Sunday, December 30, 2012

my life rocks.

                                          This is the only picture I took on Christmas Day.

                                                Totally sums up how great the day was! 
                                     This is my niece, Ryan. Isn't she gorgeous?!

We are in the middle of Matt's 2 week staycation extravaganza!
AKA We might have strep (again!) and the house is just now getting picked up after Christmas. :)
Despite the germs, I have loved every minute of having my lovey home. I miss this bearded fella while he is at work.

Boys have been loving their break from school when Mom's new everyday response is, "Pajamas? Why not?"
                                    Pajamas also mean robes and any accessories we can find.

There was even one day when Mason & Jack cleaned the kitchen! Jump back!

                          And of course, life wouldn't be complete without my Daffy Laffy Taffy.
                                 Hi! I am from Amish land and this is my sidekick, Meow.

                                          This is how she looks at me 85% of the time.

All this to say:
 Life is good, Christmas was grand and our family is really looking forward to the new year!

                                                                 Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy tofurkey day!

Will is thankful for games, birthdays, and cow racing. Makes perfect sense to me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

rambling for 200, Alex.

I wish I knew how it all ends.
I have been known to skip to the end and read the last few pages. 
I remind myself often to live in the moment but my brain flits away to next week's preschool board meeting and all that must be accomplished before then. All the activities and lessons of life that will take place between now and then. 

The me of ten years ago looking in would be jealous. Anxious for all that I have been given. 
Here, inside it, it feels overwhelming. 
I feel pressure to be so many things to so many people. With a smile on my face. 
Yet I dream of adding more on my plate- and that dream exhilirates me.

There are two places in this world I am most comfortable: with my mother and with my Matty. One no longer exists and that makes me melancholy.   I am a vegan that occasionally becomes vegetarian. I am an agnostic. I am raising five children. I believe in soul mates and that I have found mine. I believe in being positive but I fail daily. I regularly make no sense at all. And I am ok with that. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

ring pops for the win!

                                                   Matt left this morning for a business trip.

                                            Good thing I have 3 cute boys to share my bed. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

eating of the kids Halloween candy is totally included...

                                                                       It's Friday night.

                                                        I stupidly agreed to watch this movie:

Big mistake. 

I am going to have nightmares for weeks. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

following my dreams while putting other ones on hold

When I was growing up and an adult would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was ALWAYS: a mother. 

I just knew.

 I started working in Geriatrics as a medication aide to support my son when I was a single mom. I discovered I was really good at what I was doing, and I actually loved it. Suddenly there was more to my dreams than being a mother- my dreams of becoming a nurse. 

So, I began pursuing that dream when Will was a baby by taking classes on and off. Part time classes worked out great at first, but as I have gotten closer and closer to nursing classes, the demands are harder and harder. 

Recently, it became clear to me that by being a student, I was not being the type of mother that my children need. I am not so much speaking about the older kids, but the NON self-sufficient 3 and 4 year old. 

They are with me all the time, minus 5 hours a week of preschool. I found I was entertaining them round the clock with movies just to get my assignments and studying done.  I noticed I was becoming more short with them, not really listening to them but instead hurrying their words along so I could get to the next thing on my list. I was constantly frustrated with them just for being there. 

When I was meeting their needs, my schoolwork was not getting the attention it needed. 

This is not the type of mother I want to be. This is not the type of student I want to be. 

So I made a choice- to put my dreams on hold for the sake of my children who need me 24/7 right now. 
They are little and they won't be home with me all day for very much longer. Will begins half day kindergarten next fall and Theo the fall after that. This time is super precious and I do not want to look back and think that I missed out on so much with them because of school.  

It was not an easy choice. I cried a lot of tears about it. I promised my mama and myself that I would graduate from college and I have every intention of doing that. However, right now, my children need me more than that dream needs to be realized. 

So I have dropped my classes and plan to go back in a few years when Theo is in full day school. 

