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.


The Insider | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates