Friday, June 28, 2013 enjoy the break from electronics

...well not really...

Because: I am an addict.

I even sleep with my phone.

But here in the Great Lake State, I have no access to wifi or even cell phone service.

I'll rejoin the 21st century in the next few days.

In the meantime we are all having a great time visiting family and friends.

I'll post many updates upon our return.


PS I escaped only briefly to get my hair cut, enjoy a cup of coffee, and to sneak a moment to check my mail and write this post.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 watch Will pitch

...his very first inning!

Warning this post probably will come across as a big 'braggy'.  I apologize.  

I am just a proud mom who had so much fun watching her little guy do something he LOVES so well for the very first time.

I do try very hard to teach my kids to be very humble.  At the same time they can also be proud of their accomplishments especially when it is because of both dedication and hard work.

William loves baseball.

William loves baseball even more when his Dad is home and we watch it on TV each evening.  But even when Mark is away William devotes hours throwing balls at his nets.  

This spring hasn't been the best of seasons to play his beloved sport.  In fact, the last two weeks of baseball have been completely rained out.

But let me tell you, when we have been able to get to practice, Will has played as hard as he can the entire time he is there.

An important part of this story is that William plays in a league that uses pitching machines.  In the two years he has been playing I have never seen them have a player pitch.

This evening was his last game of the season.  And...out-of-the-blue his coach decided that Will was 
going to pitch!

The photos show the rest of the story...

Will's coach is telling him that he is going to pitch for this inning:

One of the guys that runs the program is helping him to get set:

He threw a few pitches at 40 feet....

...then they backed him up to the mound at 45 feet.  This is where the 12-year-old kids pitch from.

They decided he was ready.

And he pitched.  The whole inning.

Here is a photo sequence that I took:

They didn't call strikes versus balls.  A couple of kids hit the ball...and a couple of kids struck out.   No matter.  It was a fun way to end your season!

You looked great out there little man!

I know your Dad would have loved to watch you do this.

And I know he can't wait to hear all about it from you. celebrate

...the last day of school!

Finally!  Finally!

I am not quite certain who is happier...the kids or myself?

You know me, I needed to take a 'last day of school' photo for the memory books.

Perhaps I should have taken two?  (Just keepin' it real folks.)

Good-byes to teachers.

And good-byes to good friends.

Followed by ice-cream with all of these clowns...


We sure are making a lot of them!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

...check on my progress

...of my New Year's resolutions.

Oh dear.

My progress isn't pretty.

Good thing there is still a little more than six months left to go in the year!  I have some time and I need to get crackin'.  I need to get back on track.

Goal #1:  Make healthier choices.  Honestly....sigh.  I mean, I feel like this is a struggle moment-to-moment throughout my entire day.  Water or Coffee.  Floss or simply too tired.  Go to sleep or read 'just one more article'.  Calm or freak-out.

I am barely surviving the day-to-day much less thriving.  I think I need to take up Yoga or something so I can find my zen!  Perhaps then I really be able to embrace 'healthy'.

Until then...each day is a new one.  And tomorrow I choose water, I floss tonight, and..perhaps I'll power down before 11 instead of after.  And yes...I'll think calm and relaxed.

Goal #2:  Encouraging my children to enjoy one another.

I am doing even worse on this one than I was on the healthy choices one.  I actually forgot this was even a goal of mine.  I am glad that I did take this look back because frankly, this is a great goal.

Now if only I can figure out how to implement it without screaming at them to do it (since that does seem a bit counterintuitive)?

Goal #3:  Learn how to use my camera.

Better...a bit of progress.  I find I have taken some pretty great pictures.  I have also taken some pretty awful ones but I love, love, love my new camera.   It is pretty rewarding to get good photos, I just have to develop my confidence.

Goal #4:  Enjoy the quiet days.

Bit of progress.  Baby steps folks.  While I rarely create errands to run anymore I still am not good at sitting and enjoying quiet time.  Perhaps its because I am constantly trying to fill in the quiet?

OK.  Progress noted.  There is lots of room for improvement.

I am glad to be back on track.

Sunday, June 16, 2013 get prepared for another

...whirlwind week.

The final week!

Only one more:
Monday:  Field Day
Tuesday:  School Picnic
Wednesday: Clean-out desk day
Thursday: Half-Day

The final week of school for my children.  Frankly, I am not sure who is more or them?

No more lunches to prepare, no more uniforms to wash, no more homework folders to sign, and no more permission slips to send in.  A break from the routine of rushing to bedtime and rushing them out the door in the morning.

A break in routine.

Time to relax.

Did I just write that?

When I think about what relaxing means I generally think about sleeping in, reading a good book, sitting in the sunshine, and children playing without my intervention.

In fact not one single one of those items are planned for my near future.

If you know me and idle time, you know I have probably tried to slip in a destination adventure into our timeline.

We sure have excitement to look forward to...

Cedar Point
Detroit Tigers
Time spent in Dimondale
A visit from the Moynihan's all the way from Minnesota while we are there
Time spent with the Rose family visiting all the way from Fort Bragg, NC
Time spent in Charlotte

After all of that, my children will head to Grand Rapids for several days with their grandparents.

And finally they'll finish their two week travel-fest in Toronto, Canada where hopefully they'll reunite with their Dad (after his six-week vacation world tour TDY) at a Blue-Jays & Tigers match up.


Perhaps I should schedule in some down-time for them when they return?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 enjoy Will's soccer game

...after a long day's work.

This was one of those days that when its evening, and time for reflection, you wonder "Where did it go wrong?"

1.  Perhaps it was the text that woke me up at 0435 from our nanny letting me know that she wasn't feeling well and couldn't work today?

-Note to Nanny:  While I am so thankful for the heads up, perhaps 0630 is a better time to tell me?

2.  Perhaps it was the fact that I couldn't go back to sleep after said text?

-Note to self:  Close shades.  And also, at 0230 when child #3 comes down, it is better to send her back to bed.  Because, when I acquiesce and allow her to share my space...she in fact takes it over.  The entire queen bed was consumed by my 5 year old.  How is this possible???

3.  Maybe it was in the middle of my day, the moment when I told #4 that I could not in fact help her find the particular leotard she was looking the exact moment she needed it?

In my defense, I was working with a patient at that exact moment.

-Note to self:  When the little Queen threatens to streak through one of my therapy sessions...she will actually do this.

4.  Perhaps it was the fact Audrey had been really good all day (save the streaking episode) and simply couldn't contain herself any longer?

-Note to self:  When said child has been good all day, do not expect her to continue this perfection in front of an audience....sigh.

5.  Perhaps, it was because I had finally remembered the video camera and wanted to catch a few of Will's moves on camera for Mark and the weather was perfect, yet it was actually Murphy's Law that stepped in and spoiled it all?

Whatever the reason(s) for the disastrous evening the gist is I didn't get to focus on the soccer game like I had wanted to.

My evidence:

I didn't get a single good photo the whole game!


c.r.a.z.y. - h.i.g.h.

not a single picture of Will face on this evening.

Nor any good videos:

I was interrupted nearly every time I started to video.

This one might have been fun to watch...if it had been in focus (and if he would have made the goal).

I wish I could say the evening improved after we got home and had some dinner.  I should have been forewarned by this one-sided conversation that Audrey had with me at the soccer game:
What are we walking so far for?
I do not like wearing these shoes.
I told you that.
I hate the soccer games.
I hate the hay.
I don't want the grass to get in my shoes.
I don't want to go to Will's soccer games anymore.
I told you that I don't like the grass.
I hate the sun.
My interuption:  But Audrey, it is a beautiful day today!  It is so nice to be outside.
I hate beautiful.
ooo...that girl.


Monday, June 10, 2013 say farewell to the old...

...and welcome the new.

My apologies for the blurred photos.  The kids were in motion all day.  Jumping, building, playing on the cushions for the last time.  It's impossible to get a good photo of them in motion.

I wish I had taken the time to grab my big camera; they really did have a lot of fun.

I'm a little sad they won't be able to build their "mouse-houses" (as they have called them since they were little).  

But not really sad...these cushions are stuck (at least the top ones are; and the bottom ones have velcro).  That was a requirement of Mark's while we were searching for couches.

After twelve hours there is still has not been a single jump, flip over the back, spill, ink mark or even piece of dog hair on them.

Any gamblers reading this?  

I give it the week.

Sunday, June 9, 2013 share photos of elation the sun's appearance today!

Abbey begged me all day to play in the sprinkler.

No.  Nope.  Uh uh.

It is windy.

It is only 72 degrees.

You will be cold!!

It would not have been nearly as fun as this...

Friday, June 7, 2013 get back on track

...things are starting to look up.

Some days we all just need to take a step back and do our own thing.

When I allow this to happen (code for: I don't care how many video games they play or how much TV they watch) the evening goes incredibly smoothly.

Video Games 
TV experiments of course.
 What did I do you ask?

Well, after I enjoyed one of these with Amy,

I tackled this disaster.

Just in time for the garage sale tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 get out of my funk!

...but the weather ain't helping.