Until then, if you need me, I will be:

snuggling my babies more
cleaning up the constant destruction of my two little tornadoes
and appreciating their little lives ever so much more. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

3 years ago....

I was holding my precious baby after 26 hours of labor and a tumultuous birth story.

I love you baby boy. 
You captured my heart three years ago. 

And you still have it. 

Love, Mama

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cupcakes make the world a better place!

Lessons learned during red, white, and blue cupcake endeavor:

1. The white inserts that come in foil cupcake wrappers are NOT meant to be used! They are just there to separate the foil wrappers. If you KNEW this, please to be pretending you did not.

2. Check and make sure BEFORE ATTEMPTING CUPCAKES, that you have enough oil and food coloring. Those things are kind of NECESSARY.

3. Do not count on the box of cupcakes that SAY they will make 24, actually making 24. Barely made 12.

4. No matter what, do not ask your husband to make a batch of cake batter for more cupcakes. This will end with your cupcakes looking awful and his looking marvelous.  ( I totally asked him if I could claim his cupcakes as mine. The amazing guy that he is, he said yes.)

5. Cupcakes are a delicious snack, even at 2pm.


Happy fourthofjuly!!!!
I hope your day holds lots of adventure, fun, family, friends and yummy foods!

I am getting ready to clean my kitchen and upstairs, make these cupcakes:

and head out to celebrate, watch fireworks and enjoy the day with my family!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I've done my share.

Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 3:30.
The diapers soaked a little longer,
The odor grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilled the day before
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall
Will likely be there still next fall.
The dirty streaks on those windowpanes
Will still be there next time it rains.
Shame on you, you sit and say,
Just what did you do today?
I held my son until he slept,
I comforted my toddler while he wept.
I played a game of hide and seek,
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess that's s true.
Unless you think that what I've done,
Might be important to someone
With deep blue eyes and soft brown hair,
If that is true... I've done my share.
I found this in the comments of another blogger's post, and tweaked the words to make them my own. 
                  My house may not be clean but my babies are happy, healthy, and very loved
                                                            That is what matters!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mama's HOT!

As we drove home from a very hot, very fun, very UN air-conditioned lodge reunion, I thought all the way home about how I could not WAIT to get to our air conditioned house.

Then we arrived home- where it turns out, sometime in the 3 days we were gone- that wonderful air conditioner BROKE.

In weather like this:

Please to be noticing this photo was taken at 8:22pm and it is STILL 93 degrees!
Uggghhhhhhhhh. I know these are first world problems but it is HOT in this house!

So I am currently sitting in my bra and yoga capris drinking Soy Chai in the largest cup I own and eating unwashed red grapes straight out of the bag ( I live dangerously) while The Chicago Code streams from Netflix onto our tv. Blocks and toys are all over the living room floor, the coffee table is littered with cups and bottles, I have not unpacked a single item of clothing, and I will not be moving any time soon.

I am as classy as they come. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello we come!

Summer has happened since the last time I posted, and man is it glorious!!

No more driving Mason 30 minutes each way to school.
No more out of the house at the crack of dawn.

Instead, there is lots of staying in our pajamas until 11am, running in the sprinkler, popsicles, growing our garden, and playing.!

This weekend, we are off to a family reunion in the mountains! We have kind of been hermits the last week so it will be nice to get out in the mountain air, visit with family, and just be. The amount of stuff I have packed for our family of 7 is completely ridiculous, and I am not even done.

The reunion is 40+ miles from where we live, and my never dull husband decided it would be fun to bike up there. I chickened out but Daphy decided to join and Matt is pulling Mason and Jack in the bike trailer.

The kids were super excited this morning to head out! 
All 5 of my kids!!

So proud of Daffy Duck! 10 years old and taking on a 42 mile bike ride!

Will wanted to be strong like Daph. :) 

The big boys all ready to go in the trailer!

And off they rode!!

I have about a hundred more things to pack and then will be heading out this afternoon and will meet them up there! 

