My beautiful family.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

This song....

http://youtu.be/Y5FUGCHUcUs


...reminds me SO much of my mom. Everything about it reminds me of things that she did for me or said to me. It is exactly the way I see her through my eyes and how I've seen her since I was a child.

5 years old: "I don't know why all the trees change in the fall. But I know you're not scared of anything at all."

13 years old: "I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school. But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you. Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel ok. But I know I had the best day with you today."

Now: "You're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world. Now I know why all the trees change in the fall. I know you were on my side, even when I was wrong and I love you for giving me your eyes. For staying back and watching me shine..."

I haven't really blogged about this, but for a while back in December I truly believed that I was gonna lose my mom. She was having major health problems. Ever since then, I have started to think back on our relationship and everything we've been through. She was my biggest supporter at spelling bee's, bowling tournaments, singing competitions and everything else I decided to participate in. She was the one who listened to me cry about having "fights" with my elementary girlfriends and high-school boyfriends. She defended me no matter what the situation was. Even though now when I look back, sometimes I didn't really deserve to be defended. She was always on my side. She still is. I don't think she'll ever know how much that means to me. I don't think she'll ever know how much SHE means to me.

She has taught me about the kind of mom I want to be. She's taught me that we're all human and we all make mistakes. Even moms. She has taught be about unconditional love. That no matter what I do, whether I'm right or wrong, whether I make good decisions or bad, that she still loves me and she's always in my corner. We have had our ups and downs throughout the years, but I wouldn't trade any of the good or bad times. I am stronger now because of them. I have learned from all of it.

I am the person I am today because of HER!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Isn't it funny?


Isn't it funny how God so obviously puts you in a certain situation or puts certain people in your life? He seems to know exactly what you're needing, whether it be a friend or a life-lesson, right at the exact perfect time in your life.


In the past few months, I have become close friends with this family. Typical family. Mom, Dad, 12 year old daughter and 9 year old daughter. They just happen to be going through something that I have never had any experience with. Their oldest daughter, Emma, has Leukemia. So that's where our story begins. I heard from a mutual friend that Emma was having a really rough time in the hospital, and I felt this uncontrollable urge to not only meet her, but to somehow put a smile on her face. It wasn't like an "awww....I feel so bad for her, I should do something" kind of feeling. It was more of a feeling of God telling me "You need to meet this family, and you'll understand why later" kind of feeling. There's a distinct difference. If you've ever had God tell you to do something, you know that it's not something that you can just ignore.


But I felt like it would be intrusive and rude of me to just go see her in the hospital. What would I say when they looked at me like "who are you???" "......um, hi I'm Brandi and God told me to come see you?" WEIRD!!!


So I had lunch with this mutual friend of ours a couple times a week, and she would tell me how Emma is doing and I would feel more and more like I needed to go see her. Finally I told Angie "I want to meet her! I don't know why, but I feel this weird connection to her and I don't understand it." Angie told me that she'd let me know when Emma was having a good day and that we'd go up to her room together. So finally the day came when Angie said she was up for company and we went up to see her. At first, I just wanted to make her smile. I thought that was the reason God was pulling me towards her. He wanted to show his love for her through me. I wanted to tell her and her mom that I had been praying for them and maybe that would bring them a little bit of comfort. Little did I know that THEY would be the ones to bring so much joy, love, peace and happiness to MY life. I had it all wrong.


For the few months prior to me meeting them, I had been struggling with my mom being sick. And quite honestly I was feeling really sorry for myself. It's not fair that I'm only 30 and my mom has this life threatening illness. I shouldn't have to be dealing with this so young. God is putting too much on my shoulders and I'm overwhelmed, angry, sad, scared, depressed, etc.


Since I've gotten to know Kelli, Emma and the rest of their family better, I've learned so much about what's important in life, the kind of mother I want to be, the kind of person I want to be, and how much I lacked the faith that I should have had all along. They are just incredible. They laugh wherever they go, they take every opportunity to have a good time and they don't let this disease claim their lives. I have laughed more at the hospital with them while Emma was getting chemo than I have laughed in a long time. When you're with them, you don't feel like you're with a family who's dealing with Cancer. You feel like you're with the most fun, loving and just plain happy family there is. They make me want to be the same way. They have made such a difference in my life in such a short time, and they make me want to make a difference in the lives of others. Isn't that why we're here anyways? To help eachother? To be a person that people can lean on, and in turn have others that we can lean on?


