Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Real Time...March 16th.

Whoa...been FOREVER since I've done a "Real Time" post, no?!

So, here's what's happening, in real time, in my home...

I have a sleeping Baby Girl beside me. No matter how big she gets, she'll always be my Baby Girl...or Baby...or "the babe". Being the youngest in the family means she'll always be saddled with that nickname.

Mr. Wonderful is in the kitchen...I can hear papers turning, I think he's working on our taxes. I used to get excited about taxes and getting a little money back every year. Then, my husband became part owner of an LLC and suddenly, my tax return DISAPPEARED and the money that we show as "income" on our income taxes is NO WHERE near what our actual income is. Something about having to claim the business profit as our income? Anyway, now tax time makes me anxious. I loved the simplicity of the days of Turbo Tax and early February filings. Sigh...such is life.

The rest of the house is quiet which leads me to believe this: 1. The boys are asleep and 2. Belle is watching YouTube videos of EleventhGorgeous or Brooklyn and Bailey or Beautylicious Insider. Which makes me wonder: WHAT is it about some vloggers that just MAKES them so watchable? I mean, you know, not that you'd every catch me watching EleventhGorgeous all by myself. Ahem. Moving on...

There are planes flying around like crazy tonight. We live nearish a small airport and goodness, there's been a lot of air activity tonight!

I'm SUPER anxious for spring. I know, just a couple of weeks ago I was longing for a snow storm, but then? YOU GUYS...we had a stretch of absolutely, positively GORGEOUS weather. 60-70º, sunshine and that sun on my cheeks and the fresh air smell on my kiddos made me ALL SORTS of ready for spring. Ohhhhhhhhh, how I want nice weather now! Currently, we're back to 40's. Amazing how warm 40º feels after a stretch of 20º days and how cold 40º feels after a stretch of 60º days. Such fickle creatures we Minnesotans are!

In other news, the Mr. and I enjoyed a weekend away last weekend. Went with my bestie and her hubby to a resort and had an AMAZING time! Tried my first Moscow Mule...it might very well have been my last Moscow Mule as well. It was a weird drink to me...kinda tasted like my great-grandma's musty cabin...but it got better the more I drank it! Weird.

Well, goodnight my friends! I have a Hump Day to tackle tomorrow...woe is the life of a full-time working mama.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Blah...or Yay?

VERDICT: School as usual. :(

All winter long, I've longed for snow. We'd get a dusting here or there...maybe a few inches, then it would unseasonably warm up and melt away and we'd be left with brown yuck. Bare trees, brown grass, small brown piles of snow on the corners...blah.

Christmas came and went with barely a snow flake in sight...for this born and bred MinneSOOOOOta girl, Christmas just doesn't feel right without a beautiful new blanket of sparkly snow. (Pre-Christmas photo below...)

January came and went with barely a flake. Even the bitter cold (which I can HAPPILY do without!) was no where in sight. It was bizarre. February passed by...this time WITH the bitter bold, but, you guessed it, NO SNOW. Around the middle-ish of February, I said..."You know what's gonna happen? JUST when we're all ready to welcome spring, we're gonna get DUMPED on." And guess what?

Here we are...March 2nd and looking forward to spring and guess what's  gonna happen tonight? SNOW. Not a ton (I've hear anywhere from 3 to 8 inches), but enough that it's "making people talk"...will we have a school delay? A snow day? Nothing at all? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!

Since I've become a school nurse, my snow day attitude has changed (albeit, VERY slightly)...a snow day for me means a longer school year...but I still love me a good snow day. (Just not LOTS of snow days!)

And so, as we settle in for the night, anticipating what will come tomorrow, I would be lying if I wasn't secretly wishing for a snow day (and, also, I'd love some snow during DAYLIGHT hours...I miss the beauty of falling snow! Seems that all of our snow has come at night...boo!!) and a lazy day home with my babes. 

Baking cookies, perhaps?

Making some sort of slow-cooked, time-intensive, heart-warming, soul-satisfying meal?

All of the above. Yes please.

And so...check back tomorrow and see what the verdict will be. Snow day or "life as usual"?!

We'll see!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

I've Been Remiss...

Used to be that every birthday/anniversary/special event I would pound out a touching and somewhat witty post related to said event. Then...well, then life happened and I started working full time and spending my daytime hours in front of a computer screen and, well, suddenly blogging felt more like a chore and less like a hobby and before I knew it, a special event would pass and a few days later I'd be all "Huh...I forgot to write a post on that...".

Then, last night, my biggest bro sent me a text that said "Where is your blog post about my first nephew's birthday?"...and I was all, "Oh shoot. I forgot another one.".

(Look at me, with my "Smile for the camera, kids." speech goin' on...)

And so, without further ado, lemme catch us up on...well, apparently on the last year of big events! (Interesting...my last "event" post was Pal's birthday last year!) Grab a cozy seat and cup of coffee...you might be here awhile.

After Pal's 18th birthday came my beloved's 41st birthday. As #6 (out of 10) in his family, every year I like to express my gratitude that his mom and dad didn't stop at 5. Love that man and the life he provides me!

