Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I know you all love our junk holiday pics.  This year was extra stressful getting a good picture.  We started Sunday night trying to get a decent photo.  Between Joe and myself we must have taken 100 pics and they were all wrong, wrong, wrong.  Austin is the worst when it comes to a forced smile.  He's just so stinking goofy and the other two weren't looking much better.  Joe already deleted all those photos so I don't have the exciting crummy photos to show you darn it! 

Monday, I was so ticked at Austin that I told him I wanted a nice picture with a nice smile like the one that is currently on our living room wall and he wasn't playing until I got it.  Well my first picture I took is the official Papesh card.  He knows how to perform when I mean business. 

But speaking of official cards, they'll be late.  Monday, I quickly ordered from Sam's hoping to pick them up that night even.  Well due to printer problems I didn't get them until today but got a decent discount.  Guess I'm writing out cards tonight, impressive as I didn't get them out at all last year.  Kudos to me!!  And again, MERRY CHRISTMAS to YOU! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ok - A post

It's been almost three months.  I guess my love affair with the great blog has fizzled.  I really feel like I blinked and December was here.  My absolutely favorite time of the year.  I love the lights, the trees, the snow, the different songs and such at mass. I just LOVE the holidays.
 Tommy - He has played in four tournaments since my last post including one in Chicago.  The miles are really piling up on the van. Two of them were AAA invitational tourney's and the team played well though they didn't bring home any hardware.  He'll start basketball next week and continue with the hockey.  I'm especially proud to say that he made the Bishop's Honor Roll which means he got a perfect 4.0.  He was the only student to achieve that in the 1st marking period so to say we are proud is an understatement.

Austin - He's had a momentous few months.  He started altar serving at church in a limited capacity.  It's great to see him go up there but I think everyone is always just a little bit nervous for him.  I know that first mass I think the whole congregation held their collective breaths hoping he would do okay.  He also got to play on his school coed basketball team.  He has one more game tomorrow.  He runs up and down that court and tries really hard.  It's a learning league and I'm thankful he's gotten the chance to play.  This Mama who sometimes thinks winning is everything (though I know that it's not) has learned a lot.  He's actually touched the ball maybe 3 times and only made one significant play, the ball squirted out and rolled to him, he picked it up and being you can't full court press in the league he actually got to throw the ball to his guard off the turnover. He got so much applause.  It was sweet. 

Austin has been having some med issues though with his bladder and bowels.  We're on meds and trying to get him fixed up but it might take a while.  It's been rough at times but thankfully we haven't had any public accidents that we haven't been able to discreetly take care of.  Our new Priest Fr. Tipton surprised the heck out of me today.  Last night I was telling him a bit about Austin's current struggles and today after communion during mass he had called me up and asked me if we could do an "Anointing of the Sick" for Austin.  After mass he called Austin up, Tommy and I also joined him and I don't think the kids in the school have ever been that quiet for so long as Father did his prayers and anointing.  It was very special, I was of course tearing up and Tommy was having a bit of trouble too.  As much as he drives us crazy, it hard to watch him go through so much continually.  And I know overall he is one of the lucky ones. Anyhoo, it was very special today but selfish me when I was up there with was praying that maybe this would do the trick and together with the medicine and the doctors, and the power of prayer maybe he will be fixed up once and for all.

And shame on me and this blog fail.  He had his 8th birthday in October.  My how time certainly flies.

School's been another struggle for Austin. He's a big 3rd grader now, though the youngest in his class.  I'm really regretting not holding him back in kindergarten now.  His comprehension is just so bad.  Joe and I work with him every night and no doubt he would quite possibly be failing in just about everything if we didn't.  We study and study and study and he just doesn't remember.  I don't think he's in danger of not passing 3rd grade but I just wish he was doing better.  I guess I need to be thankful that he likes school and does his homework without too many complaints and hopefully he'll get better. 

Oh and a quickie on hockey.  He's started up again and isn't doing great but isn't doing terrible either.  He hasn't cried as much as last year but he's still not making much progress.  Some of these kids are just flying now.  Of course many of these kids have different issues and not CP.  One Mom said once that if we put all the kids diagnosis' and struggles in a hat and passed it around we'd probably all still choose to deal with what we have been dealt. Good point. 

Ashley - Ashley is still doing well in school.  She also is doing great at Honeybees.  We started her in dance classes on Tuesday's and it seems like she never gets a nap on Tuesday's and will sleep all the way there then flip out when it's time to go.  Some days she does better than the other days but usually it's a lot of crying and clinging "I don't wanna go dance class."  But she'll go with her teachers and always seems happy when she gets done.  We aren't allowed to stay and watch but the ladies always say she does awesome and she will then show off her moves at home throughout the week.  Jazz and ballet are her classes.  I can't for the recital, she'll look beautiful but I doubt she'll perform.  Maybe she'll surprise me. She's definitely a lot of fun that is for sure.  

So there is the recap of life in our home for the past three months; it's a tribute to all three of the Papesh kids but mostly Austin. ;) 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

School Survival

After the best summer ever we all have headed back to school.  Everyone is doing great!  We all worked hard last week and are being extra lazy this weekend.  Every kid moved on this year as we are in odd years, Tommy in 5th grade, Austin in 3rd and Ashley has moved on to the big kid room in the daycare.  Tommy likes his teacher and Austin is happy to have his teacher he had in kindergarten again (Tommy was a bit sad to have to move on but he's cool and will do great).  Tommy has also told me he is enjoying Science (with me) so kudos to me.  Austin will crack me up telling me very seriously about DEAR time how they have to stop whatever they are doing and read.  Ashley lets everyone know that she is not a baby anymore, she's a big girl.  And that was ever apparent as I spotted her in the room using SCISSORS!!! And properly I should add.  My oh my!

1st day of school!
2nd day of school; it pained me to erase my snoopy and woodstock.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Conversation T-shirts ~ Love em or Hate em?

As far as the braggy ones go I hate them. No really, I LOATHE them! I'm happy I teach in a Catholic school and only have to see a few of them on our beloved jean days. And apparently there was enough bru-ha-ha about this shirt that JCP has pulled it from it's stores. I personally don't like the shirt but I'm kind of in the camp of "if I don't like it I don't buy it."  I can think of A LOT WORSE that people wear. 

Some shirts I despise more than others and they're mainly aimed to kids Tommy's generation. The sporty braggy shirts that might say "I'm so good even your Mom cheers for me," or "my better is better than your better."

I just don't like them!

Granted some are funny, back in the day I desperately wanted to find an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt with the arrow pointing towards the person you're with. I never did get one and I think I don't want one anymore. So don't go getting any ideas!

My Grandma got me a sweatshirt when I was in high school that said "not only am I perfect but I'm a red head too." I thought it was pretty dorky but wore it to school one day and I think one person (a blonde) called me a beast and said "darn, I can't wear that." Thanks Grandma :)

Braggy bibs??? Ashley has two bibs she still uses. The one says "My Mom is Hotter than Your Mom!" and I laugh but I cringe because chances are, I'm not hotter than the new Mom who's only 24. I hate that bib. Her bib that says, "I'm the Princess we'll do things my way" absolutely adorable and truthful.  Her shirt that says "brothers 4 sale" with the writing all preschool, eh sad to say I find it cheesy and tacky.  Why did I buy it??

I think that I know what my issue is with these conversation pieces.

Are you trying to brag?? "It's not bragging if you can back it up." I take a little issue with Austin wearing a basketball shirt that says "I'm big time" when he obviously can't play basketball, heck I'd take issue with Tommy wearing that because we're not "big time ballers." 

Are you being vulgar trying to be funny??  I found a hilarious t-shirt online but it's too inappropriate to post on this PG blog. I might like your shirt if you're at the bar, I'll hate it and YOU if you wear it to Cedar Point which is filled with children.  The FCUK craze; DROVE ME BONKERS so glad that seems to have fizzled! 