I'm so glad that I followed that urge to meet them, because my life has never felt so fulfilled. It has only been a few short months, but I know that this friendship will last a lifetime. It seems so crazy to me when Emma thanks me for coming to see her, because she doesn't realize that she has done WAY more for me than I could EVER do for her. She has taught me that my way of thinking was so selfish and backwards. When I felt like "I don't deserve to go through this" I was so wrong. We never think about how good we have it. We go through one struggle and suddenly life is unfair. Well let me tell you, if Emma can go through what she has been through and still be thankful and still keep smiling, then darnit, so can I! And from here on out, I will choose to be thankful.


I guess my point is that when you make a conscious decision to try and make someone elses life a little bit better, or easier, or a little more fun....you never know how much better your life can be. You never know how much you will learn and grow. And it NEVER hurts to try and make a difference :)




Wednesday, December 01, 2010

These girls...

Have become some of my best friends in this past year or so. They're my NtC girls. I've known a couple of them for years (one since I was born) and the rest of them have just come into my life within the past year. They say that every girl needs a good group of girlfriends. I say that I'm blessed with the best group there is.

I had a great time with them in Frankenmuth last week. Here's to many more memories to come!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What I didn't know...


People tend to give a lot of advice to pregnant women. They give a lot of "what to expect's" and tell their personal experiences. They tell you about the sleepless nights you'll have with a newborn, the labor and delivery stories, the experience of holding your child for the first time, the disgusting diaper stories, blah, blah, blah.


Here are a few of the things "they" didn't tell me.


They didn't tell me that I would cringe at the thought of my kids playing in one of those play places at the fast food restaurants. I try *really* hard to not be neurotic about germs, so I took my kids to play there over the weekend. I sat there looking at all the kids in there and my stomach was turning. My mind was going a thousand miles a minute thinking "I wonder how often they clean this place. I wonder if they use antibacterial cleaner. I wonder how often a kid pee's or pukes in there." About this time a kid comes down the slide, screaming hysterically and bleeding from what I couldn't tell was his mouth or nose. Immediately I wanted my kids OUT of there! So I got the hand sanitizer out of my purse and called for them to come out because it was time to go. Oh, and I told them NOT to go down the same slide as that kid. Sidenote: The dad took the bleeding kid to the bathroom, cleaned him up and they left WITHOUT telling anyone who worked there that there was blood on the slide.


They didn't tell me that all of my proudest moments in life, my accomplishments, my acheivements, won't mean ANYTHING anymore once one of my kids accomplishes something. I took Carter to his "Kindergarten readiness" testing last week. I watched as the lady pointed at letters and numbers and he recited "A" and "7", etc. She asked him "do 'Tea' and 'Sign' rhyme?" and he said "NO!" and she said "can you give me a word that does rhyme with Sign?" and he said "Line." I sat there, just as proud as I would imagine the moms who watch their kids graduate from Harvard, as the lady told me "You have one smart little guy. We have no concerns with him whatsoever." I cry every time Madison has her end-of-the-year gymnastics show. I cried when she mastered the somersault, as if she had just won a gold medal in the Olympics. I am so proud when she learns a new song on the recorder or teaches herself a new song on her keyboard. The fact that she brought home all A's and one B+ on her last report card makes me so incredibly proud. To me, these little accomplishments are just as significant as if it were Harvard or the Olympics.


They didn't tell me that I would lay in bed at night wondering if I was too hard on them with a punishment. That I would actually want to wake them up at night if I forgot to say "I love you" before bed because I was too busy getting things ready for the next morning. That I would second guess every last decision I made. That there would be times that I would want to get in my car and drive as far away from them as I could possibly get. They didn't tell me that the things that mattered the most in my life before wouldn't matter at all anymore, and the things that didn't matter at all before would all of a sudden be important. That if another kid was mean to them I would actually want to physically hurt that kid, and that I would want SOOOOO badly to tell my kids to physically hurt the kid because I know I'd go to jail if I did it myself. They didn't tell me that my kids would learn how to push my buttons at a REALLY young age, and that they would be able to make me more mad than anyone ever has, and probably more mad than anyone ever will.


They didn't tell me that I was getting into the craziest ride of my life and that even though I might not love every second of it (and want to run away at times), I would love those kids like I never knew I was capable of loving anyone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ironic...

Regarding my last post:

I just stepped on a lego. I didn't laugh. I still wanted to grab Carter by his neck for leaving it on the floor.

Guess I still have to work on that appreciation thing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sometimes...

I can't help but feel like such a selfish person.

I complain about the laundry. I complain about the long hours I work. I complain when my kids decide they don't like what I made for dinner (even though they liked it last week.) My house is never clean enough. I never have enough time. I never get to see David because he's always working late. My kids argue too much. They don't appreciate me. I don't get to spend enough time with the people I love. My family and My friends. I want a massage. I want new clothes. I want to take a vacation. I want, I want, I want!

Sometimes, all it takes is something like this http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kylejameswilliams to put things in perspective. I don't personally know this little guy, or his family. Actually, his parents are friends of a girl I grew up with in church. She was my neighbor and my childhood babysitter. Anyways, Kyle is fighting Cancer. He's five. Can you imagine? Your baby having Cancer?

Hearing stories like this about children makes me feel physically ill. I get this awful knot in my stomach thinking about what I would do if something like this happened to one of my children. I honestly don't know. How do you hold it together when your child is fighting for their life? How do you get through your day? How do you sit by and wait for the next game plan? How do you hold on to your faith and how do you not blame God? How do you smile when someone says "it'll be ok"? How do you put your trust in doctors? How does your world not just completely stop turning? I pray every day that I'll never know the answers to these questions.

I think about the time Madison broke her arm and how I swore I was going to die. Thinking back now I can laugh about it, but that night still ranks as one of the top 5 worst nights of my life. It is the closest thing either of my kids has come to "tragedy." She was 4. I was 8 months pregnant. It was the night after Christmas. She asked if she could leave the dinner table (yeah, my kids used to have manners.) I said she could. She went into the living room, we heard a BANG followed by a scream. Now Madison has always been quite the drama queen, so this scream didn't concern me in the least. I think I actually said something like "Madison, you know better than to scream like that!" Then I walked into the living room and saw what looked like it belonged in a horror flick. She was laying on her back with her arm out to her side, and just below her elbow it was like she had another elbow because her arm was bent in a way that it shouldn't have bent. Clearly it was broken. Like - in half! So I started screaming. David came in and saw it and he started screaming. We were both just running around the living room screaming. I was screaming "Call 911" and he was screaming "Just put her in the car!" Thank God his mom was there. She calmly told us both to shut up, wrap her in a blanket, put her in the car and go to the nearest ER. So we got to the ER, we were giving our insurance info, when I looked down and saw blood on her sleeve. I asked David "what's that?" He just shook his head at me as if to say "not now!" But I kept on.....he finally told me that her bone was out of her skin. Yep. The hysteria all over again! I started screaming all over again, this time vomiting all over the place. They were ready to take me to labor and delivery because they were sure this was gonna cause pre-term labor. I was absolutely out of control! I was the worst mom ever. How could I let this happen to my baby? What would I say when Child Protective Services came to question me? Were they gonna take her away from me? I should have been watching her. All this over a broken arm. Turns out she survived. She was out of her cast about 8 weeks later and back in gymnastics a few months after that. So that's the only tragedy I've known as far as my kids are concerned.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I should be thankful that I have laundry to do (even though the clothes aren't new and I wish my jeans were about 4 sizes smaller), thankful that I have a job to go to, thankful that my kids are healthy enough to argue with eachother; because that's what kids are supposed to do. Thankful for such a hard working, loving, supportive husband. I should be thankful for my messy house. I should laugh when I step on a lego instead of jumping around screaming and wanting to grab Carter by his neck for leaving it in the floor! I have a loving, healthy, beautiful family. What more could I ask for? I have all the important stuff!

I remember in one of my Grandpa's sermons (a loooong time ago) he said something like "I complained about not having shoes, until I met a man with no feet..." I probably didn't get that quote exactly right, but for some reason it has always stuck with me. How could I possibly think that I deserve more in my life than I already have? When I look around at the world and the everyday tragedies people are dealing with. I have everything I need. I just need to realize it. Cherish it. Embrace it.

.....and for the love of God.....STOP COMPLAINING!!!!

By the way, you can click the link above if you would like to sign Kyle's guestbook. Just to say hello, let him know you're praying for him, to tell him a joke and put a smile on his little face. Whatever you feel like you'd like to say. His parents read all of the posts to him and they say he loves hearing them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh my!!!

What was I thinking???

I decided to join the church softball team.

Again.....what was I thinking???

Since I'm always in the back teaching the kids at church, I really haven't gotten a chance to get to know many people. I was reading the bulletin Sunday and it said "Women's Softball starting this week." I thought "What a great way to get some exercise and to get to know some of the girls." Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Yeah, so I haven't played softball since the 4th grade. Do they even call it softball at that age? I don't remember running nearly as much or being nearly as sore as I am tonight. Granted, I was in a *little* bit better shape in 4th grade.

So we get to practice and they say we're gonna start with just practicing throwing. Simple, right? Sweet Jesus!!! I threw the ball twice and thought I was gonna die. I'm pretty sure this muscle in my side hasn't been used since.....well probably since the last time I played softball. And the lady that was throwing to me, let's just say she had a pretty good arm. The first time I caught it I thought she broke my hand. After that I "accidentally" started missing (dodging) it. But then I had to chase it. So I decided catching it was the lesser of the two evils.

So now my side feels like someone stabbed me, my hand feels like someone took a hammer to it and then they start asking everyone what position we play. Ummmm....I don't! So they put me in outfield (obviously.) I didn't do too bad there, actually. Not many balls came that way, so it was a good position for me.

Then onto hitting. I did hit a few good ones. Turns out that doesn't really matter if you can't run. I'm not sure when the last time I ran was. I really don't see the point in running unless I'm being chased. After tonight, I realized that if I were being chased I probably wouldn't make it. Let's just hope that never happens.

Too bad those girls didn't have a video camera. Someone could have been rich because I was really freakin' funny! No one asked me not to come back though, so I guess that's a good sign :)

.....at least I can laugh at myself, right???

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'm such a wuss!

I would really love my dentist.....if she wasn't a dentist. I think she's great.....if she would just stay away from my teeth.

I don't know what it is about the dentist, but I absolutely HATE it!!! I hate the smell when you walk in the door. (All dentist offices smell the same to me.) I hate the taste of latex gloves in my mouth. I hate the light in my eyes. I hate the sound of the drill. I even hate the sound of the electric toothbrush thing they use to polish my teeth. I especially hate the scraping. Ugh, the scraping!!!! I get chills just thinking about it. I just flat-out hate the dentist!!! I'm almost sure I would rather give birth than go to the dentist. Ok, I might be being a *little* dramatic, but it's my blog, so I can be!

Up until about a year ago, it had been close to 10 years since I had had my teeth cleaned. Sounds so disgusting, I know. But I hate going! We found a dentist that the kids absolutely love and I decided that if they can do it, so can I. Actually, both of my kids absolutely love getting their teeth cleaned. And fillings don't bother them either. So my friend, who is a dental assistant, told me to ask for the gas. I didn't know I could do this for a simple cleaning. Turns out you can. So I do. I take my iPod, turn it all the way up, get the gas, and I still hate every second of it!!! I start having anxiety a few days before every dentist appointment. What is wrong with me?

So anyways, after almost 10 years, I went and had my teeth cleaned. This girl scraped my teeth for close to 2 hours! No amount of gas helps at that point. My teeth were sore for weeks! After that I decided that I would NEVER do that to myself again. So since then I've had them cleaned every 6 months like clock work. And hated it every. single. time.

Well last week was my cleaning and they found a cavity. I had to go today to get it filled. I decided that even more than the smell, the taste and the sound, I hate the numb feeling that you feel for hours afterwards. And I hate to come home and have David and the kids make fun of my half-paralyzed face. I hate to drool when I take a drink of water. I hate to feel like my lip is the size of one of those long balloons that the clowns make little animals out of. And now that the anesthetic has worn off......I wish it was numb again! Ouch!

I think there must be some kind of class that you take in dental school where you learn a whole new language. For example: when the dentist says "you'll feel a little pressure" they mean "hold on tight, this is gonna hurt like hell!" and when they say "little pinch coming" they mean "I'm about to stick a huge, long needle deep into your jaw." When they say "when the numbness wears off, you might feel a little discomfort" they mean "you'll probably want to shoot yourself in the face in a few hours."

I swear, dentists have no soul.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

This guy...

Was one of the sweetest, most caring, giving men I have ever known.
I spent some time with my grandparents yesterday. Some much needed time. And we started talking about Big Papa. Papa said that he loved to tell stories, but he never told a story more than the one about me crawling backwards. We lived with Granny and Big Papa when I was a baby. Apparently when I learned to crawl I could only go backwards. So he told the story all the time about how I backed myself into a corner and couldn't get out, so he had to pick me up and turn me around. He has told me that story hundreds of times, but I had forgotten about it until yesterday.
It just got me thinking about Big Papa and how much he loved all of us. His family was his pride and joy, and he couldn't find fault in ANY of us! A lot of us have made some bad decisions and mistakes, but you'd never hear anything but good from him. He never believed that any of us had any bad intentions and I think he believed that we all fell straight out of heaven. That's how he treated us and spoke of us, anyways. He was this way about his kids, grandkids, great grandkids and great-great grandkids.
I wish I could see this smile again. I don't know if I'll ever not think about him or not miss him. He was a great man!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Sunday...

