Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shamelessly Using My Blog To Show Ashley My New Curtains

I am not one that loves to decorate my home.  I am not good at it.  I would rather not spend money on it.  I would rather read, get a coffee at MoJoes, buy a new pair of jeans at Clothes Mentor, watch "Parenthood" on hulu, anything really.  But every once in a while the mood strikes.  Usually this occurs around the time that I get Christmas money from my father-in-law and grandparents :)  

So I wanted to show off my finds and allow you the opportunity to tell me how cute you think my new curtains are.  Now to anyone who hasn't been to my house you might think these things are that big a deal but they are, really they are.  Any decoration, really, is a big deal.  Plus Ashley just moved and I left her a long message about my new, LOUD curtains and I wanted her to see them.  So if you aren't Ashley or aren't interested in my AWESOME finds you can just stop reading.........so, Patrick, if you even started to read this post after looking at the title you can stop now.  Unless you want to see my curtains and dishwasher brush holder thingy that I got for TWENTY FIVE CENTS....or you and Shawna can just see it when you come over for dinner sometime.

The booth - formerly the dumping grounds for produce during harvest time, christmas stuff in december and now a lovely little craft area.  The curtains were 1.99 a piece at Gabriel Brothers and the tablecloth free from a garage sale this summer.  I wish I had taken a picture of the shelf that is oh so organized with puzzles, stickers, construction paper and various other fun stuff.

Our entryway place where the kids can sit and put on shoes - also a former dumping grounds.  I am hoping the pillows will discourage dumping........

Calendar area/dehydration station = oh and there are some presents for Grandma Goats there that are going to Columbus soon.........LOOK WE FINALLY HAVE LIGHT IN THE ENTRYWAY YOU ALL!!!

Oooh - do you see my lovely green dishwasher brush thingy - it's really quite lovely for 25 cents huh?  Joe totally made fun of me for buying it.

I only took a picture of this because I wanted you to notice my oh so pretty colored pencil holder - another bargain from the restore - 50 percent off today!  It's the red thing next to my wedding picture.  We use the colored pencils for our journals on the shelf down below

My new kitchen/dining room curtains.  I know they look slightly weird here but really the overall effect is a nice one.  I got different colored picture frames and a little kitchen rug that are all equally loud and fun. 


I figured it was time for some curtains and pictures.  Ever since Joe ripped up all the carpet I just took everything down and never put anything back up in it's place.  I lost heart after a week of living at my parents, waiting for the living room to be done.  AND IT WAS DONE SO WELL, THANK YOU JOE FOR DOING ALL THAT WORK.................

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To My Girls......

Someday my girls you will come home all secretly happy and glowing.  You will smile for no reason, be kinder to your father and me.  You will take more time with your hair, pick out clothes with more care.  You will laugh and sing and your eyes will dance.

You will have found him.

I want you to know that I want this to happen.  That your father prays each night over you - prays for you and prays for your future husband, whoever, wherever he might be.  He is a vigilant father, standing watch over his girls, his future and yours.  He will protect you, he will love you and cherish you.  His heart will break just a bit when it is time to let you go to but he is aware that this time will come.

Choose wisely, girls.  Have you seen how your father loves?

Choose a man such as this.

Your father loves completely.  He is the typical husband - the one that checks the locks, fill the gas tank, changes the oil, pays the bills, goes to work each day and ensures that we all have a home that keeps us warm and secure.

But, oh, he is so much more than that.

Each Christmas I am reminded of how much he loves, how much he listens, how much he knows my very heart.  For there is no one better than your father in giving of himself.

I wasn't sure that a trip to Florida with the girls and a weekend away with another couple could be topped.  I mean, really, where do you go from there?  Last Christmas, surely, that was the gift that beat all gifts for all time.

Nope.

This Christmas I open my e-mail which takes me to a link which takes me to a website.  The website has all the months of the coming year listed.  Each click, each month takes me to pictures of friends, a date, a time.  My dear, sweet husband contacted each of my friends - friends from childhood, friends from college, friends from the first days of motherhood and just made friends - and set up dates throughout the year when I could meet with them.  There are whole weekends set aside to go visit a friend in Kentucky, there is a game night with a sister-in-law and my mom, there is a girl's night with 7 of the girls, there is a night with the families of college friends.  It's all set up, all worked out.

I cried a little bit.  He who knows my heart made my heart sing.  And it got better............

He wrote a check to here and here.  He heard me.  He knew that my heart cried out, was touched by Sarah Terwey and her work, her children, her organization.  He loved, and he loved in a big way.

I cried a little bit more.

Girls, I pray that you choose a man that listens, that loves, that sees your heart and responds to it.  Watch your father, my girls, watch and learn.  Learn what to look for in a man, a husband.  No one loves you more in this world than your father.  There will be hard times, times when you wish he would back off, leave you alone.  Times when you wish he would be less present, less part of your world than he is, I am sure.  But know that this is done in love.  This man has stood at your bedside and watched you sleep.  This man has sung you to sleep, has paced the floors with you in his arms.  This man has dressed the part of a knight to rescue his princess from danger in the plays you have asked him to be in.  This man has run to your side when you have cried in the night.  This man has sacrificed for you - his time, his energy, his everything because you are his everything.

You are so lucky, my girls.  Remember this.  We will be praying.  We will be loving.  We will be anticipating.  It will be hard.......when you come home sparkling and excited and loving another.  But this man who loved you first, who loved you best will one day step aside, knowing that his job is done and has been done well.  He will walk you down the aisle and into the arms of another man, trusting this man to hold you as he has done for so many years, to love and cherish and protect as he has done.  And in this moment he will probably remember those years of pacing and loving and watching and it will be hard.  He, most likely, will cry and his heart will break but he will be proud of the women that you have become, the women that he helped to shape and grow.

Choose a man such as this.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus......

Our cake for baby Jesus - Fia made the baby Jesus out of yarn weeks ago, the manger and stable are chocolate graham crackers.  I am so sad you can't see the lovely star I made out of pipe cleaners :)
The girls were up a full two hours before their brother.  Apparently, baby Jesus was a little bored waiting for him too.  They decided to put a party hat on the babe and play action figures with him. 


Nico enjoying his breakfast


Francesca decided baby Jesus was hungry and wanted to feed him some of his cake.


She was hungrier............

Fia with her new CD player

Francesca chillin' in her sleeping bag.......wearing her headlamp...........sucking on a ring pop (because the cake and ice cream weren't sweet enough)........holding baby Jesus.



Merry Christmas! May you feel His peace, His grace,
His love always.............


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Warning: This Post Contains a Disturbing Image

Apparently, we need to go over  bathroom procedures again.




Like lifting the lid.

Or if you see something hindering the flow of your pee.......remove said obstacle.

Or look low before you start the flow.

Stuff of that nature.

Nico, unfazed, said "this is amazing!"  I have to admit I laughed.  Joe laughed.  I know what you're thinking.  That it's our fault Nico is this way.  Probably.  You've read my blog before haven't you?  Are you really surprised a child born of me would do such a thing and think it was funny?  

Gotta love him.  Although right now Ashley is thinking I am glad I get to love him from afar :)

May this Christmas season bring you lots of giggles and belly laughs and may all your toilet seats be clean ones............

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baskets.....They're Not Just for Laundry

The coming of winter, of colder weather causes moms everywhere (everywhere it is cold, that is) to have to become a little more creative.  Winter is the time for toys to reappear from storage, time for lots of baking and cooking with little hands helping, the time for building forts and the time for everyday objects taking on new forms.  Below are a few things we have done to make the indoors a bit more fun....

Laundry baskets - were these really JUST created for laundry?  Here they are hooked together with dog collars (do we have dogs you ask?  No, the kids LOVE to play dog - one pretends to be the dog, the other person walks him/her, pets them, feeds them, etc.  NO JOKE.  It's disturbing yet completely entertaining........until they ask YOU to be the dog).  We were able to pull the train throughout the house.  Good thing Joe pulled up that carpet ;)  But laundry baskets can be used as cages for animals at a pretend zoo, as a target for whatever you want to throw in them, as an individual pull thing, as a reading space (Francesca), really the ideas are endless.  Seriously, give your kid one today - see what they come up with.

One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE winter activities is painting our  kitchen window with the kids.   It washes off easily and acts like glue for whatever you want to put over the paint.  These were my attempts at snowflakes.  The kids think they look like footballs and easter eggs - I tried. They decorated them with glitter and Nico painted the window blue.  We usually start in the fall after harvest is over.  Before that Joe likes to look out back to his massive gardens and gaze upon the beauty of growing food :)  But in the winter months we have free reign.  We also do a lot of decorating to the kitchen area in general over the winter.  Lots of streamers, hanging crafts, etc.  

Super hero zip line - this occupied the kids for quite awhile.  I find anything using tape and string will entertain kids endlessly but this was a particularly fun one.     




And if all else fails...................put stickers all over yourself.  This is something Francesca does frequently and I have yet to come up with a good reason not to let her do it.  We have tons of stickers that people give us, she's quiet, she's not bothering anyone and she keeps busy for about 10-15 minutes.  It's really a win win situation.  Plus they usually fall off  at some point and she doesn't mind me taking them off.  This is what happens when you are at home for too long.  You start to think stuff like this is normal.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hello, My Little Blog World...

It's been a few days, it's a busy time and I have been laid low with a migraine and such stuff for the last two days.  What do people do without family around?  Can't imagine.  My parents took the kids Sunday night and Joe stayed home with them on Monday while I curled up in the fetal position and took way too many showers because it's the only thing that made the pain seem even a bit tolerable.  (Is that too much whining?  Maybe.......but, dude, it sooo hurt.  After three pregnancies being nauseous and vomiting for a good bit I feel I am a tough cookie but the migraines?  They get me.)  But, anyway......I missed the writing and I don't have anything really profound or meaningful or even funny to talk about but I did want to tell you about a few of our favorite Christmas traditions here at the Codispoti house and then I would LOVE to hear about a few of your favorite traditions.

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days.  In the morning we go around and deliver cookies.  We go to the hospital where the kid's were born and the hospital that took care of Joe's grandpa the last few days of his life.  Both of the staffs at these hospitals were AMAZING.  So we like to remember them on this day especially since it's a bummer for them that they have to work on Christmas Eve.  We also visit Joe's grandpa's grave.  Then that night it's Christmas Eve service (If you are looking for a place to go in Canton Rivertree has an AWESOME Christmas Eve service at a ton of different times.  Also LoveCanton's service is at 5pm.  It will be kid-friendly.  Suzi assured me that the kids would have activity packs and a candy cane to distract them while Jason spoke - although I HAVE NO IDEA why the kids would rather color than listen to her husband - I am sure her kids sit ENTHRALLED every time daddy speaks :)  We get dressed up for the service which I actually love to do.  As a stay at home mom it's rare that I am out of my jeans and sensible tops (my friends know this because any evening out it accompanied by a skirt or at the very least a white shirt that would be sure to stained if I wore it around the kids) and off to the Codispoti's for Christmas Eve.

Now the very first time I went to a Codispoti Christmas Eve was about 7 weeks after Joe and I started dating.  I had met his immediate family at Thanksgiving (which was about 1 week after we started dating - that's right, 1 week.  We were on the fast track, it was COMPLETELY bewildering to everyone in his family except his mother who was just thrilled that she might get a grandchild out of one of them :) but had yet to meet THE WHOLE CLAN.  I met the whole clan at Uncle Nick's.  There were SO MANY OF THEM.  I come from a four person family and the extended family is pretty small, too.  Not so the Codispoti family.  It was quite the experience.  And really, to an outsider, they all look the same.  It took me about year to figure out all the relationships and all the names.  But now I have to say I would never miss the Codispoti Christmas Eve - it is so fun.  It's fun to see the kids play with their second cousins, to catch up with everyone and eat rice balls, fiscotini and chicken cutlets.  Someday I will have to do an entire post about Uncle Nick.  Seriously, one of my favorite members of the clan.  You cannot meet this man without loving him or walking away with a tape measure, doorstop or pair of gloves.  You may know him, in fact - Mr. Magisno?  Taft Middle School?

Christmas morning we wake up and have cake and ice cream to celebrate Jesus' birthday and read the Christmas story.  We skype Joe's mom and open our stockings and presents.   I am SO excited for Nico's gift this year because we get to be the ones to give Nico THE ONE THING he wanted - Hot Wheels Sky Jump.  He saw it back at Thanksgiving and since then he has said that is all he wants.  Can't wait to see him open it!  Fia is getting a pink CD player with two microphones and some CDs.  Music is her favorite special this year in kindergarten and she has been singing all year long.  Francesca is getting a sleeping bag with a headlamp.  I know this seems weird but the older two have their own sleeping bags and headlamps and she has been wanting one of her own.  They go "camping" with daddy in the summer.   There is always an envelope on the tree and it's something special that Joe has written for his family for the year - always loving words, filled with appreciation and love for his family.  He usually makes a donation to a special cause or one year he added another child to our compassion children (are you allowed to have a favorite compassion child?  Does that sound awful?  It would have to be Alberto.  Oh my.  This is the cutest boy you have ever seen.  He sends us pictures of his soccer trophy and his team all gathered together.  He smiles as he shows the shoes he got with the birthday money we sent.  Maybe one day one of us will go to Mexico to see this precious child............a Christmas gift, Joe? :)

Then it's off to my parent's house for a big brunch, hot coffee, stockings and presents.  The biggest thrill of the morning is when we all get our lotto tickets.  We spend about 15-20 minutes scratching and scratching.  I know, weird tradition, right?  But I love that my brother and sister-in-law continued this tradition with their friends in Kansas City this year.  We spend the rest of the day hanging out, playing, watching movies and eating Honeybaked Ham.  There is no where I would rather be that day.

One of my weirdest "traditions"?

Last year Christmas night we came home and put the kids to bed after an exhausting, thrilling, wonderful few days and I took down EVERY SINGLE Christmas decoration including the tree.  We put away all the toys, cleaned the house and got everything sorted out so that when we all got up the next morning we could play and be happy.  Usually I would do it the day after Christmas but doing it without the kids around the night before - BRILLIANT.  It's kind of like the anti-Christmas.  You get up in the morning and all the Christmasy magic is all GONE.  Only it's not sad.  It's cleansing..........you can start new with all your toys and leftover cookies and ham.

So hopefully you sorted out some of our family traditions in the midst of all the asides and nonsense.  This is actually the second time I am writing most of this because something weird happened and not all the post got posted which is SUPER ANNOYING.  What are some of your favorite traditions?  Your favorite things YOU do?



No links to pinterest allowed.



Seriously, I was on that site at 2:30 in the morning on Saturday looking up organizational ideas for my girl's room.  Why?  WHY WOULD I DO THIS TO MYSELF?  It's late, I was tired, I was vulnerable to suggestion..........



I actually e-mailed a link to my husband.........something he could do over break.



I never got a reply.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nico's Rules

Nico told me today that we needed a list of rules for the rock and roll party.  Here are what the rules are (oh and he wanted them to be hung on the wall so everyone could see them):

1.  Don't hit.

2.  Be good.

3.  Don't sing too loud.

4.  Don't bang things when people are sleeping.

5.  Don't be loud.

6.  Don't watch tv when it's not time to.

7.  Don't open the fridgerator without asking.

8.  Don't hit people with a hard ball in the head (and then he demonstrated this).

9.  Don't covet (yes, he actually said covet).

Apparently, I don't have as much to worry about as I thought.........drinking games aside.  Which we DID get some Sprite today and the kids had a small bit after dinner.  They called it the lemon drink.  It was very exciting.  That's as rock 'n' roll as we get here, folks, a bit of Sprite in fancy glasses and some party games AS LONG AS YOU AREN'T TOO LOUD AND YOU DON'T COVET!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No, Patrick, I do not make this stuff up.......

This morning my sweet eldest comes to me about a dream she had.  She knows that God and Jesus are in her heart but in her dream they weren't in her heart.  There was a bad man.  She was standing next to daddy and she told him that she didn't have God and Jesus in her heart.  She was wearing black with gray shoulders.  Daddy freaked out (her words still) when she didn't have God and Jesus in her heart.  She woke up.

God and Jesus are in her heart.

Oh my girl.   My sweet, sweet girl.  What dreams for a 5 year old.

Then Francesca was reading her bible at lunch, as always.  Obsessed with that Bible, I love it :)  She points out the mean, mean king and then lands on David and Goliath.  This appeals to the beast in Francesca.  We proceed to act out David and Goliath for what feels to be FOREVER and EVER because I have to be Goliath and she repeatedly knocks me over onto our nice, soft kitchen floor....hahaha, it's very cold and hard and not nice to fall on.  She yells out I get you Goliath ARGH!!!!!

And then.................((big sigh)) Nico.........he wants to create yet another party (oblivious to the fact that momma spent an emotional morning running in and out of the Barger house, the first time bawling her eyes out and the second time emptying their freezer of all their hard work on the farm this summer) (the Bargers moved away today and I spent the day wearing Ashley's old clothes, eating her food and lighting a candle which made our whole house smell Bargerish..........it was weird and unintentional :).

ANYWAY..........the party.  He wanted to have a rock and roll party.  With games.  Bowling.  Did we have special drinks?

He wanted to play drinking games.

At the rock and roll party.

Oh my.

He explained drinking games were when you had a special drink and tried to drink it all while walking across the room.  You had to get from the tv cabinet to the fireplace while drinking your special drink (he meant sprite mixed with strawberry juice since this is what we had at the last "party").

Again, it was Nico.

I love my boy.  Just like I love my girls.  All for entirely different reasons :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Butt.....oh, I mean Bottom

One of our big *fears* that we had in sending Fia to kindergarten was OUTSIDE INFLUENCES.  For 5 years Fia lived in a world of Sesame Street, Dora, reading books, playing dolls, building with blocks and such.  She, at times, seemed as if she was going on 30 and other times seemed to be a bit sheltered.  What would happen when we sent her - our precious, innocent, untouched firstborn - into THE HARSH WORLD OF PUBLIC SCHOOL.........

We started to notice the OUTSIDE INFLUENCES almost right away.  One night at dinner she asked for the bottom.  The what?  I would like the bottom of the bread.  Oh you mean the butt?  (This is a much coveted piece in our house - it has the most crust and is best fresh out of the oven - crunchy crust, chewy inside.......oh my gosh I am getting hungry RIGHT NOW.   If you haven't made your own bread before IT IS SO WORTH IT)  No, the bottom.

Huh.

She said they didn't say *butt* in school.  Oh.

Other things happened.........she started speaking directly to people when they talked.  She learned all her sight words.  She learned how to read.  One morning she picked up a Biscuit book and read almost the whole thing by herself.  I was about knocked off the couch.  WHEN ON EARTH DID THAT HAPPEN AND WHY DIDN'T IT HAPPEN WHEN I WAS TEACHING HER?!?  She became confident.  She made friends.  Kids were mean to her and she survived.  She chose to play with kids at recess that had no friends.  She was gossiping about a girl and had to deal with the consequences of actually feeling really horrible to the point of crying about it one night.  We had to have a talk about what she could do to be kind to the girl and how talking about her or tattling was worse than what the girl was actually doing (which was wrong but none of Fia's business).

In worrying and being fearful for our precious girl we forgot why we were sending her.  We missed part of the reason that we were sending her.  We sent her to be a light, to shine God's love into the lives of others.  We wanted to be part of a public school.  We wanted her to make friends and learn.  We forgot that God, at the same time, was going to use others to shine His love in HER LIFE, OUR LIVES.  He was going to use her experiences to change her, grow her, to grow US.  And as we all know some change, some growth is painful it's not going to always be this joy filled experience.   Life isn't.

It's been good.  Hard sometimes.  Just the other day Fia told me she's not really friends with one of the girls that she LOVES.  One of three that stuck close together at the beginning of the year.  At recess she doesn't want to play with Fia and instead goes off with another girl.  It made my heart hurt.  I can fathom NO REASON why some girl wouldn't want to be friends with my girl :)  But all I said was that this happens and it will happen again and again and again.  It's just the way things go, honey.  It happens to me when I am adult.  I said that I was sorry she was sad but wasn't it an awesome thing that she has so many other friends to play with.  Then we talked a bit about why the girl might not want to play with her at recess - she's older, she's bigger, she can do more things.  Maybe Fia could try being her friend in class or at lunch when they can do things together.  I figure this was a growing time for Fia.  She hasn't been forced into many situations in her life when she has to deal with disappointment and it's could for her to be able to handle being hurt.  I want to be the caped crusader in her life - dealing with all hurts and dangers but that's just not the way it goes.

I know the hurts and the dangers will get bigger and more complicated and just more hurtful but I am confident that the OUTSIDE INFLUENCES that we were so worried about will grow us, change us in good ways and, well, painful ways at times.  Thank goodness we are not alone and as always will continue to rely on Him to guide us through the murky waters of parenting.

Oh, and then there's Nico...............can't wait to see what happens to him :)  I think HE will be the outside influence :)  We were telling knock knock jokes the other day while Francesca was sleeping.  It went like this:

Mom:  Knock, knock
Nico:  Who's there?
Mom:  Baby
Nico:  Baby who?
Mom:  Baby POOPING ON YOUR HEAD!

HUGE AMOUNTS OF LAUGHTER from both of us.  I can't help myself.  If you have ever seen my boy laugh it is just amazing to hear.  You think you would pretty much do anything to hear it.  It is unadulterated joy!  But, yeah, I know....I gotta work on it before we send him off to be in public..... conferences will probably be a bit different for him.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pinnoonewouldbeenvious

So Pinterest...................it makes me crazy.  This is my problem, not the site's problem, not any of you who love this place.  My problem is that I can't just look at something and think, oh that's really cool.  I look at it and think oh my goodness I don't look like that, I can't make that, I don't have the money for those clothes, I am just not good enough (I KNOW......issues, right?)  It's probably the same reason that my friend, Tama, told me to put away the parenting books when we had Fia and I was MAKING MY SELF INSANE and wondering why I didn't have THE PERFECT BABY AND WHERE WAS I GOING TO GET THAT BABY? (I found out later that maybe you had to wait for the second one and then you could have the perfect baby and the insane baby would turn into a PRETTY DARN good toddler - god bless my little Fia)

So just in case any of the rest of you feel like this (which probably none of you do because I mentioned I felt this way at a party and all the women looked at me like I was crazy, except for my dear friend Ashley who just laughed because she knows me too well for one who has not known me for long) I wanted to post some things on my new site (which really isn't a site but just this blog post and others that might follow at a later date) which is called

Pinnoonewouldbeenvious.com

Our baby Jesus in a manger under the tree.  That's right - a unicorn with a tea cup covering it's delicates.
 We are classy people.

Nico's party game - I looked everywhere on Pinterest for dinosaur party games but couldn't find
anything that I could create or was free.  I made salt dough, stuck little dinosaurs in it and dried it.
Fun but so not pretty...........



Our attempt at a Christmas picture

Our second attempt at a Christmas picture......

Dinosaur partyware - also can be used for princess parties, Christmas parties,  knight parties,
dinner parties and baby showers.......and has been,

Perhaps my favorite........Joe and I vacationing in Sorrento, Italy...........I told you....
we are CLASSY people.  Maybe someday I will show you where we stayed in Venice.
Oh  my......it was something.

An Excerpt......

I've been reading through my journal from the past year.  It's been a first for me........keeping a journal of any sorts.  It has been the journal of a lazy journalist........mostly a list, a list of things for which I am thankful.  The journal has cut outs from old magazines, mostly of homey type things - food, cooking, flowers, children, scenery from farms.  It has scripture written throughout.  It has drawings from the children, scribblings from Francesca and more detailed ones from the two oldest.   I am so grateful that I have a record, however sparse, of our life this past year.  It's amazing what a list can convey, what my own ramblings tell me, will tell my children or anyone who might find these papers filled with my thoughts.

I wanted to share something I wrote all the way back in April because it came to my attention this past weekend that maybe I might be helping someone with my words.  It's absurd what a little praise can do to a person.  I always feel so silly that I have a "blog".  I mean who has a blog?  It seems slightly conceited to think that anyone would want to read my words, know my life and hear endless stories about my children.  But this person said she sent my blog on to 10 of her friends and that my stories are the stories of motherhood but few are willing to admit to being the crazy mom shouting to her kids in the morning while wearing fuzzy pajamas and hair all wild.  That she and her friend laughed and laughed to read that one post.  And, well, there have been others who have been voices of encouragement.  It's good.  It feels good.

So I share with you something I wrote.  Something I wrote in my journal, in the midst of my abundant, grace-filled life.   This life I have that is filled with good health, a wonderful husband, giggly children, a home filled with warmth and love.  You can have all that and still...............

Lord, it's been awhile....I have taken a break from reading YOUR word and daily stillness in YOU.  I've taken a break from basking in YOU, from journaling my praise and thanks.  I've taken a break from knowing YOU and it's almost broken me..............I've been adrift and frustrated and sleepless and irritable and, just, lost, Lord.  I need YOU. I cry out to you, Lord, to open my eyes, open my heart, let me see you..........right next to me, as I know You are.  I turn from you and I sink into my own pleasures and past times hoping for relief but all I find is momentary escape replaced by an emptiness that I cannot fill.  FILL ME, Lord.  Fill me up so that I can overflow with Your love - thereby pouring into the lives of those around me.  Let me see You, feel You, hear You, O Lord.


Just this.  This is what I needed to be reminded of today.......that I need His word, that I need stillness in Him.  Daily.  I'm actually going to stop all my work right now - I am trying to get Joe's Christmas gift together, all made and worked out and wrapped and packaged just so but I need that stillness, that outlet of writing, of thankfulness, of His word.  Maybe sometime over the next few days you might need to stop, to be still, to take a moment.  That's ok.  All else will wait.  I promise you'll feel better and more able to attend to the tasks at hand.  Thank you for the encouragement, my friends!

Oh, and I am SO INCREDIBLY curious to know............who are you?  Out there in Russia........in Germany that read this blog, this blog from a woman in Canton, Ohio?  I would love to know you and how on earth you found this space.......................

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Meateatin' Man

So today I was at a playdate (one which I showed up to in curlers.........seriously, had NO IDEA I had left them in until I walk up the stairs to the house and see my reflection - I see well put together children and then I get to my image and just see rollers.......to his credit Padraic never blinked an eye just commented on how this must be a new look.......the man is use to playdates with me by now - I think it's been two years now)........ok back on track........I was at a playdate and we were discussing diets and weight and such.

Padraic said he has lost 5 pounds since his "dieting" which started on Sunday (yes, let's all take a moment to hate on this man.......6 days, 5 pounds......as he was eating his salad with peas, croutons and RANCH dressing, people).  I said ahhhh, that is so frustrating!  Joe is the same way.  He might have mentioned that Amanda, his wife who works with Joe, gets the teeniest bit frustrated too.  I said Joe has been consistently 10-15 pounds lighter than when we first got married and considers watching what he eats eating 10 pieces of the pizza I make because after all everything on it is homemade from the dough to the sauce to the cheese so it must be good for him :)  I said he wasn't heavy when we got married just meatier.

Nico chimes in.

Nico:  He was a meateater?
Me:  No, buddy, meatier.
Nico:  A meateater?
Me:  Sure.
Nico:  Did he growl when you got married?


Again, it was Nico.  Nico who likes the women on the exercise video because they take off their clothes and exercise, the ones in the back not talking.  Nico who thinks all the boy dinosaurs fight and the girl dinosaurs bury themselves underground and die when faced with an attacking dinosaur.  Now he thinks daddy was some kind of growling meateating dinosaur on our wedding day....................let's take a moment now and pray for the woman that someday will marry my sweet boy.  If he starts growling during the vows, I will take full blame.

(On a side note I DID have my wedding dress on just a few weeks ago and I was able to zip it without the help of steel undergarments but I think I almost lost consciousness there for a moment because I might have stopped breathing for longer than I should have.......it was a small victory.........it's rather embarrassing how many times I have actually had it on since being married.........after the wedding people asked me if I was going to have it preserved.  I looked at them like they were CRAZY!  I mean how on earth would I be able to wear it around the house if it was all bagged up like that?)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One of My Favorite Things

Each year we try to keep the focus on giving and the birth of Jesus and prepare for Christmas Day with excitement and joy.  And we have done some good things over the years, fun stuff, meaningful stuff.  This year, though, we started something that I hope to continue each year.  It is simple.  The kids are able to follow along easily.  It requires little or no preparation.  It infuses scripture and His word into our everyday celebration.  It is found here : www.aholyexperience.com .  She  has made a free jesse tree devotional book.  Each day you read a story from the bible and make an ornament to go on the jesse tree.  Our jesse tree we made out of paper and is hanging where we eat.  We can go over the stories, using the ornaments to remember, at mealtimes.  It's been good.   It's been good to see Fia get it, to understand the stories, to hear and make connections as we work our way through the old testament.  Each night there is a way to unwrap His love which includes singing a Christmas carol, making a card for someone or writing down the blessings in your life and putting them under the tree.  We have skipped one or two because the kids are still young and the attention isn't there, at times.  Francesca is off to the living room, Nico is licking whatever food is on whatever surface, Fia is struggling to stay on task but well, you heard what the other two are doing :)  So it's not perfect but it's a start.  It's a new tradition, one that I hope will grow and stay with our kids.  Check it out.  



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet Words From a Sweet Boy

It's been a few days since posting........I am a bit tired.  We have been doing a lot of fun stuff, seeing fun people, hosting fun get togethers but it's tiring - the whole kid thing and making a home thing, at times.  Even though you can think of a million people who should be more tired and are more tired it doesn't REALLY keep you from being weary.

So today when my sweet boy wanted to have a bug party after play by yourself time and was full of ideas of how to do this before daddy and Fia came home I was inclined to just sit this one out.  But when you are a mom there are very few times when you can just sit and even when you do, in the back of my mind at least, is that little voice saying, oh come on they are only little once, go on, play with them, be with them, love on them.  So we put rubber bugs in balloons and blew the balloons up so "our guests" (daddy and Fia) would have to stomp on them to get the bugs out, we created a spider web maze/tunnel in the shoe room, we looked up what bugs ate and laid out bug food on plates (blood - Sprite with strawberry juice, twigs - pretzels, leaves - cucumbers) and we had a craft to do with paint.

Was it worth it to rouse myself from the place on the floor where I was about to crumble and fall asleep?

Oh yes.  Yes, it was.

For after all the party planning and in the midst of staging our fun.....Nico, without even really looking at me or thinking about it, said, "You are such a fun momma."

Oh, buddy........I am such a lucky momma.

Let's have a pirate party tomorrow....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Second Sighting

We have had a second sighting of the unstable mother from Fulton Drugs parking lot.  It appears that she has moved into the neighborhood.  At 9:14 this morning, a mere one minute before the school down the street is supposed to start, she was seen in front of her house.  To say she was disheveled is an understatement.  She was wearing light purple and blue fuzzy pajama pants, a pair of Ugg boots with part of the pants tucked in and part out, what appeared to be some type of hunting/lumberjack fleece sweatshirt - blue and black checkered - over top another sweatshirt.  Her hair was matted in the back and crazy in the front, as if it hadn't been brushed in several weeks.  It was obvious she hadn't looked in the mirror this morning, if ever.

Perhaps more disturbing was the state of her children.  The youngest was dressed but appeared to be wearing a coat at least 2 sizes too big for her and was not wearing any socks or shoes.  She was flung into the car by her mother and hastily strapped in.  Then the middle child, a boy, was not dressed at all.  He was still in his pajamas and was wearing green frog boots and a winter coat.  The eldest child was standing in the doorway with her book bag open, things spilling out, trying to hold all the things required for a day of kindergarten - mittens, scarf, hat, lunch bag and her enormous book bag.  She was holding the door open trying to listen to the instructions of her crazed mother in the driveway.  It went something like this:

GO! GO! GO!  WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!!  NO YOU DON'T NEED TO WEAR ALL THAT STUFF TO SCHOOL!  YOU ARE GOING TO BE OUTSIDE FOR 2 SECONDS WHILE YOU WALK IN THE BUILDING!  I KNOW THAT MRS. B SAID YOU WERE TO WEAR ALL THAT STUFF TO SCHOOL BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACTUALLY WEAR IT INTO THE BUILDING WHEN WE ARE A MINUTE AWAY FROM BEING LATE AND YOUR MOTHER HAVING TO WALK IN THE SCHOOL LOOKING LIKE THIS!!!  GO!  NICO SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN OR I WILL LEAVE YOU HERE!  FRANCESCA YOU DO NOT NEED SHOES, I WILL TURN ON THE HEAT, WE AREN'T GOING TO BE GONE LONG!  WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!!!

As you can see she is clearly disturbed, unable to dress herself or all her children in a timely manner or in a calm manner, for that matter.  Please let us know if you witness anything in your neighborhood.  We think we have it contained to this one area.  Also contact your local law enforcement agency if you see any of her children not dressed appropriately, it will be getting cold out soon and we want to make sure to maintain the health of these children......someone has to do it.

Have a good weekend and may all your mornings be merry!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rock Stars

So it's true.............rock stars, they know each other, travel in the same circles.  I have long been a fan of the Lantz family.  They live their lives with a determination and focus and passion for Christ that goes beyond what you find in the every day, they have sold out for Jesus.  It's an amazing thing to witness and be a part of - go here http://lovecanton.com/ to see what they began in Canton along with the Bargers (who are now moving and leaving a BIG, EMPTY space in the pews at church and my heart......I'll get over it......someday.......love you, Ashley :)

So it turns out that this rock star of a family has a connection to another rock star of a person - Sarah Terwey.  She is 28.  She just got married, is simply beautiful, she's intelligent and when you see a picture of her laughing she is glowing.  It's a cool thing to see.

She has 13 kids.

She lives in South Africa.

She is a rock star.

And she needs your help.

Her is a website for her organization: http://www.pfunanane.org/.  They give homes, education, food, love to children who are desperately in need of these things.  Children without homes have found a home with Sarah and her husband, Mark.  They are currently in need of 100,000 dollars to buy the land that they are living on.  This includes their schools, their homes and would give them an opportunity to continue to expand their ministry.

Here is their mission statement:


At Pfunanane our vision is to impact children and families in the community in the following ways:

Education
Pfunanane Academy strives to give children the highest standard of Christian education possible. The school is a place for disadvantaged children and orphans to join other children in a healthy and non-stigmatizing classroom environment, where they receive special attention and care, along with a quality Bible-based education. 
 
Financial Support
Sponsorships provide the disadvantaged children with the following support: education, a healthy diet, uniforms, travel subsidy to and from school, housing on the school property where necessary, health care where necessary, gifts, clothing, school books and supplies, etc. Support such as food or medical help is also extended to the families of the children as determined by need, and parents are hired for part-time help wherever possible.   
 
Children's Village
With 19 children already living in our children's cottages, we have plans to build more group homes and create a "village", providing housing, care, and a stable family for orphans or children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, or have nowhere else to stay. Each future cottage will have a long-term house parent or couple, and will be home to up to eight children.     
 
Spiritual Development
Pfunanane's aim is to make disciples in the community, which includes the children attending the school and their families. Children are involved in outreach efforts as well, teaching them to be servants and Christian leaders in their own communities. The Gospel is taught at every opportunity in the classroom, and children have weekly discipleship times. 
 
Skills Development
Pfunanane plans to expand our involvement in skills development, whereby children will learn about different career choices in South Africa, and will be taught skills that will help them to be self-reliant in the future.  Our aim is that they will one day become  Christian leaders in their families, communities, and country. 


Sarah and her husband are changing the world - one child, one village at a time.  It's amazing.  It's inspiring.  Will you join me in helping them?  Can we pour out our abundance on them?  I would love for our lives to be a reflection of what God is doing in their lives.  I would love for our gifts to them to not make sense, for their website to have an update that doesn't make sense.  For their need, their debt to be erased as was ours so long ago.

If you have any questions or concerns about authenticity please let me know.  I can put you in touch with someone, a rock star.......then you can be part of the group :)  Also, I asked to be Sarah's friend on facebook to receive updates and to be able to pray for their family.  I was accepted within the hour and got to see a bit of her life and what she is doing.  It's real.  It completely does. not. make. sense.

All glory to God.............

In Awe

When I first stumbled upon this blog http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/ I searched for the how, the hole in the story even.  I read through all the entries, I searched the website, I googled Katie Davis because her story, her life makes absolutely no sense.  I thought for sure there was something that I was missing.

How can a 22 year old girl from the United States have 14 children, live in Uganda with no parents, no husband, no family and survive, not only survive but be joyful?

She must be ugly or weird or something.  (Yes, this is the extent of my awfulness.  I actually had this thought.)

She's not.  She is gorgeous (not even exaggerating), comes from an upper middle class family, was popular in high school, had the boyfriend, the sports car, was on her way to college which would have been fully paid for by loving and supportive parents.  In short, she had it made in every way that seems to count in this world we live in.

What am I missing here?

Then the sense of inadequacy began to creep in, began to color my perception of the amazing things this young, beautiful girl was doing in the lives of people in Uganda, the lives of her 14 girls that she is a mother to.  I began to feel little and insignificant and silly that I spent one moment ever feeling tired or frustrated or overworked.  I began to be a little angry and suspicious of a girl that could accomplish so much and so much that came from just her..................

But then..........then I realized.  I realized the best part of her story, the very best part is that she wasn't alone.  It wasn't just her.  It was the power and love and strength of a mighty, mighty God that works through Katie.  The best part of her story is that no matter how much you delve into it, no matter how many searches you do on her, no matter what facts you gather it still makes no sense.  It isn't this neat little package that you wrap up with a bow and then call it a day.  IT MAKES NO SENSE that a girl would leave all she knows, all that is comfortable, all that is familiar and decide that Uganda is where her heart is and where she will raise 14 girls and care for the unloved and the unlovable.  IT MAKES NO SENSE that a girl would trade a sports car for a passenger van that is filled with children, with dirt, with grim and with love.  IT MAKES NO SENSE that an easy life at college with a boyfriend and friends and parties and fun is traded for a life filled with cooking and cleaning and homeschooling and doctoring in the poorest of countries.

I am inspired by this girl.  I am encouraged by this girl.  I am challenged by this girl.

I wonder how God will use me, I wonder how He is using me at this moment and what He is calling me to in the future.

We just rearranged our bedroom - to fit a glider in for a friend that just had a baby, I thought she might need a private place to nurse or pump or rock her baby.   While I was doing this I thought......oh my, am I opening myself up to the call?  We are waiting to hear from the county, a foster placement, hopefully a child to adopt.  Waiting and maybe just a bit nervously........our life is pretty comfy right now, getting easier every day as the children are growing and growing more independent.

But Katie reminds me.  Reminds me that this life wasn't always meant to be one of comfort and ease but one of living out the love that was poured forth for us and in doing so surpassing mere happiness and reaching a point of joy, joy through a life that doesn't revolve around us but around Him and serving and loving and blessing those He created.  I figure if Katie can raise 14, we probably have room for one more or however many God puts our life (Right now my mom is reading this thinking oh, there better only be one more, if even that many more, what is she thinking "however many God puts in our life"............oh, mom, I love you.  Don't worry, we'll be just fine.....just think at least we aren't moving to Uganda :)

Go now.  Read her story.  Be inspired.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sweet Dreams, My Little Man

 I think I met them the year before I was married to Joe.........probably at a family reunion.  But I fell in love, in love with Uncle Gary and Aunt Martha.  They are quite possibly two of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met.  In fact I was playing a game once with the Codispoti siblings and there was a question.........if you HAD to have other parents who would you choose (not that I would ever want parents other than my own fabulous parents) and I didn't hesitate to choose.  All the siblings knew which answer was mine when Uncle Gary and Aunt Martha were read out to the group.

We have been up to Michigan each year since having the kids, every fall.  We go to see the pigs, the barn, the cats that run through the barn.  We get stuffed full of good food, always there is bacon in the morning and ice cream at any time.  Uncle Gary can match any grandmother out there in terms of how many times that man will offer you food and how much he very sincerely would like you to keep eating more and more of it.  He always wants to make sure you got enough.   We have been on hay rides, tractor rides, played on the neighbor's swingset that Uncle Gary carried across the way so the kids would have something to play on when they came.  There are toys that were purchased for the arrival of the clan, their is hockey in the basement, basketball outside and hats that Uncle Gary brings home on the Saturday we arrive.

In short, it is a child's paradise.

I think that Nico must have fallen asleep dreaming of the farm and all the fun he has had there the past 3 years of his life.....................

Wearing his Uncle Gary hat



Monday, November 28, 2011

Alert. Alert. Alert.

There was a woman spotted tonight, at around 4:45 pm, driving erratically into the parking lot of Fulton Drugs.  She stopped abruptly in the entrance of the parking lot.  Said lady then proceeded to open the back left door of her minivan, apparently using a button within the vehicle because she never left the vehicle.  However, a light came on in the vehicle's interior and we were able to take note of the situation.  She seemed to be talking quite forcefully to one of her children saying,

"YOU CAN JUST GET OUT OF THE CAR!  GET OUT OF THE CAR RIGHT NOW IF THAT NOISE CONTINUES BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT COMING HOME IN THIS CAR!  GO AHEAD!  JUST GET ON OUT AND YOU CAN STAY RIGHT HERE IN THIS PARKING LOT!"

Then as if she saw herself in the rearview mirror (eyes wild, hair careening all around her head, steam seeming to come right out of her ears and face red) she then proceeded to laugh wildly at the pure ridiculousness of the situation.  A button was pushed, the door closed, Christmas music turned on and all was well after that as far as we can tell.

But it's obvious this woman is unstable.

If you see her proceed with caution, it's uncertain at this time whether or not she is dangerous.

She drives a light blue Kia Sedona.  She is 5 feet 2 inches tall, has long brown hair, gray-blue eyes and is of average size.  She has three children, ages 5, almost 4 and 2.  It appears that the children have the ability to both aggravate a situation and at the same time, and quite paradoxically, lighten the mood.  They appear to be well fed and taken care of by their mother.

If there are any further sightings that warrant reporting please notify your local law enforcement and we will go from there.

Thank you for your time.  We wish you all the best this holiday season!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Letting Go of the Guilt and Surrendering to the Joy

Before Joe and I became parents we began to talk of how to teach our little ones about the love of Jesus, His birth, His life and His death.  We wanted our holidays to be reflective of our faith, our traditions ones that our children would fall in love with and carry into their own families one day.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, on our ideas.

As we enter into this season of celebration I found myself starting to panic this morning.  We have most of the presents bought, we have baked cookies, the decorating happens tomorrow, I don't feel pressured about the "business" of the season - it's under control.  But I wonder if I can adequately convey the awe and wonder of the season to my children.  How can we breathe Jesus into every moment of this season?  How can we teach them the true meaning of this wondrous season, this time of miracles?

It overwhelms me just a bit.

Then I remembered a post I wrote years ago, long before ANYONE at all read this little corner of mine.


So my husband and I have had the great debate for 3 years now - yes, even before Fia was born.  We have been trying to figure out how to make Christmas meaningful.  How can you do it with the world pushing in on you from every angle, with Santa on every corner, presents on the mind of everyone and Jesus curiously getting more and more absent from our culture.  This is the first year that I surrendered to the idea that Christmas is truly just about Christ.  We are not banning Santa or presents or lights or the magical feeling of Christmas rather embracing those things through Christ.  I realized that waking up Christmas morning knowing that Christ was born is more magical and exciting and thrilling than any other possibility for that morning and it is one that won't lose it's truth when you get older.   We are going to celebrate Christ with cake and ice cream for breakfast, with gifts from the Magi, with stockings from Santa in remembrance of St. Nick and how much he loved Jesus, with the placing of baby Jesus in his manger and with the giving of gifts and cookies to our friends.  How exciting to know that Jesus is coming in just 25 short days.  Sofia can't wait to get up and have a party with baby Jesus.  She says that he is going to be so messy when he eats his cake and she wants to buy him candyland for his present.  Sofia has taught me that you don't have to "fit" Jesus into your Christmas, He simply is a part of everything.  I am more excited this year than I have ever been before and it is because I finally understand that without Christ Christmas is simply another day just like any other.


And I remembered.


He is with us always......in all we do we speak the language of Jesus this Christmas season - in loving others, in opening our home to friends and family, in the giving of all we have, in creating -with glue and glitter and stickers - decorations for our Savior's birthday.  We speak of the love that was created in us and through us.  


As you begin your celebration I hope that you surrender to the JOY of this time, the LOVE that is present, the PEACE that comes from the birth of a Savior and the MIRACLE of this season.




I can't explain why but this video always makes me cry - tears of joy and awe and happiness.  My breathe is taken away by the simple fact that people are proclaiming, in such a beautiful way, the message of the season in the midst of every day life.   You are forced to stop and take notice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Quickly It All Changes

It's weird....how you come together and all you think about is being together.  You come together and you have the beautiful ceremony and you pledge your love in front of God, family and friends.  After the ceremony, after the honeymoon.......you can't wait to get home to have dinner, to cook dinner for that man you love, that one who makes your day complete and puts the smile on your face.   You spend days and nights working alongside one another, cuddling in the dark of the morning, not wanting to get out of bed, for getting out of bed means letting go of the one you love.

Oh how I loved those mornings.  How I love those nights of preparing a meal, setting the scene with music and dimming lights and everything just so.

I miss them sometimes.

I miss who we were and how we were.

Before kids.

Before those sleepless nights, the piles and piles and piles of laundry, the whining, the crying, the exhausted days of a parent.

Would I trade my life for the one before?  The one before my heart, my joy, my adventure came along?

NEVER.  NOT FOR ONE SECOND.

But does that mean I can't miss those carefree days?  Those days where date night was every night?  Those mornings where an alarm woke us, woke us to mornings of cuddling up close to one another?  Those days where we woke together, rode together to school and came home together?  Those nights where we would come together for dinner and talk and reading and watching?  Those weekends filled with plans for us?

No, I can miss them and yearn for them and love the people we were while still loving who we are, who we are becoming.  Our children have grown us, tested us, loved us and made our lives all the richer for having had them.

I love that I still love my husband, that I yearn for the day that it will be he and I.  For my little ones will leave (though I have asked them to stay......and stay long) and someday it will be he and I.  I hope to still have that feeling 20 years down the road, that feeling of wanting it to be he and I.  I hold onto that feeling, that yearning, that longing.......for in the midst of chaos and sleeplessness and messiness and noise........I know that soon it will die down, much sooner than I ever hoped it would.  It will be quiet and clean and not so busy and it will be he and I at the table again.  The two of us.  Over bread and soup and fruit.  Staring at one another.  A lifetime lived.  A lifetime loved.   And into his eyes I will stare and see the same man I saw walking down the hall towards me.......a blue dress shirt, a red tie, khaki pants, walking towards me in a school hallway......walking towards a life lived together and I will rejoice that we made it.  That we started as one and ended as one......through all the insanity and craziness and reading endlessly at 6:00 in the morning, the peed on beds at 3:00 in the morning, the feedings at 1:00 in the morning.  We made it..........

We are together; forever and ever..........love you, babe.  Looking forward to the rest of forever........

Monday, November 21, 2011

Whose Pile Would YOU Choose?


When you have more than 1 child you notice things.  You start to figure out when kids are "suppose" to do things and when one children does it more quickly, more easily and when one child, well, takes a little longer to do things :)  Sofia, by the time she was 2, could identify all her letters save one or two, knew most of the sounds, could sing songs, count in both english and Italian.  In part, this was because her mama was an at home for the first time, ex-first grade teacher mama.  At 7 weeks I panicked because I hadn't been able to get her to stop crying long enough to sit and read a book with me.  So from that point on I would lay on my back with her and read her books throughout the day.  I had a goal of 10 books each sitting.  (OH MY GOSH WAS I SO PSYCHOTIC OR WHAT?) 





 After reading proved to be a success we would then spend time EACH DAY in front of the fridge doing the leapfrog ABC thing - the goal was to go through the ENTIRE alphabet with each magnetic letter at least once, singing the songs.  I also checked out books from the library with fingerplays and typed up a few of my favorites and kept the papers in the living room so we could go through our fingerplays each day.  (Are your eyes rolling back in your head right now thinking THANK THE GOOD LORD I DID NOT KNOW THIS WOMAN DURING THIS TIME PERIOD?  And apologies to all those I did know at this point in my life......)  I was slightly bored, slightly wanting to do every little thing right and well, there's nothing wrong with a little educational material in a child's life.


All this to say that the first, our first, had quite the head start..............


Then along comes number 2.......................and a MUCH MORE RELAXED mama and a MUCH MORE RELAXED child.  Nico, Nico, Nico......where Sofia came home screaming and wanting things very much HER WAY, Nico came home placid.  Nico slept.  Nico ate.  Nico let anyone hold him.  Nico was calm.......about EVERYTHING and still is.  His baby sister, Francesca, was singing her abcs the other day (she's more Sofia than Nico.....or maybe it's more girl than boy :)  and Nico decided to chime in.  He got to about G and then said something along the lines of oh, well, I don't really want to sing them, I'll learn them later.  The child still doesn't know how to sing his ABCs.  He's almost 4.  Add to that he doesn't really care if he knows them or if Francesca does.  He will read books by himself or with me for LONG periods of time now.  He will sit and will make an effort to do learning games with me.  He's a good kid, a smart kid.  But Nico knows what he is about and that is pretty much playing with his stuff, fixing stuff, eating stuff, helping with man stuff and he really can't work up the energy to care about all the other stuff :)  

I love it.

You need at least one kid who will just roll with the punches.  The other day he said he wanted to be a cooker.............and cookers don't get married or have kids............and he wanted to cook at McDonalds. (This was later changed to some other restaurant but at the time it was McDonald's).  So apparently his plan will be to live at home for the rest of his life.............oh, well, maybe we will use that time to work on the ABC song :)

Oh, and if you are starting to doubt the boy's intelligence, take a look below.............

Nico's pile of candy after trading with Fia - note the excess of chocolate and king size candy bars


Fia's lesser pile of suckers, Dots and fruit snacks AFTER trading


He's a wheeler and dealer.......just like Nonno and Uncle Anthony and well, we all know how well they turned out ;)


Friday, November 18, 2011

Priorities

The other day the smoke alarm went off (my stove top had an eensy-weensy bit of something caked on the burner) when I was making rice.  IT WAS SO LOUD.  I really hate that thing - it has yet to save us from an actual fire, it just goes off at the most annoying times.  FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! it screams at me.   I run from the kitchen to take it down (which is only a few feet away from any other room in our house) and I get it down.  Of course this doesn't stop the horrifying LOUD noise and I rip the batteries out of the thing.  AHHHH.......finally, peace and quiet.

Then I wonder why the kids aren't making any noise, why aren't they complaining and whining about the loud FIRE!! FIRE FIRE! like I am?

Oh, that's right......................




Dora's on.  Priorities, people, priorities.  I don't think they even heard the obnoxiously, loud smoke alarm which was mere feet from them.  They are in the zone.  Good thing it wasn't a real fire, I think they would try dragging out the tv before their own mother.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Random Question of the Day #3....

Or otherwise known as the Wolfe/Wise/Whitehouse  discussion topic of the day.  I actually got a message on the answering machine - there was lots of giggling and it wasn't exactly audible - but I heard "We figured it out......I'm Stan!"  Apparently Megs must have had a job in college selling plastic vomit that I didn't know about.  Ok, the question for this week is........

You first date EVER.........was he more of a

A.  Duckie

B.  Blane

C.  Steff


I choose date because I think it would be more entertaining to see the answers from the Wolfe/Whitehouse/Wise women.  Boyfriends tend to take more consideration.  Picking those out takes a bit more thought than random first dates.  As for me I think my first date was more a Duckie than anything else.  Aaahhhhh, that poor boy.  I think he actually liked me where I was just so excited to be on a "date".   Te idea of it was much more exciting than the real thing...........the "relationship" (I think it was 4 dates) ended when I heard he was going to try to kiss me FOR REAL.  Ugh.  No way.  It ended that afternoon.  I was 15.  I would like to move that number even higher for my girls......maybe 25?

So, what is it ladies?  A Duckie, a Blane or a Steff?

Oh and I DID clean out the van yesterday - all the recycling is removed.  I just have to jump in the back and get rid of the popsicle and clean out the cup holders so Ashley can resuming sleeping at night.  It's so good to have all of you in my little blog world - I, seriously, would never have gotten it clean without your disgust and horror motivating me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Hour of My Life..........GONE

I mentioned before that we are lucky to get our milk fresh from a local farm.  I make cheese, yogurt and, on occasion, my husband will make some butter.   I bake with it, we drink it and you can skim the cream right off the top to put in soups and stuff.  (I felt the need to tell you all this so that you would think I was some incredible housewife and how lucky my family is to have me.....I want you to keep all this in mind as you read on..........)

Last Thursday I went to pick up our milk and didn't have enough room in the cooler for all the jugs so I strapped one into Francesca's car seat.  When I got home I noticed a little milk had spilt in her seat but since I am the QUEEN OF DENIAL I promptly removed it from my mind and went about my business (of cooking, cleaning and serving my family in every capacity, so wonderful am I).

Fast forward to Monday morning......................

OH MY WORD.

I open the van door to take Fia to school and it slams us right in the nostrils...................the WORST SMELL IN THE WORLD.  The two older kids are screaming about how gross it is and how much it stinks and it really, really does.  Plus I still haven't cleaned out the van so all that recycling is still all over the place and the popsicle is stuck to the armrest.  It is appalling.

Yet I still seem to block it out of my mind upon arriving home.  (I think that Francesca inherited this from me because she plopped right into her stinky seat and rode all around  town while reading her Dora books - rancid, sour milk under my butt?  Not a problem, got my Dora.)

That night Joe finds out about it and is understandably horrified, yet we have been married long enough that no shock or surprise is registered.

I am thinking that Joe will handle it.....or little elves that come in the night........or someone......ANYBODY OTHER THAN ME.  I go to bed without a thought about the carseat or the smell or cleaning any of it up.  I am so positive that it will be taken care of.

The next morning we go to get in the van to take Fia to school.  I open the door.

OH MY WORD.

It was like crawling up the butt of something that had died 10 days prior.  Obviously Joe is trying to teach me a lesson or was tired and did not fully comprehend my expectations of him for all time (such as he will always be in charge of cleaning up anything in the car).  No elves came either.  It was time to admit defeat.  Further evidence of this was taking Fia to school and a little friend behind her said hmmmm, you smell.....you smell like....a pool.  Fia said yea, my car smells.  I was a tidbit embarrassed for our smelly van and the mom in charge of driving the van.

So I went home and told the kids that I was going to clean the carseat and I lifted it up to take it out of the car AND CURDLED, NASTY MILK CAME POURING OUT OF THE CARSEAT ONTO THE DRIVEWAY.  One more time........

OH MY WORD.

The milk had soaked through the carseat, through the blanket folded up underneath the carseat and had soaked into the chair.  Milk from Thursday afternoon.  We had been driving around town with curdled milk resting in the base of my baby's carseat.  The shame of it all.

So I spent an hour disassembling perhaps the MOST COMPLICATED PIECE OF EQUIPMENT that we own - the carseat.  I actually had to get tools out.  It was ridiculous.  And it was then that I made the vow to NEVER EVER DO THIS AGAIN.  It wasn't the smell that sent me over the edge it was all the dang time it took getting that dang carseat apart.  But it's done now.  Well, actually I did clean it all and wash the fabric parts but when Joe went to put it back in and opened up some secret compartment that I didn't know about - milk spilled out again.  So we just put in a carseat from Joe's car.

Now I just have to figure out how to get the milk out of the chair in the van.............................