Halloween? Who Cares! It's almost Christmas!!

We have a very interesting little family. Chuck's favorite holiday is Halloween. Hands down. Granted, he hasn't been much in the ghoulish spirit this year, but typically that's not the case.

On our way to dinner tonight (just seemed easiest at the time) he was expounding on how he's not in the Halloween-y mood when Zachary pipes up.

This is a true transcript (well, as good as my memory allows) of what was said in our car tonight:

Zachary: I like Halloween too. But I think it's my 2nd favorite holiday. My first favorite holiday, the holiday that I love more than anything is Christmas. And the reason I love Christmas is...well, maybe not more than anything because I love you two and my brother and sister and all my friends that aren't friends and my family more. Well, maybe I love Christmas as much as you two and my brother and sister.

Me: Wait. What are friends that aren't friends?

Zachary: The people at school that don't really play with me. I love Christmas because...yea, I think maybe I love you all the same as Christmas and then Halloween is second.

Me: Zachary, why do you love Christmas so much? (trying desperately to get him on track)

Zachary: Because it's a holiday about giving and love and caring about people and happiness and sharing and loving and all kinds of happy things.

Me: Zachary, you are an amazing child and you totally understand the meaning of Christmas more than people that are 4 times your age. You have it right on.
Then from the very back of the car, there's this little voice:

Lucas: I love Christmas too. I love it probably eleven times more than people. You know why I love Christmas?

Me: Why, Luke?

Lucas: Because I get presents!!

And thus illustrates the difference, once again, between my two boys.


Goodnight My Angel

Dear Elizabeth,

It’s not any special day. It’s not the day I found out we were pregnant with you. It’s not the day we found out we were having a girl. It’s not your birthday or even your half birthday. It’s just a regular, every other type of day.

But with you, it’s not ever just a regular day. You are like a bright ray of sunshine in our lives. As I laid down to sleep with you the other night I realized just how different (not better, just different) it is having a little girl in our family. We laid together in the very same bed that I laid in as a little girl and read books together and laughed and giggled and smiled. I was so very content and happy that I would have a daughter to share the very special bond that I have with my own mom.

I giggled as you played the “kissing game” and would point to a place on my face that should be kissed and say “naaah”, point to the next—“naah”, point to the next place and say “YES!” and kiss me. It was so sweet and….perfect.

When you play the “how much does mommy love me” game, I act very upset when you put your hands only inches apart saying “this much?” and tell you “oh no, more than that!” You move your hands a little bit further apart to which I reply “nope, more”. You finally move your arms outstretched all the way, wiggling your little fingers and say “THIS MUCH?” to which I get to reply “from fingertip to fingertip, that’s how much I love you.” And what a more perfect time than when our arms are fully outstretched to give hugs.

I love reading with you every night before bed. I love how you have your favorite book...recently it's been "Looking for a Moose" and how everytime you'd find a moose on the page, you'd get so excited and scream out. It's wonderful how after I read to you, you must read for yourself and are able to describe every page in detail of what it says. These are the nights I will hold in my heart forever.
You are a very special little girl to all those around you. You are bright, funny, and beautiful. I’m so happy to call you my daughter and look forward to the nights when I get to put you to bed and have more kissing and mommy loves me games.
Goodnight, My Angel.


My ADHD Child

Well, one month (just a little more) into the school year and the fights have begun to make them see just how important the little things are with Zachary. That letting us know he's daydreaming a lot is important so we can discuss with the dr. and possibly readjust his meds. How hiding under the desk and refusing to do work is not acceptable and there IS a way to handle it...IF they would just let us know it's happening. I'm feeling as if the last month has been a lie. We've been lead to believe that his days are going well...and nothing out of the ordinary for a 2nd grader has happened until last Wednesday when he pushed his teacher and got kicked out of school for a day and a half. The teacher also stated how "if this were on the street, I'd call the police for assault." Good to know the teacher, aide, school understand bipolar rages.

And so the fight rages on. I know I'll never never be able to quit being an advocate for my child. I just wish sometimes that they wanted to learn how to make it easier for him and be willing to accomodate his special needs....like giving a 5 minute warning and sending home daily behavioral sheets. Both of which are in his IEP. Both of which are being completely ignored by his teacher.

I was going through my files on my hard drive looking for something when I came across this. I read through it again as my eyes filled with tears...it really does sum things up so well.

My A.D.H.D Child
By Tracey Nicolaus

He's bouncing’ off walls, a superball gone insane.
He runs through your world like an off-rail freight train.
Interruptions are constant, tantrums galore,
When it's time to do homework, he's gone out the door.

The drama is constant, oh his foot fell asleep.
He moans and he wails, the theatrics run deep.
School is a nightmare, the teachers are lost.
If they only could see, he is worth the cost.

He is brighter than most, as most these kids are.
And with patience and love, I know he'll go far.
But the crap I must take from "well meaning friends"
"Don't let him do that." "Oh these rules that he bends."

"You're not a good parent." "Your child's really rude."
"His temper's outrageous." "He has hands in his food."
He hears this and wonders, just what's wrong with me?
I tell him "You're special, you have A.D.H.D."

"Now A.D.H.D. is a gift from above."
"It teaches us grown-ups how to strengthen our love."
"It helps teach your teachers, no two kids are the same."
"You have awesome energy that could bring you great fame.'

"You don't need much sleep, you never wear down."
"You're silly and funny, when you act like a clown."
"You've felt lots of pain from what people have said,
But you pray for those people when you go to bed."

"So you try every day to make a fresh start."
"For God gifted you with an extra big heart."
As I look at my child, he sees through my soul.
My heart feels like bursting, as I realize my goal.

I know this young boy like no one else could,
He's a blessing to me, he's strong and he's good.
So I’ll love him and guide him through the worst of the worst
And he'll make a great man (if I don’t kill him first).

I'm kidding of course 'cause I know what's to be
When I look in his eyes, I see a reflection of me.


Mom's Worry...but like this?

As a mother, you start worrying about your children the instant they are born. At least it’s been like that for me.

Why isn’t he crying more? Is he crying too much? Is he eating enough? Is he eating too much? Is he making all his “milestones”?

As they get to be toddlers you worry about them running away from you in the grocery store or the parking lot or running into the road and getting smooshed flat like a pancake. Falling down the stairs or tripping and splitting their head open.

As your children get older and move into the next phase of their young lives, you worry if they are going to do well in school. If the other kids are going to like them. If the teacher is going to like them or if she/he will think you’ve done a lousy job as parents.

Never in all my years, would I ever have thought that’d I’d be worrying about my 7 year old attempting suicide.

But I am.

I do.

This is not something I regularly discuss. Probably my own ideas that if I don’t talk about it…I don’t vocalize it…it’s not really true. I can push it to the dark recesses of my mind until something makes it come slamming back to the front of my brain again. That happened this weekend. Sometimes, I wish that others could see the outbursts that we are subjected to in the hopes that maybe they’ll understand our use of medications, therapy, counseling and weird routines and rules. Maybe they wouldn’t think that we are psychotic parents who need to let a kid be a kid.

Because if they saw a 7 year old rummage through the kitchen drawers, looking for something and finally settling on a steak knife before raising it in his hand to try to bring it slamming down into his chest, people might begin to understand the terror and despair that we live through as parents to a child inflicted with mood disorders.

Now, of course, he didn’t slam that knife into his chest. We had him restrained and the knife away instantly but what if next time we’re not there? What if as he grows older he begins to get smarter and understand that we are ALWAYS going to stop him because we love him so much and he starts to attempt these things in private?

This whole thing started because he was asked to do a simple chore…bring his laundry bin into the kitchen so I could wash the clothes. What it turned into was a tantrum for over an hour in which I had to restrain him 2 times to keep him from punching and kicking me, a broken necklace, a broken broom that he took his anger out on, and an attempt to stab himself all the while screaming how much we must hate him and it’d be so much easier to be dead and how he wishes he could just kill himself.