Next up? Hambone's birthday in August...also, in the whirlwind finishing (sort of) of our major Home Remodel. 9. Nine years old...and still goofy and full of one-liners. This kid keeps us laughing and if Hollywood weren't so dang far away (and, let's face it, so full of CRAZY), I'd encourage this kid to be an actor. He can nail movie lines/impressions after the first time he's watched a movie. It's a gift, I tell ya!

Then...my sweet Belle hit 13. Kiddo #2 to enter the teen years and gosh dang if I can't say I've loved every (okay, okay, MOST) minute of it. She is sweet and delightful and her exterior beauty is only a hint at how beautiful she is inside. This girl makes (so far) teen years look easy. While shopping at a local sporting goods store, the sales associate who was helping us asked her, "Are you 13? I have a 13 year old and I think everyone needs to have one...they're delightful!"...and the look of pure love and joy on her face warmed my heart and I agreed. 13 is pretty awesome.

Dubya's birthday followed shortly after...11. Let me ask you something...how are my kids getting so old?! Seemed like just yesterday that just getting out of the house was a TOTAL CHORE because I had several small children and OH. MY. GOSH the gear. And now? Now they're all big and independent and waaaaaaaaaaaa!!! My babies!! Anyway, Dubya. This kid is a hoot. Talkative to beat the band, he often times doesn't wait for an answer before asking his next question. They come into his head and he spews them out so fast, it leaves little time for one to actually answer anything he asks! Which leads me to this: the kid is brilliant. Now, I realize I'm his mom and I'm a bit biased, but just this year, it's dawned on me that the kid NEVER has homework (I'm not complaining...trust me, NOT COMPLAINING!) and is always scoring 100% (or more, depending on the extra credit offerings). I mean...I'm not even sure I could get the scores he's getting!! He's a delight and joy to have around.

And then...Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's came and went without any drama, unlike years past.

Which brings us to February...and our Baby Girl's 7th birthday. Gracious. Where does the time go? We all get the biggest kick out of watching videos of her and she often says "I want to be little again!!!" ('cuz, you know, 7 is SO old...). She is the perfect baby in our family...kind of our "family pet". She gets away with EVERYTHING and uses her baby blues on her daddy to break him down and wrap him even tighter around that little finger of hers. Lately, she's perfected the cartwheel (I mean, seriously PERFECTED) and rather than walking through the house, she does cartwheels to wherever she needs to go. Cartwheels...all day, e'ry day.

Then the Mr. and I celebrated 14 years of marriage. Good golly do I love being married to that man. No, it's not perfect, WE are not perfect, but it's perfectly imperfect and I wouldn't want to be walking this life alongside anyone but him. He is a Godly man, a strong man (physically, emotionally, spiritually), a kind man, a giving man, an amazing father and an absolutely wonderful husband. He makes me. Yes, makes me.

Finally, we come full circle to Pal's birthday. 19. NINETEEN. Did you hear that people????? He is the age at which I had him. Gah. Nearly 3/4 of the way through his first year of college and learning a lot. Not just book learning, but life learning. How to prioritize. What it's like to live away from home. Making life-long friends and memories that will be talked about for years to come. The time of his life. He makes me so proud. So happy. And so excited to see the places he'll go.

And, with that, I've just summarized the last year of our life in events! Now...let's see if I can keep up this year!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Guess I Don't Like Being Wrong.

I have a little story to tell you...a story that made me realize I really don't like to be wrong (I mean, I rarely am, so, you know...)...or, more so, I don't like to be thought of as being wrong when I really know I'm right. Here's the story:

I stopped at Subway to grab a bite to eat after a hospital shift. I had a small, random Visa gift card balance that I had found after going through my purse and so, at checkout, I asked the cashier if I could use it. She affirmed that I could, if I knew the balance (I did) and so, she ran the card...then whipped out a handy little calculator and proceeded to tell me I owed her an additional $2.75.

All I had was a 10 dollar bill, so I handed it over, she sighed a little, thoughtfully grabbed me my 7 dollars then reached for the change dispenser thingamajig and started to disassemble it.

"Oh gosh", I interrupted, "Would it just be easier if I gave you the change?"

"Um. Yeah...kinda."

So, I started scrounging up 75 cents. Then she got me all confused and said, "Oh no, it was only a quarter."

"Oh, I thought you said .75..." so I put the rest of the change away and handed her a quarter. She plopped it in the till, slammed it shut and said, "Thank you!".

"Erm...but...um...aren't you supposed to give me a dollar back now?" I said.

She, looking totally confused, "Um. No."

"Well, see I gave you a ten, and then another quarter...I should get a dollar back."

"Um. No."

By this time there was a nice man waiting behind me, so I said, "Well, I'm confused, because I should have gotten a money back, but it's just a dollar, so no big deal." 

