/> Raising Angels: April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Good Day

Today was one of those days. Well, not exactly one of THOSE days. It was a good day, a really good day.

For starters, it was Friday, which in a world where you are a teacher with young kids, is a good day in and of itself. It's a day with no homework, practices or lessons after school. A stress-free night makes it a good day.

After the kids went to school, I got to go shopping for Nelson's birthday gift in a store I have never been in. I don't know if it was the classical music playing in the background or the fact that they wrapped the gift so beautifully or just knowing that I was about to make my husband a happy man, but I felt good walking out of that place.

From there I popped into a local "luxury" grocery store (which also had the classical music going). I was searching for a few things to round out the surprise birthday dinner I was planning for Nelson. I scored some white asparagus that we haven't had since our trip to Germany nine years ago. They also had strawberries on sale that were almost as big as my hand. Those two things plus some sundried tomato focaccia and an appetizer of sushi had me leaving the store feeling a bit giddy thinking of how much Nelson was going to love this food.

At school they had a special lunch to honor the teachers and it was delicious. I got to teach a real art lesson that involved more than just a simple craft project. It was fun.

After school I spent my time preparing the evening's meal. Turns out covering giant strawberries with chocolate is kind of fun too. The weather was gorgeous so I swept off the porch and fired up the grill. The kids were playing in the yard, Nelson threw the steaks on the grill and my brother came over to join us.

It was too beautiful to eat our meal inside so I sent the boys in to grab a blanket and some trays. "Steak, blue cheese AND a picnic? YES!!!" was Aiden's response.

So there we were. Good food and family just enjoying it all...together. It was so simple but so beautiful. It was the perfect ending to a great day and that's worth noting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Love It When They Love School

At the breakfast table this morning Max asked, "Mama, where am I going today? Is there school for me today?"

"No, not today."

"But I WANT to go to school. Why can't I go?"

"Well today is Thursday and you don't have school on Thursdays. There would be no one there," I explained.

"Awww man! I don't like Thursdays."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Take Two...Again

So I know you all saw this. But just in case you thought we can get everyone to smile perfectly on the first shot every time, I thought I'd show you these.
I show you these because they make me laugh. They are actually a more accurate depiction of life as we know it. In this first one everyone put on their game face...and then there was Max.
We tried again. This time there was definitely a better effort, just not quite the effect we were going for.
By the time we got to this one, Max was still trying but the other boys had just about given up.

This one, oh this one is the money shot.

Secret Identity

As he was getting dressed this morning Max asked, "Mama, do you know what I am?"

"What are you?"

He paused for dramatic effect, raised his eyebrow and opened his eyes wide, "A ninja fireman." He then looked down at his feet and smiled, "WITH spider shoes! BOOM, BOOM, FIRE POWER!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I made it through the dark challenging end of Lent and I woke up this morning feeling like the light had finally broken through (well, at least after the craziness of feeding kids, while tying to keep the kitchen clean, while trying to get a dish started for lunch, while trying to get hair done and kids dressed for church...just a typical Easter morning). By the time we got to church though (30 minutes early thank you very much), I was filled with gratitude to have faith in a Savior who loved me enough to die for my sins. I found myself grasping at the hope of Easter with the idea I could be a better person.

Oh please, Jesus, help me be a better person and thank you so very much for giving me the faith to pray that prayer and the hope that it can actually happen.

Happy Easter! May you experience the hope offered to you during this joyous season. And, may you also resist consuming nearly an entire bag of Robin Eggs like I did today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ooh Child, Things Are Going to get Easier (Note to self: Sing this on a regular basis for the next four weeks)

I'm struggling with this week we have off. While I appreciate the school's desire to honor Holy Week, the practicality of it escapes me. With all the activities there are to attend, it hardly feels like we have time off before we're back to school again on Monday. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) no one asked me.

We have decided to make a major upheaval around here involving moving two boys into new rooms, which involves cleaning three rooms from top to bottom to make room for the stuff coming with each new boy. It also means cleaning three closets and going through the laborious task of rotating clothes in all the closets. When I ask the boys to try something on for the sake of seeing if it fits, they act as if I might as well have asked them to wear make-up and paint their nails.

Currently, I'm in the part of the process where one room looks as if it has spontaneously combusted. Deciding what needs to stay and what can go is not as easy as I had thought. The project needs hours of dedicated time...a rare commodity. Monday, we took the preschool carpool to school, went for a run, made it to Confession, grabbed a slice of pizza, picked up the preschoolers, and cooked dinner for three families. Tuesday, I really wanted to move on the rooms so I started the project and then remembered the Cumberland Island wet stuff that was still marinating in the garbage bag it came home in. This sparked the washing of seven; yes...seven loads of laundry. Clothes are clean - rooms are still not done.

Today, the three big kids got invited to help with the preschool Easter Party and I surprisingly found myself kid free for four hours. I ran to three stores to get church clothes for all the kids, stuff for the Easter baskets and Easter dinner. Of course all that shopping made me hungry so I grabbed a sandwich and ate it in the parking lot of the third place. I was driving home to unload the Easter surprises before I picked up the kids when I realized I still had an hour before I had to get them.

I was totally and utterly amazed at what I had accomplished in three short hours, which also included two thirty minute drives across town. I had forgotten what it was like not to have to go to work in the middle of the day. I was giddy about what could be done with an extra three hours.

We had friends over for dinner so the rest of today was spent preparing. Even though I do it on a regular basis, it seems to always catch me by surprise that cooking a nice meal takes hours and hours to do. It kind of stinks to spend that much time creating something that gets consumed in a matter of minutes...or worse, doesn't get consumed at all.

