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,


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?


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


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......................


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.


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........


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.............................

Ryan Was Right .......

Last night we were with three other couples - all newly formed or forming families................it's so fun to see and be part of families at the beginning.  To know adults before parenthood sets in, to journey with them and see who they become.  It's been interesting to be the first ones in some ways - the first to go through so many milestones and to be the first with more than just one.....there was much talk last night of pregnancy, of sleeping and lives changing.  There was much discussion of what to do and how you survive and what is it REALLY like................

How on earth do you prepare yourself for those first brutal few weeks of waking ALL THE TIME?  There is no night and day, just one long endless feeding...............

The couple with the newest baby and all the rest of us assured you just do it.  You adjust, you get use to it.  You become people who don't sleep and you marvel at how you are able to keep your head up and still accomplish things and get through life.

But amidst all this talk the one without the children, without the babies, the one still who sleeps probably said the best words.  The words that still ring true today as I parent............

I would imagine you also just follow your instincts.  You trust your gut.


I think that's what you have to do.

We are a world bombarded with information, with opinions, with absolutes depending on are you a crunchy mom or silky mom.  It's so hard to know what's right and what's going to permanently HARM YOUR BABY FOR LIFE.  So when you are a new mom with little sleep, hormones that are acting a little crazy, your first babe in arms you want to just do what is just right......and there are so many books, people, blogs that will tell you just what that is........according to them.  My advice to new moms is to do what you gotta do to survive.  Trust your instinct.  You know the things you SHOULD NEVER, EVER do - no sleeping on the stomach, don't leave your baby on the changing table, etc.  The rest is up to you and your baby and what it takes to survive those first brutal weeks.

I was petrified with Sofia of doing the WRONG thing - what would people say - ah the horror!  What if they saw me with a bottle?  What if they saw her crying?  What if she wasn't on a schedule?  What if she wouldn't sleeping in her crib?  What if? What if? What if?

After we didn't ruin Sofia for life and we survived her infancy I was more relaxed about the next few, at least, relaxed in the fact that I thought we did ok.  We knew what we were doing for our babies, that what we did worked for us.  For the most part, she did sleep always in her crib.  We swaddled for months and months.  We didn't change her diaper that often at night (though Joe says we did but I know there were many nights we did not - when they start sleeping through the night they lay in that thing for HOURS AND HOURS - so there is nothing wrong with not changing every time when they are getting up more frequently).  We tried to give a little bit more breastmilk in a bottle at the last feeding to try to stretch that first hour of sleep during the night.  With Nico, he slept in a bouncy chair for the first few months of life (what a life saver that was!) but he was still in the crib.  Binkies were used and used with fervor!  We had 20 stashed around the house by the time Nico was here (And Fia used hers until her FOURTH BIRTHDAY - judge if you will, Francesca never took one).

So new moms, do what you have to do and trust your instinct.  Learn to get some sleep and some time for yourself, however that looks.  If to you that means holding your baby while they sleep and watching some tv, just do it.  If that means having your husband do the last feeding with a bottle of formula  before bed, just do it.  If that means driving around town with your sleeping baby in the back of the car and grabbing a coke and sitting in the parking lot of Burger King for some peace and quiet, just do it.

Survival looks different to everyone.......and what a miracle that we all do survive and so do our children :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rainy Day Procrastination.....

So I had all kinds of plans to clean up that Popsicle mess in the car and to take the recycling to where it belongs.........but it's raining.  I can't possible go out in the rain and do that sort of thing so we went for a walk in the rain instead with our umbrellas and boots - such fun.  I love to see Nico's expression as he jumps into the biggest puddle and splashes water all over himself.  It's as if he thinks he is getting away with something so incredibly naughty but his mom is RIGHT THERE laughing with him too.

On this rainy day I thought you might enjoy reading one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE blog posts.  I am loathe to share this link with you because this mom is so HILARIOUS and true and just downright honest in a world that sometimes lends itself to extremes (I breastfed for TWO YEARS, I NEVER let my child watch tv, I only serve ORGANIC, FRESH FROM THE FARM food to my child, etc., etc.  It's something us moms do to ourselves, I swear.  And I applaud all these things, by the way, if you do them.  I am impressed and I think they are good things.  I am just saying sometimes we do the right things for the wrong reasons or look down on others who don't operate the same way we do.  I do it too....babies in slings make me twitch.  I have no idea why other than it's something that I could/would never do.  I want my babies in a crib when they are sleeping - don't hate me babywearers...., away from me so I can get a moment of peace and quiet.  I say this knowing I have dear friends who use slings - I love you, I love your children, they are amazing - I am the weird one.  Did I just write a WHOLE PARAGRAPH in parentheses?  Is that allowed?)  anyway I fear you might not stop by Mommy Moments anymore and who would I have to talk to in my head all day long?  But, alas, she is too good not to share and I can always pretend that I have readers.  Check her out here.  The funniest and truest line?

 TV IS YOUR FRIEND. Not only your friend, your lover.

Oh and the other favorite post here.  

Happy Rainy Monday!  Tomorrow will have to be Take Control of your Trashy Transportation Tuesday.....................

Sunday, November 13, 2011

For Melissa

Many years ago, BEFORE I HAD CHILDREN, I got into my stepmother-in-law's car - it was covered in kid stuff.  There were some crumbs, some toys, etc.  I thought to myself - oh my WHEN I HAVE KIDS I will never let my car look like this........(I have NO IDEA why I thought this because I do not have a reputation for being the most organized, clean person....I think I was in my I will be a better parent THAN ANYONE ELSE EVER HAS BEEN phase - which ended about two minutes after I got home with my screaming bundle of joy and started sobbing because I thought my life was over - THAT was a parent of the year type of moment.......)

So this is for Melissa and because, well, motherhood is nothing if not humbling..............

A popsicle from Fia's trip to the ER

A sticker left on the window from a Border's story time 2 years ago

Nico's cup holders

Recycling put in the car a week ago - now just tossed from place to place
in order to get the kids in the car

Francesca's teddy, some spoon wrappers from Wendy's Jr frosty cups
 Thanks to Bekah for those coupon books!

The trunk where I dumped all the other recycling a week ago because I needed a container for our milk
(We get milk from a local farm and it comes in these big glass jars)

Have a good week everyone!!  Next time I write here I hope to have been shamed into cleaning this incredible mess - at least the grape popsicle melting all over the car :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The Path to Greatness ;)

This past week and, to be honest, it's an ongoing struggle of mine I have been thinking about how God wants me to use this life He has given me.  How can I pour out blessings to others?  How can I be used to love?  You all had such wonderful words for me and gave me much to think about......

And it did cause me to think.

It caused me to think about what is put before me.  What did God give me?  How did He pour out blessings on me?  And it always, always comes back to the same thing for me, for my path that God has put me on.......

My home.  My family.  My husband.  My children.

This is where God wants me to serve.  In my own home.

I have been so lucky that I have been able to do that and in the past few weeks I have seen so many instances in which I have been able to use my home, my family, my time to serve others.  (I was talking about this to one of my friends who happens to be male and he brings his boys over for playdates and often eats here........he asked if he was one of my ways of serving, a mission so to speak, oh and his wife works across the hall from Joe :)

But, well, I have been neglecting an area - an important one, in this age of divorce and the general breakdown of the family.........

My poor husband.  The last to get loved on.  The first to get piled on.  How can I worry about the orphans in Uganda or Ecuador when there is a man here that is not being loved on?  How can I worry about the people down the street or the hungry downtown, if there is one in my own home not being served?

My, oh my.......how God opened my eyes to what was before me, my first love, the one who should be loved first and foremost after Him.

Joe and I have a good, solid marriage.  I would even say that we have a great marriage but I have been slacking.  The inside of our cupboards have notes that we wrote each other...once upon a time before there were 3 little ones - they were still being written with two but seemed to drop off when the third arrived.   There used to be quite regular date nights but, well, it's hard when it seems there are so many things that come before date nights.  I think it is time to step it up, to get creative, to get inspired.

