So, I have a confession to make. Boy, I sure do air a lot of my dirty laundry on here! My Dad always says that if we don't, our children will. (I think he may speak from experience.) He is so right. I like to think that with me, what you see is what you get. No, I won't tell you that your butt looks big in those pants. That is a danger zone I am not willing to enter. Besides, I am more worried about my own big butt. But, I try to be an honest and genuine person. I always want to remain approachable. I want to be trustworthy. I want to be a person of good character and true to my word.
OK, I need to stay focused here. Back to my confession.
Are you ready?
I drive a dumpster on wheels. Yes, you read that right. It may look like a regular old mini van on the outside with three car seats on the inside, but it is a glorified dumpster on wheels. I think the whole neighborhood must be using it as such, because we couldn't possibly be the ONLY family adding to that hot mess. Surely not!
I try to clean out the loose papers and trash about every week or so, only to find the van filled with more trash the very next morning. THE. VERY. NEXT. MORNING. There also seems to be an odor that just can't be covered up with a yellow cardboard tree hanging from the rear view mirror. The tree seems to wave at me and mock me as I drive around town, as if to say, "Nice try, lady. You thought a three dollar purchase was going to cover up that nine year old stench?"
Every where we go, people give my children suckers, cookies, candy, papers, stickers, memory verses, crayons, and more PAPER. These items swim around my van. I am so tired of it, not to mention embarrassed when someone peers into the van to talk to the kids. I want to yell out, "No, look away! Look away! We really aren't slobs! Really, we aren't! "
And, we aren't. I take pride in my home. No, it is not ALWAYS clean. Or picked up. But, it USUALLY is. On a bad night, it may take the boys 10 minutes to give their room a thorough cleaning. And, that is with a little wrestling on the side. Our home is not our dumpster.
Our van is.
I have even made cleaning out the van one of the weekly chores for the boys, but the papers still find a way to multiply. The worst part is when my parents borrow the van to take all three of the kids somewhere. (Yes, Dad, I know you taught me better. In all fairness, you never had three kids. I know you had two, but the third one put us over the edge.) My Dad and I used to spend our Saturdays cleaning out the cars. With Q-tips. And, that is no lie. We took pride in our clean cars.
Now, I spend my Saturdays carting kids and Gatorade bottles to soccer games. Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. Bring on the Gatorade bottles and orange peels! The van couldn't possibly look any worse...or, could it?!
So, I recently talked Nurse Boy into attending a 6 week Marriage Enrichment Class at a local church. We have always been passionate about marriage as a ministry, as well as focusing on improving our own. It CAN always get better. I can honestly say that I love Nurse Boy more now than I ever have before. So far, I have been able to say that every year.
Since Nurse Boy was delighted to add yet another class to his already busy schedule, I signed us up. It has been nothing but a blessing. We have enjoyed the time together, as well as the opportunity to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses as a couple. (We, of course, do not have any weaknesses ;0) I am always right, he is always wrong. Once we both learn to accept that, our marriage will be stronger than ever!)
However, there IS one problem with our new found connection time. I thought it was a little problem, but to Nurse Boy it is HUGE. The class takes place on Thursday nights. Thursday nights have always held a very special place in our hearts. It is Survivor Night. We usually tape the show and watch it when the kids go to bed. We even watched a taped episode when I was in labor with Bruiser. (Yes, we did!) I was a little distracted, but Nurse Boy filled me in between contractions. Nurse Boy has always considered this a "date night". Yeah, right! I like some quality time to talk, reflect, and analyze our lives, NOT the lives of crazy people looking for their 15 minutes of fame while starving, dirty, and fighting with strangers. Just because we are sitting next to each other, does not a romantic night make.
So far, we have missed just about every Survivor since we started our class. Nurse Boy has this problem solved. He now wants DVR. We have only had cable for a year and a half. I still cringe when I pay that bill. I mean, is it really necessary to have 100 channels of infomercials? There is STILL nothing on!
We are living in the dinosaur ages. We have 2 VCRs, but only one still records. However, we lost the original remote to that VCR so we cannot use the timer feature to record. We have to actually be here to press record. Like I said, dinosaur ages. So, we asked my parents (also dinosaurs) to tape the show for us. When we popped the tape in, we watched beautiful black and white snow while enjoying the relaxing sound of static. Apparently, they have issues of their own.
Next, we tried to watch it online. The 40 minute show took us about an hour and a half to get through. For some unknown reason, the show constantly freezes up and pauses when we watch it via the computer. We are fans, but not THAT dedicated.