Finally, Chuck was able to get through to him and calm him down. What started in tears, ended in tears but of a much different kind. When they came back inside from the back deck, Zachary’s eyes were red rimmed and puffy. A tell-tale sign that he’d been crying hard. He hugged me hard and apologized for breaking my sapphire necklace and not listening and how incredibly sorry he was to have hurt us. I, of course, cry too.

And the cycle continues. Tantrum, threats, violence followed by great amounts of remorse. I do feel hope though for the future, because he does feel that remorse. Once he’s calmed down, he understands that his actions were not appropriate. I just wish that we could get to the point of understanding this before the actions occur.

October is supposed to be the beginning of the rough times for people with mood disorders as the days start getting much shorter and lack of light affects the serotonin and blah, blah, blah. Once again, we’re seeing this phenomenon happen. Every summer, I lull myself into believing that maybe we’re turning the corner with his behavior to just be kicked in the gut in October. You’d think one day I’d learn.

I’ll never learn to not worry though.


Halloween Memories

When I was little, I loved Halloween. Still do actually.

It’s funny, though, the things that you remember about your time as a child. You would think that you’d remember the costumes or going out trick-or-treating with your friends. But the times I remember the most were going and visiting my Grandma and Grandpa in the town next to ours.

It wasn’t uncommon for us to see Grandma and Grandpa; in fact, we saw them at least once a week. But after we went trick-or-treating to all the neighbors in about a 10 block radius and waited on the sidewalk for my mom to finish chatting with every. single. one. of the neighbors, we would pile in the car to go see my Grandma on the farm and then after we’d get our full size candy bars from her (score!) we’d head out to the next town to see Grandma and Grandpa.

They lived in a tiny little house….barely bigger than my very first apartment. Actually, my apartment might have just been bigger than their house. My Grandpa would almost inevitably be on the c.b. squawking about this or that and Grandma would meet us in the kitchen with our Halloween baggies.

Those are what I remember the most. They were regular brown paper lunch saks, but to me as a kid they held the sustenance of life. She would always have it rolled down twice and there would be grease marks on the outside. It was the same goodies every single year. I looked forward to Grandma’s treat bags knowing that some of my favorites would be in there.

There was 2 cupcakes with orange frosting and some type of Halloween decoration…a spider ring, witch stick, or some type of poker that my brothers and I would later get in trouble with as we poked each other with the pointy end. A handful of each: Mary Janes, Bit o’ Honey, and Halloween foil wrapped chocolate candies.

Still, to this day, I love me some Bit O’Honey. Every time I see those little candies, I’m reminded of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Halloween and those grease marked brown lunch bags. I remember thinking how much Grandma must love us to make us such treat bags and not just buy us some of the same old candy.

So, it makes me wonder what exactly my kids strongest Halloween memory will be. Will it be the weekend that we spend camping with THEIR Grandma and Grandpa and aunts and uncles trick-or-treating at the campground, like we did this weekend?
Will it be carving their pumpkins that we take so much time in doing to get cool jack-o-lanterns?
Will it be the treat bags that they are given by their Great Aunt and Uncle? Or will they remember their super cool homemade costumes, pieced together with all sorts of items from Goodwill, home and thrift stores? The one thing that I’m sure of…it will be FAMILY that is in those memories. Because all of the Halloween activities include family….mom and dad, Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins. So, I guess it doesn’t matter what is their favorite memory as long as they remember how much they were loved…and how happy we all were to be there and doing it all with them.


Things I've learned today

A seven year olds poop in a modern campground is even less fun and more stinky to clean up then a 2 year olds on a hiking trail when wearing no diaper.

Geocaching several caches in one day is stupid for us.

The geocaches that say bring your own pen are so samll that it doesn't have any fun trading items to keep the kids interested.

Apparently, my kids would love to live in a pickle barrell.

A day trip for our family usually lasts ALL day with lots of side trips. Its 9:57 and we're 1/2 hour from camp (strike that.....its now 10:45 and according to TomTom we won't be back at camp until midnight) .

However we see a lot of things that most people never see in their lifetime.

The UP has some gorgeous uninhabited country.

Which is a REALLY good thing considering that Chuck drove off and left me standing in a backcountry road with no pants on as I changed out of my swim bottoms and into pants.

Nylon swim bottoms are NOT comfortable to walk in all day long and the resulting rash is less comfortable.

Driving off the beaten track and into some primitive campgrounds of the NPS make me miss our tent camping days of Chuck and I.

However, driving back in the still of the night with sleeping children makes for some awesome quiet couple time.

And I'm going to enjoy it.


Rant and Rave avoided...thank your lucky stars.

So, I had another post started but it seemed like a huge bitchfest and rambling nonsense to me so I figured I’d restart it. Afterall, who really wants to read about the wicked witch of the west that I work with, my horrible Aunt Flo cramping this month or the shitty city that I live in that gives tickets for parking in your own driveway?

A couple of weeks ago I got a new blackberry; I love the blackberry. Seriously, I think I’d marry it if I could as I already sleep with it usually. Hey, I use it as a secondary alarm clock! However, I’ve had issues with keeping up on blogging. I find myself less and less on the pc and more and more on my blackberry, which for all its awesomeness, it isn’t exactly made for blogging. Unless they made a blogger application for it, then that’d be way cool! Everyone would get daily updates from my vacation next week as I seem to be doing a lot of Facebook updating through the easy-peasy app. So if you’d like to keep up to date on my daily comings and goings, add me as a friend!

One of the major goings in our household right now is the fact that 4 days before our annual week-long camping trip, Miss Elizabeth has decided to potty train herself. Yay! Except for the fact that I’m not sure how well driving in a car for 9 hours is going to work with a little girl *just* starting out in panties. Or how well, traipsing through Tahquammenon Falls is going to be with her in a backpack with just panties on and no where to use the potty. I guess it’s nature afterall and she’s always trying to pee standing up (its what happens when you live in a houseful of boys and your sitter is a boy too!) However, I’m not going to actively discourage her so we’re working on wearing big girl panties to go along with her big girl bed that she got last weekend. It’s been sooooooooo nice having my own bed back to just Chuck and I again. Well, at least until about 5 am every morning.

And considering that Chuck just celebrated his 41st birthday last Friday, he needs all the uninterrupted rest he can get. He keeps sputtering about how he’s getting old and needs more sleep now then he did before. I think it’s true too, despite all the studies done that suggest older people need less sleep. Maybe it means “older” people without young children….cuz we’re exhausted at the end of the day.

His birthday was a nice day; spent some time at the splash pad, the beach and had a huge dinner made by me and Lucas. Rachel Ray is one of my culinary heroes. Okay, maybe she’s my only culinary hero…but I love her recipes and the fact that it’s a 30 minute meal makes it even better in my book. This time we did a recipe for Chipolte grilled Porterhouse steaks with a cilantro-lime butter compound, cheesy smashed potatoes and a fire roasted vegetable mixture tossed in the butter compound. I know, yummy right? It was all gone at the end of the day too…even the boys loved the meat.

During the whole time, Lucas kept saying “I’m turning into a good little chef, aren’t I momma?” Of course, I agreed but not just out of the motherly obligation…he really is! He was a ginormous help and has really come out of his shell lately. He, being Lucas, had to get in the good-natured ribbings on his father’s 41 years; last night he informed me that we beat Daddy at the grocery shopping game because Daddy is “old now and getting slow”.

However, we’ll see just how “old and slow” daddy is when we’re hiking through the wilderness and geocaching for the first time. I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll have a hard time keeping up with him.

We leave for the UP tomorrow. Hope to update in the wilderness….maybe it will bring out my sentimental, thoughtful side. I’m really looking forward to doing nothing for 9 days….and when I say nothing, I mean hiking, boating, swimming, playing in the sand, geocaching, visiting the museums, possibly going to the zoo, visiting the fish hatchery, Kit-i-kippi springs and seeing my aunt and uncle for a day.

Sounds like heaven.


The Chocolate Monster

I’m starting to get a little frustrated. Well, more than a little really.

See 3 weeks ago, I visited a friend in DC; in this friend’s apartment were mirrors. LOTS of mirrors. Everywhere I turned I saw my reflection, and honestly, after not seeing my full reflection (except in pictures) regularly in more than a year, I was more than a little disgusted with how much weight I’ve gained.

For some reason, while I am pregnant, I lose weight and once I am no longer pregnant I gain. And I gain A LOT.

So on my way home, I made a decision to lose weight. I’m healthy…my cholesterol is 117. My blood pressure is 102/70. My blood sugar is perfect. Rarely do I let my weight get me down.

But I’m finding it harder to do things. Cedar point is completely out of the question, for example, until I lose enough weight to fit on the rides. I go hiking with the family, but am always well behind (usually I’m carrying or pushing or backpacking Elizabeth, but still). I want to look hot for my husband.

So, three weeks ago I started counting my calories. Eating smaller portions, better foods, getting in more fruits and veggies and less fast food/junk food. And I’ve done well staying below my calories almost every single day. (this weekend was harder as I was camping with the folks. But I did try to make good decisions).

I feel like my clothes are fitting me differently too.

So why am I frustrated? Because I cannot visibly SEE the weight on the scale going down. The scales that are close to me (at home and at work) don’t go up to my weight so I have no idea where I’m at. Whether I should start cutting more calories. Whether I’m losing anything at all.

Part of me wants to say screw it. What’s it matter anyway? The other part of me is encouraging me to go on…afterall, my pants feel looser right?

So, how (on days when I am craving chocolate) do I not give in to the defeated, loser feelings? Any suggestions?


Sensitivity and Tears reign again

For Christmas one year GRANDMA BOUGHT THE KIDS “Charlotte’s web”. I wrote about my surprise at how profoundly the death of Charlotte affected Zachary.

That was over 2 years ago. Since then, Zachary has read the book on his own as well as me reading parts to him again. So when I saw that the live-action “Charlotte’s Web” (with cutie patootie Dakota Fanning) was available on netflix, I jumped on the chance for him to see all the characters he’s read about brought to life.

I really didn’t think we’d have the scene we had last night in our living room.

All of the kids were enthralled with the movie. The puppetry was awesome, the CGI of Charlotte was phenomenal. Even Elizabeth sat and watched pulled in by the interplay of Charlotte and Wilbur.

Sure enough, we reach the pivotal point of the movie where Charlotte dies. I teared up a little (hey, the movie was well done!) so I look over to see how Zachary is doing.

My heart broke for him.

He was sitting all alone in the chair with his shirt over his face, wiping the tears, his shoulders wracking with sobs. Every little bit you could hear his breath catch in his throat as he worked his way through another sob.

I called him over to me and he immediately buried his head in my chest crying. I rubbed his back, told him that Charlotte went on to a better place and that this is how life works for spiders. Yet, she was a spectacular spider who did wonderful things for her friends and that’s what she’ll be remembered for.

He quieted down, but watched the remainder of the movie wrapped in my embrace. and I was only too happy to have him there.

Needless to say, I don’t think we are ready for “Old Yeller” just yet.


Gone Baby Gone

So, upon a free trial from a friend of ours, we decided to give netflix a try. I know, I know…welcome to the 21st century, right? I cannot tell you how much fun it’s been going through the 1000’s of movies trying to decide which one we want to see next.

Because since having all the kids, we don’t get to the movies all that often. In fact, we rarely rent movies because they get to be too expensive around here ($3.50 a pop for a rental and you always have to rent at least 2…one adult, one for the kids). So there’s plenty of movies that we’ve yet to have seen.

One of them was the directorial debut film by ben Affleck, starring casey Affleck (nope, no nepotism there) called gone baby gone.

It was a very twisted thought-provoking movie that put the main character in a moral dilemma at the end of the movie. First of all, this movie was absolutely gut-wrenching for me as a mother. I think losing a child is probably one of the biggest fears and worries of most mothers. And seeing the dregs of society not caring for their children is just about as sickening. The worst part about the movie is that I know there are so many families out there where the children are left to grow up and raise themselves because of junkie mothers, dead beat dads, etc. no one is there to allow them to be children…loving them, stroking their hair and backs at bedtime, reading a book to them, cuddling them when they are scared. It’s too real of a scenario for me to be called fiction.

That all being said…the 3 year old little girl (played by this sweetie at the left) is taken. (too close to my own two year old for comfort) the girl was sleeping and the mother went out to the bar for a few hours…I mean afterall, the girl is sleeping right? The mother could really give a shit less as she’s more concerned with covering her junkie ass and not getting it put in the slammer or killed from her drug dealer. Kid? What Kid? Oh yea…that one…kind of mentality. So all in all I didn’t really feel that sorry for the woman…more for the child who could be out there being abused or lying dead somewhere.

Enter the cops. The chief of police lost a daughter at the age of 12 to abduction and subsequent murder. He’s a good guy…fighting for the child. Upholding justice. All that good stuff. You like him. You champion for the good guy.

Enter the private eye and his girlfriend. They are hired by a family member to “help” the police. He stays on the track..even after the cops have called it a closed case. The p.i. is a good guy. Basically just wants to help and feels it’s his duty to do such. Starts poking around & questioning things..wondering why lies are being told to him by the ones that shouldn’t be lying aka the police.

Warning: spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen it and want to watch it, don’t read this part!

What does he end up of finding? A plot to abduct the girl to “save her” from her fate of a junkie mother and giving her to the police chief to raise as his own. so the dilemma presented him is this:

Do you call the cops on the now-retired police chief blowing the whistle on the plan and allowing the daughter and mother to be reunited?


Do you leave it as it is? The mother thinks the daughter is dead. The girl would have a much better life with good schools, clean clothes, material belongings, cuddling and love from caring “parents”.

What would you do?

After the movie ended, I felt very much in turmoil from it. (and had a very strong urge to go around and check on all my kids and give them kisses in their sleep…which I did.) chuck and I discussed what we would do given that situation….

He said he’d leave the little girl there. It would be the best thing FOR HER.

I said that even though the mother was a shitty mother, no one deserves to think that their little girl is dead when she’s not. If there’s just cause to have the little girl removed, go through cps and the proper channels.

Which is what our hero in the movie did. The mother was so grateful, tears, hugs, kisses. The movie ended with our hero (casey Affleck) going back to visit the little girl and the mother. the mother was cussing and swearing and smoking while the little girl sat on the couch. She was going out on a date….when asked who was going to watch the little girl, she kinda shrugged and said her friend across the road or at least she would as soon as she walked over there and told her to. It is so completely obvious that nothing had changed. The mother was still unconcerned for the child, so was it really the best decision? It’s something that our hero would have to live with….and made me want to cry for all the children that live like that out there.

So what would you do? How would it make you feel seeing how it ended up?


Communication in Sex: Hump Day Help

As most therapists will tell you, communication is key in a successful marriage/relationship. However, I’m a strong believer that communication is very important in a healthy sex life too; it may be one of the hardest aspects to achieve in your relationship though.

Often, lovers do not tell each other their likes, dislikes, desires or fantasies for many different reasons: fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, fear of offending the other party, among many others. Everyone has their own reason that I’m sure you could add in there.

But communication in regards to sex is very important to get exactly what you are need of out of the sexual relationship. By communicating your desires or dislikes, not only can you reach your peak easier, but feel more connected with your partner as the niggling little comments (like: Geesh, why can’t he seem to get it right? Doesn’t he know the spot to hit? Eeek…that’s so irritating!) are gone. Because chances are your partner doesn’t know! Cluing your partner in on what works for you will take a lot of honesty and patience though.

There are some fun ways to open up the lines of communication, however. Pure Romance, for example, has a line of games that are designed to do just that. The Date Night Game is perfect for couples looking to leave all inhibitions at the door and learn something about your lover that you never knew before.

Already feel comfortable talking to your partner about sex? Here's some tips on how to make sex better by communicating.Non-verbal communication:

Experts say that 70% of communication is non-verbal. This type of communication can be something as simple as a suggestive wink to let him know you are "in the mood" or wearing a piece of lingerie or the perfume that he loves.

Giving Directions

It is perfectly acceptable to tell your partner what you like during sex. Unless you are in bed with a psychic, chances are they cannot read your mind on what you like and dislike. Tell them!

If you are in the throes of passion, it might not suffice to get all technical; instead, something as simple as placing his hand where you need or want it to be will work. You can also give verbal clues like "yes, kiss me there, right there!" That's letting him know that X marks the spot so he can go back to that again.

The Out-of-Bed Discussions

Many sexual problems can be solved simply by discussing them. If you are having a complete disconnect and giving directions or non-verbal clues isn't working. Maybe it's time to sit down and have a heart to heart with your mate.

You will definitely want to start with what they are doing right. No one wants to feel inadequate in the bedroom so start off with the things that really work for you and continue on to the things that could use some work. Avoid negativity. Instead of saying "You don't ever kiss the back of my neck." you could say "I really enjoy it when you kiss the back of my neck". That's letting him know your wants without him going on the defensive.

Things to Remember

Think openly. Some men and women enjoy different things during sex whether it being tied up or a use of toys. If your mate has disclosed a desire to do something you may not have done before, revolting away from him will close down all lines of communication from there on out. While you shouldn't do anything you feel uncomfortable with, making your partner feel "dirty" about their desires isn't good for your relationship.

Just because you had this all figured out when you first got together doesn't mean all the same things will work now. Review each others likes and dislikes occasionally. Things can change.

Finding an open line of sexual communication that works for both you and your partner may be the beginning of a much stronger, happier sex life for you. Enjoy it.


Sarcasm & Humor: Thy name is Lucas

I don’t very often blog just about Lucas. It’s sad, I know. I feel so often that Lucas gets the short end of the stick because he’s the middle child. Or maybe I’m overly sensitive since I was the middle child as well. Either way, don’t think that he holds a smaller place in my heart than the other two. It’s absolutely not true, not even one iota. Lucas is the one who makes me laugh…almost daily. And sometimes in completely inappropriate instances…such as yesterday…

Lucas was in rare form yesterday. We were sitting at the dinner table when Zachary said something and Lucas retorted. I laughed at whatever Lucas had said, because, quite frankly, it was funny. Zachary, of course, got all upset that I was laughing at him. Chuck explained that I was not laughing at him, but instead at Lucas. “And before you start going off about who’s laughing at whom, you need to learn what humor is.”
Lucas turns and looks at his brother and says “Yea. Maybe you should go back to preschool” complete with that little pursed lip, head nod and snotty tone that he does so well.

Chuck immediately tells him that is not acceptable to antagonize his brother, all the while I’m trying desperately to hold in the giggles...which earned a stern, reproachful look from Chuck.

Then, later, Lucas came running inside from the back yard, stopped, pointed at Chuck and screeched “OLD MAN!” and took off from the room. I didn’t hear him, but when Chuck started bellowing that he’d better watch it…I asked what had happened and burst out laughing again. Lucas was standing next to me, shoulders stooped and shaking, hand over his mouth, giggling; that made me laugh even harder at his daring little comment.

Here’s some other bits I’ve heard from him recently:

“Brother, have we ever been to a jungle?” (He calls Zachary “brother”. Z doesn’t seem to mind)

“Yea, I’m good…cuz I got skilz.” (Thanks to Chuck for teaching him that.)

“I’ll be all over that…” (referring to a jar of pickles)

“You’re going DOWN!” (while playing Wii with Chuck)

I love this kid. He is so much like his father in so many ways…they both always seem to find a way to make me laugh. Usually it’s when they aren’t trying that make me laugh the hardest.

Lucas also gave me two kisses in the last two days as well as instigated hugs and told me he loved me (instead of saying “Me too” when I tell him I love him or saying “I really like you momma.”) This is a high point for me because it’s been almost a year since those things have happened. We went through a really rough point last summer with Lucas and while he was a loving and affectionate child before the problems, afterwards, not so much. I missed Lucas kisses but didn’t push the issue…I wanted him to have time to heal and do what felt right for himself. This week I’ve been rewarded and my heart swelled.

I'm glad he's getting back to his sarcastic, funny, cute little self again.


DC: Land of the Free, Home of the Busy

We are home! Actually, we’ve been home for a week now, but somehow time has gotten away from me with the blog. Possibly, due to the work on the backyard, working my regular job, my Pure Romance parties and spending 3 hours driving around to pharmacies to find the meds for Zachary. (Grrr…another post entirely.)

We had an absolutely fabulous time in DC. And except for the first full day in DC, the kids were very well-behaved. I, however, believe that the brood *may* have scared our host away from ever having kids. Because after 39 years of being a bachelor, having a 2, 5 and 7 year old invade your home and run you ragged really shows what life with children can be like. At a couple of different points, our friend said to Chuck “You guys don’t ever get a vacation do you?” to which Chuck replied “This IS our vacation.” We are definitely NOT the sit on the beach, sipping cocktails kind of people. We see and do everything we can possibly cram into the days without overstressing us or the kids.

Now, that’s not to say we don’t have downtime! We went to Chesapeke Bay on Sunday after a VERY busy 4th of July but even at the Bay we didn’t just sit around. Chuck and I were in the water with the kids, picking up shells with them, playing on the playground. Well, okay, we were actually sitting on the benches next to the playground, but you get my drift. To us, that was a really relaxing, fun time!

So let me back up…what did we do? We started our trek on Thursday, July 2 at 4:00 in the morning. Got about 20 minutes from home when, being the list maker that I am, was rambling through the list in my head and checking things off when I asked Chuck if he’d packed the little camera. The look on his face said it all…so since we were still close to home, we turned around and got it. Back on the road at 4:45. Stopped at Brandywine Falls in Ohio for breakfast and to take a hike and stretch our legs a bit. The falls were beautiful and well worth the little trek off the road to see them. The kids were in awe of them. Elizabeth made me nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers as whenever I turned my back for 2 seconds, she was climbing the railing.

After that, we drove…and drove…and drove. The highlight of the trip was going through the mountain tunnels for the kids. About an hour from DC we stopped at Fort Frederick and were one of only 2 families there. So we got to see everything up close and personal. The kids were mostly concerned with running around in the huge grassy area of the fort which I encouraged and whole-heartedly agreed with as they’d been cooped up in the car for 12 hours by that point. However, when the guide brought out the musket and asked if they wanted him to fire it, the answer was an emphatic “Yes!” It was neat to see how enraptured they were with something so simple. The gentleman was nice enough to do it again…at the encouragement of 2 of my little people.

Day 2 started out in a fantastic way...everyone was awake, showered, and ready to go. I had turkey sandwiches made and along with other lunch items and snacks packed neatly in a backpack along with Elizabeth's diapers. We got to Gallaudet University to park (where Dave works) and Chuck asked "Where's the backpack?" He does this to me all the time...trying to freak me out, I guess. I told him I SAW him carry it downstairs, afterall, I was right behind him on the stairs, I saw it on his back. Well, apparently, after the stairs he put it down on the sidewalk of the apartment building in order to throw away garbage and put Elizabeth in her carseat...and promptly left it sitting there. At this point our options were to go back and hope that it was still there (unlikely) and waste a good hour of our day or go on, try to find a little convenience store to buy diapers and buy lunch in DC. I voted for the second option. We headed out to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and I kept my eyes open for someplace to buy dipes. Did you know that in a major metropolitan area it's just not that easy??? So Elizabeth was soaking wet, the boys were more interested in running around than looking at the exhibits in an overly-crowded museum and we spent $36 for 2 pieces of the crappiest pizza I've had in my life, a turkey sandwich, and a cup of soup. So, um, yea. Day 2 wasn't that great. I believe this was the day that Chuck suggested we buy lemonade and tanqueray for "Mommy". ;)

July 4 rolled around and it was suggested that after the day we had before, maybe we shouldn't do all the stuff we'd planned. But seriously? Go all that way to do nothing? NO WAY! So we went to the parade and had seats right on the street, ate a huge piece of watermelon and awesome chicago style coney dogs, played in the field a bit and then spent 5 hours or so at the Air and Space museum which was AWESOME. Only mishap was that we lost Zachary for about 10 minutes...one of the longest 10 minutes of my life...but we found him again, no worries. Zachary also scraped up his face pretty good after the museum by trying to do some skater-style jump/turns off a brick wall and instead skidded across the pavement on his face. A trip to the first aid station and 20 minutes later and we're all good. It was nearing time to go see the fireworks (it gets dark early in DC...who knew?!) and we located my oldest brother and his kids and had the most fantastic spot just about 150 yards from the Washington Monument. It was amazing! I'm so glad that we were able to experience that....the kids were enthralled from the first bang. And really so was I!

