Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some Quiet Time

It's something a busy Mom looks forward to all of the time.  You pray for it.  You search for it.  You cry when don't get it.  Those few moments of silence are music to the ears.  What happens when you get three days of it though?

That's what I got this Memorial Day weekend.  Frank had mentioned going up to the cabin in Minocqua for the weekend.  I wasn't sure it was a good idea since Mallory is set to have surgery in a couple of weeks.  She had just gotten over the wonderful hMPV virus, so I didn't want to expose her to anything else.  We decided though, that it shouldn't stop him and the boys from going.  In fact, it might be fun to have a little boys weekend!  I sure could use a little peace and quiet myself here at the house and Mallory is as quiet as they get!

Drew, J and Nick had early dismissals from school on Friday.  Once they got home, I ran out to the grocery store to get food for the weekend as well as the week ahead.  I had no idea how I was going to spend my time, but I was pretty excited!  I mean, I love my boys, but who doesn't enjoy a peaceful break?  Frank was going crazy trying to get laundry through and get bags packed.  I'm not gonna lie... I was glad I didn't have to partake much in this process.  It looked sooooo grueling!  Once Tyler got home from school, he packed his bag and off they went!

It was an instant quiet.  Obviously.  I mean, when six out of your eight family members leave, the noise volume is expected to change some.  It was almost eerily quiet though.  I kept looking at the kids' bedroom doors, as if one was going to pop out and tell me they wanted to watch a movie or play outside or worst case that they were just hit in the face or something equally as obnoxious.  Nothing.  Silence.  I looked at Mallory and asked her, "now what?"!  She didn't really have any ideas though.  So we just played on the floor.

Because I'm sure everyone is super interested and no one sees anything I post on Facebook, I thought I'd share what I had for dinner.  I decided to keep it light.  A nice avocado, tomato and grilled corn salad with Honey Lime Dressing and a Pillsbury crescent roll (or two... or three.. don't judge) on the side.  (Here's the recipe if anyone would like it - Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing.)  It looked nice and fresh and tasted good too!

After that yummy dinner, some dishwashing, some toe nail painting and a cinema choice of Pitch Perfect, I was off to sleep.

Saturday morning was incredible.  Although I did have to get up probably four or five times to suction Miss Mallory, we didn't officially get up until 8:30.  No interruptions.  No one doing the spider fingers on my face to get me to wake up.  No one kicking the wall on the other side of my bedroom.  More silence.  I got up and did Mal's cares and fed her her breakfast and then made myself some eggs.  It was calm.  It was peaceful.  It wasn't hurried.  I swear, it was pure heaven.

My mom had wanted to come over that day, which was pretty exciting to me.  I could actually have a conversation with someone with out being interrupted with a story about Halo guys.  Over the years, I've become a terrible talker.  I stumble over words.  I forget what I'm saying mid sentence.  Every now and then I even combine two completely different topics into one thought.  It's ridiculous. It makes me feel like I should be in a padded room.  I've realized, though, that this is a side effect.  A side effect of always being interrupted.  They make me turn into a crazy, stumble worded freak of a human.  Thanks, kids, thanks.

Anyway, when my mom arrived, we had some lunch (thanks, Mom!) and then headed out for some light shopping.  We picked out some cute jammies for Mallory.  Quentin needed some too, so I got him a few pairs.  I got Mallory a bathing suit and a new dress for her birthday.  Oh... and some shoes!  Love me some old school jellies!

It was a blast!  We had picked up some pre-cooked ribs to have for dinner along with some potato salad.  They were totally yummy!  It was a really great day!  After my mommy left, I got Mallory ready for bed and then I watched a chick flick.  I don't remember which one.  I watched a few of the pointless chick flicks out there this weekend... like Notting Hill or Raising Helen.  I had myself an ice cream cone and then it was off to bed again!  Another night to enjoy some quietness.  This time though, it seemed too quiet.

Sunday morning I woke up around the same time as I would have if the kids were home.  Around 7:30-8am.  I knew my family was having a BBQ but I hadn't decided if I should go.  I wanted to go but wanted to keep Mallory healthy too.  After breakfast, I talked to my twinnie for a little bit and then decided, "to hell with it, I'm going!".

I spent a few hours getting ready and getting Mallory ready.  We had some time to chat with each other and to eat some Doritos.

Then it was off to Westmont!  I love seeing my family.  They are like an hour and a half away now, but the drive is so worth it!  I wish I had taken the time to take a few more photos, but it just means I was busy chatting and hanging out!  Mallory got to meet a few more family members she hadn't met yet too, like my Aunt Patty, her step-daughter Meghan, my Aunt Kim and Uncle Joe, my Uncle Roy (who hosted the shin dig), my cousin Caitlyn, my Uncle Mike, my Uncle Bill and my cousin David.

My Uncle Roy sent me home with a TON of left overs too!  Friggin' tasty left overs might I add!  (Thanks, Uncle Roy!)  I said it in my last blog and I'll say it again... I love my family and I need to see more of them!

That night, I fell asleep watching TV and woke up in the morning to the Paw Patrol theme song.  Quentin's favorite show.  I missed my boys.  Yet they still weren't here.  I knew they'd be home that day, but closer to dinner time.  It was everything I could do to pass the time.  I took my time with Mallory's cares.  I played around on the internet.  Watched Dr. Phil and The People's Court.  I did some house work.  Folded laundry, ran the dishwasher, started more laundry, made our bed (which never happens), swept the floors, took out the garbage... everything.  I even found myself a DIY Pinterest idea to make some red, white and blue candles out of rice in honor of Memorial Day.  They came out quite nice!

Then, finally, the car pulled into the drive way.  All my boys were back!  Quentin waved at me and said, "hi!".  Nicholas gave me a big hug.  I helped unload the car and made my way back in the house alongside of them all.  Quentin's first stop was to blow out my new awesome Memorial Day candles while saying, "yay!", like they were birthday candles.  I just laughed it off because I'd missed his awesome quirks!  All the kiddos were nicely red or tan from the sun.  They had lots of excitement pent up and stories to tell.  It was fantastic.  My life was filled with noise again!  I never thought I'd miss it so much but I did!

And what were they doing while I was doing my best to keep myself busy all weekend?


Jeremiah and Andrew went knee boarding for the first time and it was caught on tape!  So proud of my boys!

Then there was lots and lots of tubing!

There's some here with Tyler and Andrew and Tyler and Nicholas (photos courtesy of my awesome brother-in-law, Mark!)...

And probably my favorite photos of all time!  Oh Quentin... that smile!

I'm so grateful they all had a great time!  Makes me wish I could have divided myself in half so I could be in both places!  Next time, Minocqua, next time!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

With everything going on lately, getting out has been hard.  Traveling around has been hard.  I find myself missing my family a lot.  I think a lot about my past and how I became the person I am today.

My Grandpa for example, he's awesome.  Truly awesome.  I hope he knows how awesome he is.  I spent a lot of time with him as a kid (my sister too) with my mom working full time.  I learned all about soap operas and why Luke and Laura were important.  Oh, and Viki Buchanan... she was pretty important too.  I learned that watching Jeopardy was totally cool and Wheel of Fortune was just an awesome way to teach the brain some problem solving.  All things I've incorporated into my daily life.  In fact, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune have become a part of our daily dinner routine in my house.  My kids love watching those shows so much and get sad if there's a day they aren't on.  They have no idea how important that is to me.  I think he may have also given me some of my arguing skills... I'm stubborn as all get out.  But I'm proud of that.  Thank you, Grandpa.  Oh, and teaching me that I need to "cut out that folderol".

I loved watching him play Solitaire too.  He always gave me a sense of peace, no matter what was going on.  Coffee and Solitaire.  He's such a great man.

My Grandma is someone I remember as being sweet and kind, even in the hardest of times.  She would make me ice cream treats a lot, with chocolate syrup, and I would let it melt and swirl it all together.  We would play all kinds of games for prizes.  Like Bingo, or those brain puzzles out of those books you get at magazine stands.  The prizes would usually be candy and lots of it.

She used to collect key chains and had tons of bulletin boards full of them.  Everyone would bring her new ones from new locations and of different types.  It was pretty amazing.  One of the biggest things though, was that my Grandma kept photo albums.  She had neatly organized photo albums.  I haven't looked at any of them since I was little but the pictures I do remember, they were amazing.

I love my Grandparents.

Yesterday I found myself pacing around my house.  Thinking about them.  Thinking about how they hadn't yet met my daughter.  Thinking about how I hadn't seen them for probably over a year.  So I called my mom.  What do I do?  How can I get out today and see everyone?  We talked for a little bit about some options, but decided that we could meet at a restaurant near my Grandparent's house.  A restaurant that was most definitely a part of my childhood memories.  Little Italian Pizza.  Oh my gosh, I LOVE this place.  They have the best pizza on Earth, to me anyway.

Driving down there was surreal.  It's been so long.  I feel like I don't even know where I came from anymore.  So much has changed.  The roads were different.  They felt different.  Even where I remembered the restaurant was different, except once I got there it was the same.

Once I got there though, it was so great.  My mom was there, my sister and nephew, my grandparents, my Aunt Theresa, and my Aunt Mary & Uncle Jeff along with their three boys.  I've missed them all so much.  It was so amazing watching them meet Mallory for the first time.  Meeting her Great Aunts & Uncle, cousins and Great Grandparents.  It was long over due.

The pizza and visiting didn't last long, but it was still great.  On the drive home I was happy, I was calm, I was at ease.  I felt sad though once I got back into Lake County.  Because this was now my  home, or at least close to it.  This was now the familiar.  Familiar but not at all the same.  My husband and kids live up here, but not the rest of my family.  I'm an hour and a half away from them. From the people that molded me into who I am.  From the people that gave me the strength to push through the hard times.  I miss them.  I want them to know that.

I think about you all every day.  You are all so so special.  Thank you for coming out for pizza!  Thank you for coming out to meet Mallory!  Thank you Mom, Chrissy, Anthony, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Theresa, Aunt Mary, Uncle Jeff, Domenic, Dillon and Dawson!  We miss you all as well as the rest of my wonderful family!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My World, My Mommy's Day

I try to never get too excited about Mother's Day.  In the commercials you see Moms getting breakfast in bed.  That never happens here.  My husband offers to make me something but I'm kinda okay with my kids not doing it.  I'm scared to think of what they'd come up with.  Just... scared.  I mean, Quentin dips goldfish crackers in chocolate milk.  So, I appreciate my kids not making me breakfast.

Then there's the potential coupon book.  "I'll do what Mom says for an entire day."  What?  I want them to always do what I say.  Not just for a day.  And certainly not just for Mother's Day.  "I'll leave you alone for a whole day."  WHAT?  Please don't.  If they are leaving me alone that probably means that they are doing something they shouldn't.  Like eating my hidden candy stash.  Or using my tampons for a science project (yes that has happened).  "I'll clean the whole house for you."  Pssshhh.  Please.  Cleaning the whole house for me means they'll push all of the dirt into a corner or a closet hoping I don't notice.  But then I do notice.  And then I have anxiety because I want to fix it but I don't want to make them feel badly for trying.  Coupon books = not good gifts.

I didn't really know what I wanted to do for Mother's Day.  A few days before though I decided that maybe a zoo trip could be fun.  Mallory is finally feeling better and the weather was supposed to be decent, so why not?  The weather was back and forth though, so we didn't really decide until we all got up this morning that we would go.

As I was getting Mallory's trach cares done and trying to get ready for zoo day, Andrew and Nicholas came in to give me gifts they had made at school.  Quentin had brought a gift home on Friday too.  I have to say, I love the school gifts.  They are always creative and adorable.  It always makes the kids feel good to be able to surprise me with something too.  Aren't these so sweet!?

Then, of course, it was out the door!  Wow, was the zoo packed today.  I think everyone had the same idea.  It took so long to get into the parking lot! I'm so glad that a house right off the expressway had put some garbage on the curb.  It gave us something to talk about while lounging in traffic.  The volley ball net they were discarding, the baby swing, the dresser.  Thank you, random person.  P.S.  Maybe next time you should have a garage sale instead.  Might make a few bucks.  You have an optimal location!

Once we finally got to the zoo and realized it was like a zillion degrees hotter than the weather pages said it'd be, I stopped at the gift shop.  Mallory was dressed in a long sleeved, black shirt and long pants.  She was already sweating from just being in the car seat.  The boys at least had t-shirts under their sweatshirts.  I found an adorable pink panda shirt, purchased it (along with an adorable purple bear shirt... 2 for $20 dontcha know) and we began our trek around the zoo.

First stop, the hippos.  Or hippo.  And man was he (or she) boring.  The thing would take a couple steps and fall asleep.  Then a couple more and fall asleep again.  Maybe they should test it for narcolepsy?  We waited about ten minutes for it to go into the water and then gave up.

The elephants are always a cool stop.  This one was doing some eating and threatened to spray us with water a couple of times.  I guess he decided not to since it was Mother's Day!  What a lovely message he left for us too!

I swear, all of the animals were so mellow today.  Only one of the four giraffes cared to stroll around for people to see.  This one almost ate a bee.  I was aiming, ready to get a picture of it.  But... it didn't happen.

There's like a million peacocks at Milwaukee Zoo.  A million.  Here's one.

Black bears are always pretty awesome.  This dude had a dip in the water and then climbed up there to catch some rays.

Lunch break came.  Well, a partial lunch break.  The boys ate in the car while we waited and waited and waited to get into the parking lot.  Mallory hadn't eaten yet though.  So we sat down to feed her and let the kids have some snacks.  Quentin must be paying a lot of attention lately to my constant need to have my camera out because he actually wanted to take a picture!  He wrapped his little arms around Andrew and pointed at my camera!

I was so excited that their photo went so well, I thought I'd get one of Jeremiah and Nick too.  Lovely, huh?  Not even on Mother's Day do they want their photos taken.

After snack time, we ventured to the aquatic animals.  Mallory was getting tired though, and when she decides she wants to sleep, she does acrobatics.  

While she was doing that, we checked out the polar bear.

Then the kids wanted to go to the under water viewing and see the seals.  They're so cool.  I love seals!

While we were heading back up from the seal viewing, there were these beautiful Magnolias.  They were seriously gorgeous.  Even the boys commented on how pretty they were!  (Maybe they could have thrown in there a 'not as pretty as Mommy'.. but hey... !)

We didn't spend much time at the zoo.  I wasn't sure how long Mallory would hold out but Quentin seemed to get tired the fastest.  So we decided it was time to head to the gift shop (that's where the boys wanted to go the most... to spend all the money they'd been saving!), and then head out.

While on our way there, we saw this peacock just randomly strolling around.  Quentin got all excited when he saw it and grabbed Frank's hand to go see.  This kid is fearless.  (No joke... when we got home today he saw a spider on the ceiling.  He wanted Frank to lift him up to see it.  Once he got close enough to the ceiling he slammed his hand at it.  Just missing it.  Frank and I jumped more than he did!)  Anyway, he pretty much chased this peacock down the hill.  

Once we reached the zoo gates, the boys wanted to see the penguins.  I did too, but I didn't want to stroll up a hill to see them.  They were all hiding.  Thanks penguins.  Could've at least been personable on Mother's Day.  In the mean time, I took some photo ops with Mallory.

The gift shop was a debacle.  As most things with young kids are.  Nicholas picked one of those plastic snake puppets with the handle, Andrew picked a very large, plush, stuffed snake and Quentin picked out a toy truck.  Jeremiah didn't seem to want anything.  He was standing with me at the register with a Pepsi in hand and said he didn't really see anything he liked.  As the lady was ringing us up I kept asking if he was sure.  Right in front of us there was a bunch of stuff.  I asks him if he wanted a friendship bracelet, or a frog mask, or a temporary tattoo.  None of it seemed of interest.  then I saw a sign.  I asked him if he wanted that and he said, "well, that's pretty funny".  It's now hanging on their bedroom door.

In addition, Andrew and Jeremiah picked out a ring for me.  It was a zoo ring.  But a lovely zoo ring. I love that my boys picked that out for me.  It made me feel really special!

Quentin.  Oh, Quentin.  LOVED the zoo today!  So much running round that it pooped him out!!

Once we got home, it was back to business.  Getting the house back in order and preparing for another week with out the husband.  He made me the Mother's Day dinner I requested, a lemon orzo pasta salad.  TASTY!

I didn't get to spend much time with my oldest today though, so I made him take a selfie with me!  I totally look like a teenager.  Yep!  Totally not an old fart!

I hope all the wonderful Momma's out there had a great Mother's Day!  I know I did!  I loved the zoo and enjoying my family today!  Now... onto the grueling week ahead!