Yesterday, Nurse Boy asked me to call and get information about DVR. I don't think I am ready to leave the dinosaur ages. Once we have DVR, we won't be able to live without it. That happened with automatic car windows, cell phones for both of us, Internet, and cable just to name a few.
I think I may have just discovered the weakness in our marriage. Maybe, just maybe, it is our obsession with Survivor...
Sweet Pea is STILL potty training. I know what you all are thinking....Enough with the pottytraining posts!!!! Well, when you are in month TWO, it is frankly all you can think of. Elections? No. Economy? Nothing. Gas prices? Nada. Insane grocery bills? Not even going there. Potty training? Yes, yes, and yes!!! I have started counting potty chairs in my sleep. Really! I know, I need to get a hobby, but who has time where you are potty training?
Every time Sweet Pea sits on the potty, we are supposed to hover over her with pride. When she goes, her entire face lights up. She looks us in the eyes and says with such delight, "LOOK AT MY POTTY! Mommy, LOOK AT MY POTTY!"
Sweet Pea, I have been looking at your potty all of your life. From the very moment you were born. And every day since then. That is exactly what I am hoping to remove from my life right now. I do not want to see your potty, feel your potty, or even smell your potty. I simply want you to FLUSH it away. Do you get that?
I can't wait until I am officially finished looking at someone else's potty in my life! Nurse Boy is a GI nurse, so I don't think that day is coming anytime soon for him.
Don't worry, I will take every opportunity to rub it in when I can!!
So, what's a girl to do when the weather is cool and rainy? That's right! Sneak in a little quality time with the kiddos and do some baking. Yum!
Yesterday the boys and I made Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies. Sounds weird, huh? I think they are fabulous! I found this recipe on some one's blog last winter. I don't remember just where on the web I found it, so I can't even give credit where credit is due. These cookies won't really help out during a horrible bout of PMS, since they do not include chocolate. But, they are delicious when served up warm on a cool, fall evening!
(I even stole 2 for breakfast...shh...don't tell the kids! And, Mom, don't lecture me about eating a healthy breakfast. They were calling my name. Really, they were!)
Dimples is a pro when it comes to baking. Next, he can serve up dinner while I sit back and watch Wheel of Fortune. I wonder if tonight works for him?
Bruiser is really growing up! He was so patient and really into all of the prep. He did want to make sure that he was going to get to lick the beaters and eat some cookies. He does have his priorities straight!
I must confess that I am a little OCD, but I put that aside and let them do all of the work. This resulted in some unusual sizes and shapes. They were delicious none the less.
Nurse Boy and Sweet Pea were MIA while we were baking. I think they were trying to avoid being assigned to the clean up crew. However, they suddenly appeared when the cookies came out of the oven.
They were delicious! So, I will share the recipe for anyone else facing a little boredom.
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar together. Next, add pumpkin and vanilla. Beat. Next, add the dry ingredients and mix. Add butterscotch chips last. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for one minute on the baking sheet, then remove.
This has been a crazy time for our family over the last few months. We usually reserve this blog for the funnier side of our family. But when life seems serious, it is hard to be funny. Our daily life is still full of laughter, giggles, and smiles, but we are experiencing lots of CHANGE. God is challenging us to make changes for all of us individually, as well as corporately as a family.
Can I just say that I think change is hard? HARD. It is hard enough on little old me, much less my children. We won't even discuss my wonderful husband with a new job, school, and a family to support. His life is the definition of change. GOOD change, but change none the less.
We have always taken the time to constantly reevaluate what we are doing as a family. We do this OFTEN and in regard to everything we hold dear or deem important. Sure, we make mistakes. Who doesn't? But, we try to seek the Lord in all that we are doing. We want to be in HIS will, not our own. That is our heart's desire.
So, God has challenged us to trust Him while He makes a lot of changes in our lives. We ARE trusting Him. We want to trust Him, but it still isn't easy. Nurse Boy took a new job. He started working on his masters. Two of my children are in school full time. Make that private school, thus challenging our finances. My two year old is potty training. God is directing me to take part in different Christian studies and groups around the city to challenge me and connect me with other believers...
And, God is calling us to another church...
We have been at our wonderful church for 11 years. It doesn't all make sense now, but I am trusting that God has a plan. He often closes doors in order to open new doors elsewhere. For the last 3 years or so, we have seen a lot of doors close for us. We didn't understand why, but we think we may have been stubborn and not seen it until now. God was preparing us for the changes He had in store.