So I leave. Running this over and over in my mind, thinking I should have said something like, "Okay, see...YOU were going to give me money back...and then I gave you MORE money...and you didn't give me ANY money back after that." And I kept reminding myself, "it's only a dollar...it's only a dollar"...when it dawned on me what I was truly upset about: She THOUGHT I WAS WRONG. I was having internal turmoil, not because I paid more for my sub than I should have, but BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT I WAS WRONG. I mean, AS IF.

Me? Wrong? Why I NEVER...


Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Barn Door!!

If you happen to enjoy my mishmash of photos on Instagram (@mama_m) then you've likely already seen this news. However, for those of you that don't peruse Instagram...boy, have I got a treat for you in this blog post!

The remodel. Yes, I'm working on a "Before and After" post...I'm dragging my feet a bit because there are a few things we still need to do, but I think I'll do it anyway and hope that maybe you won't notice our missing backsplash or lack of appropriate floor transitions.

However, in the meantime, there IS something I want to show you (missing floor transition and all)...remember the barn door plans I talked about? Well, it was something I tucked away on a wish list when we realized we had worked ourselves into a custom door. But then, we need more wood work stuff done and we decided, what the heck. Let's just do it.

And it was like Christmas ALL. OVER. for me! When I came home from work the day this beauty was installed, I was like a kid in a candy store!!

Oh my friends. I love it. I love its practicality. Its functionality. And its sheer beauty. It turned out magnificently.

And I am one happy mama.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Large Family Chore Checklist...for Kiddos That Like to "Check"!

Have you heard of this thing called "Pinterest"? Oh...you have? Silly me. ;)

Anyway, the Mr. and I were trying to find a good chore checklist to help with our kids getting their chores done. We're terribly inconsistent about making them stick to their duties and there is so often a "it's not my kitchen night" battle happening, that we decided we needed something in writing.

And a little positive reinforcement.

Back to aforementioned Pinterest...I scoured Pinterest, trying to find just the right checklist...but they were all just...well, not right. Pretty, yes. Some organized by day, some by week, some by room, some by the phase the moon was in, or the correct alignment of the stars...but nothing that was quite what we were looking for.

So, I took it upon myself to create a little something that worked for our family. And this is what we came up with (for winter, anyway...summer will be different chores...like, no shoveling snow, for instance!), which seems to be working quite well for our large family:


I don't know about your kids, but our kids LOVE checklists. We've found that a checklist will not only help to keep our kids on track, ensuring that their assigned chores are getting done fully and completely, but it also gives them a sense of on-going accomplishment. How great is it to see the progress you're making, by being able to check items off a list?!

One of the problems I had with the "other" checklists on Pinterest is that they would say, "Kitchen" or "Bathroom" but not list out the actual chores that needed to be completed. It was important to us to list out what, exactly, we expect to be cleaned in those rooms.

And the icing on the cake? The carrot to keep them going? A weekly incentive drawing...ranging from $5 to a night free from kitchen duties to one-on-one time with mom and dad. The incentive keeps them going during the week and we've found them frequently talking about "what do you think this week's incentive will be?!". They now know that chores must be completed in a thorough and timely fashion to be included in the drawing.

The weekly chore day is more of a "suggestion" as the deadline for being included in the incentive drawing is Friday at 6pm. Chores MUST be done by then to be included.

What have you found works well to keep your kids on track with their chores?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wow. I have been SERIOUSLY remiss in documenting the goings-on of our home on my blog! It's been over three weeks since my last post?! Why, I never...

Anyway...can y'all believe another Christmas has come and gone? I can't. It makes me sad...Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and it goes by SO STINKING FAST!! In fact, my Belle said, the day after Christmas, "Mama, Christmas is so slow to come and goes by way too fast!". Yes, my love. It does.

But, go by too fast or not, it was wonderful! I absolutely love the traditions, the big, loud, crazy Christmas celebrations, the fun and family and getting together and ALL THE CHRISTMAS EVERYTHING!

One thing I did not love...missing "midnight Mass". Somewhere along the line we missed the memo that my beloved, cherished, most looked forward to mass was changing from midnight to 10pm. I had always been SO PROUD of our church for continuing to celebrate midnight Mass...for honoring sweet Baby Jesus at the VERY START to his birthday and when I found out it had changed (at 10:10pm on Christmas Eve, mind you...), well, my heart broke a little. It actually makes me a little teary to know that this tradition is gone.

Gah. I can't think about it any more or I'll be cryin' all over my keyboard!!!

Okay! Moving on...*wipes eyes*...so, New Year's celebration. Yes, let's move on to that...we turned down to very tempting, incredibly fun offers of a night out in exchange for? A quiet night in with our brood! (Well, most of 'em, anyway...two were away...) We had a dance party (and ohmigosh...check out this link of my hubby shakin' his booty to Just Dance!!! I die.), played Qwirkle, had some plain old "simple" fun, and rang in the New Year with champagne (us) and kid booze (sparkling juice) (them). It was delightful!

And we woke up feeling like a million bucks!

Now...we cherish the remnants of another Christmas gone by, the start to another year, and the simple prayer for "health and safety" for our family (and yours!).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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