Are you just trying to demonstrate who you are??  I have a few Math t-shirts that officially push my geekness into the stratosphere.  Do you <3 fishing?  Is Your Boss A Jewish Carpenter? I'm not opposed to these again if they're not bragging but gosh darn are they cheesy!

I did find this shirt today when doing research for my post and those of you who know me personally will find it absolutely hilarious.You can click on it to go to the site and buy it for me.  haha
I guess I have to chalk up another victory to free speech. I'm glad you can buy whatever nutty shirt you want and can usually wear it wherever you like. I do worry though when kids are wearing these shirts though that might not be so nice, untrue, or too mature for their youthful selves. But I think it's again something that should be left up to the parents. I can just see it now, warning labels on clothing. Must be 18 or accompanied by an adult to buy this shirt. My goodness what would I have done in 7th grade if I hadn't been able to buy my "Don't like my attitude? Dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT" key chain at Spencers. Yeah, I thought I was cool. Happy Holiday Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Papesh Summer School


Those are the words I often hear from Austin when it's time to sit down and do the work I give him. I just don't get it. Some days he'll whip right through it, other days it's a lot of crying, whining, and maybe even an all out freak out. It's like the kid has a crazy switch that math seems to trigger. I don't know. But after daily lessons he is pretty proficient in addition and getting there with subtraction, he also can read larger numbers now, but writing them is still difficult. A bit scary as it took all summer to get here. His reading is better which is HUGE and for that I am thankful but I didn't even try working on the writing (not penmanship, but actual writing down ideas, stories, etc which he really struggles with.) I just didn't have the emotional strength to get through his writing block, my apologies to his 3rd grade teacher, and to Austin, I probably should have tried harder.

Tommy did well with his work but would also show some frustration at times on more difficult topics. He learned so much this summer, from fractions, to geometry, order of operations, I think we hit the basics in every math topic. Time to get that kid in some algebra!

On the weekends even Joe would get in on the action. He of course loved math/science so anytime Tommy was doing something that he could easily jump and help with he would and he would also help me with Austin too (sometimes even a few battles). It was cool watching Joe go back and channel his former mathleticism.

This year I will have Tommy in my classroom for Science. I am very excited. I've also decided that I will not be helping him at home with any of the homework, studying, or project work. No my friends that will be left to his Dad, who I know is up to the task. I just don't want Tommy having too much of an edge because his Mom is teaching the class. It'll be a big prep for when I have him for more classes in the coming years. YIKES!

Only a few more days "of torture" and then the kids and I will be back in school and their new teachers can continue the excruciating task of educating my kids. Cheers to a new school year which is only about 10 days away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flash Mobs - Good, Bad, Ugly

Well, I have to say I'm a sucker for the dancing/singing flash mobs and I've seen a ton of them on the net and love them. Of course that is no shocker since I'm a fan of the hokey. Last winter I had my students do a flash mob dance at lunch and it was a big surprise to the younger students and they had a lot of fun with it! I have yet to be anywhere when a flash mob is taking place and I'm afraid with the negative publicity now in Philadelphia with the flash mob violence and the flash rob of 7-11 the other night flash mobs will be fizzling and I probably never will.

I got to participate in one before the lizard fair concert last weekend with Amy and her daughter Emily through Emily's dance studio.  It was very cool and I'm glad I did it.  For those of you who didn't see it on Facebook here it is. Funny while we were waiting in line we talked to the girls behind us as they had brought pizza and when the gal who started the dancing got to going the girls were like "OMG, what is that girl doing??" and then we got to join in. I wonder what they were thinking then?? Probably something like "I wondered why those old dinosaurs were here for a teen concert."

And yes I screwed up and you can see it!! I thankfully hid in the back behind the young, beautiful, and much more talented dancers so you only see me a little bit. But I was there! And today at therapy one of the nurses in the kids adjoining pedi's office saw me and asked "how we liked lizard fair?" she had seen me dance while waiting in line to get. You've gotta be kidding me! I'm a star! ;)

And speaking of the Lizard Fair it was the boys first concert experience and they had an awesome time. We went with a couple other Blizzard Families and saw a ton of people we knew there. Performing that I can remember were Runner Runner, Jay Sean, Flo Rida, and Big Time Rush. So this week we've been all about Big Time Rush it seems. I was sure sore and tired from all the jumping around I did. Lots of fun!

P.S. - I of course love the flash mob fail commercial for AT & T! WE ARE!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another Wedding Anniversary

Today Joe and I celebrate 14 years of wedded bliss.  But I'm really looking forward to next year's big 15th bash.  I will almost certainly be in sunny Florida.  We decided earlier this summer to forgo a trip this year, and we haven't missed Florida since 2001, but have promised each other a bigger and better trip next year.  I can't believe I'm already looking forward to it.  Nothing like wishing my life away.

Every year on August 9th we look at going somewhere to eat that's "non-chain" but we just haven't found a place that we can agree on so back to the Outback Steakhouse for us.  It was scrum-diddly-umptious! A quick trip to Lowe's for a grill cover, then to Kohl's to pay my charge card (I went in with blinders and did good not buying anything else), a drive through Drapers New Car lot so we can dream and then back to Reese to get the kids.  Not a saucy anniversary, but a nice night with my hubby nonetheless. 

And the biggest thrill of the night for us...Laughing about how MY MOM FORGOT!  She left a message on our machine tonight just wondering how things are going, I called her back and we talked about a Cedar Point Trip for her birthday on Thursday and not a word of JoDa Anniversary XIV.  HAHAHA!  I'm just waiting for her to realize it and call back. LOL  Eh, no biggie deal. 

And I did make it through dinner without crying which is somewhat rare.  Of course I only had one glass of wine versus the whole bottle this year.  I usually end up reminiscing about how different life was 14 years ago and it always turns towards Austie and his struggles. Not tonight though, however, when we got back to Dad's house for some reason he had his 2003 diary laying out on the table and I went ahead and read about his birth. One thing that I often forget when thinking back to those days is sure I had a baby that was very sick and we weren't sure he was going to make it, but I also had a 2 year old who was being shuffled all over the place and that had to be hard on him too.  I saw a lot of writings like "picked up Tommie from so and so" (usually Sherri or Joe's Mother, and he wrote Tommy's name like that back then), "dropped off Tommie to so and so,"  "Tommie spent the night and had to go potty three times and fell out of bed"...Lol. 

I just am so thankful that we have such a great family & friend support system.  Austin wouldn't be doing as well as he is if we didn't have help carting him to therapies, doctors appointments, watching the other kids for us, or just giving us a break so we can enjoy each others company and talk about how far he's come, and how far we've come in 14 married years and 19 years together.  I love Joe with all my heart, and Tommy, Austin, and Ashley too.  I could only dream on August 9, 1997 how rich my life would be and maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Earth's Oddities

So a critter is ruining my outdoor adventures. 

Yesterday we got home from our running and I went to go water my hanging baskets.  I start walking down our little walk in front of the porch and see a dead something laying on the edge of the walk and the landscaping.  I figured it was a baby bird that had been dropped by a Mama bird.  Upon closer inspection I find it is the head of a skunk.  And with no trail of blood or sign of the rest of the carcass it left me thinking what the??  It was thankfully not smelling but I was seriously perplexed and nervous and stayed inside the whole darn day. 

Joe got home late and took care of it, in the rain no less; thanks hubby.  But it's still on my mind.  How on earth did it get there?

Some theories:
  • An animal dropped it off, but why was there no trail of blood?
  • A student or maybe a not student is pulling a prank on us?  This would be pure evil, I hope it's not this.  How sinister. 
  • A bird of prey accidentally dropped it while flying by.  This seems the most logical.  