Some weeks go more smoothly than others.  Some trips when Mark is away, go more smoothly than others.   Smooth doesn't exactly describe the last two weeks.  I am having a hard time finding my groove on this one.

A sunny day sure would probably lift my spirits.

A down day might help as well.

I just need to catch my breath.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll feel more rested, I'll catch up, I won't lose my temper, the house will be tidy....

Until then:

Monday, June 3, 2013 to be the last day of school.

...but it wasn't.

I griped about this to a few friends this week when I came across this article.  My friends responded with their collective moans and sighs and shared their own sagas' of the 'fun' end-of-year activities the teachers want them um, I mean their children, to do.

Instead of it being the last day of school today...I too was given 'extra' activities to attend, prepare or volunteer for.


In the past twenty four hours I have been informed of two field trips, one costume requirement for an end-of-school year project, and three school picnics (forgive me...but didn't we participated in one this past Friday?  At least to me, eating a packed lunch outside in the sunshine with the entire school, is defined as a school picnic.  See.  Evidence.  Below.)

all the children and adults even dressed alike at this not-a-school-picnic
But alas.  No.

We have a preschool picnic, a band picnic, and a school picnic to attend in the next two weeks.

Did I mention my children had a five day Memorial Day holiday?

And a half day scheduled for the next three Fridays?

Field trips, class parties, celebrations for the children whose birthdays fall in the summer...

Forgive me...but I am going to be the elephant in the closet and state:  PEOPLE I DON'T THINK THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF LEARNING GOING ON!

I, am rather new to the my-children-are-in-school thing.  My oldest is only in fourth grade.  I cannot imagine that I have to do this end-of-school-year-thing for at least another fifteen years?

Eesh.  Sign.  Oh dear.  

Please don't think I am ungrateful.  I am not.  I love the school my children attend.  I am very happy with their teachers.  I am proud of my children.  And grateful for all the things I just mentioned.

But I am done with homework.  I am done signing planners.  I am ready for a break in packing lunches.  I have forgotten to send ice cream money already way too many Fridays.

I don't want to volunteer any more.  I can't seem to remember to send in permission slips.  And frankly...I just can't keep up with the schedule.

The weather is lovely tolerable up here in the North.  I want my kids to start jumping on the trampoline and sleeping in.  I want them to read books and collect rocks.  I would like to be off schedule.  (I cannot get them to sleep before 9:30 because it it too light outside!)

Perhaps next year when the school administrators are working on the schedule they should run it by parents who-actually-have-children-in-school?

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, June 2, 2013 post these videos

...for the Grandparents and for Mark to see.

Isabella and William participated in a small piano recital last week at a local senior home.

While finding a consistent practice time was difficult with our crazy schedules we finally settled on having the big kids practice in the mornings before school.

William especially tried to weasel out of his practice time but me screaming up the stairs some 'gentle reminders' helped him to stay on track each morning.

The reminders paid off.

Isabella says piano is one of her favorite extra activities of the week.

Will doesn't say much about his lessons but I enjoy listening to him.

Music to my ears!

Our little bird family also love to listen...whenever the children practice, the little birds pop their heads out of the nest.

Saturday, June 1, 2013 take off the bandages. has after all been more than two weeks since my surgery.

For those that wonder I had my first vein ablation surgery in my left leg.  It is considered a minor surgery.  I disagree.

Sure it is minor compared to open heart surgery and certainly less remarkable than having a bone reset.  But to me (and probably my family) my recovery has been no picnic.

I have decided that I just don't heal as fast as most people.  And as I start to get a little bit older I have decided that I probably just need to listen to my body and relax a little bit...and I also picked up a terrible cold.  The cold certainly hasn't helped my recovery rate.

In short, I am not breaking any records getting back into the swing of things.  I still haven't considered running (e.g., my leg is sore, I have a cough) but I am nearly there.  And taking off the bandages is a great step forward...

The pictures of my leg are a bit graphic so don't scroll down if bruising bothers you.  The doctor explained that my leg would look far worse before it begins to look better.  In fact, it is for this reason that he waits a full month before scheduling a follow up appointment with his patients.

In case you were wondering here is a before photo:

Day 3 post surgery (the first time I was allowed to take of the foot-to-hip wrap):

Day 7:  The bruising turned really ugly...although it was not really any more sore.

Day 12:  It is starting to look better.

Day 16:

After a bit of research I determined that I could carefully pull off my steri-strips.  They were beginning to bother me and the incisions are very small. 

I need a reprieve before I can begin to think of when I'll schedule my next procedure but it appears as if the procedure was a success.