Tuesday, November 8, 2011


In this home…

We do second chances

We do grace

We do real

We do mistakes

We do I’m sorrys

We do loud

We do hugs

We do family

We do love

Oh give me patience when wee hands

Tug at me with their small demands.

And give me gentle and smiling eyes.

Keep my lips from hasty replies.
And let not weariness, confusion or noise

Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys.

So when, in years to come my house is still

No bitter memories its rooms may fill.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


When in doubt, choose the kids. There will be plenty of time later to choose work.
- Anna Quindlen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Never-Ending Parent

This is taken from a favorite blog: Magical Childhood

Sometimes it's hard to be a good parent.
Sometimes you wonder why you're not like others who make themselves the priority, who are stern and unyielding or who let everybody else take care of their kids.
Sometimes you envy them their time, their space, their full night's sleep.
Sometimes you start doubting yourself and wondering if you really are just crazy, being this kind of parent in this kind of world.

Your house is noisy and full of chaos and you wonder if it will last forever.

I have a secret. If you keep this up...

It will.

Think if it.

When you get up at 3 a.m. because your baby cries, think of the time when he's a teenager and calls at 3 a.m. to say he needs a ride instead of getting in the car with his drunk friends because he knows he can be honest with you and that he can count on you.

When you take the time explain 'why' for the hundredth time today wondering if you will ever get a moment's peach and quiet. Think of the days when your daughter is grown and on her own but still calls because she loves your conversations.

When you discount all the well-meaning people who tell you to let your baby cry and you go to him, hold him and comfort him anyway. Think ahead to the times when he'll be a strong secure, independent kid and those people say "I don't know how you were blessed with such an easy child."

When you nurse your daughter and hold her close, spoiling her with all that love and care. Think of the time when you'll over hear her tell a friend 'my mom and I have always been close.'

When the house is full of noise, mess and chaos. Think of the days when the kids are grown, and it will start all over with your grandchildren because your family is so bonded that everybody still gathers at your loving home.

No, if you keep this up it will never change. Your children will be in your life forever.

And honey, you'll love the noise.

Alicia Bayer

A great (and crazy) life

Last night the kids were driving each other - and me - crazy. Finally after the bickering had escalated they were both sent to their rooms to relax and cool down. It had been a long day of camp, swimming and friends and they needed a break from everything (including each other). But it got me to thinking...

Motherhood is exhausting. It's a feast or famine enterprise where we work tirelessly with no breaks for years at a time. At some point, though, if we do our jobs right, it's done. This is going to end and while they will always love us and need us, this job we're doing now is temporary.

I know towards the end of my life (should I get lucky enough to get old), the thing I will miss most is being a mom: rocking a baby, comforting a child, knowing all the answers, being someone's superhero, making it better.

I'm all done with babies (unless we win the lottery in which case I told Isabel we'd adopt twin boys just for her). I'm aware that Nick is growing up, leaving his little boy years behind. And Isabel is turning into a young lady before my eyes - faster than I'd like sometimes. But I'm also glad that they still like to hold my hand, cuddle on the couch and have me read aloud to them.

So when they start driving me, and everyone around them, crazy I take a breath, take a break and remember I have a crazy life, but I'll miss it when it's over. Even with the fighting and the mayhem, it's a great life. These are my babies. This is my one and only wild and wonderful time of motherhood.

Someday my house will be quiet and clean. What fun will that be? Who needs quiet and clean? There are times I crave it but at the end of the day, I have my whole life to have a clean and quiet house. The clock is ticking much faster for how long I have to build lego ships, bake cookies, read books aloud, color, give piggyback rides, have girl talk, cuddle and all of those other wonderful blessings of parenthood.

If I could go back and offer a word of advice to myself when I had Isabel the message would be Life is short. Get over the small stuff and love the heck out of your kids while you have them, whether they make you crazy or not!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dutch Wonderland!

We headed to Dutch Wonderland for a fun day with friends. Most of the day was spent in the waterpark because it was HOT.

We took a break from the water and hit the rides. I swear, Isabel will still be riding these rides when she's 15! Nick and Addie loved the roller coaster so we rode that over and over. The park wasn't crowded so it was right on the ride every time.


Nick driving Grandmom on the cars. Watch out world - we're in trouble when he gets to be 16.

The Whip A great day!!
We love DW so much we're heading back in a few weeks with more friends.

4th of July Food

Here' s a few red, white & blue snacks the kids made for our picnic with friends.

Nick made American Flags: graham crackers spread with white icing, blue icing, white chocolate chips and red licorice strips. It was super hot and the chips and icing were melting so this was messy but yummy!
Isabel made red, white & blue cupcakes with matching icing. Just tint your white cake mix with red and blue. Same goes for your white icing. So pretty and tasty!

And last on the menu - red, white & blue strawberries. Dip the strawberries in white chocolate, then roll in blue sprinkles. Yumo!

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Robert Brault

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Thursday, June 24 I'm on my way home from work. Coming down 97 at the railroad crossing I stop to let a car turn and movement caught my eye. I turned and looked and there was this little white ball. I turned the car and drove over for a closer look and discovered a small white dog - collar and leash on and the leash was stuck on a tree branch. No tags but there was a torn bag containing a blanket and dog toys along with a note saying 'take me home.' Now, that just broke my heart. He appeared very sweet and mild. He was definitely hesistant and wary of me - backed up as I went towards him. But after a minute he cautiously crept forward and smelled my hand. I think if he hadn't been tethered he'd have run. Anyway after a few minutes of checking me out I guess he decided I was ok. I walked around a little to see if any people were nearby - nothing. So I picked him up and took him home. I posted on numerous sites and called the Carroll County and Howard County shelters but no one's called to report a missing dog.

Isabel named him Dudley and Nick approved. He's a super sweet guy and the kids - especially Nick - adore him. He loves to play, run, chase you and the ball and just have fun. He also loves to cuddle, sit with you on the sofa and be petted. He also found a comfortable place to sleep - in my bed!

He has a best friend in Bella, our neighbor's dog. We try to walk them together to the park where they can run, jump and tackle each other. It's quite fun watching them play.

Dudley appears to be in good health. He wasn't dirty when I found outside of some leaves and grass from where he had been sitting. He's still hesistant of visitors, especially men. Hates loud noises and is petrified of the light from a flash light. We walked him one evening and took the light so we could see to clean up after him and Nick shined the light on Dudley and he took off running, tail down. After we caught him (he hasn't learned the 'COME' command) and leashed him Nick shown the light again on him and again he tried to run off. Curious because the light can't hurt him but perhaps where he came from a light coming in his direction wasn't pleasant. We'll never know.

He's now a permanent addition to our family and we love him. Now Isabel's pushing for a cat. Hmmm, we'll see. Maybe we'll talk to Santa.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Budding Artists

Nick and Isabel just finished an Art Around the World class. Each week they created masterpieces based on art in various countries.



New Zealand