We love the people in our church. We have grown soooo much there. Our children were born and loved on there. Our marriage has BLOSSOMED there. We are not bitter or mad. We are simply obeying God and following His plans for our own family. We do believe that He has a plan for each and every family. We are simply searching His plan for us. It is as simple as that. It is a difficult time for us, but we are believing for an awesome testimony in the end.
We are praying that we can broaden our friendships, not eliminate friends. We are praying for a group of people that can support, encourage, and pray for us as we enter a challenging season for our family with Nurse Boy in school. We are praying for more friendships for each and everyone of us. We are praying for a church that can mentor us as we seek the Lord in raising our family to serve our God in what ever He has planned for each one of us. We are praying that our family will grow closer to Him and one another in this process of finding out where He wants to place us next.
So, I said all of that to explain the light, not so funny, blogging. This is just a difficult time for our family. But, we are trusting.... and, now that I got that off of my chest, I am hoping for the funny stuff to flow in the very near future. I still have a "chicken" post to come and an idea for a special Friday edition each and every week. And, I always have hopes for Nurse Boy to return a little more often. I think he has the entire month of December off of school, so stay tuned....
Last Friday night we left the kids with my parents while we spent the evening with Nurse Boy's coworkers. They all work in a GI Lab, so you can only imagine the conversations they share over a meal and a little wine. I won't blog about that. I will suffer in silence.
My parents ventured out with the kids while we were gone. They went to dinner and stopped for ice cream. Oh, to be a grandparent! To think that dinner out will be enjoyable, relaxing, and affordable. I look forward to the day! That day is NOT today. Or tomorrow. As a matter of a fact, it might be decades away.
Anyway, they took the kids to a locally owned restaurant/cafe in the downtown area of our own little suburbia. Apparently, a good time was had by all, including the owners.
The next morning, Nurse Boy and I decided it was a perfect day for a fall walk to the city market. The cafe is located next to the city market. After we bought some fresh produce and the kids put their paws on EVERYTHING in sight, Nurse Boy and I decided to head into the cafe and treat ourselves to overpriced lattes.
(Why, I ask, does coffee taste better when it costs the same as an entire meal?)
The owner immediately recognized our kids from the night before. He went out of his way to tell us how well behaved and well mannered all of our kids were. He was so sincere and genuine. One of his employees overheard the conversation. She was stunned, to say the least. She told us that he really isn't "into" kids and if he said they were well behaved, he must have really been impressed. She had never before heard him complement some one's kids.
It was a blessing to hear that from a complete stranger. Training children is exhausting and it can SEEM fruitless. But, it isn't. Our kids aren't perfect, but they are sweet, caring, kind, and loving kids. We have always prayed that they would be a blessing to us and everyone they are around. We pray they shine the light of Jesus everywhere they go.
So, sorry if I have bored you with all of my bragging today, but... it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to, brag if I want to. You would brag to, if it happened to you... (WHY is that old song from the sixties in my head, anyway?!)
I just found my 8 year old son styling Dora's hair. Sweet Pea brought Dimples matching hair bands, bows, and a comb for her precious doll. Apparently, it was obvious to everyone that Dora needed a new hairdo. It warms my heart that Dimples was willing to give it his best effort in hopes of pleasing his sister. He patiently sat there attempting (and struggling) to take over Dora's nest of a hairdo. Not to worry, once he was finished, he threw Dora to the side and wrestled his brother for the Wii control. All is right with the world again.
By the way, she STILL needs a new 'do. Dimples is a boy with little to no experience in this area. He doesn't even comb his own hair, since I insist on keeping it so short. (I like to avoid the whole unkempt look.) Dora is turning into one sorry looking doll. Sweet Pea loves her just the same.
Sweet Pea, however, does not love my cooking. Tonight I made chicken. For those of you who know me well, this is not a surprise. I make chicken most nights. (I plan to post more about this later.) I tried something new tonight and it was a huge success. Everyone loved it. Everyone, except Sweet Pea who refused to even try the chicken. So, we spent most of the meal trying to talk her into a tasty bite.
Next thing we know, she announces that she did it, meaning she ate all of her chicken. Sure enough, her chicken was all gone. I felt my head start to inflate. I had finally found a meal that EVERYONE enjoyed! I knew I could do it. I AM a good cook. I could work this new meal into the regular rotation. I smiled as I was cleaning up and wiping down my little princess.
Then I saw it....