I am looking forward to a great weekend with my family, immediate and extended. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

our day, summarized.

This morning I hit and killed a bird while driving. :( In my defense, it was fluttering after a moth in the street and by the time I realized it wasn't moving, it was too late.

I was on my way to meet some friends at our local park. I promised my little boys park play and a train ride on the train that chugs around the park.

However, shortly after arriving, the entire left side of Theo's face became puffy and splotchy and his eye and left nostril were continuously leaking. It was clear he was having an allergic reaction. My godmom (who was there with us) thankfully drove the 5 minutes to her house and grabbed some Benadryl for poor little Theo.

Once the Benadryl kicked in, my baby boy was ready for a nap. So I dragged a screaming Will away from his promised train adventure and managed to get both my little dudes buckled in their seats.

We came home, where the 4 and 2 year olds went straight down for a nap. Mason's dad picks him up from school on Wednesdays so I had no plans for 3 hours. My sink was full of dishes. My living room is cluttered with mess and our bathrooms need a good scrubbing. There is laundry waiting for me, shelves to dust in the little's room and a desk to organize in my own room.

So I took a nap. :)

The house will still be waiting for me tonight. And I feel better equipped to take on the previous tasks, my kids and anything else that comes my way this Wednesday evening.

After all, I believe I still owe my son a train ride.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

this post is as bipolar as me.

Feeling a bit like this these days:

I just want to be normal in the sense that I want to go through life and feel like I can exist without my medication. However, I cannot.

The past month has made that clear.

There was an error in my automatically refilled prescription with my insurance company that makes me fill through them. Which means I missed my meds for over a month. It only took about 700 phone calls and three weeks for them to fix it- not a suitable amount of time for someone who relies on her medication to function normally. Don't worry- I let them know as much.

While my doctor has told me that I should start feeling the drug work in my body (more so, my brain) in about 2 weeks, I have found it takes me about 4 weeks to feel "normal" again and usually a full 6 to feel like all is well. However, in the past, I did not really feel like this dose was enough.

I have been taking my medication again for 4 weeks. Yet, my mind is still glass half empty in every regard and the world seems a cruel place. I just want to be able to be happy without popping a pill. Sure, I have my moments of manic happiness that comes along with this crazy bi-polar crap, but even those moments feel out of control and chaotic. After doing some research I have found that for my needs, I am actually on a really low dosage and I really feel that it needs to be upped.

 Matt also changed jobs which means our insurance is changing and so for financial purposes, it makes more sense to go see the doctor once our insurance changes (June 1st). I am still taking the dose prescribed and will continue to until seeing the doctor. I am just so sick of feeling yucky about everything. It sure is amazing that one tiny little pill (or a few) can change so much of your brain chemistry for the better.

Please forgive this Debby Downer post but I would really like to crawl in a hole (or my bed) for a year and never come out. So if you need me, that's where I will be. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

full circle

When I was a teenager, I would ask my mom to drive me places after her full day of driving clients to and from houses. (She was a real estate agent.)

She would sometimes flat out refuse, and I would get so mad. "You only have to drive me to-insert friends name- house!" I did not see the problem.

 I have been driving Mason to his school in our old district (a 30 minute drive) for 6 months. That with making sure the husband gets to and from work, and a 4 year old in preschool 2 days a week in addition to all our errands and activities means we are in the car SO MUCH.

Now that I am a chauffeur at least 5 days a week, I totally understand.

Sorry Mom.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

pissed as hell

I finished my classes for the semester today. It's always a good feeling to have another one down. 

As I drove home from my school, I had that familiar feeling. 

I wanted to talk to one person. My Mama. BUT I CAN'T.


That's the thing no one tells you about grief- it doesn't just hit you in the sad times. It hits you in the happy ones too. In the perfect moments where life is going great- I want to share it with her. 

Frankly, it freaking sucks that I can't. 

I miss my best friend. 