I'm just afraid that there are more skunks maybe living under our porch or something.  Not cool.  But I have to get brave or I'll never have any outdoor fun at all.  It's been a rough week in the yard for the Papesh's.  My thumb got skinned up doing yard work, Tommy got stung by a bee and got a bunch of briars in his feet, I had a large splinter find it's way into my foot about a centimeter deep that took Joe forever to dig out, and now we have animal heads making their way to our yard.  Again, what the ? 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Woah Summer

Please slow down. 

It's August - which is like Sunday if you compare summer vacation to a weekend.  But at least it's early Sunday morning when you're just waking up and you have the whole day ahead of you. 

It's been a very different summer for the family. But it's been a good summer I guess I can say 2/3 of the way in. 

There was no hockey camp to cart Tommy to this year which he won't complain about.  Since he was 4 years old he's been allergic to hockey camp.

We said goodbye to Fr. Bill our priest of 12 years and welcomed Fr. Tipton.

We are not going to Florida this summer and really aren't taking any extended vacation at all.  This will be only the third time since we've been married we have not gone.  1998, 2001, and now. 

We've soaked up some fun and sun with a few trips to Cedar Point and Michigan's Adventure.  You know your kids are spoiled when they don't want to go to the fair.  Talk about desensitizing. 

Our yard has never looked better and I've got more ideas brewing in my head for future years.  Just need financing.  ;)

Joe just accepted a new job at Dow Chemical so get ready for more change.  I hope he likes it and does well. 

We've biked a bit, walked a bit, and watched a lot of baseball! The Tiger's are in 1st place and I keep waiting for the mid-season collapse to happen.  And I can't believe I'll admit this but I am rooting hard for Boston and New York to beat up on Cleveland and Chicago this week!

So hello August, time to really allow myself the okay to think about back to school, which really doesn't happen until after Labor Day.  10 years ago I had a 6 month old and was looking at student teaching and I remember the first day of school was August 20th! At least I have five solid weeks left! I'm sure the kids are thankful too!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ashley's First Haircut

So I really didn't want to get her haircut.  I know with the boys Tommy was just over 2 years old and Austin was about 18 months old.  With boys you go in with babies and come out with little boys.  I wasn't ready for Ashley to look so different.  Well Joe was feeling like neglectful parents by not having her haircut yet; and honestly if you don't put it up everyday she does look like a little ragamuffin.  I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with my beautician and we just did a little trim and left the bangs long.  I really didn't want to deal with bangs.  So it honestly doesn't look much different and Joe can feel better about having it done.

Both the boys did okay with their 1st haircuts; Austin was pretty good, Tommy was a bit more nervous but they both got through it on the first try.  Ashley though was absolutely geeked to be getting her hair done; I don't know why I even worried at all.  What can I say the girl loves beauty and loves people fussing over her.  I told her we'd get a new nail polish after if she was good.  And she was just great throughout the whole thing!  My baby girl is growing up way too quickly.  And I'm pretty sure that everyday I'll be asked to blow dry and curl her hair just like at the salon.

The last baseball post - loving it!

It's always hard to win a tournament when you lose your first game.  We were killed by Elba Friday night but won our final three games.  Then will help from Lake Orion and Cass City we ended up winning 1st place again.  Poor Cass City; they just can't get by us when it matters.  We just barely nudged them 6-5 and are 2-2 with them on the season.  Very even; I'll only feel sorry for them a little bit. This tournament was pure round robin style which I do not like.  I believe there should always be a championship game.  It's very hard for every team to win every game.  But once again the Reese Rockets came out smelling like a rose. 

We played our two games on Sunday and didn't even stick around to see how it would end because we were all but mathematically eliminated.  Elba had the most colossal collapse late in a tournament since Boston came down from 3-0 to take four straight against the Yankees on their way to winning their first World Series since the curse. (Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit here) Anyways, it was Elba's to lose and they did.  We had to meet up at the park Monday night for the boys to get their final trophies. 

Tommy played fairly well; not as great as in North Branch but better than the other two tournaments.  He hadn't struck out since the Beaver tournament so we are happy he finally conquered those demons.  We did have a scary moment on Saturday when he took a pitch to the face.  He was thankfully okay.  Dumb thing was the pitch before his teammate was given the steal sign so he was fake bunting and when he pulled back on a ball high he jumped out the box and the ump signaled strike saying "stay in the box, I'll always call a strike if you jump out of the box." Well the next pitch he stayed in the box and BOOM.  I was probably more shook up then Tommy and Joe had a few words for the umpire and craziest thing of all was the Cass City coach gave the ump some grief saying it was all his fault Tommy got hit and you should never tell a kid to not get out of the box.  The ump did ask Joe the next inning how Tommy was doing and I'm sure he felt bad.  I guess it was the coach's kid who was pitching and I'm sure that kid felt terrible.  Tommy's coach called that night to see how he was doing which was nice too.  Thankfully the next couple games the little pitchers weren't throwing too hard and Tommy did fine getting some decent hits.  Overall a good way to end a great summer season! 

Way to go Reese 10U Rockets!!! 

Monday, July 25, 2011


Bleh, can't believe I'm making a post about this.  I hate port-a-johns but sometimes you're just desperate and need to use them.  We've seen a lot of them recently at Tommy's ball tournaments.  Thankfully there was only 1 tournament where that was our only option.  However, often the regular bathrooms were a long walk away so the porties were it.

Friday night, our potty was fresh and new.  I swear Ashley's was the first pee deposited there and it wasn't too bad of an experience.  But by yesterday you couldn't even walk by the one at our field without gagging.  On a hot and humid weekend the flies are buzzing around and you can almost feel the gasses in their trying to attack you.  And another thing you will find is that shit in a portie is always diarrhea.  Oh the agony.

Ashley went fine on Friday when the potty was fairly empty.  Saturday afternoon, it was filled with all kinds of nastiness and had a huge mountain of toilet paper forming topped with piss and shit.  She refused to go.  I tell you with the TP mountain I don't think you had to worry about back splash but it was enough to freak her out and she wouldn't go and guess who later pissed her pants?  Ugh! I almost can't blame her.

I guess I just need bring a portie of our own.  (I did do this a couple weeks ago when there was NO real bathroom and the porties were especially nasty, I think those got emptied maybe once a year.  However, mid-tournament the shit truck came by and emptied it, who would like that job?) Men are so lucky that they can just whip it out and go on the ground behind a tree.  And just in case you're wondering the portie was for Ashley not me. ;)  I just hold it for hours and hours and hours. I'm so glad I wasn't born over 100 years ago when pit toilets were a way of life.  And did you know that porties are the number one place that lost cell phones go un-rescued?  No shocker there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Loving Baseball!

The title should say it all!  Tommy's team went 4-1 this weekend winning the North Branch Tournament.  Tommy had his best weekend hitting wise and did well defensively too.  He's finally hitting on all cylinders.  He had some great hits this weekend and a ton of RBI's.  And best of all he didn't strike out once!!!!  It's been a huge battle for him.  Now if only poor Brandon Inge could bust out of his slump. 

This weekend wasn't only great for Tommy but all the Reese kids were hitting.  It was great to see these kids get some confidence at the plate.  Of course the pitchers weren't flame throwers like we had last weekend in Beaver.  Plus, that tourney was major league style; you could run on a passed ball third strike, could steal home, and could lead off before the ball was pitched.  I personally don't like that at this level.  I think hitters should have to put the ball in play (or be walked home with bases loaded) to be able to score.  It just put a lot of pressure on the catchers and pitchers.  This tournament was more of a recreation style, you could steal but not lead off, and you couldn't steal home.  Our team is really in the middle trying to find our right place.  We are too good for rec but not quite ready for elite travel status.  However with this weekend I saw some good things and maybe the team could make that leap soon.  Too bad the travel season is ending after this week. 

Of course this all was possible because before the tournament Tommy went to the barbershop and got all his beautiful locks chopped off.  All that beautiful hair; GONE!  But I'm the only one sad about it.  Eh, he'll probably be more comfortable now anyways.

Next weekend we are in Mayville and that my friends will be the end of baseball.  But it's been a long journey; he's been going to weekly open gyms since January. No rest for the wicked.  Go Rockets!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going Nuts for Free Stuff

People have tried to explain it to me but I just don't get it.  Why do people go nuts for free things?  Yesterday was 7-11's birthday and they were giving away free 7.11 oz slurpees.  Do you know how dinky that is?  You'll have that drank before you're in your car to go back home.  I heard one gal on Facebook say that she and her kid went numerous times yesterday for free slurpees!  Seriously, a giant slurpee might cost you a little over a buck?  Why do people go so nuts for free?

We went one year to the 7-11 event and they didn't even give you a lid! Plus, I spent a boatload in snacks while there.  7-11 knows what they're doing.  Just gotta reel the people in. 

How about the crazy people that stood in line at Buffalo Wild Wings for hours in the cold during their grand opening hoping to get 6 free wings a week for a year?  You're saving $6 a week but how much are you spending on the drinks and other food when you go?

I'm all about getting a good deal but all this borderlines on ridiculous! I am very happy for those people who seriously can't afford to drop a buck or two on occasional slurpees.  I'm sure the indulgence was a welcome treat.  And kids, you go ahead and bike up there 5 times if you want on July 11th, but adults I ask don't you know any better? Go ahead and get your one freebie, but anything after that and you just look like a cheap glutton. And think about the other 999 people that might be wanting a free slurpee at the 7-11 too.

Me personally I usually steer way clear of any place claiming free, free food, free concert series, free movies, you get my drift.  Free just too often seems to bring out the freak in people and try to avoid that if at all possible.  I'm sure there are many events/items that are awesome that are indeed free but it sure seems like there is often some sort of opportunity cost involved that makes me leery of the whole free scene. 

Am I crazy here?  Am I really missing out on some primo deals?  Am I a lone soldier in thinking free is not always fabulous?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I guess I'll *like* baseball this weekend.

We had a great weekend up in Beaver for another ball tourney.  It was extra nice because one of Tommy's hockey buds Kyle got to play with us because we were short players.  We enjoyed the time with our "winter friends" and we'll spend another weekend together in North Branch next weekend as we battle again on the sandlot.

Tommy did better this weekend finally ending his No-for streak with some good clutch hits and RBI's.  I'm so thankful he is out of that slump and hopefully for good!  They ended up losing today in the semi's in the last inning after working hard to tie it up in the 5th.  We were down from the first inning on but were never out.  We only lost 4-3 which is a low score at this level of ball.  The pitching and defense are just getting so much better.  We finished 2-2 on the weekend.  Not bad.

So I love that Tommy got out of his hitting funk; but he had a rough time on field.  If we can just get him to fire on all cylinders then I'll really be loving baseball.  And by that time it will be over and then we can get to the real fun...HOCKEY!! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A New National Anthem? Thanks but No Thanks

So since reading this article in Parade Magazine on Sunday the thought of a new national anthem keeps coming back to my mind.  I remember in high school in band being asked to practice the national anthem for probably the thousandth time in my life and piping up to my band teacher about being sick and tired of playing this song again and again and couldn't we play something else like God Bless America before the football games.  Well it's still embarrassing to me today that she pretty near ripped me a new one in front of my classmates about when she hears the song she feels pride and yada, yada, yada keep my crazy unpatriotic opinion to myself, shut up and play.  I also probably feel bad that Joe even later said something to me probably along the lines of "why do you have to start stupid shit like that?"  I don't know; I was just being belligerent I suppose.

I don't think I meant any malice towards our country's anthem but I also don't think I understood just how meaningful the song was until I reached the ripe maturity of adulthood.  I will tell you now that one of my biggest pet peeves is people being disrespectful during it's play.  Kids at sporting events are the worst but adults are sometimes no better. Just stand there and shut up for one minute people! Drives me insane.

Anyways, I guess I was only 20 years ahead of the masses when I questioned my band director about this.  However, as much as I love God Bless America and America the Beautiful, The Star Spangled Banner is what I want to hear even if million dollar celebrities or school choirs continue to butcher it. Since I don't have to play it everyday in band class I've grown to love it and love the way it makes me feel when an assembly sings along. 

What do you think?  Is it time to retire Francis Scott Keyes version?  BTW, I teach a student who is related to said author.  And who doesn't swell with pride when they finally get to "o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave" when we do get an excellent singer to deliver it?  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Baseball

Oh America's favorite past time.  Everyone knows of my love for the Tiger's however there is another team that I love even more.  The 2011 10&Under Reese Rockets.  Big Tommy has been playing for this coach on this team for the past two seasons and we really like it.  We love going to games and the families are all wonderful people too.  We of course simply love the game and now that the kids are older it's getting more exciting with stealing bases (or attempting), spectacular plays in the field, and some really monstrous hits! 

Last weekend they won the Reese Tournament which was unexpected but sweet.  We won our first game of pool play but then lost the next two figuring we'd be out.  It was powerhouse Clio who'd gone 3-0, and the other three teams all with one win a piece.  We lucked out as we won the tie-breaker by giving up the least amount of runs.  Yay for excellent defense!  It was like we'd channeled the Bay County Blizzard as we won the Championship game after nearly not even making it to advance.  I guess you have to take the good breaks along with the bad.  It's just been working out. 

Now why I hate baseball.  It's such an individual sport!  All eyes are on the batter or pitcher.  Who ends up being the hero?  Who ends up being the goat?  Tommy is slumping at the plate in the worst way and I try not to let it get to me but if it's bugging me so bad, I can only imagine how bad it's making Tommy feel. He's always been known more for his defense as the catcher (he can also play the field) but he can hit and I hate to see him struggle so badly!  In the regular season he was able to snap out of some funks by bunting.  He hasn't been able to try that yet.  Sunday after the game was over he said to make sure I blog about how he didn't have a hit all weekend.  Seriously kid? He did get on base a few times with walks and getting hit by a pitch once. But it's just not like a beautiful base hit.

The low point for us in the weekend was the Saturday night game.  We were winning 2-0 for most of the game (against pesky Clio of course) but gave up 3 runs in the top of the last inning.  We are now down 3-2, have two outs, two on and Tommy is up to bat. Oh he could be the hero!  At this point I'm just praying for contact, even if he gets out at least let it be because a fielder had to make a play. However it ended dismally, he didn't even swing and watched three straight strikes go by.  I kept hearing the final words of "Casey at the Bat" in my head.  Oh agony.  No heroics from Tommy and that my friends was his 3rd strikeout of the game.  It was just not his night. But winning the whole thing the next day definitely softened the blows of his dismal batting.  The next day was thankfully better as he did put the ball in play he just couldn't get that elusive hit. 

Being an individual game but not quite an individual game, you thankfully can't blame an entire loss on one player.  We also see the other poor kids booting ground balls, misjudging fly balls, and of course striking out.  It's just hard when it's your kid out there; you hope and pray that his teammates aren't thinking oh here's an easy out.  If I can find a silver lining in this whole business is that I am being humbled a bit (him too).  Out on the ice I have total confidence in Tommy and feel like the team is in good hands when he is out there.  Sure he makes bone head moves sometimes but he also plays some fantastic defense and always helps his team more than hurts it.  I'm a proud Mama in the rink and want him out there during sudden death overtime.  In baseball I'd rather have someone else with their neck out on the line bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the 9th.

Thankfully we have three more weekends of tournament ball.  Hopefully Tommy will get out of his slump and by August I will love baseball more than hate it.  I'll keep you posted.  And when it's all said and done, it really is just a game.  A game that every kid should LOVE and play for the love and not the glory.

Friday, June 24, 2011

No soliciting please

I love this picture.  I took it about a year ago.  This was the parting gift the St. Elizabeth class of 2010 gave me.  I never thought I would have a beautiful statue of Our Lady to adorn my home.  They are quite pricey.  I was absolutely thrilled when they unveiled her to me. 