ALL of her chicken stuffed in her lap! That little stinker!!! So, I disciplined her with a straight face and sent her on her merry little way. Then I laughed. Good thing we don't have a dog or she would get away with so much more!
Do you think I should serve the leftovers to her for lunch tomorrow?????
Our little Sweet Pea is growing up! It is bittersweet for me. She is our last baby. We are really happy with the size of our family, but there is something about the last baby's milestones. First, she sat up. Then she crawled. Next, she walked. Then she RAN. Don't even get me started on her speech. I can hardly get a word in edge wise. She has been such a delight for our entire family! I love that both of the boys still remember our life without her. I think it makes them appreciate her and love her even more. God gave us her name long before she was born. It means "whole or complete" and she has definitely completed our family. She, as are the boys, is such a wonderful gift from God.
I have found myself both wanting her to become more independent AND wanting her to remain my baby. This last month, she has really grown up before my eyes. She is potty training and doing really well. We still have a few accidents every now and again, but she is so proud of herself. My heart melts every time she goes potty on the toilet and flashes her big blue eyes at me saying, "I a big girl, Mommy!"
This weekend she moved out of the crib into a "big girl bed." She was soooooo proud. Not to mention CUTE!!!
I mean, who can resist this smile?!
This weekend, when we were out, Sweet Pea and I ran to a public bathroom together. First, she got on the toilet and went potty. Next, I told her it was Mommy's turn. Afterwards, she was just as delighted for me as she was for herself. She smiled and said,"You did it, Mommy! You a big girl! Good job!" She made me laugh. So, we washed our hands and rewarded ourselves with an M&M. Mine was blue, hers was yellow.
Last week I actually wrapped two dessert-type cookies in napkins and stuffed them in my purse when I was out. When I returned home, I searched for the buried treasure at the bottom of my purse. As I was partaking in my delightful treat, I realized that I have become my grandmother.
How gross, right?!
I have so many memories of my Grandma Mary doing the very same thing. She always had crumbly treats wrapped with numerous napkins swimming around the bottom of her purse. You never knew just how long those treats had been tucked away, or where they came from. I thought it was disgusting. Not to mention, embarrassing when we were out with her and she started stuffing food items into her purse. That lady was a magician when it came to sneaking food into her purse.
She ALWAYS had jordan almonds in her purse. They were from all of the Italian weddings she would attend. I am pretty sure she stole about 20 bags from every wedding she would attend. So, at the bottom of her purse she would always have little white mesh bags filled with colorful almonds tied neatly with a bow. I, to this day, LOVE jordan almonds. LOVE. But, I (almost) never ate them out of the bottom of my grandmother's purse.
She also had an endless assortment of hard candy. I still think of her when I see those yellow butterscotch candies. She also had a thing for those strawberry candies with a gross chewy center. I thought of those as old lady candy. Meaning, you HAD to be an old lady to like them.
So, I am starting to wonder if I will indeed start stuffing my purse with stale goodies and try to feed them to my grandchildren in the next 20 or 30 years. My guess is I will if I get invited to those Italian weddings with the delightful bags of jordan almonds!
Mrs. Nurse Boy here. FYI, it has been a better day. Praise God for that one!
I love staying home with my kids. I love dropping them off at school and picking them up. I love that I am the first person they see in the morning (when they wake up in a good mood) and I am the last person they see at night (provided they are in bed by 8pm. I turn into a very grumpy mom at 8:01). I am so thankful that I can be there for my kids ALL of the time. But, sometimes the very thing you love can also be the very thing that drives you crazy.
For instance, I fell in love with my husband's spontaneity and fun loving attitude. He had a zest for life that I didn't have when I met him. He was so carefree, yet responsible at the same time. He still knows how to make some of the most boring tasks enjoyable. I truly love being around him. He balances me. However, it also drives me crazy that he is a walking jungle gym in our home and he will change our dinner plans while dinner is still cooking in the oven. He can walk into an organized situation and make it look like chaos (aka our home). He is fun, but I don't always think he is funny. You see, the very thing I love about him can sometimes be the very thing that DRIVES ME CRAZY!
I feel the same way about staying home with my kids. The other day Dimples was trying to remind me of a story he claims he shared with me a week ago. I could not remember the conversation for the life of me. I couldn't even play it off, to which he loudly sighed, "I told you about this before, but I guess you just don't remember..." He then took the next ten minutes to get me caught up.