I just wanted to share a few pictures from our day. We had such a great time today. We went to church, went to lunch, went to 2 parks (one to take pictures and one to play), came home and played outside some more. The weather was beautiful and we had a great family day. Days like this need to happen more often!

My babies.
David and Mads.
Mommy and Carter.
I love, love, LOVE this picture. I'm kind of getting artsy!!!

Family Photo Shoot after church. Courtesy of my mom.
Carter's cheesy smile. I love it.













Saturday, April 03, 2010

I think it's time...

....for me to make some changes in my life. I'm turning 30 in a couple of months and I have come up with a list of things I want...need to change. I don't wanna call it a "Bucket List" because they aren't things I wanna do before I die, but things I wanna work on changing now. I think it's time for me to:

  • Focus on getting more healthy.
  • Make more time for my family.
  • Start enjoying my kids more. They won't be kids forever.
  • Work on mending broken relationships.
  • Stop feeling sorry for myself about the negative things I've had to go through in my life and start moving on with the many, MANY positive things I have been blessed with.
  • Start reading to Carter more.
  • Start having more girly time with Madison.
  • Stop using the phrase "I don't have time" when my kids want to go to the park or go for a bike ride on a nice day. The housework will still be there when we get back.
  • Let go of all of the hard feelings I've been holding onto for too long.
  • Focus more on the beautiful things I have in my life and less on the hardships.
  • Spend more time reading my Bible and learning what God's plan really is for me.
  • Stop stressing about the small things that really don't matter.
  • Start getting a babysitter more to have time with just David. This RARELY happens and we need to make time to just enjoy eachother.
  • Start eating dinner as a family at the dinner table. At least a few times a week.

Tomorrow isn't promised and I don't want to live with any regrets anymore. If I don't start changing some of these things, I'm sure to regret it sooner or later.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hahaha....

I was watching a talk show today about some new research that came out claiming that mothers have 30-40 hours of leisure time every week. I missed whether or not he said "working moms" or "stay-at-home moms". Either way, I have to disagree with this research.

I have said MANY times that I work way harder at home than I do at work. There is always something that needs to be done. So my days off are virtually non-existent. I have 3-4 days off of my paying job a week, but they are filled with laundry, cleaning, homework (mine and the kids), cooking, bath time, grocery shopping, and trying to fit some time in to have some fun with David and the kids. I'm trying to decide where in Gods name the 30-40 hours of leisure time is. I don't think I'm the exception either. I think the average mom is just as busy as I am. And I'm one of the lucky ones because on Davids days off he is doing just as much as I do. He will keep the laundry going (even though I complain about his folding...haha), he'll unload the dishes, vacuum and dust. Whatever needs to be done, he'll do it when he's home. Not to mention keeping the yard up. I haven't touched the yard since we've been married, with the exception of the month after he had his foot surgery. I think I mowed twice.

Some of the ladies on this show brought up really good points. One said "It's like someone giving you a thousand dollars, but telling you they're gonna give it to you all in nickels. So even though you're getting a thousand dollars, it's in such small increments that you really can't use them." Another lady said "When my husband has leisure time, it's to go golfing. So he has 4 hours of uninterrupted time on the golf course. The kids aren't calling or texting him." I guess our leisure time is just in small increments. Like the car ride from home to get Carter from school. I'm by myself, with no kids. Is that leisure time?? I'd have to say NO!!!

The guy (a sociology professor) who did the research counted getting a root canal, sitting in a broken down car waiting for a tow truck, going to church and fitness time all as leisure time. Are you kidding me??? What is leisurely about getting a root canal? This guy should be taken out back and beaten!

Here's my typical day (work-day):
Wake-up @3:20am
Get ready for work and leave at 4:15am
Work until about 6:00pm
Get home around 6:15pm
Make dinner and eat around 6:45
Give the kids their baths
Dry Madison's hair
Do my homework (and help Madison with hers if she has any)
Get the kids in bed around 8-8:30pm
Clean up after dinner
Watch a show or two
Go to bed around 9:30

Besides my show or two, which usually consists of an hour or less, where is the leisure time??? And on my work days I don't even do any housework or laundry. I think my days off are more busy than my work days. Either day, there is not much leisure time. Not nearly enough to add up to 30-40 hours for the week!