I wish I could wrap this up with a pretty little bow but that can't happen either. 

There is no way to make it hurt less.

I feel lucky that I had her beautiful soul in my life for 17 years, thankful for all the amazing memories, and pissed as hell that I do not get to make any more with her. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Well, hello ME.

For the first time in 8 years, there are no longer babies in my house. My youngest (Theo) will be 3 in August and is becoming more independent and self-reliant everyday.

I mean, the 4 year old still occasionally poops on the floor and it's tantrum city around here with Mr. Theo the Attitude. Life isn't EASY, it's just changing.

My children can now play without my assistance for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. They can sit quietly and look at books and make it through an entire kids movie. I find I am getting more and more of my time back.  Part of me wants to grab ahold of the newfound freedom and embrace it! Yet the other part of me is still clinging to my kids needing me because without that, who am I?

Oh, you mean I actually have time to reflect on things? Think about myself for a little bit? What, what? What is this new thing?

This has brought with it a huge growth stage.  I can no longer hide my identity behind my role as a mother and all the sacrifices my children need, because they are needing less of me. Honestly, it's just not healthy to let myself be consumed by only the needs of others. I need to be Nicole and it's important for my children to see that my identity matters too. As I discover more and more what Nicole needs and what Nicole believes, I am finding myself becoming more confident. I am really figuring out that I can choose the people in my life, and I choose more positivity. I had much negative energy around me recently and it was bringing me down. I used to avoid confrontation and instead would just stay in situations that were not healthy for me. Now I am not afraid of voicing my thoughts about things and I understand that not all people are meant to stay in our lives, and there's nothing wrong with that. Every one who enters teaches us something, right? You learn and you can move on.

I like what I have been learning. I like my new time to myself.

Most importantly, I really like the person I am becoming.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Love makes the world go round.

I watch my two youngest (Will and Theo) play together. They love each other so completely. They play, laugh, sometimes get annoyed with each other and take their space, but always coming back to spend their hours with each other.

I separate them for napping, or napping does not happen. Theo naps in their shared room and Will gets Mom and Dad's bed.  Will is not a huge sleeper so he wakes up first. Waiting for his brother and best friend to wake up is agonizing for him. I have to keep my eyes on Will so he won't sneak up the stairs to wake up Theo. Finally- we hear Theo stirring and Will runs upstairs to let him out of their room. Their reunion is so sweet- hugs and kisses and ginormous grins.

Their newest joy is wrestling. They knock each other down, climb on top of one another, roll over each other, and head butt while giggling the whole time. The protector side of me wants to stop them- someone is bound to get hurt. But I don't. I watch them giggle and bond.

I think so much, I want to be like this as a mother. I want to have this trait or be more patient, more loving. When I stop and observe the way my youngest babies love each other, I realize I must be doing something right.  I must be loving them well if they know how to love each other well. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Over people, life and finals.

I am feeling quite discouraged.

It's finals week and I do not feel prepared. There is just not enough time in the day to study all the things. JUST NOT! Ugh.

Also, after pouring out my honest thoughts in yesterday's post, there were MANY page views, 0 comments and 1 person stopped following me. Really?!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ceasing the yelling

I am a yeller. When I get angry, I go straight from 0-3000. It's really surprising that I am not Italian- I would fit in with Italian women so well.

 As I have mentioned here before, I struggle with bi-polar and anxiety disorders. Lately, my nerves feel perpetually shot. I lose my temper easily and in comes the yelling.

This morning, I was trying to stay calm and keep my tone low, yet, I started yelling at one of my children that was not listening. My wonderful Matty very lovingly said to me, "Is that the way you want your children to treat your grandchildren?"

No. The answer is no. I do not want to teach them to yell, but that is exactly what I am going to do if I continue to lose perspective and raise my voice. It is my job to help shape them into souls prepared for this world. Yelling teaches nothing. Patience and kindness will take you much further.

Plus, there's this:

Amen brother/sister!