The next day, we went to the "ocean" and then spent the evening going to all the monuments. It was a great time to see them...the crowds had died down, the weather had chilled off and we were able to find close parking! Perfect!

Monday saw us going to probably the favorite of all of us: The National Zoo! It was awesome. Easy to get to, compact but not crowded, and the kids got to stuff their own stuffed animals...so cute! Each of them carried their own stuffy out of the zoo in their box/carrying case and I don't think a herd of wild buffalo could have gotten Elizabeth's lion cub away from her. I offered to help her (the box is almost as tall as she is!) but she yanked away from me and glared like I had tried to rip off her arm. Little Miss Independent. We stayed up late kabbitzing with Dave and enjoying our last night together...

Except maybe a little too late considering that we wanted to leave at 6 am on Tuesday. We made our deadline though..or close to it. And didn't even forget any of the children behind. We were on the road for just a little while when Chuck saw a sign for Gettysburg, so off we went there for 2 1/2 hours or so. We drove the auto tour and gave the kids just a taste of history...Zachary seemed to be interested, Lucas just like climbing the rocks, and Elizabeth wanted to give me a heart attack by running over and around everything. Back on the road for just a little while before we stopped at a state park in PA for lunch and kite flying. Another hour and we're back on the road in the backwoods of PA, up through the mountains, down through the little burgs. We were on a small 2 lane road in a small town that consisted of a bar and some houses when I saw a sign that said "Flight 93 Temporary Memorial". After telling Chuck what I'd seen he said "We have to go" so off we went and ended up in a field in the middle of rural PA to arrive at a site that Chuck described as creepy and I couldn't help but cry at. On the way out to the field, we tried to relay to the boys exactly what had happened there...how men and women lost their lives trying to beat the bad guys so that more people weren't killed. How these men and women were heroes. I don't think they understood. But after seeing the site, leaving 5 strings of red, white and blue "memory" beads and a note, and Zachary reading all the memorial stones....he walked away saying "this place makes me kinda sad momma." I shook my head, through the many tears, and told him I couldn't agree more.

So, what should have been a 12 hour trip home ended up in an 18 hour trip home...but lots of memories made along the way.

I couldn't pick just a few pictures to post...we took over 700 afterall....so I put together a video of some of my faves. Thanks Dave for having us and allowing us the opportunity to experience so much!


Ah, the joys of toddlerhood

I love this age of inquisatory innocence. Of everything being brand new in a toddler's world. Of learning new words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This are things that have happened within the last 48 hours with Elizabeth.

Drank bleach. It got left down on the stove (our laundry room is our kitchen. Not fun!) while Daddy did the dishes and she got a stool and drank some. 3 hours in the ER and one popsicle later, and she's fine.

Yesterday, she got into the fire pit while I was on the other side of the gate, desperately trying to get in to stop her, as she rubbed ashes all over herself and played in the ashes until the wind picked up and blew them back into her eyes. We spent 1/2 hour pouring water into her eyes, while holding them open, in order to get the ashes out.And yes, that's red glitter and white paint. She woke up in our room before Chuck Sunday morning. I didn't hear her in there until this had already occurred. We keep the craft cabinet in our bedroom since it's the most out of the way of little hands. Well, except when they sleep in our bed.

(okay, so maybe I don't *love* those things...but it goes to show how incredibly inquisitive she is about EVERYTHING)

She's just been full of new words. After hiccuping twice, she giggled "I birpt agin!"

Zachary left the bathroom door open so she went in there and used Aloe as a lotion (seriously, is it common that toddlers are obsessed with lotion? She wants to put everything on as lotion!) I could smell it as I left the kitchen and went in to help her clean up. At least aloe is good for the skin!

While in the bathroom she decided she needed to potty. I'd be so happy if she actually potty'd when she said she had to! But we sat and tried. I bribed encouraged her to potty this time with a mini chocolate donut. To which she replied..."Puuuuuuuuuush. Puuuuuuuuuush" while grunting slightly. Alas, to no avail.

However, while she was on the potty she decided that would be the best time to show her love to me by hugs and kisses. There's something weird about kissing your daughter while she's naked on the toilet.

We were watching the very tail end of XMen: The Last Stand before bed and as the end comes and Magneto moves the chess piece and the music starts, Elizabeth looks at me with the o....O face. She cracks me up with her expressions.

I can't wait to see her experience the ride to DC and all the sites in DC. A whole new experience....good thing I'm taking a baby carrier ;)


I got baby fever, you got baby fever, we got baby fever!

Well, maybe not you or we...but I do.

Maybe not baby fever, but pregnancy, labor and delivery fever.

I seriously wonder how many people out there have L & D fever; my guess is not many. Usually all you hear about is the horror stories of labor and delivery: the pain, tearing, screaming, cussing. But to me, that is such a magical time that is full of miracles.

Don't get me wrong, I love babies. They are so cute, smell so good, so tiny and unassuming. Except for the waking up every 2 hours to eat, the fact they can't tell you what they need, and they grow into these little monsters sweet angels that I have running around my house right now, I'd have about 2 or 3 more. Well, maybe not, as daycare is EXPENSIVE.

I hate to say it, but I'm a little green with envy over our friends', Matt and Karen, latest experience and newest arrival. Vienna Jane was born on Friday evening and I encouraged Chuck heavily to go and visit on Saturday so I could see Vienna and hold her and get my baby fix. Matt facebooked the entire day of labor with pictures, updates, and finally pictures of little Vienna Jane. Having it so vividly spelled out reminded me of my own labors and deliveries. How close Chuck and I were doing those times. How emotional and memorable the delivery was. How I looked at my own little baby and felt the immense amount of love and protection for something that is part me and part my husband. Birth, by far, the most amazing thing I have ever done, and possibly will ever do, in my entire life.

I told Chuck late Friday night as we were laying in bed together, that I was slightly envious about Matt and Karen's journey into parenthood. His response? "No, really?" I guess he noticed my obsession with facebook that night.

So, I got to live a little bit more through our friends. It was so sweet to watch Lucas hold Vienna and cuddle her so close. Elizabeth was very interested in the baby, but was more than a little cautious of her. I could tell that she wanted to see her and touch her, but was more than a little unsure about doing so. She did give her a little kiss on the forehead when I said it was okay.
Isn't she adorable? I think so too. Lucas is a pretty handsome kid as well, not that I'm biased or anything.

So to Matt and Karen: Congratulations, Good Luck and Lots of Love to all threeof you!


I &hearts my family!

Summer is a super busy time for us. Normally at this point during the summer, we've already been camping 2 or maybe 3 times. But not this year. We're saving up the cash to go to Washington D.C. We leave in just ONE week! (Can you tell I'm excited? It's nothing compared to the excitement of my children who ask every morning "How many more days?") I even went shopping today to get some summery clothes to be walking in and around DC. The last time I went clothes shopping for myself was....um....November? I bought a pair of jeans and a sweater. Before that? I have no idea.

And I think I did really well! 4 shirts and 2 pairs of capris for right around $60!!

Anyway, over the last week we've been busy. Last Thursday, our work had a "Bring Your Child to Work Day" and Zachary was finally old enough this year to visit work and see exactly what I do! It was neat as a carnival was set up in the cafeteria of our building with fun games that explained what kind of jobs each unit that participated performed. Zachary had an enormously fun time; mostly because he got a huge sucker as the prize for one of his games.

