cover“What are you working on?” Emma asked, looking over my shoulder.

“I’m working on my book. It’s almost finished!” I replied. “Isn’t that exciting?”

“Wait, you mean it’s going to be a real, live book?  Like one that people can buy?”

I laughed, “Well, I hope that people will buy it!”

“Hey, Ethan!” Emma shouted (even though he was on the couch about three feet away) “Mom is writing a book!  It’s a REAL LIVE book, like one that people can buy.”

“What is your book about?” Ethan asked

“Actually, it’s about you … and you and Drew and Caleb too.” I explained as I looked at both of them, amazed at how big they were getting. “There are stories about all four of you. Some from when you were little and some from as recent as just this year.”

“So we are like the stars of the book?” Ethan asked

“Yes, you are the stars and the stories are all about the fun times we have as a family and the funny and cute things you guys say.”

“Well, I say the funny things and Emma says the cute things.” Ethan teased Emma

“I say funny things too!” Emma objected, stomping her foot in protest.

“You both say funny things and you both say cute things. I’m sure people who read the book will find you both equally entertaining.”  I said, trying to keep the peace and prevent a fight from breaking out in our living room.

So, for those of you who enjoy reading my blog, FB posts and tweets … You will soon be able to read them in a REAL LIVE book!

Keep an eye out on Amazon for the soon-to-be-released, “Running Through The Raindrops … Finding Joy In The Chaos of Raising Kids”.  It will be available as an e-book later this week and hopefully the print book will be available to purchase the following week  … Just in time for Mother’s Day (for any men out there who still need gift ideas!)

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Dandy Dandelions

April 30, 2013

“Those are weeds!” Drew said to Emma as she came running in the house with her hands full of dandelions.

“No they’re not! They are flowers and they are for Mom!” Emma said looking a little offended.  She turned to me with a smile as she handed me the bouquet of carefully selected dandelions. “Ethan and I wanted to give you some beautiful flowers.”

Ethan piped up and said, “I like them because they are yellow and yellow is my favorite color. It’s bright and happy – like sunshine!”

“Dad said they’re weeds.” Drew said. “They are all over the grass and they are taking over the yard!”

“Well, I guess there are less dandelions now because Emma and I picked about 20 or more for Mom.” Ethan replied as he started looking through cupboards. “Do we have a vase? Mom! We need a vase for your flowers.”

I stopped putting away the groceries and helped Ethan look, “Here’s one – It’s the perfect size!” I said as I took it to the sink. “Let’s put a little water in it and then you and Emma can arrange them in the vase.”

I watched as the twins carefully arranged the dandelions in the vase. “I LOVE them!  Thank you both for thinking of me and taking the time to pick these beautiful flowers.”

“So you don’t think they are weeds?” Emma asked.

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“Well, they can be weeds and people don’t like them all over their lawns, but when you pick them with love they are flowers to me!” I explained as I gave them both a hug.

Drew thought for a moment and said, “I guess one mans weed is another man, or woman’s, flower!”

We all laughed and Emma took the vase and set it on the table. “Looks like flowers to me!”

The End of the World??

December 13, 2012

“Mom, mom! Look what I made in computer class today!”  Emma said excitedly as she burst in the house after school. 

It was a calendar for the month of December and she proudly showed me how she had even added special dates to the calendar to personalize it. I looked over the calendar and was impressed with her hard work but then I noticed one small error.

“You did a wonderful job Emma, but right here where you have Dad’s birthday it’s on the wrong day. His birthday is on December 22nd, but you have it down on the 21st.”

She came over to take a closer look and then smiled and said, “Oh, that’s right! The 21st is the end of the world!  Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd, and Christmas is on the 25th.  I guess I’ll need to fix that because we all know the end of the world is before Dad’s birthday this year.”

We were both laughing when Ethan came in the room and asked what was so funny. I showed him Emma’s calendar and after a quick review he caught the error and said, “I made a calendar like this in computer class too. Yours is wrong though, because Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd.” 

Ethan reached in his pocket and took out a little square of paper that had been folded in half 3 or 4 times.  “Here’s my calendar” he said as he unfolded the paper square. “See, Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd.”

“Yeah, that’s what mom reminded me.”  Emma said as she continued to look over his calendar. “Wow, you even remembered to put the end of the world on your calendar. Great job Ethan!” 

I glanced at Ethan’s calendar and sure enough, on the 21st he had written “End of the world??”

Now before you start thinking that Dwight and I are crazy for letting our kids believe the world is going to end a week from today I need to explain that this has been a family joke for the past few months since Dwight’s birthday is one day after the end of the Mayan calendar. Back in late October the twins heard about the Mayan calendar ending on 12/21/12 and the speculation by some that it would be the end of world.

“What! The world is going to end on December 21st?” Dwight played along, “Of course! That’s just my luck! The world is going to end on the 21st and my birthday is the 22nd!  Well, I guess there is no need to buy me a birthday present!”    

The kids all know that 12/21/12 will come and go and will be just another day on the calendar. They know that life will go on as normal (well, as “normal” as life can be with four kids) and we will still get to enjoy cake and ice cream on their father’s birthday.

August 2012 042That reminds me … I need to get going on making that happen.   Note to self: buy Dwight’s birthday present this weekend and don’t forget to order the birthday cake!

Juggling Life

November 30, 2012

Emma & Ethan“I’m losing my mind!!” I shouted in frustration as I rummaged through the house trying to recall the “safe place” where I had put several important forms that needed to be signed and returned to school the next day.

“You’re not losing your mind” Ethan said sweetly, “You just got lots of stuff to remember!”

Yes, mommies have lots of things to remember from where Barbie’s clothes were seen last, to what kid needs to be where at what time, homework and projects for school and, of course, where important papers are and making sure they make it back to school on time.  Lately things have been so crazy and busy I’ve been having trouble keeping up with everyone’s schedules and trying to find time for other important things like taking a shower and finding time to sleep!

Let’s see … the last time I posted a blog was on the first day of school.  It is now the last day of November and before we know it Christmas will be here!  I was thinking last night about how much I missed writing and wishing I had the time and energy to post on my blogs more frequently.  I guess it’s kind of like exercise or studying or anything else – you just have to MAKE time. If you don’t’ block out a time in your day to write the days and weeks (and months) fly by and it never gets done.  I’ve found that every year of your life time goes faster and faster. When I was a kid the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like it drug on FOREVER! As an adult, I start having anxiety attacks the day after Thanksgiving as I look at the December calendar and realize I need to be careful not to blink or it will be Christmas Eve!

About a year ago I decided to go back to school to get my MBA.  I had always said that I would NEVER go back to school, but here I am at 40+ years old taking classes and learning new things. I have to admit I have enjoyed the classes, but keeping up with reading, studying, and writing papers while working full time, raising four kids, and being a pastor’s wife has really been a test of my juggling skills.  Juggling the responsibilities of a mom is kind of like real juggling in that you will drop a ball here or there, but you just have to pick it back up and try again. So here I go … picking back up the dropped ball of blogging and trying again.  I hope to post a few times before Christmas with stories of from the past few months.

There really have been a lot of funny stories and fun times and I need to write them down before the get lost in all the other clutter floating around in my mind.  It’s amazing how I can’t ever remember that “safe place” where I put things, but I can still remember all the words to The Brady Bunch Theme song and the Big Mac advertising jingle from back when I was a kid.  You know the one I’m talking about …. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!”

I guess if I think about it that’s really why I started blogging in the first place. I wanted to write down all the cute storiesbugaloos and fun memories of raising our kids so I wouldn’t forget and so our children could share these stories with their children.  When I think back to my childhood I know that I may not remember very much about when I was in preschool or elementary school,  but I have lots of memories of the stories my parents told about my childhood. I have shared those stories with my kids and they love hearing about the time my brother, sister and I thought we could fly like the “Bugaloos” on TV and started jumping off of dressers trying to test our flying abilities.  Or how we used to fight over who had to sit in the middle seat with the hump … remember when cars had “the hump seat” in the middle which had absolutely no leg room?   

I hope that my kids have lots of stories and happy memories to share with their children someday. I also hope that they don’t’ remember a mom who was losing her mind, but a mom that loved them more than anything in the world!

Super Bowl Dreams

February 7, 2012

Living near Indianapolis all we have heard about for the past few weeks is the Super Bowl. There have been hoards of people invading the state and downtown Indianapolis has been packed with wall-to-wall people. And not just any people, but lots of celebrities like Adam Sandler, John Travolta, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Jessica Simpson and even Ryan Gosling. Everything was so booked and there were no hotel rooms available so people started renting out their houses and apartments for thousands of dollars a night. It’s been a crazy few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and Ethan has been excited even though his favorite team, The Indianapolis Colts, didn’t make it this year.

A few days before the big game, Ethan came into the kitchen and said, “Hey Mom! I had a dream last night that I got to go to the Super Bowl and that the Giants won.”

“That sounds like a great dream, but I’m sorry that there’s only a chance of half of it coming true.” I replied.

“You don’t think the Giants are going to win?” he asked

“Ummm …. I don’t know – they might, but the part that I was talking about not coming true is us going to the Super Bowl.” I explained

“Well, this one kid in my class is going to the Super Bowl with his Dad. I wish I could go too!” he pouted trying to convince me how much his life and well-being depended on attending this one special event.

“Ethan, I wish I could take you, but the tickets are VERY expensive and we just don’t have that kind of money.”

“They are only around $250.00. I think we could all go –the whole family! It would be so much fun!” he excitedly said as he bounced around the kitchen.

“No, that is for the regular season games, but the Super Bowl tickets are much more expensive. I think they would be like $1000 or more. Come with me and we will check it out online”

As I went to my computer to pull up some tickets on eBay, he continued, “It’s really pretty easy Mom. I saw a commercial on TV and all you have to do is give them your Visa card and then they give you the Super Bowl tickets. You have a Visa card, don’t you?”

“Look here Ethan, for just 4 of our 6 family members to attend the Super Bowl it would cost $13,400!” I showed him – shocked at how high the tickets actually were. “For that much money we could go on a really nice vacation and take everyone in the family.”

“A vacation to where?” he asked.

“Well for $13,000 we could go just about anywhere! Hawaii, Europe or anywhere we wanted. We could even probably stay a couple weeks with that much money.”

He thought for a few minutes and then said, “OK, I’ll take the vacation to Hawaii – let’s do that instead.”

I laughed, “Ethan I don’t HAVE $13,000 … I was just saying IF we were rich and IF I had $13,000 that I would rather spend it on a nice vacation for the family than to go to the Super Bowl. But since I don’t have that kind of money we aren’t going to the Super Bowl and we aren’t going on vacation to Hawaii – sorry sweetie.”

He seemed disappointed, but then said, “Well, that’s OK. We will just watch the game here at home. I can see better on the TV anyways.”

So we had our own little Super Bowl Party on Sunday night complete with Pizza, popcorn and of course, Oreo cookies (shaped like footballs). Ethan had to explain most of the game to me since I know very little about football but we had a great time and it was much more comfortable and less crowded than going to the game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Take that Tom Brady! Your dreams are crushed!” Ethan yelled. I laughed as I watched him hooting and hollering as the clock ran out at the end of the game and the Giants defeated the Patriots 21 to 17. He did his own little victory dance around the room and the smile on his face proved that only having half of his dream come true was good enough for our 9-year-old football fanatic!

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Party in the Parsonage

January 25, 2012

The past two weeks have been just party, party, party here in the parsonage. “What could be that party-worthy?” you may be thinking. Well, if you guessed a birthday you would be wrong. But if you guessed TWO birthdays you would right on the money.  The twins, Emma and Ethan (aka: Fred and Ethel), turned nine last week and we have been celebrating their birthday like it was Mardi Gras. 

Party # 1 was with my side of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) and with 9 grandchildren on that side of the family it was one rowdy party!  We had ice cream cake to top off a delicious taco dinner – a birthday fiesta!

Then a few days later we had party # 2 which was a high energy bouncing party at an inflatable wonderland called Monkey Joe’s with cousins from the other side of the family.

Later that same evening we had Party # 3 with my husband’s parents where there was lots of yummy food and, of course, cake (what’s a party without cake?)

After that party was over and we got the kids home and tucked in bed I found myself up at 2:00 am making brownies and scotcharoos for the class party(s) the following day (Party # 4 & # 5 since the twins are in separate classrooms).

Party #6 was on their actual birthday and was a small intimate gathering of just our family and we ate dinner, sang “Happy Birthday”, opened presents and …. Hmmmm …. What else? Oh, yeah … ate cake!

Then this past weekend we had Party # 7 at the parsonage and it was an exciting hour-and-a-half of high energy boys screaming and cheering in one room and giggling, giddy girls laughing and squealing in the other.  Ethan and all his friends played football in our living room (with a Nerf football, thank goodness) while Emma and her friends painted nails (toes and fingers) and made cards with stamps and colored markers in the family room (my coffee table …. my poor, poor, coffee table).  They did all congregate in the same room for the important stuff like when the pizza was served, when it was time for cake and when they were opening presents. But other than that the girls pretty much stayed in one room and the boys in the other.

After Party # 7 was over and the kids had all gone home (well, except the four that live here – we let them stay) I walked through the house trying to decide where to start cleaning up the party aftermath.

Ethan was eating his third piece of birthday cake for the evening and asked, “So, is that all the parties we are gonna have?”

“Yep, that’s about it. Mommy is about partied out and needs a siesta before we have any more fiestas!”

“Oh, I get it.” Ethan said with a smile. “Siesta and Fiesta rhyme.  I know what a fiesta is, but what is a siesta?”

“It’s a nap” I said sighing as I wiped chocolate frosting out of the carpet.

“Why would you need a nap?” he asked innocently. “Parties don’t make me tired at all. They just make me very hyper and happy!”

Is it Time to Retire Yet?

January 13, 2012

Those of you who read my post earlier this week about playing “The Game of Life” with Emma and Ethan may be wondering who won the game and if there were any other “train wrecks” along the path to retirement. So I thought I’d give you The Game of Life, Part II because the trip around the second half of the game board had some interesting twists and turns too.

So after Emma and Ethan both decided to go back to school and get better paying jobs (and more expensive houses) they then proceeded to have to learn about some of the other “fun” things in life such as paying taxes, having kids and gambling. 

Yes, I said gambling

I guess it’s really supposed to be more like “investing”, but to Fred and Ethel (aka: Emma and Ethan) it was gambling.  Surprisingly, this was probably their favorite part of the game.  It’s called Spin to Win and you can bet (I mean “invest”) up to $50,000. You then put your token on the number strip on your “lucky number” and if the spinner lands on that number then you “win” 10 times the amount you invested. But if it doesn’t then you lose the money you invested.  

Well, with all the cheering and squealing you would have thought we were in Vegas.  

Ethan would plunk down $50,000 each time, “I’m betting it all baby!  Let’s win big!!! C’mon four … my lucky number is gonna be 4!”

I can just see them at 70 puttering around the slot machines in Vegas together arguing over who has won more money and which buffet they want to go to for dinner.

They both took “The Risky Path” which has more opportunities to play Spin to Win.  They each won a few times which made them very happy. But, they also lost a few times and found that was not nearly as fun.

One time when Emma lost and had bet $50,000 she grabbed her money back and said, “WAIT!  I changed my mind.  I meant to only bet $5,000.”  Nice try Emma.

They both had gotten married earlier in the game, even though Emma said she would have been content to just live with her cats in the $800,000 mansion she bought.  “I like cats because they are so cuddly and I can dress them up in baby clothes …. a husband won’t let you do that!” 

Ethan had several kids but they kept falling out of his car. “Man! These kids are a lot of work.  They just won’t stay in their seats and I have to keep picking them up off the street.  I hope when I have kids in real life they are better behaved than this.” Then he added, “They better be … otherwise I’m sending them to Grandma’s and she can deal with them.” 

“And you said I was the train wreck!” Emma said with a smirk

Eventually Emma and Ethan both started to get bored with the game. I, on the other hand, was finding it highly entertaining.

“Mom, is the game almost over?” Ethan asked, “I’m getting tired of playing.”

“We are almost through. We just have to get over here and we can retire and then count our money and see who won” I explained as I showed them the end of the path of Life. “You can retire at Millionaire Estates or at Countryside Acres.”

“I want to retire at Millionaire Estates.” said Ethan

“Me too!” Emma chimed in

“I wonder how old you have to be to retire.” Ethan whispered to Emma, “Do you think Mom is going to retire soon?”

They both looked up at me and then back at each other. Emma shrugged her shoulders and whispered back, “I think you have to be even older than Mom to retire.”

We kept on winding through the twisting road of Life inching nearer and nearer to retirement.

Taxes were paid by Ethan while Emma got a refund.  Ethan pounded the table, “That’s not fair!” he protested. “Why does she GET money and I have to PAY money!”

To which I replied with a quote I heard often growing up, “Life’s not fair, get used to it!”

Emma and Ethan both retired at Millionaire Estates just like they had planned and I decided to retire at Countryside Acres.

We counted our money and Life tiles and totaled up everyone’s net worth. 

And the winner is …. (drum roll please) …. ETHAN!

“Awesome!” he shouted excitedly

Emma came up and gave him a high-five.

“Great job!” she congratulated him, “But, next time … next time … you are going DOWN!”