This is how I wanted to respond: "That is because there are three of you and only one of me. ALL of you insist on talking ALL of the time. And, you usually choose to talk to me when I am trying to focus on something that needs my attention at that very moment. Mommy can't even go potty without someone talking to me through the closed door. Or, how about when I get to have a 20 minute adult conversation on the phone? When the phone rings, you all seem to need my attention more than ever. Or, what about all of the times I stop what I am doing to attentively listen to you and you can't recall what it was that you wanted to say in the first place?"
Of course, I am immediately reminded to be thankful that they are talking to ME.....and, talking to me, and talking to me, and talking to me, and talking to me...You get the point.
I am also reminded that I am usually the one sighing at my husband when he cannot recall what I just ranted and raved about the day before.
When I returned home today from taking the boys to school, I discovered a very unnerving message on my answering machine. Our credit card company was calling to check on some unusual activity on our card. Since I was stuck at home for the past three days with a sick kid, I knew something was up. I mean, this girl likes to shop, but even I draw the line when I have a sick kid. Unless I run into the store for some much needed Tylenol and Lysol.
What were these "unusual" charges you ask? Why, over $1900 to a lumber yard. That seemed to send a bright, flashing, red flag to our credit card company. I mean, we are talking about Nurse Boy. When things break down around here, we lay hands on them and pray hard. When that doesn't work, we put the said item in the basement, or paint over it, carpet it, or even rearrange to hide things.
Oh, I kid. Kind of....
Of course there were a few other charges. Since they weren't charges for grass seed on steroids from the TV (my weakness) or shakes from QT (Nurse Boy's weakness), the credit card company knew something was up! Boy, am I grateful for that!
But, I still feel violated. I mean, HOW did they get our credit card number? That is scary!
And, now I will have to wait 7 to 10 business days before I can order anything off the TV. That is when my new card will be issued. Nurse Boy is smiling now!
Mrs. Nurse Boy here (again, 2 posts in one day! CRAZY! Truth is, my house needs to be cleaned and I don't want to do it. So, here I am, wasting time...)
I had to take Bruiser to the doctor today. He has had a rash on his bum for the last 3 weeks. (That's right! I am sharing info about my son's bum on the Internet. Boy, are my kids going to love me when they hit the teen years!!)
When we entered the doctor's office, I saw on the front cover of a local magazine that our doctor was just named the best physician in town. Yay!!! I have been saying this for the last 12 years. Finally, I got something right! But, that is just a side note...
I have a beef with my toilet training daughter. Why is it, since birth, she HAS to poop EVERY! SINGLE! TIME! she enters the doctor's office?! I am pretty sure the entire staff thinks my family needs to bathe more often. The office is small and stuffy; therefore, smells seem to linger in there FOREVER.
Sweet Pea, you are potty training. Mommy has been staying home for 2 weeks to make sure you don't have any accidents. You haven't pooped at 11:30 a.m. for the last 2 weeks. Why today? Why in that small, stuffy office? Why when I am bragging about how you are now going potty in the toilet? Why when I am pressed for time?
I know, I know. To keep me humble. I get it. Just do all of your business in the potty from now on, OK?
Is it just me, or is anyone else out there worried about the teenage years? The thought of my children driving (gulp) or dating (double gulp) can almost put me into a nursing home decades before my time.
I really don't know which one of those milestones is worse; however, I have the perfect solution. I have a rule that I implemented the very day Dimples was placed into my loving arms. None of our children are allowed to drive or date until they are at least out of their booster seat. Apparently, that may not happen until they are about 25. Good for me!
Seriously, they keep changing the laws regarding booster seats. This week I heard they are now recommending that children remain in their boosters until the age of 12. That's right! 12! Now, don't get me wrong, I do consider myself an overprotective mother. I used to apologize for it, but I've accepted it. I now expect everyone else to accept it as well. But, seriously?! 12?!
The law has changed so many time since I've had Dimples, that I am almost certain that the kids will be in college before they learn how to drive or start dating. And, we are praying they will be AWAY at college. I am pretty sure this plan will keep us young! (Who needs Botox?)
The craziest thing about all of this is the simple fact I keep watching/reading news stories that suggest that car seats and boosters aren't even protecting our children as they claim. I don't even know what else to say to that but ARUGH...
Just remember, kids, there will be NO driving or dating until you are LEGALLY out of your booster... and, good luck with that! ;0)
“Poop on Jelly” is what Bruiser used to lovingly ask for at mealtime. For us, it sums up both the bitterness and sweetness that life has to offer. It is through our faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that we are able to stop and count our blessings each and every day. This is our life…