Chuck has told me I've not been including enough pictures of the kids so you'll get hit with a lot in this post

One of the things that I noticed the most about this day was how incredibly grown up Zachary looks. There were other kids there that were Zachary's age and he looked much older than they did. And not just because he's taller than 97% of the kids. He just looks older; he doesn't have the baby face any more. He's long and lean with a strong jaw, strong arms and legs. *sigh* My baby is growing up so fast.

I asked Zachary at the end of his day with me (he went home early with daddy) if he understood what Momma did now.

He said: Work!

Me: Yes, but what kind of work?

Z: The kind of work that you could be dead and still do. Actually, I think that you could do it as a zombie!!

Huh. In just 6 hours, he hit the nail on the head.

Funnily enough, when I got home this was the site I walked into. Zombified by their Nintendo DSes. I guess he thinks they are a lot more fun than my work though.

Then on Saturday, we had a wedding in the family for my cousin. The kids weren't allowed int he chapel during the ceremony (due to space) so we skipped the wedding and went swimming at my mom and dad's campsite. It was GREAT. First lake swimming of the season. Summer. Is. Here!!
And, yes, I am one of "those parents" that makes their kids wear life jackets any time they are around water. Three kids. Two of us. You do the math. I feel more comfortable knowing they are safe until I can get to them.

Then onto the wedding. Funny to see our kids rolling around in the mud and sand and then just hours later seeing them all dressed up in their frippery. I had dozens of people come up to me and tell me how adorable Elizabeth looked. I know, right? She's amazingly cute!! Not that I'm at all biased at all. She adores her daddy too.
At the end of the evening, I caught this extraordinarily candid picture of Lucas and Daddy. Lucas is so clearly thinking "my dad is such a dork!" Yet, I think Chuck is so adorable. I &hearts his cheeks, his smile, his goatee...*sigh* Everything. And the top hat, helped to make my brother look like Mr. Peanut with his cane, but on Chuck....niiiiiiiiiice. Wish I would have thought of top hats for our wedding.
7 more days to DC....did I mention that? Okay, okay, I'm sure I did. But wanted to reiterate and capture everyone in my excitement...;)

I wanted to give a shout out to Stacey over at The Thrifty Chick for teaching me how to use the html codes for hearts! I feel so liberated since learning it! Thanks Stacey!


Feeding Moses

This weekend, I did something I rarely, if ever, do. I picked up a copy of People. I was standing in line at our little local grocery store waiting to buy eggs, milk and some mini donuts to compliment our breakfast of scrambled eggs and fresh sausage when I saw Jon (of Jon and Kate plus 8) on the front cover. And I have to admit that it caught my eye and interest enough that I bought the stupid rag.

See, I’m not one of the people in America that are celebrity crazed. Honestly, besides a few of my favorites (Matthew Mccounaughey…yum…for one), I have no idea who most of the celebrities are. People will be talking about this actor or that actress and I’m most likely to say “who?” But for some reason, I’m ashamed to admit, the whole Jon and Kate plus 8 scandal is interesting to me. I guess because they were ”real” people when they started out. Partially, because I’ve watched the series a few times and really feel like Kate is a huge, nagging, over-righteous, demeaning wench and so was interested in what Jon had to say. But if you’re looking for him to say anything of substance, don’t waste your time nor money reading the article.

However, I’m very glad that I got the magazine for another, much more substantial and meaningful article on something near and dear to my heart. There is a section in the magazine called “Heroes Among Us”. How incredibly refreshing to see the positives that people are doing in a weekly magazine instead of just scandal, gossip, and negativity.

This week the Heroes Among Us feature focuses on “Feeding Moses” and details the circumstances that led one widower with an infant and a 2 year old and 26 breastfeeding moms to each other…and how they are all having a very important impact on little Moses. I’ve done breastfeeding articles before, but usually it’s because of the amount of negativity that breastfeeding incurs. Not this time…People did a remarkable job in writing the article to show what a beautiful, natural and loving thing breastfeeding is.

Robbie Goodrich is a history professor at Northern Michigan University and after meeting and falling in love with his wife, they had one little girl and soon after found out that they were pregnant with a little boy. Just 11 hours after Moses was born, Susan died of a rare amniotic fluid embolism. Susan’s desire and goal was to breastfeed her son to 1 year of age as she did their daughter.

Robbie, wanting to honor the wishes of his late wife who was lost so suddenly, had ordered $500 worth of breast milk from the Kalamazoo Mothers Milk Bank (a wonderful cause. I have friends that donate their milk to the bank and donated to me when I couldn’t pump enough to feed Elizabeth) A good friend of the family called Robbie and offered to breastfeed Moses for him and Robbie accepted. Within a week, 20 some other mothers from around the area, organized by another close friend of the family at church, all donated their time, their bodies and their milk to make Susan’s wishes a reality…even after death.

These women give so much of their time to come and nurse and nurture little Moses…it’s just simply amazing the gift they are giving Moses and Robbie, too. I am impressed by the show of community in this situation as well. It gives me hope that when things are rough, there are good people in this world…everyday heroes…that will give of themselves in any situation.

And I guess it really shows that it does take a village to raise a child.


Hump Day Help: Keeping the Intimacy after children

Having three young kids, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to find some spontaneous times to be intimate. A few years ago, I read that it’s very important to the marriage, mental health of both husband and wife, and therefore, the mental health of the children (by having happy mom and dads!) to find time for intimacy. And if you can’t find the time, you should create the time. Schedule a night or two or three every week for intimacy with your spouse.

And when we worked opposite shifts, we made sure that Saturday nights or early Sunday mornings we had that quiet time to ourselves to….well…you know…do the deed. We worked that into our schedules because it was important to us and the health of our relationship.

I had really thought that by being on the same shift, we wouldn’t have to schedule as more and there would be more time for that intimacy considering that we increased our availability to each other by 5 days just because we were finally both at home at the same time.

Somehow, though, that’s just not the case. It seems that no matter what, something happens.

Elizabeth doesn’t go to bed until 11 pm (& considering Chuck has to be up at 5 am, that’s his bedtime too!)

The boys are fighting and carrying on and don’t go to sleep right away.

I have a Pure Romance party and am gone until 11 pm.

I fall asleep putting the boys to bed (might as well hang up the idea that I can be woken up once I’m sleeping!)

Just plain too tired after long days at work and wrangling kids.

There is a kid sleeping in our bed.

Do you see my point? It’s hard (no pun intended!) to find the time to be intimate and yet it’s so important to a healthy marriage!

Hara Estroff Merano, at Psychology Today, wrote a piece about “Relationship Rules” and one of them that I think is a very important rule to remember is : Work hard at maintaining closeness. Closeness doesn’t happen by itself. A good relationship isn’t an end goal, it’s a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.

Exactly what I am trying to say. So how exactly do you maintain that closeness when you live in a chaotic house like mine?

Schedule one day a week when you are going to make it a point to have sex. It may seem like it’s less spontaneous, because it is, but by planning it you can look forward to it and…

Leave little hints throughout the week about your sex night. Whether it’s a whispered dirty in his ear, a little love note in his briefcase or a naughty shot sent to him on his cell phone, you can get his blood pumping (and yours too!) in anticipation of the schedule night.

Don’t forget that intimacy doesn’t have to equal sex. A nuzzle of the neck always does wonders for my mood! A kiss at the base of the neck, a caress on the butt, a quick back or foot massage…all can be done with the kids around. In fact, it’s good for children to see their parents loving each other and modeling good relationship behaviors.

Have the knowledge that on average, married couples have sex 61 times a year. That’s just slightly over 1 time a week. So if you’re not having sex every night of the week, don’t get discouraged! But if you want it more than once a week, try to work it in.

If you’re children are of an older age (not like my 2 year old who gets into everything if not watched every second), use your lock on your bedroom door! Lots of sexual therapists suggest this as an alternative to late night sex when you’re both exhausted. An early morning romp when the kids are watching cartoons could just be the ticket.

Treat each other like you’re still dating. Be thoughtful of each other and put on the pretties (you know, cologne, makeup, do the hair) for each other…you will feel more attractive and your partner will more than likely notice it and be more in the mood.

But if you’re just too tired some night and don’t feel like it, don’t discount a cuddle in the bed, in the dark, talking about something other than work or kids. Discuss your fantasies and desires. Who knows what may pop up.


Feed the Ego...please?

So, I have this little thing at the bottom of my page called a sitemeter. I like checking it because quite frankly it makes me feel good to see that people are actually coming to my site to read me.

However, in the last month while I've gotten over a 1000 hits (whoo-hoo!!) I've not had near that many comments. And if you're a blogger, you know how important comments are to the ego. I've gained a few followers too and I really appreciate you guys (Hi girls!) but I'd love to have all of you regular readers become my follower as well!

According to SiteMeter, I also get daily hits from someone in my home state...but over on the east side near Port Huron. Whooooooooo are you? Who, who? Who, who? I'm dying to know...and want to read your blog if you have one too!

So, please...comment. Follow. Then continue about your glorious soon-to-be-summer day!


New things all over the place!

Well, as you can see, I've been working to change things up around here. I loved my last blog layout, but couldn't seem to get my new header into layout properly. So I changed things up again. What do you think? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I still have some things to fix (blue line up there...add more links...followers...etc) but overall I'm happy to have a little place in the internets that I can call home...and have it reflect me.

While I've been working on that today, my cell phone died. RIP my little purple Motorola. Oh, I how loved thee. My first cell phone of my adult life and it died in just a little over a year. My father would say it's because I use the damn thing too much...but I feel maybe it was just time to upgrade. Blackberrys have been calling my name.

In other new news....Miss Elizabeth said the words yesterday. You know the words I'm speaking of, right? The words that melt every momma's heart. The words that take the pain and suffering of living with a 2 year old (who gets into everything and paints her face with markers) and erases it from memory?

The three little words: I lub you.

She said it yesterday as I was getting ready to walk out the drawer to go to work and making my morning rounds of hugs, kisses and last minute "love you"'s to all the kids. I stopped, and she smiled, and went about her business of picking out her clothes for the day with Eric. But, I didn't imagine it....oh no. She said it again last night...along with huge, smacking, wet kisses on my cheek.

Oh how I love that girl.


Ah, the voice of it all

I’ve always said that Chuck is the right man for me

….but he’d be the “perfect man” if he had an accent.

See, I’m a sucker for men with accents. Especially British, Irish or, in a pinch, Australian would do. I wonder sometimes if American men going overseas have the same type of allure that foreigners do here. Because there is something about an accent that makes me go weak in the knees and my tummy do a little flip-flop.

So, when a co-worker suggested I listen to this unabridged book on CD (the ONLY way to listen to them!) by Nora Roberts and told me that the gentlman who read it by the name of
Fiacre Douglas had a fabulous Irish brogue, I was more than a little intrigued.

I put in the first CD of Born in Fire and fell in love with the readers voice, but honestly had a little difficulty getting into the story. But by CD 2, not only was I in love with the voice but all of the characters.

So much so, that I had to bring the last cd home that night to see how the story ended because I just could not wait till the next morning to finish it!

I love good books like that. The ones that leave you folded in their story…sometimes long after the book is finished. And I honestly had forgotten how much I enjoy a good, honest-to-goodness romance story.

The following morning I started book 2 of the series by Nora Roberts entitled “Born in Ice”. It was spoken by the same Irish bloke who made me weak in the knees during the first book and since I already knew and loved all the characters I had absolutely no problem getting into it.

And oh, how I got into it. I brought the 10 cd’s home and listened to them Friday night while I cooked dinner (yes, I cooked!) and then finished them all on Saturday.

And my heart was filled with romance and I had stars in my eyes. And unfortunately, no husband to help me out in that area (he was in Chicago watching the USA v. Honduras soccer game).

The books took me back to when we were first dating. To when that first kiss literally stole your breath away…..*sigh* oh, how I miss the new-ness of all that.

The stories revolve around the Concannon sisters and their lives. Born in Fire is about Margaret Mary Concannon, a firey red-headed artist, with a stubborn, arrogant streak to boot (I kinda felt some sisterly companionship to her). Born in Ice focuses on Brianna Concannon who is the cool, level-headed, practical thinker of the sisters who feels fiercly loyal to her family even if there are reasons not to. Set in "the west counties" of Ireland there are a lot of references to Irish scenes, history, and of course, dialect. Both books are about the inner turmoil they have and must face in order to fall in love.

If you’re looking for a fabulously romantic read and interesting characters, I highly recommend Nora Robert’s Born in Ice and Born in Fire

If you’re looking for an experience that will leave you breathless with want and romance….listen to it!


Welcome One and All!

To the world inside my head!

Just wanted to put out a shout out to all the readers and followers of Love, Actually! Stop, relax, take a look around. I’m so glad you’re here! If you’d like to know more about me....click on my about tab up there. If you’re interested in ordering Pure Romance products (for yet another chance to win Cher’s giveaway), click on my Contact tab and you’ll be instantly able to contact me.

AND….If you’re not a loyal follower of Love Actually you should be! Why? Because Cher has a wonderful imagination and comes up with some of the neatest date nights on a budget! AND if you become a follower of her, you’ll be entered for a HOT-HOT-HOT giveaway! Go check it out and enter to win some Pure Romance products!!

And remember to follow me as well (over there---> just click on follow!)....I'll be letting all my loyal readers know of specials as they come up!!


Would you? Could you?

If you dared?

The topic of starting new adventures has come up twice in the last couple weeks with 2 different friends and it really has me thinking.

Would I, Could I if I had the chance? Would I change anything of how it is now?

Let me preface this by saying that I love my children dearly. I would lay down my life any day of the week for any of them. My love and devotion to them has nothing at all to do with my thoughts. This is more so about me. About who I am or who I could be.

I asked Chuck last night if he felt trapped in a loveless marriage…only hanging onto the illusion of a family for the “sake of the children”. I was pretty sure I knew the answer, and I was right. No, a loveless marriage is not something that we share. But we do share the burden. The burden of responsibility.

And sometimes that burden can be really overwhelming.

It’s ironic…I was in the middle of writing this and thinking about all this when I get a message from Chuck that Zachary had a “bad spell” and went off on the sitter. He threw a box and then a picture frame from our wall at Eric. Why? Because Eric told him he had to clean his room before soccer. Which I had already instructed him about this morning; however, Zachary’s concrete thinking is that he only cleans his room after dinner. Funny how those rules always work only to his advantage.

But this is just an example of the responsibilities and challenges that we face. And sometimes, as parents, we feel like we’ve lost ourselves as adults.

We wake up, go to work, come home, deal with a multitude of things that need to be dealt with related to the kids (laundry, cooking, soccer practices, homework, baths, etc) and then it’s bedtime. And we wake up and do it all over again. We do what we have to do because it has to be done.

It makes me wonder if anyone is truly happy simply doing those things day in and day out with nothing for themselves. I wonder if someone out there is cleaning their child’s laundry and thinking “I’m so very lucky to be able to do this. I love cleaning.” Me thinks there is…and in some ways that makes me sadder. Sadder that I’m not completely content with my family, which is wonderful, but yet still yearn for something for me.

It’s one of the reasons I have my blog. Because I truly enjoy writing. (and love the comments!)

It’s one of the reasons I started my Pure Romance business. Because I wanted to get out of the house and let go of the sexual side of myself and help others do the same.

I blame PMS for my mood today. Damn that wicked witch of Aunt Flo anyways. She always gets my emotions in an uproar....and my need for chocolate and ice cream.

If I could go back and do my life over, would I? Nope. I wouldn’t. I feel fortunate to have 3 healthy, super cool kids, a loving husband, a home, a job and a hobby that I love. But there are days, I’d like a break from reality for a while.

**UPDATE: As I hit the "Publish Post" button, Chuck called. Elizabeth was screaming from spraying sunblock in her eyes. Seriously, Calgon take me away!!!


Insecure No More

As a teen, I was incredibly insecure.