I guess maybe I should schedule a root canal...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Night of her life...

Madison (and I) had an absolute BLAST at the Taylor Swift concert. There is absolutely nothing like seeing your kids so happy. She screamed, jumped up and down, sang at the top of her lungs and danced to every song. She knew just about every word to every song. I love girls nights with my favorite girl. Just look at this face...her smile says it all :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So funny...

We went shopping last night for the kids' Easter outfits. I told them they could pick out what they wanted (with my pursuading, of course.) I was thinking that Madison would want a nice, fancy dress and Carter would probably want jeans. Nope.

Madison picked out a cotton, plain little pink dress. Nothing fancy about it. I tried to talk her into some of the more fancy dresses. The ones that were actually meant to be Easter dresses. She said they're 'dorky'. So she tried on the cotton one. And it is cute. Of course, she's cute in anything....haha. That's the one she wanted, so that's what we got.

Carter, on the other hand wanted a tux. I was planning on getting him a little sweater vest with khaki pants. He INSISTED on a tie. He wouldn't even try on any of the sweater vests or cute little plaid button down shirts. If it didn't come with a tie, he didn't want it. So we got him the cutest little shirt and tie. I did manage to talk him out of the whole suit. He wanted the jacket, the vest, the works. So he ended up getting a shirt and tie, black pants, and now we have to buy black dress shoes for him. His only dress shoes are brown. And he couldn't find a shirt and tie that would go with brown shoes. He's so high maintenance! But he did look soooo cute! I don't think he's ever worn a tie.

But we did kill two birds with one stone. He can wear it for Easter, and my grandparents' 50th wedding aniversary party is coming up. So he'll be all set for that too. I think I'll have to talk Madison into something a little more dressy for that. Or try to, anyways.

On another note:
We had wanted to get tickets to take Madison to see Taylor Swift. She wanted to go to the concert soooooo bad! I looked into it and they were just too expensive. Ridiculous, actually. So we didn't get them. Well Nick called last night and told us he won tickets on the radio and wanted to know if I wanted to take her. So Madison and I are going tonight! I don't know who's more excited, her or me. I love to see her face when she gets to do exciting things like that. When I took her to the Miley Cyrus concert a couple of years ago, I fought back tears the whole time because she was just so happy. She was just in awe that Miley was right there. She was singing and dancing and it just made my heart smile. I'm looking so forward to another night like that.

David and Carter are going to see some 3-D dragon movie. So they'll have a fun night too:)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heard a quote today...

"Isn't it funny how as time goes by your friends become family and your family becomes strangers?"

I think this statement might be more true for me than anyone I know. It is 'funny' how your friends become your family. And I have some amazing friends. But it's not so funny to me that my family has become strangers. I hate it, actually.

My friends are the people who I call for everything. I know that if I need someone, they will be there at the drop of a dime. I laugh with them, cry with them, have fun with them, heart-to-heart talks with them and go on weekend trips with them. We're just like family. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, achievements and our childrens' birthdays together. We support eachother through family deaths, job losses, break-ups/divorces and family drama. We talk or Email eachother several times a week. We know what is going on with eachother on a daily basis. They truly have become my family.

My friends are the ones who I feel the most comfortable with. I feel like I can be myself around them. I don't ever feel judged by them or not good enough for them. I don't feel the need to impress them or to make my life seem perfect to them. I feel like they love me in spite of the fact that I'm far from perfect. In spite of all of my mistakes. Sometimes I even feel like they love me more because of my imperfections. And I love them all the same. I would be there at the drop of a dime for any one of them too.

All this is great and I feel so lucky to have them. But why isn't it that way with family anymore? Not just my family, but I think this quote is true for most people. There are some families who are close-knit and who back eachother up no matter what. I used to think I was a part of a family like that. But as time has gone by, I feel like not only do I not have a close-knit family....they really have become strangers. Once in a while I will have a phone conversation with one family member, or a dinner with another. And it always seems forced. Like we're only talking or getting together because that's what we're "supposed to do." Like there's some law that says you must spend X amount of time with your family members. The conversation is awkward. The fake hugs and smiles. It's almost like a high school reunion. You have nothing in common with these people anymore, but you want to be polite. It's awful! We always talk about how much we miss eachother and how we want to build relationships again. We make promises to be better about calling and getting together. We promise to make more of an effort to be a part of eachothers lives. Empty promises.