This site helped to kick things off today: http://www.thedatingdivas.com/

It is awesome!  How timely it was to find these ladies.  This morning the little ones and I put together a basket filled with new pajama pants, popcorn, mugs, hot chocolate and a movie from redbox.  We dropped it off at Joe's school with a note saying "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and then on the inside I wrote to meet me in front of the fire at 8:30 for snacks, hot drinks and some cuddlin'......

We came home and found some old white lights from Christmas and hung them around the living room and cut out snowflakes and hung those from the ceiling.  We added some other little touches here and there to make it feel more cozy, a bit different from the usual.  All in all I think it looks quite nice, a little winter wonderland.  It was cheap, easy and the kids could help.

There will be more dates in the future, more romantic gestures.  God put on my heart to love the ones He put in front of me.  That love will be further poured out on those around us.  To be an example of His love to my husband, to give that example to my children..........it's part of what He has called me to do.

Luckily, my man makes it easy to love...................kisses to you, babe.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Question of The Day #2

So last week I asked who you would like to go to the dance with......Johnny Castle, Ren McCormack or Danny Zuko.......five of you answered. I met my quota. However, almost all of you answered wrong and were I giving a prize away it would go to Meghan - who correctly answered with Ren. I mean the soundtrack, that dance scene and, really, it's Kevin Bacon and he's been married FOREVER and seems to be just a really nice person. However, I was just asking for your opinion and I should be accepting of whatever answer you gave......because it is how you feel and you can't help it if you are blinded by a six pack and a good tan.

This week I am wondering which Golden Girl are you most like?

A. Sophia

B. Rose

C. Blanche

D. Dorothy

Now you MUST BE HONEST. Frankly there are the cool Golden Girls and then the not so cool Golden Girls. It saddens me that I am not one of the cool ones. I was secretly hoping that maybe, maybe I was one of the cool ones but I yelled to Joe to tell me which one he thought I was and WITH NO HESITATION he named the exact one I was thinking.

Oh well.

Golden Girls is classic in our house - we have the dvds, Matt, Joe and I can all quote favorite lines and have favorite episodes. Here is a favorite.......when she smashes that hotdog I almost pee myself EVERY SINGLE TIME.

So which is it ladies? Are you a Rose, Dorothy, Sophia or Blanche?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mat Envy

I think it has happened.

I have reached that age where you can't just eat right for a few days and magically go down to your "comfortable" weight. Notice I did not say ideal weight or Jennifer Aniston weight but your comfortable weight.

I went over my limit the other week. That number that says WHOA SISTER! GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF! - that number. I thought, ok. I can deal with it. No biggie. I will just be a bit more careful about what I eat.

Still there.

This is not good. I am now part of a family where EVERY FEMALE is small. My mother-in-law birthed 6 children and is still sporting a single digit pant size. My step mother-in-law, well let's not even go there - she is a yoga instructor, people. Small doesn't even begin to describe her size. And it's not just that she is small but she is "toned". We can go out further to my sister-in-laws, the cousins, the aunts, everyone..........it's like I entered the land of the little people.......well, except they aren't THAT short, just thin.

So I feel the need to reign myself in. For Ashley's sake I feel the need to say I don't think I am fat or anything, my pants still fit, etc. But I need to get below that number once again or I feel as if I could just spiral out of control - just a few pounds and I am good.

It was time to bring in the big guns - that's right, the 30 DAY SHRED. It's really quite magical. The last time I did it I was over that number after having birthed my third AND LAST FROM MY WOMB child. I did it for the month, lost 5 pounds and was done - I moved on.

Jillian Michaels is now back in my life and I dislike her as much as I did the last time - it seems she reads my mind each time I do the workout and screams at me to not give up, don't turn off the tv, it's only 20 minutes. I KNOW JILLIAN BUT I COULD BE READING OR WATCHING MY HULU RIGHT NOW..........

Instead I grit my teeth and swear that I will lose those pounds and never see her again.

My children all enjoy this too.

Nico said the other day he loves when the girls all take their clothes off and exercise. The ones in the back can't talk but the one in front can. (Seriously, next time I go to the library I will HAVE to check out some books on Eleanor Roosevelt, Geraldine Ferraro and other noteworthy women.......)

Fia likes to do some of the exercises with me and at one point said oh mom I bet you wish you were like them. OH MY WORD! NO! Please don't tell me my baby thinks that women have to look exactly like that. Oh no I will have to never do this video again......breathe, breathe, breathe.......ok....why honey? (Very calm now) Why do you think mommy would like to be like them?

Because they have mats and you don't.


Yes, exactly, mommy wishes she had...........a mat. Just like those girls.

Oh, How He Loves.......

One of the other things that wonderful preacher man mentioned Sunday night was that when we think we are going to go out and do something for God or love in His name.......God sits back and says, ok, but look at what I am going to do for YOU.

So when I wrote my post yesterday wondering what I was going to do for God and how I was going to love in His name.......

blessings poured forth..........

He showered me with a love that far surpassed anything I could give.  Your words, your prayers reached my heart.  I spent so much of the morning weepy and thankful and feeling oh so loved by you all.   I drank in His goodness, your goodness, your words that penetrated my heart allowing me to feel His love, His rejoicing in my life.

I was reminded, once again, that He has placed me right where He wants me to be and in yearning for more I overlook what is placed in front of me.

Thank you for loving me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Love...?

Last night, one of our preacher's preached his last sermon at our church.

I call him preacher, even though it seems a bit outdated, because that is what he is.....a preacher.  It's what he does the very best of all.  When he speaks, he speaks with the authority of one who knows and loves God.  He sets on fire the hearts of the people he speaks to, it's such a gift, such an amazing thing to witness.

My heart was set on fire last night.  He spoke of the temple of old - the majesty of it, the grand scale and how it was good.  Then Jesus came and he was the temple and that was better than just a building.  Yet Jesus was taken up to heaven and it was the best because we were saved and we became the temple.  That a building is not needed to find God but that we were the temple - the ones to go and take the church wherever we go.  That, because of His sacrifice, within us heaven and earth intersect and we can take that with us wherever we go.

I came home and read Kisses for Katie - a blog about a 19 year old girl that went to Uganda and  started a ministry to care for the children and people there.  Now four years later she is a single mother to 13 girls and has helped COUNTLESS others.  She went, not counting the cost and she is taking the His love to the people of Uganda.

I watched my brother live on IHOP's webstream, singing and giving glory God - pouring his heart out in prayer.  Worshipping God, through heartache and pain and loss, but still giving glory, being a constant witness to His love and His goodness and His mercy and His faithfulness.  He is bringing His love to so many.

I read two blogs consistently - Big Mama and A Holy Experience.  They operate on two different ends of the spectrum but this week they are both going to Ecuador on a Compassion trip together.  They each spoke of what they hope to find there, what they hope to find in themselves.  They are bringing His love to Ecuador and sharing it with so many readers.

I sat in my chair, as I sit now, with tears streaming down my face.  I wonder what is God calling me to?  What am I to do?  How can I show His love and to whom?   I feel so woefully inadequate as I live my comfortable life, baking muffins and shuttling kids to school and playdates, reading my Bible in my warm living room while sipping hot coffee.  Who am I that I get to live this comfortable life and in giving me this comfortable life what does He want me to do with it?  How can I take this love I feel, that I have to others who may not be so blessed?  How do I keep this fire within me throughout the week, throughout the month when this middle class, comfortable life threatens to shove me right back into complacency?

I wish you all had the answers for me.  I wish it were easier.  I wish that I could feel that fire always.

Can you pray for me this week?  Can you pray that this fire that God placed within me remain within me so that I can be a witness to His love for others?

I want to love this week.  I want to love big.

I want to not be overcome by my own weakness and weariness.

In His Name.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me, leaving me breathless with that love, no matter who I love, no matter what I do, You love me.  Let me bear witness to that great love.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh my......

Yesterday my sweet daughter and I were at the table making books.  My book was about a small black cat, hers about herself.  She loves to use all her sight words in her reading and writing.  But the first thing she wanted to write she wasn't quite sure how to spell.  So she asked me.....

Mom, how do you write "I am beautiful"?

I, at least, had the decency to blush.  

The saying is true......the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.....

I can see the Codispoti clan shaking their heads right now.........

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Brother.......

I have been so very blessed...........blessed with a brother who is a best friend.  Mom pounded that into our heads from the time when we were very young, your brother/sister will always be there, will be your best friend, treat them with kindness.  There was much eyerolling and laughter and giggling at just about everything mom said but that remained true.  He is a best friend.

He's the friend that when you get together you tell the same stories over and over and still laugh just as hard as the first time.  He's the friend that you can go weeks without talking to and then all of a sudden get a call and feel that pull to be together again - you find yourself wishing that you just lived next door to each other so that the conversation would never end and you could just stop over every day.  He's the friend that makes you feel more interesting, more beautiful, more alive just by being around him.  He's the friend that one word, one look will take you back to a simpler time, an easier time when the biggest problem you had was worrying about what to wear to school the next day or what game to play with the girls next door.

Now......well, we have more to worry about.  We have reasons for the laughter to stop for a moment, reasons for life to stop and our hearts to stop for just a moment in hopes that they don't shatter completely. It used to be so much easier to fight my brother's battles for him - I remember kicks to the shin, words spewed in anger at kids that wanted to hurt my brother, wanted to knock him down from the pedestal that they created for him.  I was ready to take on anyone, anything that would hurt him.  But I don't know how to fight this battle for him now, I don't know how to take on the life that was given to him.  I don't know how to make the world right when it just isn't and won't ever be truly right again.  I don't know how to heal his hurting heart.

It's hard to love.

It's hard to love a hurting brother.  It's hard to love a child you aren't able to hold.  It's hard to love a life that has an empty space within it.  How to fill that space?  Can you fill that space?  Or is it a special place, carved out for a love that defies definition, that transcends the normal parent/child relationship?  What if there is no answer?  What if the love is found in the hurting, the pain?  What if that piercing pain is evidence of a piercing love?

Oh, Matt.......how I love you.  How I love your daughter.  How I love that beautiful wife of yours that gave you such a daughter.  

I wish she were here.

I wish that you didn't know the pain of a Father who lost a child.

I love you.  I never fought any battles for you, really.  You were the stronger one, always.  I was the angry, blustery one.  You were the one who showed true strength.  I know that this is true for today too.  

Don't try to fill that space but reserve it for an extraordinary love, a first love for a first child.  There is a space in my heart too, Matt, one reserved for a first niece, a extension of my extraordinary brother.  Taking the next step, living your life past the day of her birth is not forgetting but, rather, celebrating the love and life that created Adalyn Joy.

Joy, Joy, Joy...........remember and take cue from your child..........Joy, Joy, Joy

I love you.

Love you so much.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mom and Dad

It's heart stirring and sweet to see where you came from...............

That where you came from was a place of love..........

Seeing your own parents through grown up eyes, realizing that life did not begin with you but began long before............

I am not sure why but my eyes always fill when looking at these pictures - to see who they were, how young and beautiful and full of joy......I am so thankful for the life that they gave my brother and I............

They passed on their joy and love and laughter to us along with the unshakable security and trust that what they began together will remain together. It's been fun to see these two people who took on life together take on retirement together. Not only surviving it but enjoying it................reminding me of these pictures, grateful that they were able to keep pieces and parts of who they were before jobs, family, kids, life all descended upon them. Now, once again, it is two - I wonder where life will take them this time :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Random Question of the Day.............

Your participation is required........unless, of course, you are one of my few male readers. I would understand if you want to take a pass on this. I was a bit taken aback when a nice gentleman I used to work with at Warstler commented on one of my posts. He said he enjoyed reading my blog and keep it up. I was thinking, oh my Mr. Ault knows I peed my pants multiple times........

Anyway, I polled a few friends a few weeks back about who they would want to go to the dance with......what dance, you may ask? Any dance......just play along.

So if you were going to the dance who would you want to go with?

A. Johnny Castle

B. Ren McCormack

C. Danny Zuko

I guess the questions is - do you want to be rescued from the corner, the farm or the Pink Ladies?

I thought the answer would be obvious, there is only one answer in my mind but curiously NO ONE else agreed with me. I was curious to see if any of you all agreed with me. So play along, I need at least 5 people to answer so my curiosity can be satisfied. Oh and if you want to give a reason, too, that would be appreciated. If you have to look up who these people are, well this just saddens me and you will have to go out this weekend to rent the fabulous movies these men star in. Can't wait to hear back from all 5 of you :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forgive Me......

Forgive me, my babies, for waking weary on so many mornings...stumbling out of bed, not fully awake, resenting the intrusion that you caused on my sleep........I loved the cuddling, feeling your warm bodies snuggling into mine as we read books but, oh my, was your mama tired........

Forgive me for being the mom who drove you to school in jammies, hair all wild, no make-up, even shoeless, at times......I wanted to spend a few extra minutes around the table together or all piled on the couch reading books.....hopefully, I never embarrassed you too much......

Forgive me for being too hard on you or not hard enough......I tried my best to do what was best. I wanted so hard to get it right, to help shape you into the people that God created you to be. There were days that it was easier to give in, days where it was easier to just rage against a behavior or action rather than give you the love or attention you were seeking....know that, always, always, always I loved you.

Forgive me for cleaning, cooking, baking, doing laundry, talking on the phone, rushing off to a be somewhere else when you wanted to read or color or play with me.......I wanted to do those things too but there was a house to run, friends that needed a friend and a mama that needed a bit of time, too.........

Forgive me for not knowing so many things......not knowing how to let go easily, not knowing how to make things pretty, not knowing how to answer all your questions, not knowing how to balance it all without losing a bit of my sanity at times.........

Forgive me for all the decisions we made that were hard ones........know that we wanted to give you the world, we wanted everything for you. We wanted your life to be easy and fun and painless yet knew that this was not the best thing in order for your character to be formed and tested.............we knew this and had to watch the painful moments.........someday you will experience this with your own children and know how much we loved you in those moments..........

Forgive me, my babies...............I love you so very much, every moment etched upon my heart, treasured and stored up within me. Every mistake I made, I made with love. I had the very best of intentions, though they were lost, at times, when I began to lose myself. I hope that one day you will see me not just through the eyes of a child but the eyes of a parent and know how very much I love and treasure you.

The Second Generation.......

Back in college - those younger days, my carefree and completely irresponsible days - I had a friend named Megs. I am convinced everyone should have a Megs. Megs was the responsible one, the one who studied and went to class and kept her boyfriend from back home the entire time while at school and went on to marry him. She was the steady and stable to my more lazy and unpredictable.

Bekah and I would come in late at night and pounce on her bed and drag her out of bed in her pajamas to go on midnight drives with us. We would have to walk all the way out to "Siberia" where we parked and then Megs would take her place in the backseat, barely functioning, and we would sit upfront and talk and laugh and well, do unhealthy things to our lungs. Every once in awhile we would hear a screech if something flew back on Megs. We never wanted to go without her and half the fun was dragging her out of bed and making her come with us, knowing she would never refuse us.

Megs came with me to the art room when it was days before all the assignments were due for some art education class and, of course, I hadn't completed any - barely went to class - it seemed such a waste at the time. She came with me and helped me complete all those art projects. I think back and wonder why on earth Megs was so kind to me.........................

During student teaching she went out into the woods after dark with me to find pinecones for the next days lesson. I didn't want to go by myself and, again, nothing was as fun without hearing the long-suffering sighs of Megs. She was always so willing - a loving parent to an errant child, it seemed, at times.

The day before graduation is was Megs and I furiously trying to wipe marker off the walls of our bathroom. I thought it would be fun and cute to draw pictures and write things ALL OVER our bathroom and it says washable........so I did. I guess after weeks of being on a surface the washable is no longer washable. So once again Megs saved the day and we washed and painted so that we wouldn't have to pay a huge fine.

Just last year I went to Florida with Megs and Bekah for 4 days - my WONDERFUL husband organized it for my Christmas gift and sent me off with the girls. It was the first time since college that we had been alone for so long - just girls - no kids, no husbands, just us. It was amazing. One of the best thigs about it was being once again with Megs - the responsible one and surrendering the responsibility to her. I drove to pick her up and from then on ceased to worry about anything. I thought Megs is here.........she's got it.

And she did. Like always.

Everyone needs a Megs.

Pictures of our kids playing together the past weekend. Maybe future Grovers?