I am determined to be a more positive example for my children by changing my own attitude, words and behavior. I would love your encouragement and support. :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

a boy and his bike (or lack of)

Hi friends!

I come to you, (readers) today with a dilemma.

My eight year old does not know how to ride his bike without training wheels yet.

See, we lived out in the country and bumpy dirt roads didn't exactly make for a great place to practice. That, coupled with no neighborhood friends, meant Mason just never learned how to ride a bike.

At 7 years old, we moved into our current neighborhood. We have sidewalks again! And friends! Lots and LOTS of neighborhood friends, who can all ride their bikes without training wheels. He quickly learned how to ride a bike with his training wheels on, yet he scares easily and is afraid to ride one without training wheels.

I want my son to be able to ride his bike with his friends outside and feel comfortable. ( I know right now, he does not.) I want to be able to go for family bike rides. Daphne and Jack both know how to ride without training wheels very comfortably (Jack learned at his mom's). Once Mason knows how, the babies can go in our bike trailer and our family can hit the road for some adventure!

It is time for Mason to learn however he is starting out with little confidence.

Any tips?

This is the first time I have ever done this!

Thanks friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's a little stressful around here this week.

Good news: I buttoned a pair of pants that haven't fit me in over 4 months, and are one size down! They are tight BUT THEY BUTTON!!! 

Bad news: This week and next week I am wrapping up school and taking finals. Blegh. 

Good News: My wonderful husband has a new job with new opportunities! He starts next week, which gave him 5 days off in between jobs. 

Bad News: Are you aware of how much mess a husband can make in the kitchen when home all day?! It's a lot. 

Good News: Summer is fast approaching and so is the 2 week break I get from school!!! Yay!!

Let's just end on a positive note, shall we?! 

Do you have any good news/bad news today?

Monday, April 30, 2012

the unknown

A few months back, I had a parent teacher conference with Will's preschool teacher. We went over each of the steps an (at the time) almost 4 year old should be meeting, and Will was lacking in many of them. He wasn't able to write his name yet, he didn't recognize letters, had trouble telling shapes, could not count past 2 or 3 and had no interest or care in any of it. Will's teacher did not feel Will was quite ready to move on to the next preschool class. When I heard her telling me all of the ways my child did not measure up, I started to cry. In my head, I was putting all of this together with the thoughts I have had of Will since he was a tiny babe. He screamed from the moment he was born until he was 3 1/2. He can't stand having his head touched and will smack away those that try. He screams and puts his hand over his ears when music is too loud (and by loud I mean NOT AT ALL.) It takes him an EXTREMELY long time to warm up to people. I could go on and on. All of his little idiosyncrasies , all of the funny feelings I have had about Will's quirky personality for years, they all came flooding to the surface. Is Will more than just quirky? Does he have a learning disability? A sensory disorder? Am I just overreacting?

I expressed my concern to his teacher. She referred me to a professional in the school district who, along with a behavioral AND occupational therapist, evaluate kids in such situations. I had to call and explain my concerns. How do you say, " I think there may be something wrong with my child?" It was explained to me that there was a preliminary test and then a further evaluation if thought necessary. After letting her know my worries combined with his preschool teacher's thoughts, it was decided to jump straight to the evaluation. That right there was a little disconcerting.

In the meantime, we registered Will for the next class. Theo is just 16 months younger than Will and will be beginning the 3 year old preschool class in the fall. We felt by keeping him in the same class again, this could also bring up issues (if not now, then possibly in the future) of self confidence for Will if in the same grade as his little brother. Plus, we are not exactly sure of what is going on and his teacher let us know Will could always switch classes if we felt differently later.

We made the appointment. The soonest they had was 6 weeks out. So then we waited, and in that time, some things changed. Will turned four. Will began to show interest in his name and can now recognize W-I-L-L. He can spell the last three letters and writes the w as one long m. He can now count from 1-5 with some prompting from me. However, as I work with him more on letters, the comprehension is just not there. I realize it is not going to be immediate, but I am seeing signs that he is struggling with comprehending the information. Is he just a boy doing things on his own time? Or is he truly struggling? I go back and forth.

