Friday, September 30, 2011

Another before and after

My aunt Tami sent me this photo of her and my mother. She loved the photo but my Mom's eyes were closed. I called my sister and she sent me several other photos from that day and I was able to find some "opened, but still squinty" eyes to sub in perfectly! ''


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catherine made my lunch (and my day)

It really is just the simplest things that make such a difference.

Today was a rainy, cloudy, stuck at home kind of day. Stuck at home with all the kids - thanks to Rosh Hoshana.

So I thought -- let's get out the Halloween boxes and decorate the house. What could be more fun?

 And as the boxes opened so did a flood of emotions. My mom loved Halloween -- shoot- she loved all holidays. But as I opened the halloween boxes I first saw the halloween t-shirts she bought for the kids last year, and then the ones she bought the year before, and then the ones from the year before that. Then it was the gallon size ziploc bag of crazy halloween socks she has sent over the years. Then it was all the Halloween costumes she has either made for me entirely or held my hand while I made them myself. Then it was all the decorations she has given me. And then it was crying because I know that a Halloween box filled with fun new stuff is not currently being packed up and readied to mail.

And it sucks. So I withdrew.

The kids decorated and I drowned my sorrows on pinterest.

And then Catherine called us all to lunch. She had come up with it all on her own. She used garlic french bread and made little cheese bread pizza's. They were delicious and I was able to go on. (at least until Trent asked me how my day was at 9 pm)

Oh, Mommy, it is just not the same without you. Who will give me the courage to sew outrageous costumes? Who will talk me through all my stupid sewing mistakes? I always had so much help making these days memorable for not only me but also my children and now I just see the biggest shoes laying on the floor for me to fill and the truth is -- I don't want to fill them. I don't want to replace you even though I can. I just want you to do it. (yes, it sounds selfish but so what!) Sometimes aren't we all a little selfish?

So thanks Catherine for getting me out of the Halloween decorating blues. And the reality is I will fill the shoes. I'll buy the shirts and make the costumes and I guarantee that for at least 28 out of the 32 days reamaining I will be "normal" . But there will undoubtably be a few days that will be a little more melancholy like today. I sure do miss you mommy. ''

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The power to share

I love blogs and facebook and all the technology today so much because it increases our ability to share memories and keep in touch. Just this week here are a few of the things shared with me. . .
This video showing my mom, dad, brothers, aunts and uncles playing around the world ping pong -- April 22 or 23rd (a mere 60 days before she passed away) These 2 photos taken by my cousin Jessica. The first at Monday Night Football. The second at Rockefeller Center.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Real Food

I love almost everything about watching my kids grow up -- but cleaning them up after spaghetti for dinner is not one of my favorites -- despite how cute they look all messy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to Adam!!!

After getting over his disappointment that he would not get to go to school now that he was 5, he had a great day!!! I can't say enough how much fun it is to have this boy in our family!

Adam is always fun and energetic!

He loved picking out his very own cupcake!!!

He makes the cutest faces!

He is the best big brother in the world!

And the cutest "Dino Adam" backyard explorer in the whole world!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

5 Years Ago

After having three little girls in a row we were finally blessed with our sweet Adam. Here are some pictures to remember what our little family looked like when he arrived. Our girls were so so little.

Can you believe how small they all are?

My mom and dad at the hospital. 

My mom watched the girls for us while Adam was born and came and visited.  She thought she had had an allergic reaction to something and the next day discovered she had Shingles.  So after this quick visit, she had to stay a little aloof -- for a couple of weeks to keep from exposing Adam to chicken pox. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

When forget-me-nots-bloom

On May 31st, I wrote this on my blog and posted a video for my mother set to the Mindy Gledhill song called "This is my song".

My mom lived for 29 days after I made this video. I watched it with her many times and I would sing the song to her (and just to me). It was like the soundtrack of those last weeks in my head. The lyrics of the song are the words I imagined my mom would sing to me to comfort me.

Here they are again . . .

This is my song
To carry on
When you have found yourself alone
And I am gone

So I will wait
Every last minute that we have
To celebrate

This is my song to remember me by
When the moon grows long in the sky
And you wonder why goodbyes are bound to be
Life goes on, love, you will see

Think of this tune
When Forget-me-nots bloom
Pick one for me and make a wish
That I will be back soon

My mom and I once joked that we didn't even know what forget-me-nots looked like.

But I do now. You see-- I went to the General Relief Society Meeting (which is a large group meeting of the women's organization for my church) and the concluding speaker centered his entire talk around the forget-me-not flower. He had 3 image graphics of the flower and his talk was so very down to earth and so very much just what my mom would say.

To say that I was taken aback would be an understatement. I truly feel like I have been given a sign that God loves me and knows my own individual needs -- that my mom is still watching over me and loves me. It sounds crazy to think that an address intended for millions of women would resonate with me so individually and so deeply and yet it did.  I can truly say I was not out "looking" for a sign.  In fact at the time I was sitting in my basement, doing some sewing alterations (just like my mom taught me), with my ear buds in my ears and the women's broadcast on my iphone.  As his talk began and he referenced several photos in a row of forget-me-nots in bloom, I kept thinking -- really???  just like the song???  And his remarks were like echoes of my mother's words of wisdom.  

"There is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower," said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

"I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet," he said.

President Uchtdorf  used the forget-me-not flower, which has five petals, as a metaphor to illustrate five things he would like the women to remember.

"Never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the 'why' of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves and cherishes you."

You can watch the address in its entirety here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pajama Party

Tonight was a mother daughter PJ pancake activity day at our church. It is for the girls aged 8-11 so both Julianne and Catherine went with me.

We had fun. They ate pancakes with a lot of chocolate on them. I had yummy pancakes with a coconut syrup and coconut flakes -- It was yummy!

Then I came home and saw these old photos of my sweet little girls in their PJ's 9 years ago.

Cute then,
cute now!

smaller then,
larger now

sure wish time would slow down!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I am in love with

It is not the healthiest relationship.
Amazon ships me things. . . for free. . .in 2 days.
I don't think I do anything for While I am a big planner, I do not do things super ahead of time. So today, Thursday I decided I had better get going on planning Adam's birthday party. His birthday is on Monday (yes, just 4 days away). I got on Amazon and in 5 minutes I had ordered lots of plastic dinosaurs (for party favors), dinosaur bread cutters (to make cute finger sandwhiches), dinosaur foam masks for all the kids, and a dino dan vest, hat and binoculars for Adam. All without ever leaving my house (which was super nice as it was raining). So now I will look super prepared, super planned ahead and I owe it all to Amazon.
(In case any of you want free prime shipping you too can go to and sign up for the mom's club -- you don't even have to be a mom. You get so many months of free prime shipping and then with every order of a certain amount you can extend your free shipping).
Note -- Amazon is not paying me for this glowing review -- that would make our relationship even more unhealthy!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dr. Oz

Wednesday morning started off a little earlier than normal. I was dressed and ready and driving into Manhattan by about 6:50 am. I was meeting my aunt and cousin and some of their friends to be in the audience at a taping of the Dr. Oz show. I live about 50 miles from midtown and I needed to be at NBC studios by 8:30. I was closely listening to the traffic and trying to decide the best route for me to go.
 The radio traffic reporters made it very clear that traffic this morning was going to be terrible. Today was the day of the general assembly meeting for the United Nations and there were over 150 heads of state trying to make their way to the U.N. this morning. They specifically advised against traveling on the east side. The United Nations is located on the east side of Manhattan right on the East river between 42nd and 47th streets. I was trying to make it to 30 Rock -- or 30 W 49th street.
Knowing that I did not want to come south of the U.N. I chose a parking garage on 53rd street. Both my GPS and my iphone maps were telling me that the best route (even considering traffic) was still to take FDR drive and exit at 53rd street. I was suspicious. I was doubtful. I was listening to the traffic nightmare stories. I am happy to say that the iphone and GPS were right. I think the traffic reporters job was to scare everyone off the streets and they did. The roads were oddly empty. I made it in an hour and 11 minutes-- parked and walked into the rockefeller center at 8:15 am.
Once I found the check in for the Dr. Oz show I was greeted by a woman named Ali. She is the audience participation coordinator. She and I had been in touch several times over the past week in an attempt to get me to participate on the show. The show we were watching taped is called, "Dr. Oz, gone wild-- Dr. Oz attempts to answer 50 of your most embarrasing questions in one show". In fact we had to submit with our ticket request a list of questions we would be willing to ask. I had submitted 3 questions and then Ali called me.
She said, your questions were great, but we were wondering if you would ask, "Why do I pass gas when having an orgasm?" I burst out laughing and let her know that there was no way I was going to ask that question on national television!!!!! So she started peppering me with other question possibilities, "Would you ask about your inverted nipples??? what about showing dr. oz your smelly belly button?? would you let him treat your toe nail fungus? would you expose your husband's bad health problems??? Would you ask why your hair is thinning? and on and on . . . each time I replied honestly that not only did the problem not apply to me, but that I wouldn't ask it. She actually called back several more times over the days leading up to the taping with more questions. Each time the questions were crazy and I said no.
So here I am checking in and Ali is waiting for me. She says -- Ok I am desperate now, we had a last minute cancellation so would you be willing to ask, "I have just recently started a low carb diet and have noticed that my breath smells bad. Is the low carb diet to blame?" I finally consented to ask that -- after all the other choices this one seemed pretty tame -- but I want to let you all know -- I am not on a low carb diet and to the best of my knowledge (and I did ask Trent) I do not have bad breath. Once I agreed to participate I was taken to security, given a badge, and taken to the green room (which is not green). From there wardrobe came by and inspected my clothes -- they deemed them agreeable -- and they were pretty picky I might add -- they redressed several of the people in my group (which was 10 women and included my aunt and 2 of her friends). The funny thing is that the woman who was the "fashion police"-- well she wasn't exactly the most fashionable!!! Then we went to hair and make-up -- Now this is a luxury I could go for everyday. The blew out my hair, curled it, and did all my makeup. I thought they did a great job and I certainly enjoyed being primped.

I think we were on the 6th floor of the rockefeller center -- It is the same floor where Jimmy Fallon is taped.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
All in all -- it was quite a fun experience. Dr. Oz was charismatic and nice. He tried to engage the audience. He was the exact opposite of Rachael Ray. (you can read about her and seeing her show taped here) After the taping we went to lunch at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. I thought it was yummy. Here are pictures of my food!
Photobucket Photobucket
Then it was finally time for the fun to end and I needed to drive back home. I headed back to the garage on 53rd street only to find the entire road closed to traffic and all the garage doors closed. There were barricades at every driveway at police tape strung end to end. Within about 20 minutes came the huge presidential motorcade. Supposedly he was going back to his hotel -- but since he was slated as staying at the waldorf astoria (which is on 49th street east of rockefeller center) that really doesn't make too much sense unless he just liked taking a very windy path to and from -- which doesn't seem all that responsible given the high level of security on the streets.
They then opened up the road and my garage started getting customers cars out -- I was 3rd in line and just as they got my car the police started closing the street again -- not even 15 minutes later he was coming back???? I quickly got out of the garage in the nick of time and then had the whole drive home to think about how selfish to drive across town -- closing all the roads for just 15 minutes!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Times - they are a changin'

After only a few short hours of sleep (since we got home from the football game at 2 am), it was back to the normal "mom" routine.

It was a typical and busy day. My goal for the day was to get a start on swapping out the seasonal clothes. There are not very many things in life that stress me out -- but this task does. It is so overwhelming to me sometimes. I started with Julianne. She went through her closet and brought me 90 percent of all her clothes. She has grown so much that they just don't fit anymore. This means that I have a ton of shopping ahead so that she will have clothes for winter. As it stands she has 1 pair of jeans that fit her, 1 pair of boots, and 1 pair of tennis shoes (which she informs me she hates). She has 2 summery dresses and about 4 pairs of shorts. She has a handful of shirts. How? How can she grow and change so fast?

I am always so sad to see her cute outfits no longer fit her. It seems like just yesterday she was wearing this cute little pair of overalls and the crocheted hat. I have so many emotional attachments to my kids clothes. I can look at the outfit and quickly recall all that we have done while wearing that and it is sad to realize that they will never be that little anymore.

I went up to Julianne's rehearsal and almost didn't even recognize her walking toward me because she seemed way too tall.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night Football

We drove down to the Meadowlands sports complext last night to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New York Giants. We met, Jessica Kehl (My cousin) whose husband plays for the Rams, my aunt and uncle (Pam and Tab) and a whole group of their friends to watch the game.
Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me bring my camera inside the stadium (they let in any point and shoot, but no d-slr's). 
We had a lot of fun.  We felt really lucky as someone cut us off and rolled down their window to hand us a premium parking pass.  So at least we got to park really close (which came in handy when I had to take my camera back to the car!)

The flag

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Memory Lane

This is in August of 2002. We just had 2 little girls. Julianne has just turned 2 and Catherine is 8 months old. Kids sure grow up fast don't they???

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another soccer Saturday

It was cold. I am not ready for cold soccer Saturdays. Thankfully it was not windy. Kindergarten soccer is a riot to watch. Adam (who is not in Kindergarten) is a full head shorter than everyone on his team. He runs and runs and runs. Madelyn got a little bored while her team was stuck on the other side of the field. Catherine is relaxing after her game. And Julianne managed to evade all photos today!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Julianne -- the candy kid??

Julianne found out she was casted as a candy kid in the musical Wonka Jr. She is so excited. Her first question??? Will she get to eat candy on stage???

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Sister's Hands

This video was made by my mom's sister and is about my mother. There are so many remarkable things in it. Most touching is that on the day my mom came home from the hospital knowing that there was nothing else that could be done to help her she busied herself hemming my brother's pants. At another point she is showing her sister's how to use the serger while sucking on a fentanyl sucker (fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and is used for palliative care for cancer patients). She just couldn't be slowed down by the cancer -- while it ultimately won -- she tried to get the most out of every minute of her life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Mother, My Best Friend

I was loading another batch of photos that have been scanned in and came across this photo. I love it. It really captures the relationship I had with my mom. She and I were both a generation apart and peers. She was my mom, but she was also my best girlfriend. Her baby boy and my baby girls put us both squarely in the "stay at home" mom camp. We had so much fun together. We went to playgroups, we worked on projects, we traded babysitting. And I could see and learn how to be a mother by watching her.

How many people have that opportunity? I didn't have to ask my mom how to parent, I got to watch my mom parent. She was a pro at it. It was great being just a little "behind" her. She would make cool folder games for Tyler. I would think, "I should make those." But then Tyler would outgrow it and she would just give it to me.

She would take Tyler on fun outings and I would go with her. She was the grandmother that always remembered what it was like to have little kids (because she still had one). She was the grandmother that knew exactly what her grandkids needed because she could see what her son needed in a grandparent.

I know it sounds cliche to say, "My mom is my best friend." but that really was the way it was. Just look at this picture. Here we are, 3 weeks before Madelyn was born. We are having a great time together. We are at the Kemah Boardwalk. We had just had a great seafood dinner. We didn't go for any particular reason, just because the weather was nice and it would be fun to go out before the baby was born.

And of all the lessons I have learned from her one of my favorite is just that.

"Never waste a day of good weather." There are always bad weather days enough to do the chores and run the errands -- but embrace the beautiful days for all they are worth. She always did. And now I have the memories of such beautiful days to treasure forever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My 5 Kids

Can I just say how much I love my kids? I drag them all over on crazy adventures. I make them learn things they don't want to learn (like knitting, piano, and MATH). Last night I took them all for a quick little photo shoot (the pictures of which you -- my faithful blog readers will be seeing much of over the next few weeks.) We had a great time.
First we headed to our little downtown to go to Crumbs and get some cupcakes.  We took a lot of photos all along the street; The weather was beautiful and the lighting was great so we packed up in the van and headed to Waveny Park. The sun was starting to set and I was hurrying the kids out of the van when I opened up the back of the van to get the stroller.  Only -- it wasn't there; In my haste, I had left it on the side walk in town. We hurried back into town, got the stroller, headed back to the park and just barely snuck in the photos (thank you high noise free ISO).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Julianne is auditioning

For her school musical. She has to submit a photo to go with her audition permission slip. I was so excited. She is not always super keen on "posing" for her mom to take yet another photo, but today she was a super willing participant. I can't believe how grown up she looks!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Our Sunday started out a little slow. We were late to church. Why??? Because it took a long time for Catherine to get those contacts in. In fact I was very glad that we don't have her glasses here at the house to fall back on or she might very well have given up, but she didn't. She stuck with it. She got them in, we went to church and this evening she got them out within 5 minutes. I think we are officially over the hump on this. I knew it might take a little time, and it did, but now she can do it and she is confident that she can do it.

After church, Trent put together his Father's day present -- an airsoft bb gun semi-automatic rifle. He was so excited to go out in the yard and aim at the deer. Unfortunatly, none showed up. So we shot the leaves and the trees instead.

Lastly, we have been thinking about 9/11. I was pregnant with Catherine and Julianne was just a little over a year old. I was blow drying my hair and my sister Carrie called. Julianne answered the phone and brought it to me. At first I thought it was a big mistake -- that somehow a small plane had made a tragic error, but once I turned on the TV, I realized that this was no mistake. I called Trent at work and told him about it. I remember insisting that he go find a TV and see it. I drove over to my parent's house and my dad stayed home from work. We all just sat in front of the TV all day and watched the news. We were so completely shocked that something like this had happened here in America.

I went through some of my old photos and found some of my favorite patriotic photos I have taken. Enjoy!!