A little joke with Joe was that maybe she would keep the religious proselytizers away.  Well she hasn't. We got a few visits last summer and this morning some poor JW lady got me in my pajamas and also saw Ashley & Austin in their undies.  She didn't stay long, just wanted to invite us to their big event at the Dow Event center and gave us some literature.  These people are always so sweet and I would never dream of being rude to them, heck I've even prayed with them.  I'll always listen to their spiel and usually say thank you but no thank you I'm very solid in my Catholic Faith.  But I wish them well and they're usually on their way, no pressure. 

I do however find the commission salespeople particularly annoying.  Poor Joe had to deal with the book dude who finally tracked us down last Saturday morning.  The neighbors had warned us he lingered for about an hour when he talked with them earlier in the week.  Joe must have told the guy a nice "no and I'm about to have breakfast" three times before finally getting rude and pretty much slamming the door in his face.  And seriously couldn't the dude smell our bacon cooking? 
I guess the Lord does a good job of sending the religious people to me and the sales people to Joe. Maybe I should find a Jesus statue that has him holding a "no solicitors" sign.  Eh, that might be a bit tacky.  You can however buy this cute guy on Amazon. 

Me personally, I hate soliciting and just am not good at saying no or at being told no.  I could never be a salesperson or a Jehovah's Witness for that matter.  But to those who are a hearty good luck to you; it takes all types to make the world go round. 

And P.S. - I'll still buy your Boy Scout popcorn, Girl Scout cookies, pizza kits, etc.  So don't be afraid to send your kid my way even after the above rant. ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The kid's amazing.  Yearly the high school basketball team and coaches host a youth basketball camp and the boys decided to go.  They loved it!!  I was of course worried about Austin but he did wonderful.  It was a week long for an hour and a half.  They had lower hoops that Austin could do well on and had separated the kids into skill level.  I noticed the first day that Austin was in a group with all girls but he didn't care one bit.  I'm thankful there that he's pretty happy go lucky in that regard.  He seems to get along well with everyone.

They ended up giving out trophies to a few of the kids and I'll be darned Austin got one for being Camp Hustler.  Maybe being in that group with all the girls??  haha  I was pretty proud that he was picked; I know some of it is sympathy but I'll take it.

When Austin was finishing up Tommy's group would be arriving so we'd watch a bit and he always had a smile on his face.  I had Tommy video once and it's too long to post but it's awesome to hear Tommy & his gang cheering for him and one kid clearly said "Austin is so cool."  Kids are pretty awesome.  They don't scare from disabilities so much and I'm thankful.  Austin has a great gang of kids in his class that I know will look out for him forever, as long as Austin stays a nice kid I suppose anyway.

Back in school we had a pep assembly and everyone had to go around the gym with a bean bag on their head in a relay race.  Austin's team was last and Austin was the last kid to still go and all the kids started cheering him on, "AUSTIN, AUSTIN, AUSTIN" as he's going around the gym all by himself.  You should see the nervous smile he puts on for that.  Pretty near the same thing happened during another assembly when they played musical chairs only the older students were the chairs and the younger kids had to sit on their knees.  Once again it was Austin near the end and the chants were going again, "AUSTIN, AUSTIN, AUSTIN" and I'll be darn this time Austin won.  I think a little bit of help may have happened as I know the "chair" yanked Austin onto his knee at the end.  All that to say, I know people say kids these days are all jerks but I clearly know some kids who are not. 

Here is a video from Austin's first day of camp.  They're playing dribble tag and you can see he does pretty well.  I didn't notice until watching it that the girl who gets Austin out should have been out earlier as she clearly lost her dribble but she just picked up and kept going instead of going out.  Little Cheater Girl!  There I go picking on little 2nd graders; bad me!

I know Austin will never win any basketball games all by himself but I'm thankful he gets to play ball with his friends and have fun doing so.  During the scrimmage he was kind of like a monkey in the middle.  He'd run down to the end of the court and the ball would already be coming back the other way, so he'd run that way, and you get my drift right?  I never saw him touch the ball during the scrimmage.  However, he never seemed to tire and seems to be running very well.  I guess that Camp Hustler trophy was legit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Can't sleep again!!

Dang it this is not cool! Especially as it's Father's Day and I definitely have to be the one that's up early with the Monster.  Hopefully she'll at least sleep past 7:30. 

We had the Reese Knights of Columbus 25th Anniversary Mass and Dinner Party tonight.  Wow it was a nice time.  Those old dudes sure know how to throw a party.  It was pretty near a full far but I just hit the wine and hit it hard.  The room was a spinning tonight and now I can't sleep.  Allergies aren't helping; maybe I need to take a nip of Ashley's Claritan?  But that and motrin plus nothing to eat since the party might send me over the edge and I'd end up praying to the porcelain god.  Something I'm proud to say has never happened to me. And yeah, I'm a jerk about that.  Last fall one of the hockey Mom's overdid it and she was still ralphing the next afternoon and I was in the bathroom with her and another Mom and she was feeling so embarassed and the other Mom says "oh honey, don't feel bad we've all been there done that" and I replied "actually I haven't."  And I wonder where Tommy sometimes gets his lack of tact.

Anyhoo, I'd never hear the end of it if it was a K of C event that I finally brought me to my knees.  After all, most of the guests there are probably drawing social security.  Thankfully Joe got me out of there pretty early.  9:30 lol.  And I'm seriously going to be fine but darn it why can't I fall back asleep.

Another badness about being up is I'm such a chicken.  Every little noise freaks me out.  And of course I have lights on and figure there's somebody out the window spying on me.  Oh such a nerd.  If Joe ever keels over or ends up leaving me I'm buying a big dog or heck maybe I'll just move in with my Mom or Dad.  They'll protect me. :)  For right now, I'm certain there is someone prowling around in the basement and there's definitely a monster in the freezer.  It's probably just the ice maker but why make ice at 3:53 in the morning?

And for now, I guess I'll try to head back to bed or maybe it's time to eat something. Grandma made meatball subs tonight for the kids and there's sure to be leftovers.  Maybe I should add heartburn and indigestion to my night?  eh maybe not. I never understood why drunk people always want to go to Taco Bell to sober up.  Seems like you'd really be making a bomb in your stomach then.

And P.S.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's and Grandpa's out there! I'm Blessed to have such a great Dad and to be married to such a wonderful husband who is also a very good Dad!  We are off in the morning to Ann Arbor for Austin's hockey banquet with his team.  It'll be nice to see everyone again. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Boy and His Phone

Look at me, another post in one week. Seems kind of early in the summer vacation season to have my middle of the night can't sleep post. It's Ashley's fault.  She woke up at 2:15 to go potty and has been off and on up since then too.  I think she finally just settled down but I'm not tired.  It's hot out too.  Weren't we supposed to get storms? 

We finally caved and bought Tommy a cell phone recently.  And of course it had to be a an IPhone.  Mind you it's an Iphone 3 but there is still part of me thinking why on earth spend $25 a month on such a luxury?  Well I'll tell you why.  My husbands a nerd and that's just what we do.  ;)  We finally got one because he started riding his bike to school.  He's also been staying home alone more often and it's just nice to be able to check in with a text message.  I know all of us survived without one back in the day but now that we don't need to why would we try and ignore technology?  Same with helmets.  I'm still a nut about the kids, "you don't wear it, you don't ride."  And thankfully they don't balk, and I don't believe they are given any crap about it at school either. As for the Iphone, Tommy was quickly trumped when a girl in his class was given an Iphone 4 soon after he got his.  I can't believe my "gotta keep up with Jones' in geek speak husband" did not go right out and upgrade him.