We finally made it to the evaluation last week, and are now currently waiting on the results from the team that evaluated Will. I am pretty nervous but I also realize that if something IS wrong, NOW is the best time to have resources to help Will. No matter what though, my little guy will always be perfect to me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

freckle-faced blessing.

                                                         Happy 8 years on this earth Buddy!
                                                         We love you so much Mas'o'Bass!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

in which I talk about Christmas in February.

I haven't been in this space much lately. My fingertips {and my heart} are aching to release my thoughts, feelings and emotions, even if it only makes sense to me.

Shall I catch you up??

We officially moved. We were in a five year lease at our old house, at which time we had plans to buy that home. However, the owner of our house, declared bankruptcy and allowed the house to go into foreclosure. We had no idea this was happening, until a random woman knocked on our door one day at the end of October telling me she had to put a foreclosure sign on our house and take video proof that it was there.  We were not thrilled to find this out, to say the least.

However, we had been unhappy with certain aspects of the house- there were so many projects in such an old place. That, along with the almost 1 acre lot that needed hours of lawn care began to overwhelm both Matt and I. And the mice problems?? ICK.

We had a few months until we had to be out of our old house but we were ready to find a new home and get settled. We found a house we liked and moved, 9 days before Christmas. Which leads me to my next stress factor:

We hosted Christmas. Matt and I were eager to have our new house feel like a home, and what better way to do that than to create Christmas memories there?! So, we unpacked, cleaned and decorated like mad and hosted our 7 plus 7 other people. It was a lot of work but I am so thankful we made the choice to celebrate in our new home.

We potty-trained one of our children. I mentioned the topic briefly back in November. The first two days of potty training Will were HORRIBLE. I thought my son would live out the rest of his days in diapers. Miraculously, on the third day, it started to click in that noggin of his. We have conquered one beast at a time: first- staying dry all night, then- potty-ing in public bathrooms. Now using the restroom is second nature to Will, and we only have one little boy in diapers. It has also saved us about $50 a month just with the use of less diapers and wipes.

I made the decision to go part time for school. Actually, the school made that decision for me, as each class is a prerequisite for the next one. I am getting down to the last classes I need before applying to nursing school and so I can only go part time- there are no other classes to take to equal full time. I found I was usually dropping a class each semester anyway while going full time. It was too much. Part time fits our lives perfectly right now. Of course, once I am accepted to a nursing school, I will be full time. At that point my babies will all be in school, so it will be good timing for our family.

It has taken me until now to really catch up from everything that has been going on. I found I was missing a piece. I finally realized that piece was the writing I do here- as insignificant as it is.

It's good to be back.

Monday, February 20, 2012

refreshed love.

He called me at home and asked me if I would want to come to Philadelphia with him next week.

"Next week?!"

"Yep. I talked to my parents and they can keep the babies."
It somehow all worked out (Daph and Jack were with their mom for the weekend, Mason's dad had Monday off to stay with Mas)

And so we were off.

We have walked and explored the streets of Philadelphia, eaten tons of yummy vegetarian goodness, and just spent time together-talking and laughing. In fact, I don't think we have spent this much time together, alone, in YEARS.

It is too easy to get lost in the raising of kids together, the bustle of everyday life, to forget one another, to lose sight of the two of you that started it all.

But you know what?

I am still madly in love with this man who gave me my sweet babies, my wonderful family. 

Madly, deeply in love and I plan to keep it that way, for you know-



Thursday, January 12, 2012

i missed you too. :)

I smear butter onto a hot dog bun (we are out of bread) and peel a Clementine.

I watch my son take two bites out of the bottom of his bun, and then declare the newly shaped food item, "a choo-choo." He "wheels" it along the table.

I love his world, and I love that he shares it with me.