Now suddenly it's Holy Thursday and that will be followed by a full day of Good Friday activities which in turn will be followed by holiday prep and Easter. My stomach starts to turn at the thought of going back to work on Monday.


Lest you think I'm totally focused on chores, the past few days have also included a great pizza picnic, some lunch conversations, amazing 2nd grade story writing, Kindergarten and preschool puzzle solving and 5th grade art projects. We’ve also done some Karaoke, taught dance lessons to a soon to be married couple and played in the sprinkler.

I wish I knew how to achieve a better balance. I really don't know how moms find time to spend hours outside with their kids on a regular basis. It seems that there are moms out there who find the time to do day trips with their kids while still having a house that is clean and in order. How, oh how do they do it?

We've even cut out TV and still I can't find the hours to get it all done. I'm currently eyeing two baskets of folded clothes that I've yet to put away and they're driving me crazy. I've had to cut down on the blogging in order to fit some moments of sleep here and there but that's making me crazy too (skipping the blogging that is, not getting the sleep).

Nelson wants me to work on a project I've been talking about for the last three years. I want to work on it. I'm just having a slight issue with figuring out how to carve out a few more hours out of my day. So far I've been highly unsuccessful.

Maybe if I work on a sleep only every other day schedule, I might get it all done. Of course, I'm really thinking that the reason I feel so out of sorts probably has more to do with not sleeping enough.

Don't worry. I know this is not the end of the world. In fact school is out a mere 4 weeks from Friday. I can do this for 4 more weeks...really I can. I can go to bed and I know that things will look different in the morning. Sometimes however, even though I know all these things are true, I need to write it down anyway and work through it to get it out of my system.

Hmmm...appears I got that accomplished. Things are looking better already.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here I Am

I think my whirlwind trips around the country have finally come to an end. It's been crazy. It began with Vegas, days later moved on to Washington DC, had a brief stint at the Masters (even though it's in my home town, it still feels like another world), then off to Rockport to skydive...yes, skydive, and finally it ended in Cumberland Island this weekend. Whew!

I have pictures and videos to share. I have stories to tell. But what has hit me harder than all of that is that suddenly, my life seems to be different. How did I get to a place where the kids are old enough for me to leave them for awhile?

There was a time when I thought I'd never get here. And, well, here I am.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

True Love

As Max helps me load clothes into the washing machine he hums and says, "Mama, I'm helping you with this because I'm your boy and you're my girl!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Honest Assessment

Out of the blue today Dawson asked me, "Mama, so when you go to Confession do you say the Ten Commandments or all of the things you did wrong?"

"You tell the priest all of your sins.”

"Man! That is going to take a really long time. Do you think I could just write them all down on some paper and hand it to him?"

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thoughts from the Jogging Stroller

We watched the birds flying away as we ran through them this morning. "Mama," Max asked me from the jogging stroller, "can I be Batman when I grow up? Because, well...I really want to fly."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Great Start

I was getting ready this morning in my bathroom while Max, as usual, was at my feet. I was in my quick morning mode and he was everywhere I needed to be. Not to mention the fact that he had thrown a ball here and a plastic carrot there. Quite frankly, he was in my way and I needed some space.

I was just about to tell him this when he pulled at my leg and said, "Mama? You look so pretty this morning."

Yeah, this kid will definitely remain a part of the morning ritual.

Monday, April 04, 2011

What Happens in Vegas...

…Doesn't always stay there.

I decided a video would do better justice to one of the most wonderful vacations we've ever experienced. In it you'll see the amazing suite Comcast gave us, along with our tour of just about every casino on the strip. You'll also notice quite a few shots of the food, which was more than photo worthy - it was absolutely delicious. The videos capture the volcano at the Mirage, the fountains at Bellagio, the lights at the nightclub Blush, and...OH MY GOSH...the roller coaster we rode at the top of the Stratosphere. Hang in there for that one and know that we were not only on that but in the FRONT of it! Scariest ride E-V-E-R!!

It won't take long to see how much fun we had by the smiles on our faces. Aren't we so blessed to still be in so much love? It's truly amazing, and so it my husband.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Magical Moments

Tonight I was in the car with the four kids on our way back home from watching my brother Brian's soccer team play. It was late and what I hoped for after 2 hours at the game was a nice quiet 20 minutes in the car.

What I got instead was the normal barrage of questions. What do they get when they win the game? What is their record? Have they ever won the tournament? Every answer simply led to another question.

In our conversation they learned about Uncle Brian being voted coach of the year last year. They learned what a big honor that is and why he received it. That led to the fact that Dampa (my dad) was also coach of the year at the collegiate level in the NAIA. Suddenly that was an even bigger deal. Next they wanted to know how he was such a good coach and what sports he had played. Before I knew it we were discussing how my dad had coached my mom's little brother's basketball team. Is that how they fell in love?

By time we got home, they knew who invented basketball, what country that happened in and were on their way to having me find out the first team sport ever invented.

We were pulling into the driveway by this time and I was suddenly hit with the magnitude of this conversation we stumbled into. Instead of a few moments of peace and quiet, I had given my children a piece of their history. Through their curiosity they had uncovered unknown facts about people they see on a daily basis somehow making them a bit more magical.

I was suddenly glad that they had asked all those questions. I was so grateful I didn’t give in to the temptation to ask them to be quiet. I felt honored to pass on a bit of their family history in the process. And like my kids, tonight I felt the magic in the air.