I guess this is the age because a few hockey friends have got phones now too.  They are all about texting him but Tommy doesn't seem to be too into that.  Oh to be always connected.  I think when I was his age I was always on the phone.  And blasted those days of long distance charges.  My dad would get so mad when we'd get the phone bill.   At least with Tommy we shouldn't get any crazy extra charges, until the day he goes bugs in the app store. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wow 2 months off the blog

I didn't think it was that long but geesh! What can I say it was a busy spring but thank the Lord I've made it to summer vacation! Ah bliss. I did have thoughts of just letting the blog die a slow death, but being I'm on vaca maybe I can breathe a bit of life into it and see if I really want to keep it going. It is going on about 4 years old now.

So to catch up on life here is what we were up to in Happy's & Crappy's format.

Happy - School is out!!

Crappy - Tommy got 3 stitches in his head after horsing around at school. Man that sucker bled, and bled, and bled. On the outside I was amazingly calm, on the inside I was freaking out thinking please don't die, please don't die like this. I know, a bit melodramatic.

Happy - Austin made his 1st Holy Communion. It was a very special day for our very special boy. I still get nervous with him going up there but so far there have been no disasters. I'll probably be nervous forever.

Happy - Dad's 60th surprise birthday party to the Detroit Tiger game. He thought only 7 of us were going but we surprised him with 26 guests. He loved it! The 15 passenger van was a real hoot.

Happy - Adam & Katy's wedding; such a great night!

Happy - Both boys are doing well in baseball and are finishing up their seasons. Ashley continues to do well at Honeybees.

Crappy -We all battled some crappy illness that lingered for over a week, hit our throats, eyes, just crappy, crap, crap.  I think we are finally all mended.  

Happy - Joe & I went with Tommy and his class to Mackinaw for 3 days. Bless the Muylle's for keeping our younger two for us. Fun times. For Mike & Jill - remember the deuce. I probably should've have made that a crappy bahaha.

Crappy - I haven't taken time to plant flowers yet.

Happy - Tommy got Citizenship award for the year in his class, and a 3.94 GPA. He was also the 2nd highest AR point getter in the whole school with over 500 points.

Happy - Austin did okay in school. We had him tested for Special Ed. just to see how he was measuring up and he is borderline/low average. No SPED for Austin; we'll just keep working with him. The psychologist said he's a great kid and could tell he has a lot of support. We start the Papesh Summer School program today for all the kids. :)

Crappy - Haven't been to the cemetery very recently.

Happy - I celebrated my 33rd birthday and don't feel older than 30 most days. ;)

Happy - My hockey team won the championship and I ended my almost year long scoring drought with at least one, maybe two goals in that game.

Happy - Austin finished his hockey season.  Such a little pro.  We have his banquet on Sunday.

Crappy - Austin continues to have dental issues.  We're already being prepped at the prospect of braces but a bigger fear is him losing his bottom two middle permanent teeth.  He gums are rescinding bad due to bacteria and we gotta do better about brushing numerous times a day and chewing sugar free gum.  I'm praying he can keep those teeth.  Pretty significant crappy I know.

Happy - Coed Softball has started up again. We are 1-1.

Happy - We have Cedar Point/Michigan Adventure Platinum passes! Yeah! Anyone wanna go?

Happy - I graduated another group of fine 8th graders. I was given a beautiful yellow rosebush with an awesome hand painted pot from them. I love all my students.

Crappy - My house is always a disorganized mess. Am really hoping to remedy this soon.

Happy - The boys started basketball camp at the public school today.  Austin already had his session and LOVED it!  I am always nervous about him with his bad wing but he did fine! Tommy is at his session right now. 

Crappy - My beloved former teacher and now coworker Mrs. Bremer is retiring. I'm so happy she waited until Austin made it to 3rd grade. She is such a special lady and just did so much for both boys but especially Austin.

I think that is it! Ashley is two and is quite the pistol.  She's decided she doesn't want to nap or go to bed lately so we've had some bedtime battles.  I'm loving her longer hair and am hoping to not cut it for a long time but even with a pony you can see it can look a bit moppish. And Austin is just being Austin. :)

So life is good.  As you can see the happy's are outweighing the crappy's which is always a great sign.  It was fun to write this; I'll be back and hopefully sooner than 2 months.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Austin's Confirmation

Tuesday night was Austin's confirmation. I really don't like the idea of the children being confirmed so young. I personally was confirmed in 10th grade and I think 6th-8th grade would be a more ideal age. Rumor has it this Bishop may just make that change. Who knows?

Next big event is 1st Communion on May 1st!!! Big year for Big Austin! He looked so pure and holy on Tuesday night, but don't worry he was back to his wicked and wile ways today. He told his Occupational Therapist while she was working with him at school that I didn't work there, that I worked in Fairgrove. And you know what she almost believed him. Such a scheister.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hail to My Little Victor!

My what a difference a month makes.  You remember weeks ago how frustrated I was about Austin's progress or lack thereof.  Well soon after that rough post he really turned a corner.  Up until today we hadn't had any tears or need for breaks during hockey the past couple weeks.  Today he skated as best he ever has however, I think a late night at Grandpa's made for a very tired and emotionally tested Austin.  He'd fall and cry, he complained often that his feet hurt, it was just a rough go.  But check out the video and be amazed at how well he is skating!  And you can also see him score a goal today. Crazy good day!

After the practice a few of the players went over to the U of M field house where Dance Marathon was taking place. This is where Coach Jackie received the grant to start the hockey program. It was a very neat experience and nothing like I imagined. These kids are out there for 30 straight hours, have no idea what time it is, and dancing in a carnival atmosphere all to raise money for kids with physical disabilities. They would also pay tribute to some kids they had helped and had testimonies and such. One teenager was playing the drums along to Eminem's Lose Yourself. The gist of his story was he was hit by a babysitter in the chest at 4 months old and his heart had stopped for 28 minutes. He had severe cerebral palsy and talked very slowly but was able to beat that drum and cymbal with his rigid arms. It was so incredibly sad yet inspiring and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it again.

And look who we got to meet?? Ashley freaked right out. She was terrified so we didn't try to track down anymore characters though we really would have liked a picture with the U of M Storm Trooper and a Sand Monster.

I'm glad we got to see what the Dance Marathon was all about. Throughout this whole project we have not had to pay for anything. Never an ice bill and if we hadn't had all hand me down equipment they would have given us all new equipment except skates which kids can rent and bags and they've slowly salvaged enough bags as hand me downs from others. The number of volunteers on the ice each week is also impressive with Austin often having one on one help with these awesome young adults and a few not so young adults.

Every week since mid-January, Austin and either Joe, myself, or our whole family has made the 90 minute trek to and from Ann Arbor. On the way down we always see this billboard. And I always go back to those dreaded days in 2003 when we almost lost him. U of M saved him though he's had a horribly tough go at times. Over 7 years later U of M is still there helping Austin along with many other heroes to be the best that he can be. I know all you State fans are probably rolling your eyes at this but "Hail to my Little Conquering Hero you've come so far my crazy boy!"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Squirt A MAHA Champions!

There are hockey games, and then there are hockey games.  Any given day, any given team can win no matter how good on paper the other team is.  It's who's left standing in the end that matters. And today ended an unbelievable journey for the underdog Blizzard!  Here is the recap.

Early January we hear that we are in a District with the Saginaw Badgers and the Blue Water Stars.  We beat Saginaw in the round robin but lose to Blue Water (who had eliminated us in Silver Sticks and ouch did that hurt).  District Semi's we once again beat Saginaw setting up the rematch with Blue Water for the District Championship which we do win.  Blue Water then goes on to the Second Chance game and gets into the State Tournament this weekend also.  Those darn Stars just won't go away quietly! 

Soon we get the division alignments and see we are in a tough division with Troy who manhandled us 8-0 during our last visit, Ann Arbor, and Macomb who we've played pretty evenly.  We have Ann Arbor Friday night, Macomb Saturday morning, and Troy Saturday in round robin play.  I figured we had to win against Ann Arbor Friday night to even think about moving on and we lost. I then went home because Austin had Sacrament Class and Ashley went to Honeybee's with Julie.  Saturday morning the Blizzard tied Macomb and it seemed like we were toast and I decided to not even drive down last night to watch us get killed by the team who had a good chance going in of winning the whole thing.  Well we ended up winning 5-0 in a phenomenal game (Joe's words) getting us a 2nd seed draw in today's semi's.  Another upset in the other division was a KV loss to Blue Water.  Here we were having to play those pesky Stars again but it was better than playing KV who clobbered us two weeks ago in the LCAHL semi's.  I wasn't there and I think I'm glad as it went into 7 overtimes!!  That's right 7.  They played over two full games this morning.  Ann Arbor took KV into 6 overtimes but KV prevailed.  What a crazy weekend of Squirt hockey!  So many teams saying we were so, so close.

Game time was here and I was honestly thinking a loss was looming but was thrilled knowing we'd be State runner ups! The game started a little late but had a little more hoopla.  They called out the starting line-up and also had a gal sing the National Anthem.  See this tourney is special! And kudos to Joe he was saying all last week we were going to win.  I'm so glad he was right.

The game soon began and we come out and scored but KV quickly answered, we were tied 1-1 after one period of play.  The second period KV scored first but we end up answering.  Tied 2-2 after two.  Oh Lord, please don't let this game go to OT.  In the 3rd we scored with a little less than 9 minutes to go and held on to win.  What a euphoric feeling for sure! 

It was kind of poetic justice today as way back in that first tourney in the fall KV stung us hard in the tournament final.  This was also the team if you remember we were tied with 12 seconds to go and Tommy had a breakaway and missed the net that initial weekend.  He cried that day and the next day we took 2nd place when they crushed us 6-2. There would be no crying for Tommy today, no heroics from him either, but just solid hustle and good play all weekend.  I only saw two of the five games but he looked good from what I did see, though he definitely looked out of gas towards the end today.

All year it's been talk of KV & Troy and the rest of us teams were just there for beating on.  We had some good games through the year and pulled off a few upsets and some lower ranked teams beat us too.  But today in the State Tournament when it really mattered it was the 2001 Bay County Blizzard who rose to the top!

Starting Line Up
 Face Off
 Tommy after receiving his medal
MAHA State Champs!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This post brought to you by the number 10!

This post is over a month overdue!  Hopefully I will get Ashley's birthday post out still this month. Tommy turned 10 on February 4th.  As you can see by the jerseys he likes the number 10. He has lucked out the last few years being able to get 10 for hockey, baseball, and basketball.  And now I'll be darn, he is 10 years old.  Where oh where does the time go?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Embracing the Pale

Red Hair and Freckles.

Dad says I came home from school crying in 1st grade because kids said my hair was fake, that I "painted it."  The story is kind of funny.  But all growing up I just didn't understand why I couldn't be normal.  In my small school my family was the only set of gingers. Years later I embrace my red hair (though it is enhanced chemically with both high and low lights), but I am still not fond of the fair skin and freckles. 

There has been talk in the news this week about the government putting a ban on teenage tanning at salons.  I never tanned as a teenager, and if I was at home (I'm at a hotel) I'd maybe post a prom pic of pale me and my tanned cousin.  (she looks way better) I did however tan three different times in my 20's and I have to say dang I looked good.  But was it worth the premature aging of skin and worse possibly skin cancer? I would have loved the tan ban as a high schooler as it would have been more of an equalizer for me with my peers.  Now I say I hope my kids aren't as shallow as I was and are confident in their fair skin.  Trying to fit in, I often tried the sunless tanners but usually ended up a streaky orange.  Why did I ever care what others thought of me?  On to today's issue, I don't think it's the government's place to be banning this for teens, I do however believe that they should need parental consent to tan.  And in this household, it would be a big fat NO for teenage tanning.  I just wish teens didn't feel the need to tan to feel beautiful during prom season. 

That all being said, I still prefer a tanned body, however, after reading this article from the UK I've decided to ditch the bronzer and blush and just go au natural.  I'm ready to embrace my inner Nicole Kidman and Marcia Cross.  Now the question is, will I look svelte and chic like the mentioned celebrities?  Or sick and pasty?  Again, why do I even care?  I have a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what I look like, and I wear my clothes well.  It's just the upcoming summer season that has me loathing my red hair and freckles. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Potty Whisperer

Oh yeah, it's me.  So two weeks ago today I embarked on the 3 day potty train plan.  Don't count that first day and I can count her accidents on one hand.  That's right FIVE!  Two that next day on Wednesday, two the following Sunday, 1 a week later on Thursday and that my friends has been it.  The girl is doing phenomenal!  She even reached a huge achievement finally landing a deuce at school.  That has been the only major trial in this whole process.  She doesn't like to poop on the potty.  However, she also will not go in her underwear.  So we often do this up down dance forever until she finally goes.  Today was not so bad though it was like 5 minutes of up/down.  Maybe we are on our way.  The more often she goes, the more comfortable she will get.  I'm hopeful anyways, I had the same darn issues with both boys and deserve an easier go. ;)

I am so proud of my little girl and heck I'm proud of me too. :) And the rest of the family and caregivers.  They've been wonderful through all this.  Miss Jill even made her an adorable potty book.  It's so darn cute. 

Sometimes however when we've gone to pee for the fourth time in an hour I do think diapers were certainly easier and more convenient.  However, the closer she gets to her two year old birthday the more attitude she seems to give and the more intense of a tantrum she throws.  I guess I'd rather have the fight now, rather than later and now it hasn't been much of a fight. As for saving money?  I think I bought months worth of cost of diapers in new underwear, at least that in new potty seats, the laundry for a while was much more often. 

And did I also mention that she has been staying dry at night and for naps too?  I'm in freaking shock over here.  I don't remember the last time she peed the bed though I know it was in the last week, but not since the weekend for sure. Amazing!

So I said I'd be singing this lady's praises if it worked I must give credit out there.  3 Day Potty Training There is the link for anyone who is interested.  I guess Ashley was just ready.  I still know there could be accidents here or there but for now I'm calling her potty trained.  We take her out and about and have no problem.  We do have to bring her little purple potty seat with us but I guess I'll deal with that.  Somehow I'm thinking diapers may just be a bit more sanitary than putting our potty ring on all these toilet seats.  But I'm not going back there, I think the diaper stage in my life is finally over.  Happy/Sad.  ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chuck E Cheese - Not Just A Rat Establishment

So apparently the Saginaw Chuck E Cheese will have a hired police officer on sight on Thursday - Sunday.  For us personally this is about 7 years too late.  But first of all, how ridiculous that a children's establishment would have to have police presence at all. 

You can read the local article here. The article is rather lame, it's the outrageous comments that make you laugh right out loud.

Joe and I vowed never to go to Chuck E Cheese ever again on a weekend or even late on a weeknight after getting to witness one of these "family spars" back in January 2004.  I had infant Austin in a booth and Joe had almost 3 year old Tommy playing out in the game room when all hell breaks loose and people come running to the back of the restaurant claiming someone has a gun.  It was scary but nothing ever became of the incident and who knows if there was even a gun there but it was still enough for Joe and I to say "never again."  I remember dragging a heartbroken Tommy out of the place as our fun family night was abruptly put to an end.

Joe worked there in high school/college and said that every year there was one birthday party that always ended up with police called due to Baby Mama Drama.  Once a year.  Now it's a once a week thing.  Totally disturbing. 

Now about those LOL comments. I probably shouldn't be laughing.  The decent person in me knows that there are bad apples in every bunch that ruin everything for the good majority.  The human nature in me thinks something much more dastardly that I know is wrong so I won't voice it.

I will just sum this up by saying if Chuck E Cheese's new police presence every weekend does not curb the violence I'd honestly rather just have them close it down. I'm just waiting to read in the news about a homicide of some innocent bystander at CEC of all places.  Simply incredulous.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Potty Training the Monster

Overall it's going well. I'm doing Lora Jenson's 3 day training deal and I know I have a bunch of doubters out there but day three is here and we've just about conquered. 