Overweight, kinda geeky, in all the “smart” classes, part of the Color Guard, I never felt like I fully fit in anywhere. I surely didn’t feel pretty or even worthy of being in the “in” crowd.

As I hit college, things changed a little bit for me. Not so much because I was any prettier (I wasn’t) or any skinnier (I definitely put on the freshman 20), it was just a matter of being able to be ME. There wasn’t the pressure of conformity in college…or at least I didn’t feel it. I was surrounded by a group of people who had no idea of my past. They hadn’t known me since I was in kindergarten sitting right next to them eating paste (true thing). I was able to be the outgoing person who spoke my mind about anything and everything and be real; and somehow people found that refreshing and funny.

Then I started dating my husband, and a lot of the insecurities resurfaced for a time. I was so concerned about what he thought about me, how he saw me, how skinny (or not) I was. I wasn’t entirely a very happy person those first few years as I questioned myself a lot as I’m sure he can attest to. I remember nights of laying on the bed sobbing because “I have nothing to wear” as he rolled his eyes and said I looked hot in anything. After a few years, I began to believe him. And understand that he truly loved me.

And then along comes mommy-dom in which your biggest critics are so often the other moms. You didn’t do this or that or the other thing “according to the book”. Damn the book, anyway. Who wrote that god-forsaken book that we’re all supposed to follow? It took me about 6 years to become comfortable in my mommy-role to where I can say that someone telling me that I’m a bad mom doesn’t phase me much. Instead, I’m more likely to think and wonder if they can do any better given the situations that we’ve been dealt. The answer to that question is usually a resounding NO.

But then we get to blogging.

I know, right?

Blogging shouldn’t make me insecure! But alas, there’s all sets of rules here too. Your blog should somehow look professional. You can’t speak your mind unless it’s sunshine and rainbows (god forbid that you suggest you don’t get along with someone). You should have a general theme to your blog. Make sure that you post regularly so that you get more page hits. Don’t post on the weekend because it’s deader than a doornail.

I’ve thought hard about restructuring my blog. I did change my layout because I wanted a three column blog (and I love it). But I really considered changing my blog content and creating a cohesive theme.

But I’m not going to.

Nope. The blogs name is The Insider….Inside Lisa. I started this blog, not so much to keep up with friends and family, but to get out my thoughts. My feelings.

Happy or not so happy.

I love looking back on my old blog posts and seeing what I was thinking when I found out I was pregnant for Elizabeth, or her birth, or when Lucas started using the potty, or even when we found out the diagnoses for Zachary.

I enjoy being able to relive moments through words…the good, bad and ugly moments. It’s all part of who I am.

So, I’m not changing it. And if you don’t like something that you read, you can leave me a nicely worded comment (I won’t tolerate nastiness) and I’ll respond in kind.

I’m just glad I'm not that insecure teen, or even twenty year old, anymore.


There are good people.....

Today is the last day to get entered for my FREE May Giveaway. Get entered now if you haven't already. I'll be drawing the winner and posting it on the blog tomorrow!

Dealing with the public, hearing my mom talk about the people that she serves at the court, seeing some of the parents at Zachary's school really makes me question the goodness of human nature. Really makes me question whether there are actually good people out there at all.

But then, just when I feel that all hope is lost for people in America, someone steps up and re-establishes my faith in the human race.

Yesterday, the family and I went to Hometown Days: the festival in my hometown that is complete with parade, carnival, games, pony rides, etc. We usually try to make it to the parade on a yearly basis, and this year was no different. (although we arrived late and surprised the heck out of my parents who thought we weren't coming!) The kids enjoyed the parade and some gentleman came walking back down the parade route and saw that the kids didn't have very much candy...and opened his backpack of leftover candy and told them to each take a handful. Zachary grabbed some...Lucas just one. "That's all, thank you!" The guy was a little surprised and even asked a couple times..."is that all you boys want?" Yep. They were just excited to have a few more pieces.

We went, as a family, to the car show (super cool!) where Chuck won a gift certificate for a free ice cream cone.

Then, we all headed down to the rides where mom and I each got the kids some tickets. Elizabeth had her first major ride (Oh, so cute on the carousel! She just grinned and grinned!) The boys were riding the bumper cars, so all of us were standing at the end waiting for them. After they got off, we took them aside and explained that they had ONE more ride to choose. After that one ride they were done. Chuck walked away for a minute while I was talking to the boys and came back and handed me money..$30 to be exact.

I thought it was from my parents and was just about to tell him to give it back to them when he explained that the guy over there gave it to him, stating that he "was out doing the Lord's work, and they were a blessed family and wanted to give something to another family."

I literally teared up. What an amazing man and family (his wife and teen daughter was sitting there with him). Not only did he allow us to give the kids another extra ride, a game, an elephant ear and pizza for my whole family, he restored my faith in the human race.

The news is inundated with bad news, bad people, murder and mayhem, it's so refreshing to see that there is still good people out there.

It also makes me want to do good for someone else; you know "pay it forward". I was laying in bed last night thinking about what I could do, how I could pay it forward when I remembered that last Monday I mowed the neighbors lawn because they hadn't had a chance to do it and his kids are all very allergic to the dust and pollen and such that happens with lawn mowing.

It made me wonder if this money was some sort of payment for my own good deeds. Made me think about how everything in this world is somehow interconnected. That even though you may not see it at that moment, you do get "payment" for good deeds. Not always in the form of money, maybe in the form of someone mowing your own lawn, bringing over a weeks worth of meals when you have a baby, or maybe just helping you out in a crunch.

Now, that doesn't mean that I don't want to still find a new way to pay it forward, but simply makes me consider that we are all interconnected in a way that maybe I've never considered before.

Thank you to the man in the black shirt at Hometown Days. My kids thank you. My parents thank you. And I thank you for helping to restore my faith.


My Husband Rocks: 2nd edition

So last a couple of Wednesdays ago, my husband did something (I can’t even remember what it was) and he made the comment of “I bet THAT won’t make it on your next Friday MHR post”. I had to laugh. Maybe, just maybe, making him aware that I appreciate him makes him want to do even more nice little gestures to show his love. I guess that what we’ve always said about children may be true for adults as well: if you want to get a certain type of behavior from them, model that type of behavior.

So in this Friday’s installment of “My Husband Rocks” I’m not going to regale you in all the fascinating and wonderful things he did for me this week. Nope. Instead, I’m going to point out a few of the finer nuisances of my husband that make him so special to me.

One of my favorite things about my husband is that not many people truly understand him. I was talking to a friend of mine last week and she mentioned that Chuck and a friend were having a conversation around her and it was so completely over her head. Then when they tried to explain it…it was still over her head. I know it’s weird, but I like that about Chuck. I like that not many people understand his wit (and trust me, he is witty) nor his thoughts (and he is a thinker). I like that I totally understand him though. It’s like we have our own personal world…and our own jokes. Like when one of us yells out “dog pooping!” and then he and I die laughing while everyone else looks at us like goons.

But beyond our silly little inside jokes, I know the wonderful, sentimental, thoughtful, introspective person that is inside that gruff exterior. When my mom first met Chuck the first thing she said about him was "the arrogant cocky S.O.B." (this, of course, was the moment before I told her I was dating him.) But, that part...the arrogant, aloof, condescending person is the person that most people do see. (My mom has since changed her tone.) I get to see the other part...granted, not all the time...but I do. And I feel so fortunate to be married to someone who steps back and takes a look at his own relationship with his son and question it for the better, makes a scrapbook for me of when we first started dating and included the Seven Bridges Rd lyrics as a definition of our journey together (and labels Zachary as the "bridge between our hearts"), sets up exquisite surprises for me for my special days, and asks me out for our first date with roses and a blueberry 3 wick candle set up in my cabin.

My husband rocks because he allows me to see that side of him. He thinks enough of me to let me see the other side to the arrogant S.O.B. We get each other’s humour, sarcasm, thoughts and needs (especially in the bedroom!) Even though, sometimes, even I don't know what he's thinking until he puts it into words...he's definitely a complex man.

In short, Chuck rocks because we “get” each other. And I love him for it.



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