my home.  So here, a few little bits of life ala mammamilk:


An example of my son's loyalty to his favorite baseball team:

Son:  Mom, can I be in Boy Scouts?
Me:  I'm not sure, son.
Son:  I just can't call it the other name. . .but I could call it the sox scouts!

One of my older kids put a picture of my middle son on my phone as my screensaver.  This son is almost 12 (!!!), and the picture is when he was about four (in fact, taken the day I blogged about the elections here).  And I am not kidding you, every time I open my phone (about 5,438 times a day), I smile and feel nostalgic.  He is so adorable, and that time seems like so long ago.   I simply love looking at his cheeks and grin.  This picture makes me so happy.  :)

Doggie REM is a hilarious thing to behold.  Shadow wakes me up every now then (from his second-best sleeping locale - his bed on the floor next to me.  His favorite place is, of course, in our bed, right where our legs would like to be) with a low woof-woof-woof or a grrrr.  The other night I awoke to a strangled bark which ended in a pathetic whimpering.  I'm not sure if he's having doggie nightmares or if he's joyously dreaming of an all-day kibble buffet.  Either way it's pretty funny, even if it does wake me up.

My middle son (re: cute one above on my screensaver) was cleared (two months to the day of his surgery) to get back into regular activity.  That means baseball!  He can't wait to get out there and try it, and I must say I'm pretty excited to see him go for it!  Praise God for healing!

And. . . I currently have a child who just finished up at the dentist office, wailing upstairs.  "They lied!" he is moaning.  "They said it wouldn't hurt!".  Sigh.  He did so well with the numbing procedure but apparently the wearing-off process isn't too pleasant.  Cheers for beautiful teeth!

This is all I can eke out today, gotta go sweep up some tumbleweeds before baseball.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

True Blue, Part II

One of my dearest friends in the world is moving far away tomorrow.

And it really hurts.

Truly.  I'm crying as I even type this post.  This friend is everything I wrote about here when I blogged about friendship.  She is very, very dear, and she and her family (also awesome, close friends) will be missed by many, many people.

Though our children went to the same Lutheran school, four years ago I first met D when she and I were cast in The Sound of Music.  Perhaps if you've known me for awhile, dear reader, you'll recall that SOM was an awesome experience, but also terrifying and nerve-wracking.  Our friendship was new, but I found comfort in her encouraging words during my anxious moments.

Over the next four years, we got together often, having lunch -- first with my little K in tow, and then later just the two of us.  My family joined the small group her family was in, giving us even more time to connect as friends and families.  They are active, positive members of our church and school, and loved by everyone who knows them.

Here are a few of the many reasons I love her so:

She is selfless.  She will happily help someone out at a moment's notice and help anyone in need.

She is faithful.  To her God, her husband, her family, her church, her friends, her commitments.

She is a loving wife and mother.  She loves her family fiercely and is a positive example of how to raise fine young people.

She is loyal and an encourager.  I cannot imagine D saying an unkind word about anyone, certainly not a friend.  She will always put the best construction on any situation.

She is generous and thoughtful.  She offers prayers, hugs, dinner (when I hurt my back and was out for a few days), and a shoulder to cry on when needed.

She is confidential.  Without a doubt, I would trust her be a sounding board.

She is fun.  She is quick with a smile and laugh, always positive no matter what.

Oh dear readers, my heart is heavy to say goodbye.  In fact, I'm having trouble seeing my screen at the moment.  Perhaps many of you reading this post know her and know just what I'm talking about.  Or maybe you've had a good friend you've had to part with.  It hurts.

But I am thankful to have had her as a part of my life, and though she will be far away, I am very grateful that we will easily be able to stay in touch no matter how many miles separate us.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with her friendship!


Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, 
and impossible to forget.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reflections on my 8th grader, Vol 2

Two years ago, I blogged some reflections about my daughter, who was graduating from 8th grade.  I thought perhaps I would make it a tradition (oh, the pressure is on now!  sorry, future self!), and jot down some reflections about my first-born son, who just graduated from 8th grade on Saturday.


  • It's hard to reconcile my tall, handsome man-child with the tiny baby I so vividly recall from 14.5 years ago.  M was born on Sept, 21, 2001, just 10 days after 9/11.  I remember praying fervently on Sept. 11 that God would give my child a birthday other than 9/11, and He did.  Our son brought joy to our lives that year, in a time that was full of sadness and fear.  
  • When he was little, M had more energy than he (or we!) knew what to do with.  He often ran away from me in parking lots, stores, church. . .you name it.  He was a ball of fire, in every way the stereotypical boy.  He was obsessed with Thomas the tank engine and knew countless engine names by heart, often regaling guests with his knowledge of Sodor Station.  
  • As he grew, he began to love video games, and still enjoys them often.  He does not, however, like violent games.  When I thanked him for not ever asking us about playing that kind of game with a Mature rating, he told me he doesn't like how those games have affected some of the people he knows. 
  • I am enjoying immensely watching M grow in maturity.  He is a huge role model to his younger brothers, and one brother in particular thinks he is amazing.  He is black and white to a fault, wanting to do the right thing at all costs.  He is shouldering more and more responsibility and is very helpful to us around the house. 
  • He's funny and goofy!  He has crazy names for all of his siblings and us at times too.  He makes me laugh all the time.  (Example:  when he was little he used to call me Little Mommy.  I LOVED it then, and I asked him recently to call me Little Mommy "just one more time".  Instead of complying, he grinned and called me Big Mamma.  Ummm - that does not exactly bring on the warm fuzzies!  But it did make me laugh.)
  • He was co-salutatorian for his 8th grade class and was one of several who gave a speech at the ceremony.  I was so incredibly proud of him.  He was well-spoken and spoke all about doing what is right.  He encouraged his classmates not to think they couldn't make a difference because they were young, but to go out and change the world by helping those around them.  
  • He wants to be a politician/lawyer when he grows up.  I can't say that would exactly be my first choice (I might have voted pastor), but if that is indeed what he does, I think he will use his skills to succeed in either career.
Today was the closing chapel for the school year.  All my children went over to their teachers at the end of chapel to receive a blessing.  The teacher made a cross on the forehead of each of my children and prayed a blessing over them.  It is a wonderful sight to watch your children be blessed by the teacher who has cared for them all year.  My son's teacher is a gentle, kind gal who shapes her students and prepares them well for high school.  I watched as she reached up quite a bit to bless my son.  And as she did, I got a little teary (full disclosure: I was already weepy).  My son is leaving this Lutheran school armed with academic knowledge, strong friendships, firm morals and a personal relationship with his Savior.  I can't think of anything else I want for my children.  It's hard for me to watch this season come to close (he has been here since he was 2!), but I do know there are many amazing things to come for this boy.  And he is ready!



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Letter to the Parents of my Preschoolers

Dear Moms and Dads of my preschoolers,

The school year is drawing to a close and my time with your children is almost over.  I hope and pray I will see you and your children next year, but I know sometimes that isn't possible.  I have grown to love and care for your children this year, and I will miss them!

So as the time nears for us to say goodbye, I wanted to take a moment to tell you something.

You're doing a great job.

I have kids myself and know that you might not always feel that way.  But I am here to assure you that you are indeed raising fine young people.

Your children are funny.  They make me laugh every day.  They crack themselves up; big belly laughs and hysterical giggles.  I can't help but join in.  They tell me jokes with punchlines only a 4-year-old could create.  They often think I am hilarious, which is not a character trait other age groups especially notice in me.

Your children are good friends. They love the friends they have made this year in school.  They play together, they hug each other, they share with one another.  True, it's not always roses and butterflies, but when they have a disagreement with a friend, they apologize and offer forgiveness.  They truly care about the friends they have made this year.

Your children are loved.  Daily I hear stories about how Mommy took me to the playground, or Daddy loves to wrestle with me.  These are the things that they treasure - memories with you.  You love them with a fierce love, and they know it and flourish because of it.

Your children are well fed.  I help the children unpack their lunches each day and I see the healthy food you prepared with TLC.  Sure, I know preparing lunches isn't anyone's favorite task, but their lunches show that you rose to the occasion and gave them good choices each day.

Your children are well dressed.  I don't mean wearing the cutest fashions with this one, although that is often the case too!  No, I mean you took a moment to listen to the weather forecast and properly dress your child.  You also made sure your child had mittens, a hat, boots, snow pants. . .the exhausting list of items children need in the winter months.  You made sure they were well prepared for the elements so they could enjoy recess time.

Your children are happy.  Ok, maybe not all the time, but for the most part, your children relish life and bounce happily into school with a smile and hug goodbye to you.  And if your children are a little sad to say goodbye, you know to give them one last kiss and hug and send them in promptly, knowing they will be fine before you make it down the hallway.

Your children are secure.  They are secure in their knowledge of your love, of who they are and their place in your family.  They feel safe, knowing Mommy and Daddy love them enormously.

Your children know Jesus.  I am always blown away by how much your children know about the Bible and their Savior.  They know how much He loves them, even when they might make choices that don't please Him.  They know He loves them so much that He died on the cross for them, and they can tell you the whole story.  You teach them about Jesus, and they, therefore, know Jesus.

I won't get to see your little ones every day after this week.  But I know they have big things ahead of them.  So keep up the good work, Moms and Dads.  You're doing a great job.

Love,

Your child's teacher


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Not Just Another Suit

I spent the morning scouting out stores that have good deals on suits for my teenage son.  In two weeks he will be graduating from 8th grade and it occurred to me last week that he probably shouldn't wear Adidas shorts and a Star Wars sweatshirt to the service.

So off I went to the mall in search of a suit that wouldn't break the bank for a boy who would soon outgrow it.  My friends, I love to shop, truly I do, but this isn't my kind of shopping.  I know nothing of suits and ties - my husband rarely wears either one.  His daily attire consists of clericals which we buy online (and for which there are no good deals to be had!), and black dress pants I buy with coupons at Kohl's.

Suffice it to say, this was simply a chore to me. A friend texted me and asked me what I was up to today, and I typed a snarky reply, finishing up with an "ugh".  And then I re-read my text.  And erased it.

Because I remembered it was a privilege to be shopping for a son who needs a suit.  To have the money to buy a suit.  To have a son who has two younger brothers who can hopefully wear the suit someday.  To have a son who is smart, funny and talented and will look handsome for his graduation.  To have a son who is healthy and strong.  To have a son who has grown so much that all of the hand-me-down suits we own are too small on him.  To have a son who wants to wear a red tie and an American flag on his lapel because he loves his country.  To have a son who is getting more mature by the day.  To have a son who has strong moral and ethical convictions and fiercely loves his Lord.

I remembered it was a privilege and a blessing to have a son.