Ashley threw away all her diapers on Tuesday morning and there's been no looking back. She mastered peeing on the potty yesterday and has been dry all day today.  She did however resist going poop on the potty and since she hadn't gone since Monday I knew today she had to go.  It's been a day of up/down, up/down, probably about 30 times an hour at times but she'd say "potty" we'd run get on, panic, get off and then repeat over and over.  Finally, we just camped out in the big bathroom upstairs and she did go on the potty and has been such a pleasant little girl ever since.  I definitely think we are on the way. 

Tomorrow we will try our first trek out and about.  Austin has therapy at 11:00 so she'll either go with us there or she'll go to daycare for a few hours.  We'll see.  Then Honeybees & Church on Saturday.  Lots of nice short outings in the coming days.  I'm sure she'll have a few accidents and maybe a setback or two but I'm cautiously optimistic at just how well this has gone three days in. 

Fingers crossed!! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Austin's Hockey

Well after much anticipation (remember we first heard about this in September) Austin finally started hockey in Ann Arbor.  Today was week five, and honestly to say it's going well would be an overstatement.  It's been a very rough and shaky start with many tears (mostly Austin's) and very minimal progress.  Honestly after watching video from the first week and comparing to today I'd say he's actually regressed.  I guess one positive is that he continues to go out there and he does not seem any worse for wear emotionally after it's over.  God Bless his lovely coaches and the doctor who coordinated this because for many of the kids it's been wonderful and I'm still hopeful that Austin will find success with this. 

I guess my biggest heart ache is I'd figured a special needs hockey team would put Austin on a level playing field and it's just not happening.  He is the youngest one out there and there are some kids that are 5-6 years older than him.  Many of the other kids are doing super and I'm so happy for them but Austin just can't skate.  He is scared of falling and can barely move out there.  I will say one positive is he can pass about as good as anyone.  That is thanks to all those mini-stick games in our living room.  He's got great accuracy.  I just need to get him skating.  Joe took him to Bay County Friday night for open skate and said he did well.  Maybe he just doesn't perform well for me.  Our next step is to try and get him out on the ice more locally and hopefully get him moving. 

His PT does think it's helping his right foot strength which is another positive.  He's seeing movement and flexibility in the foot now so that is another good thing.  It's just hard when it looks like everyone else improving exponentially and Austin is still stuck at square one.  We'll stick it out for the duration though which right now I don't know what the duration is so we'll just have to wait and see.  Will keep you posted on the progress or lack thereof but hopefully soon we'll have a breakthrough. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Where I've been...

I know I've neglected the blog but I am on the last book.  I'll be better in February, I promise.  January sucked anyways, January's always do. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Top 10 Events of 2010!

Again a rather tame year but one of the best yet! Here is my 2010 Review

10.  Ashley's Honeybee's - Hard to believe we already have her in organized classes. She loves it and I love going with her when we don't have hockey.  Thankfully she always gets to go as her Godmother Julie or Miss Jill & Tiffany will get her there if we are busy.  She is really getting mobile and verbal these days.  Love her to death!

9.  The Blizzard Bus Trip to Notre Dame - I think it was the coldest weekend of the year but we thoroughly enjoyed this trip to the beautiful campus of Notre Dame.  My Dad came with us to visit with an old army buddy so that made it even more pleasant.  The Basilica is just beautiful and mass was very wonderful.  It was The Baptism of the Lord weekend, so the church was still decked out for Christmas. It was a very conservative mass; neat experience.  The Grotto is so beautiful too. 

8.  Kid's Sports - Tommy's hockey team won 4 tournaments and was runner up in 2 tourneys.  His baseball team didn't fare as well this year but we enjoyed playing in a couple of travel tournaments.  His coed basketball team did awesome only losing one game which I think they could beat that team if had a chance to rematch.  His class is going to be awesome.  Austin's coach pitch - Another super year for Austin.  He loved it! 

7.  Washington DC Trip with my students- I'll just say everyone survived and I think most people had a good time. ;)  I sure did!

6.  Our Northern Adventure - We dusted off the camping gear for the first time in years and roughed it in the Brethauer backyard up in Interlochen.  The kids loved swimming in Lake Michigan and seeing the Blue Angels at the Cherry Festival was a very unique experience.  Would love to go again! 

5.  Chicks with Sticks - I'm still loving my ladies hockey.  We've taken 2nd place in my two seasons we had in 2010 but it's always a great time.  I scored a few goals in the winter season but none this fall.  Hopefully I can remedy that soon.   I'm a very clean player having yet to receive my first penalty.  My big accomplishment in 2010 is I can change on the fly even jumping over the boards.  boo-ya!  I'm hoping in 2011 to be able to lift the puck on my backhand.  

4.  Tommy's double overtime goal in February - Tommy had rarely scored ever, in fact he only scored 3 goals all season last year all in February.  However the big game taking us to the finals at The Joe Louis Arena is one we won't ever forget.  3 on 3 in double over time and Tommy bags the game winner.  I think I cried (which is dumb).  The 2001 Bay County Blizzard then went on to win the finals at The Joe in March 7-6.

3.  Austin's 1st Reconciliation - Hard to believe he is of age for sacraments.  This year will be such an important one for him.

2. Our family room in the basement - Joe and his step-dad Jim put in a lot of hours of hard work converting a room in our old and yucky looking basement into a fabulous family room.  Joe and I often remark that we built the house wrong with our huge bedrooms and small living areas.  Well we remedied that this fall.  We've also become "that family" putting a 58" TV down there to boot.  Joe and I have his and her recliners and I've already napped down there numerous times.  I think we've become my Grandpa and Grandpa.  It's wonderful and I'm so glad we finally took the plunge and did it.  I put hours of sweat equity into it doing the paint job but Joe did most of the grunt work. 

1.  My brother came home - and he is doing awesome!!  We are so blessed that Jeff has been home for almost a year now and is thriving.  He has a wonderful girlfriend and along with her daughter I think they would be a welcome addition to the O's family. He was given a chance with a job at hotel doing housekeeping and is one of their most reliable workers and is doing great.  He and my younger brother Scott just moved into an apartment here in town together and I can only see good things in the future for both of them.  He's proof positive that people can and do change.  And honestly how many of us have done things in our lives we aren't proud of?  Way to go Jeff!  Keep up the good work!

Honorable Mention
  • $100 Dinner Dance - We didn't win anything but looked great in our Roaring 20's Garb.
  • A couple of rocking 40th birthday parties - Bryant in February, Jill in June
  • Disney trips - one in the spring; we spent a great day at Animal Kingdom with the Dreyer family.  In the summer my Mom brought her young family.  We love Disney but don't plan on going in 2011.
  • JoDa - 13th Anniversary - yummy Gengi
  • Coed Softball - always a good time, the Mud Bowl was especially comical.  
  • Reese Varsity Volleyball - Made it to the state semi-finals first time ever.  3 of my former students were on the team!  
  • Todd & Julie's wedding - Absolutely stunning couple. 
  • Ashley's 1st Birthday - Too bad she had a cold and wasn't feeling the best.  She was rather grouchy. 
  • Tommy's 2nd place spelling bee finish for the K of C and 4th place finish in the Lutheran/Catholic battle.  Darts to homonyms.  peace/piece & ceramics.  
  • Christmas Play - Tommy had a pretty decent part as California boy Aaron.  Loved his orange spray tan.  :)  And the boy can sing.  
  • Austin's improvements - He's reading well now and his extra therapy is definitely strengthening him.  
  • Cedar Point & Michigan's Adventure  - Always a blast!!  
  • Skiing
  • Bojo pool parties
  • Halloween - Boo, Sully, & Mike were a real hit! 
I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch but that is a pretty big list!  Bring on Prime 2011! Happy New Year!