Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Vlog--An apology to Preschool Teachers & A Real Housewives Impression

I did a vlog yesterday for fun. And because a vlog is the kind of place where I can tell a story about preschool, blame the universe for stuff and do a Real Housewives of New York impression.  I mean come on, that sounds fun right?  Check it out.

(Click here to watch the video.)

I also love vlogging because I get to link up with some old friends like Mama Kat's Losin It.

Check her out, and some of the other vloggers.

Then head on over to my YouTube channel and check out some of my other videos and subscribe.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Parenthood is exhausting.  And sorry mamas of little babies, it seems to only get more tiring as the babies get older.  The babies get more involved in things, need rides places and cheerleaders; they give up naps and stay up later; they have bigger problems and if you are lucky they talk to you about them. And the big joke is that we parents are just getting older and slower and more tired.  Ahhhhh!   

Tim and I had about an hour in between kid activities this Saturday and we fell asleep on the porch. Lucy took this picture. Tim's T-Rex hands make all of us laugh.

I remember fondly those days with my babies all full of routines and naptimes and early bedtimes. Weekends in the fall were spent at cider mills and farmers' market and hanging out at home, and don't forget those naps and early bedtimes.  My shoulders relax just thinking about those days.

Even though I'm exhausted, I mean really, really tired, I am actually enjoying so much of this busy, hectic season of life with four kids. It's all seasons and ebbs and flows right? This is a new season of parenting and I think I'm finally adjusting to it a little bit. I mean I'm still really tired.

I love that we are in the phase where the kids want to hang out with us still.

I love that we get to cheer on our kids and watch them work hard and have fun.

I love that we try to have as many meals together as possible.  It's not dinner every night but sometimes it's a big breakfast in between games and other nights it's a late night dinner in the dark on the front porch.

I am learning to accept that I suck at organizing but acknowledge that I'm pretty good at making memories and finding time to be together. I am learning that it's okay that we can't be at everybody's everything. I am learning that it's okay to cry because you are so tired after a long busy happy but exhausting weekend. It is exhausting, but I love this whole parenthood/family gig so much and am getting a little better at finding the joy in this hectic busy season of it all. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Day My DVR Died and What I Know For Sure

My DVR stopped working this week. It actually stopped working during the Emmy awards this past Sunday night. It's possibly the worst week for my DVR to stop working. It is season premiere week--somewhat of a holy week to TV lovers like me. So yeah, I tried to catch some of my shows live but I don't remember how to watch live TV anymore and my kids are up so late after practice and homework that it's impossible to get everyone out of the living room before Empire starts.  So yeah, I missed some of my favorite shows and I'm bummed.

This isn't a poignant post about how I turned off my TV on the day my DVR died and discovered the joy of not watching TV. Nope. I just watched Sons of Anarchy (middle of season 4 now and still LOVING it) on Netflix while on hold with my cable company. 

I know for sure that I am getting my DVR fixed and going to watch all the new shows because I love TV. I can't wait to watch Empire and The GoldBergs. I'm going to try and hang onto The Good Wife and Scandal, although both drove me nuts last year. I can't believe I never watched How To Get Away With Murder, but am going to this year. I'm going to miss Parenthood and Mad Men. Not sure what new shows I will pick up this season. It's escapism, entertainment, good storytelling, a good time and I just love it.

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • Speaking of Emmy Awards, I loved this moment.

  • Getting a second dog was a good idea, Rufus is pretty awesome.

  • Jimmy Fallon is funny and his Empire Parody makes me laugh every time I watch it.

(Click here to watch the video.)

  • Wade is loving kindergarten so much. I MEAN SO MUCH! He is so excited to learn and wants to try to "read" everything.  Last week he fell asleep "reading" the dictionary.

  • Getting up super early to work out gives me so much energy during the day. But it also makes me so tired at night.  I haven't been able to get to the gym lately, but I've been waking up at 5 a.m. to work out in my basement. I'm super energized at 9 a.m. but by 5 p.m., I'm toast.  Here's an Instagram video showing off my pre-dawn energy...

What do YOU know for sure this week, right now? What TV are you watching? Tell me about it here or over on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The End of Back To School

Last night was the last curriculum night of the back to school season for Tim and me.  It was at the middle school for our eighth grader and sixth grader. We had already been to our the curriculum night for our kindergartner and curriculum night for our fourth grader. We had already done all the back to school shopping and worrying and reminding and routine creating and more reminding, and given pep talks about homework and remembering locker combinations and not worrying if they mess up especially in the first couple weeks.  By the time we were pulling into the middle school parking lot last night, we had grown weary of back to school everything and quite possibly a little slap happy.  Maybe that's why we had so much damn fun there.

The parking lot was packed, there were actually cars lined up waiting to turn into the lot and people walking from half a mile down the street.  It looked like there was a concert happening, a concert that a bunch of middle age suburbanites would line up for, like Weezer or a Bell Biv Devoe reunion.  

At the exact same time, Tim and I had the exact opposite reaction to the crowd.

I said-- "Ahhhhh," sounding like my middle school age kids. "Look at all these people, lets skip this and go back home and watch an episdoe of Sons of Anarchy." 

Tim said-- "There's so many people here, hurry up, we are going to be late."

We laughed at how different our reactions were and then Tim asked to be let out at the front door so he could get to class on time.  After asking if he was serious, I let him out and then went to find a parking spot in the back of the building.  I took my time going into the building stopping to chat with a few friends and then decided to skip first hour (the evening was set up to mimic our kids' schedules so we had 10 minutes in each subject hour and a bell would ring just like during our kids' days).

I met up with Tim in our eighth grader's second hour.  Tim was sitting in the back of the class looking around nervously.  I strolled in right as the bell rang.  I tried to whisper to Tim but he wouldn't look at me because class had started.

"I don't think we would have dated when we were in high school," I told him after class.  

For the rest of the evening we met in between classes by the lockers. Laughed at each other and ourselves. I got lost and skipped another class. Tim took notes in all of the classes. We each saw friends and chatted about how lost we were and how old we felt. I took a picture and put it on Instagram. Tim got annoyed.  We laughed some more.

Feeling a little more relaxed and even more tired, Tim decided to give in to my rebellious ways and skip the last hour and we headed for home.

That's it, we can officially close the books on the whole back to school season. Now it's all settling into routines and dealing with the day-to-day mania of having four kids.  And resting before the holiday craze which if the stores are any indication is any minute now.  Good-bye back to school hello Christmas.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Football Weekends

This past weekend was full of football--morning, noon and night. Football makes me anxious all the time, but this year I am even more anxious because of well, everything that could go wrong. While I watched my boys this weekend, it all felt more intense--my concern, my worry, my excitement, my love.  As I watched and took pictures and felt all the feelings I noticed things about our football weekends that lessened my anxiety and grew my love.

I noticed all the coaches being so kind to my kids, even the kids that weren't playing on the team.  

Wade takes his job as water boy verrrrry seriously.

I noticed my kids loving spending time with their dad (who is also one of JT's coaches).

I noticed my boys cheering on their friends and being supportive.

I noticed the biggest brother and his friends including the littlest brothers. 

I watched not just Peyton but all the older boys be so kind to Wade and JT--they looked out for them, talked to them, played catch with them, watched the game with them.

I noticed Lucy sometimes watching the game, but mostly having a good time with her friends.

I noticed how excited Wade was when he finally got his own team this past Sunday.  When he was two days old I took him to Peyton's flag football game and he's been going to games ever's been his whole life. So, to get his own team is a pretty big deal.

It's also a big deal to have your big brothers on the sidelines watching and encouraging, and possibly doing a little coaching/advising.

I noticed the boys having fun with their friends.

I sat back and noticed all the love and connection and community and family moments that our football weekends involve and my heart felt very full.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mainstream, Transitions and Back To School

'Tis the season for back-to-school mania.  New routines, new teachers, new classmates, new schedules, new everything. 

This year Lucy started middle school, Wade started kindergarten, JT is in the fourth grade and Peyton is in the eighth. And I started the new school year as a preschool assistant teacher. Ahhhhhhh.