What happened to your family being the ones you call on for everything? The ones you celebrate the good things with and support through the bad times? It makes me so sad to think that is a thing of the past. Is it that we're all too busy to make time for our families? I really don't think that's it, because we all make time for our friends. We always have time for everyone in our lives EXCEPT for our family.

I think its that we take our families for granted. We have this idea that they will always be there. They have to be, right? They're family.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When I was little....

....I pictured what it would be like when I was a grown-up and had a family of my own. I would either be a stay-at-home mom, or a really important executive and wear fancy suits to my huge office that was all windows, overlooking a big city. We would live in an enormous house (like Daddy Warbucks) and we would take expensive vacations all the time. I would get up in the mornings, have my coffee while reading the newspaper, get the kids up and give them their baths. While they were getting dressed, I would make lavish breakfasts for them every day. If I had a girl, I would fix her hair like she was having her senior pictures taken every day for school. Braids, bows, barretts, the works. I would send the kids off to school and I would either go to my executive suite that I called my office or I would stay home and do.....whatever stay-at-home moms do while their kids are at school. After work/school I would make another lavish meal for dinner and we would all sit at the table and talk about how our day was. We would talk about our next vacation and tell stories about our last one. On the weekends I would spend my days at the spa or something cool like that. I would get my hair, fingernails and toenails done every week. I would get facials and massages. I would have the most fashionable clothes and the best jewelry.

In reality:

My typical morning goes one of two ways. I either wake up to the alarm clock at 3:20am, throw on my scrubs, brush my teeth and head to the clinic. There, I take care of people who I care about...in most cases more than they care about themselves. I deal with blood all day long and the occasional vomit situation. It's a far cry from my executive office.

Scenario two is on my days off. I then wake up to the alarm clock at 7:00am, rush into Madisons room to wake her up. This is a loooooooong process. When she finally wakes up, I ask her what she wants for breakfast.....cereal or pop tarts? She usually chooses cereal. So while she's eating, I'm scrambling around putting an outfit together for her. Desperately searching for 2 matching socks. Reading her planner, running a brush through her hair quickly, checking to make sure she brushed her teeth well enough, letting the dog out and watching for the bus. By this time Carter is up and he wants his breakfast (he usually goes with the pop tarts). I start the routine all over of getting him ready.

We go on camping trips instead of expensive vacations. We don't live in a Daddy Warbucks house. I don't ever have time for morning coffee or to read the newspaper. (Actually, I hate the feel of newspaper, so I wouldn't read it anyways.) I couldn't afford an expensive suit for work even if I needed one. The only time I make a good breakfast is on Christmas morning. That's about the only day of the year that David and I are off at the same time. For this reason, we rarely eat dinner as a family either. I can't remember the last time I put braids or bows in Madisons hair. Partly because we don't have time for it and partly because she refuses. My last haircut was at the 'salon' in Wal-Mart. I have never seen the inside of a spa. I've gotten my toenails done and gotten a massage once in my life. Both times were when I had a gift certificate.

All that said...as I've grown up, I've begun to realize what matters most. I don't have a mansion, but I have a home. I've never taken my kids to travel Europe, but we have made some pretty awesome memories together on Lake Huron. I don't drive an expensive car, wear expensive jewelry or clothes. It's a good day if I change out of my sweatpants and put on jeans! I don't think anyone would look at me and envy what I have (material wise.) But I have so much more! I have two amazing, smart, beautiful, HEALTHY kids. They amaze me every day. I have a job that pays the bills and allows me to stay home with them 4 days out of the week. That's more important than my executive office. I am lucky enough to be married to my best friend in the world. That in itself means more than any amount of money.

I have to admit, I am jealous of stay at home moms who get to spend all the time they want with their kids. I'm secretly dying to go on a cruise or to a tropical place. I would love to be able to afford the 'finer things' in life. But in reality, my life is finer than all of that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Any applicants?

......I've been a wife now for 10 years, 5 months and 24 days. A mom for 9 years, 7 months and 10 days. Been a mom-of-two for 5 years, 2 months and 4 days.

If I were posting a position for my job, here's what it would look like:

Now hiring a babysitter, taxi driver, cook, maid, referee, tutor, schedule-keeper, and accountant. We will be hiring one (yes ONE) person to fill all of these positions. This is a 24 hour/7 day a week job. You will be paid in "thank-you's", "I love you's", hugs and kisses. It is the most challenging, chaotic, amazing, messy, fun, busy, non-stop, REWARDING position in the world.

Duties include (but are not limited to) cooking, cleaning, laundry, entertaining, breaking up fights, making (and taking kids to) dentist and doctor appointments, keeping track of hot-lunch schedule, making sure there is enough $ in the lunch accounts, paying bills, keeping track of all finances, grocery shopping, picking up/dropping off kids to friends houses and sports events, driving kids pretty much everywhere they need/want to go, field trips and volunteering at both schools.

Also: You must hold down a full time PAYING job to pay for all of the above.

You will have a wonderful husband to support you, but if you leave any of these duties up to him, he won't do them the way YOU want them done. He will try, God bless him, but it's better to just do it all yourself :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Crazy!

You've heard the saying "God will never give you anything you can't handle?" Well this is why I'm sure I'll never get pregnant again! I absolutely can't handle more kids than I already have.

I know this because for the past 3 days I've been babysitting my 2 nieces. 6 months old and 20 months old. They are both super good babies, but them along with my 2 kids is TOO much! I haven't sat down, showered, gotten dressed....or slept in 3 days. I am completely running on empty.

....at the same time, I'm dreading them going home. They live over an hour away from me and I know that when they leave it will be a while before I see them again. So I'm trying to enjoy every moment with them. Enjoy the spills, the meltdowns, the pooping, crying, wanting to eat constantly. Just enjoy them.

The messes can always be cleaned up. The memories matter way more!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Its time...

....for me to start blogging again. I haven't been on here in almost 2 years! That's crazy. The reason I decided to blog was because Big Papa died and I'm kind of having a hard time with it. I miss him more than I ever thought I would and I feel like maybe if I write about him it will be theraputic for me. When I talk about him somehow he feels closer to me. I feel like I want to tell all of his stories, all of the words that he mis-pronounces, all of the funny sayings he used to say. So this way, if I type them I can come back and read them and think of Big Papa. And never forget all the things about him that made him so special to me. And if others want to read it too, even better!

So, the funeral was yesterday. It was rough, but we got through it ok. On the way home, I had a meltdown. It just didn't feel right. It shouldn't be over yet. We shouldn't be going home to get back to our normal lives. Papa is gone and we should be doing something else to keep our minds busy. But there was nothing left to do. So I freaked out! I needed more time with him. I needed more time for the viewing, and I needed the funeral to last at least a few days. I was not ready for the last time I would see him. I wish yesterday could have lasted forever. That they never had to close the casket and that I could see his face whenever I wanted. I'm angry that I can't see him anymore. I'm angry that I can't hear his laugh. And I'm angry that I can't hear him tell his stories himself anymore. But maybe if I tell some of them, I will be able to keep them fresh in my mind. I never want to forget his voice, his laugh, the way he said exactly what was on his mind, no matter who was in the room and who he might offend.

One of these funny little sayings was "What the shit?" this is what he said to me when he first met David. David had just gotten his tounge pierced and could barely talk so my Papa asked me "What the shits the matter with that boy?" I will never forget that. He used that phrase often. One time David was mowing his lawn and he came outside and said "David, I have to show you something." so he took him over to the corner of the yard and said "Is someone growing marijuana in my yard?" There were some weeds growing. David assured him it wasn't marijuana. But he was convinced it was.

He had the best laugh ever. When he laughed real hard, it got high pitched and his belly bounced like Santa Clause. I can hear it now. I hope I'm always able to remember that.

Another funny story is when we were visiting him at the nursing home, Carter used to always ride on Papas lap in the scooter. Well there was a BINGO game going on in the cafeteria, so Papa and Carter were riding around on the scooter. Carter got a hold of the 'gas' button and floored it. Papa couldn't get his hand off of it. We were all running towards it to stop it. But before we could, it ran into the BINGO table. Flipped the table. Ran a few little old ladies over. It was quite a disaster. Papa laughed so hard! The laugh that I love so much. We were all embarrassed but he thought it was soooo funny. That would be his next story to tell. I swear he just went through life looking for good stories to tell. And he found some. Several of them.

I'll probably never tell them like he did. And that's ok. I'm sure I have my own versions, but to tell them means to remember him. Here's a link to a photo album of Papa. I hope to start writing on here more often. It makes me feel good to 'blog'. Weird!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=36099&id=1510752983&l=e2e89d9975