It's been almost two weeks now since the first day of school.....and there have been complaints and excitement and one kid that wishes he could live in his classroom (Wade) and one kid that wishes he never had to go to another day of school ever (JT) and another kid who likes everything about school except how early it is (Lucy). There has been one really big fight over homework and even a black eye (it was actually mine from an aggressive hugger in preschool who jumped into my arms and smacked her head on my face, nothing to do with homework, just a whole lot of love).  

It's an interesting challenge to cheer on the kids that are loving every single bit of school and still be there and support and uplift the kids that want nothing to do with it.  Because seriously, I get it all.  And I want to honor how each of them feels, especially because new stuff is harder for some of us.

I have no answers except I just keep trying and keep supporting and keep loving and keep accepting that every kid, every one of us, has their own path and I keep parenting and keep searching and keep fighting the good fight.

This is my jam right now, "Mainstream Kid" by Brandi Carlile. I LOVE it. I'm feeling all this so hard-- to be mainstream seems easier but we all have stuff and can't we all just find our fit and really embrace ALL of it and each other...that it's okay to be mainstream and ok to be weird and ok to love school and it's okay to not love it, but god I hope you find parts of it that make it less miserable and a little joyful, and that we all have value and need to rock out every now and then, or always.

Click here to watch it and ROCK OUT!

I usually don't like fan videos people make about shows, but I dig this one. I loved the show Parenthood and I miss it and it just reminds me of all the ups and downs and highs and lows and love and togetherness that happen in a family, in parenthood.

(Click here to watch the video.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Home- I Love This Place

Our home isn't the nicest on the block. It's not even the 11th nicest home on the block. It's what some people would call basic. It's brown and pretty beat up.  The driveway is cracked and uneven. The yard is more weeds than grass. The kitchen cabinets are peeling. We don't even own the home, we rent it. BUT it's our home and I love this place.

I've tried hard to make it a home full of noise and love and fun and comfort and acceptance and safety.  I've also tried to make it a place where my kids want to be.  I hope it is a reflection of our values, our whole tidy up, but don't worry if it's spotless or if you spill something,play and enjoy life,eat meals together as often as you can, a little friendly competition is a good thing but dude cheer each other on, paint something/write something/play something, it's okay to fight or disagree but talk it out and then go jump on the trampoline together kind of values/vibes.

I took some pictures with my fancy new-ish camera this past weekend of our basic home and some ways we like to hang out there that don't involve phones, iPads or video games (even though we have those in our home too and the struggle is still real to get my kids to not be obsessed with them):

Breakfast on our beloved front porch.

Dogs have become essential to making our home our home. Rufus and Cosi are part of the family. You can never be lonely (or sad for too long) with these two pups around.

The trampoline is new to us and the kids are loving it.

My friend is moving to England and asked if I wanted her trampoline, Foosball table and air hockey table.  I went to take a look at them in her house and said "oh my gosh, yes thank you I love them and you and ahhhhhh!"  

Here's the thing, they looked a lot smaller in her very big, nice house. We got them to our basic much smaller house and Tim was not digging the idea at first.  But I convinced him that the kids are only young once and we needed to have a Foosball table instead of a dining table or space because it's way more fun.  He reluctantly agreed and we pushed our dining table to the corner and set up the awesome Foosball table.  The kids play it all.the.time.

A little air hockey before bedtime is always a good idea. We found a corner in the boys' room for the air hockey table.
Lunch on our beloved front porch.
One of our favorite card games is Five Crowns. 

Rummikub is one of our all time favorite games, we've loved it for a few years now.

Sometimes some of us just want to lay around and not play anything and that's cool here too. That's a quilt that my grandmother made a long time ago, I love that my kids now use it.

Santa brought the family a ping pong table for Christmas last year and we crammed it into our unfinished basic basement.

I mean, there's no way the kids can be bored here right? I always keep board games out and at the ready for whenever someone wants to play.

I like how colorful the board games and even their boxes are.

Our basic home with it's lack of nice furniture and pretty lackadaisical cleaning schedule and emphasis on playing around isn't for everyone.  But it suits us, it's why we love this place.

Check out some other pictures I've taken 
with my Fancy New Camera: