Monday, January 31, 2011


When we moved to Rochester, we were young and didn't have kids. We spent evenings with our friends who didn't have kids, playing video games, or went out for dinner. We were the first of our friends to get pregnant and things changed. It wasn't that we weren't invited to go out or didn't play video games, but the vibe changed. We changed.

We had this desperate need to have a house. Okay, I had this need - call it nesting - and we bought a house. We became "responsible" and stuff...little did we know that we were, really, nothing short of naive and a dollar short. We were kids, pups, young bucks thinking we were all that at 28 and 29 having our first baby. We thought we were so prepared, so ready, so, um, grown up.


Yeah, I know. We fell off the planet when we had kids. It wasn't that our friends weren't around or supportive, but there isn't much to talk about when twenty four hours a day the mind is spinning in babybabybabybabybaby. I became a social idiot, trying desperately to fit in without talking about my new kid all the time. Who wants to know about the adorableness of spit bubbles? Who really needs to know about my struggle with pumping at work? Who needs to know how hard adjusting to having a baby is for a marriage? Who needs to know that? Really? Not my friends without kids. Then something glorious happened.

Yes, some of my friends started having kids, but really it came in this new fangled thing, this wonderful, eye opening thing:

Play dates.

Indeed, other moms wanted to throttle their kids sometimes (figuratively, people, relax). Other moms DID want to talk about the pressures of parenting and pumping. Other moms did understand the cuteness of spit bubbles and coos! It was amazing! It was eye opening It was, dare I say, life. changing. I KNOW, right? I belonged. I wasn't crazy, weird, or out of place. It was awesome.

As our boys grow older, our friendships shift and change. We have become better friends with parents of Drew's friends and have been mindful to get to know parents of his friends to make sure our values align. My friend, M, has taught me how important it is to make sure the families are a good fit. She is the queen of socializing and makes sure all the moms of our 2nd grade class feel welcomed and invited to get to know one another. I appreciate her verve and passion so much, especially as one of the moms unable to volunteer in the classroom very often. M knows what is happening in the classroom, with the kids, and around the school because of her investment in her kids. I'm lucky our boys became friends - because it brought me her friendship.

As the boys embark on sports, I'm sure more friends will come, different but the same. The nice thing is that as we meet like-minded families, our kids become fast friends and look forward to seeing all their different friends. Our lives shift and change. Our friendships ebb and flow, but what is so nice, so great, is what I learn as we continue on this crazy, fast tracked path called parenting. It isn't what the books say it will be, and there is no easy answer. But what I can say is it is easier and better with friends who are in the same place and who want to talk about it - good and bad - with love at the heart.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Poodle Skirt

This Saturday evening I'm hosting a 50's style Sock Hop party at my church. And this is my costume!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Generation Tech.

I sat down to write a post for Tuesday, but got distracted by my google reader. I don’t have time to read all of the blogs I love anymore. I am somewhat loathe to admit that I scan for interesting post titles and then just delete everything else. I am a zero inbox kind of person. Well, not exactly ZERO zero, but I don’t like unread messages sitting there, either in email or in my blog reader. If it’s bold, I either click on it to read it, delete it, or occasionally, especially in email when I don’t have time to scan through and delete all the hundreds of last minute SALE ENDS TODAY emails I seem to always get on Monday mornings, I select all and just hit “mark as read.” But at least they aren’t bolded.

My husband has 792 unread emails in his gmail inbox. This makes my head explode. He only clicks on the ones he wants to read, and lets everything else just sit there taking up space. (For the record, clutter is not really a problem for him. My husband is the guy who keeps receipts for McDonald’s, not in an organized OCD filed way, mind you, but crumpled up and tossed on the kitchen counter and in cupholders of cars and coat pockets and it really shouldn’t surprise him that he can’t ever find his wallet and his ID badge for work, and yet, it does.) But for email, he doesn't like expending energy just to delete something when he is capable of ignoring it.

My ten year old, who is more and more like me everyday, is definitely a zero inbox kind of guy. I tell him he doesn’t have to delete an email as soon as he reads it, but since he’s only getting emails from other ten year old boys that say things like “POKEMON 4EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” I guess there’s not much point in trying to explain it.

The kid also deletes texts and missed calls from his phone. He can’t stand to have it flashing “missed call” at him, so he calls the number back, hangs up before he gets an answer, and then is able to delete the entire exchange. I’m not sure about the call back part, but I’ve seen him texting friends, and then deleting immediately.

I’m not particularly worried about it, however. This is not a kid hiding something. This is a kid who cannot lie. Oh, he tries, but he’s so stinkin’ bad at it I just look at him sideways and he gives it all up. Recent example:

“Mom, can I have more cake?”
“Um, no, you just get one piece.”
“But I haven’t had any yet?”
“Really? Because you just asked if you could have MORE.”
“Nice try, dude.”

So I’m not really worried about submersive texts between ten year olds who all just got phones because us moms are tired of texting each other when we want our kid to return home for dinner. Now I just text the kid. And he understand, very clearly, that he either shows up at the door inside of about three minutes, or he loses the phone.

Technology rules.

Denial, part 2.

While we're on the subject of kids and school milestones, I got an email from the school district the other day that took me by complete surprise. The subject seemed harmless, it simply said "Fifth Grade Information." My oldest is in fifth grade, so okay, this made sense. I clicked.

Liar Liar McLiarpants, it was not fifth grade information. It was SIXTH GRADE information, for current fifth graders. As in, my oldest kid is going to middle school next year, and now is the time I have to start filling out enrollment forms and taking tours and parent classes about how they teach math these days in middle school.

I've written before about how easy it was to send my kids off to kindergarten. (Yes, that's a livejournal link. Is where I started blogging originally. Don't judge.) I have always been a working mom, and so kindergarten was a welcome respite in my pocketbook from the costs of preschool and daycare. It helped, to be sure, that my oldest was 5 going on 40 when he went to kindergarten, and on the very first day when I walked him to the classroom door, he ran inside, took his place on the circle rug, and never looked back to see if I was still standing there.

But middle school is different. I don't know why it's freaking me out more than I expected. It might be because my ten year old is very small for his age, like 2 percentile small, almost the same size as my eight year old. So he doesn't really seem like he should be going to middle school. I look at the kids in the neighborhood who are in middle school and they seem like giants, nearly adults, next to my kid.

Of course, it might also be bothering me because middle school starts an hour earlier. We are not exactly morning people around here.

But I have to face it, regardless. I have to take the tour, and learn how this new math works. It's going to happen, whether I'm ready or not.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Easy Appetizers

My dad first made these simple appetizers for our family when I was in high school. I often forget about making them for years then suddenly am reminded of them and feel the need to make them.

I'm told my nephews really like them, but when I made them last week all three of my kids turned their noses up at them. Even Ms. D who is willing to eat pretty much anything refused them. Go figure.

They are the easiest things in the world to make. Stuffed mushrooms. All you need are some button mushrooms and sausage. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, push some sausage in the hole and bake on a cookie sheet at 425 for 20-25 minutes until the sausage is done.

Sprinkle a bit of salt on top to taste and serve!

I have to admit I'm not a big mushroom fan, but one in a while I do like these mushrooms.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Calm Down, Boris!

D, my 2-year-old has never been one to sit to hear a book. At most, we can get 4 pages read if the sentences are very short or the pages have only a few words. There are 3 books that she will sit for the whole book. Two of the books are by Sandra Boynton (Snuggle Puppy and Moo Baa La La La)...and that is just a testament to what a great children's author she is. If you haven't added Boynton's books to your toddler's library run, don't walk, to the bookstore and get several.

D sits for books that encourage action. Funny noises, animals to name, and songs to sing encourage D to sit for a book (or at least stand nearby where she can still listen and jump if need be!).

I found this book by chance when I visited our local Sam's Club last Summer when they offered a "free day" to come in and check it out. We were members several years ago but ended our membership when it didn't seem like the membership fee offset our savings (mostly I spent too much when I went there).

It's a book and a puppet in one and offers all the things necessary to keep D's attention for reading.

In Calm Down, Boris! Boris is an exuberant and loving monster who just wants to share the love...but his hairy face is a little tickly when he kisses. I love to hear D's giggles when we read this one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do You Have An Office in Your Car?

Hi, I'm Heather and I have a messy car.

It started when my oldest started preschool. More accurately, it was her second year of preschool when the teachers would bring the kids out to us parents while we waited in the car line.

I brought things with me in that car line. A magazine at first. A book. Then a notebook and pen. Then clothes that needed new buttons.

When the big kids both hit elementary school and I spent more and more time waiting in the car it was obvious I had a problem. The few times I needed to have a passenger in the front seat of the car threw me in a whirlwind of trying to frantically clean the seat and floor on the right side of the car.

It was embarrassing. Even more embarrassing was the occasional time that a teacher would want to talk to me in the car line and attempt to open the front passenger door. Oh my. Once, a teacher was successful and was treated to an avalanche of stuff.

I have a problem. Hi, I'm Heather and I'm a messy-car owner.

I've tamed my mess in the past. But my method got moved to the trunk and has to be moved back. I think I'll move it back tomorrow.

I bought a basket with handles when it was on sale at a craft store. I can put all my junk in there. It won't fall out and I can move it easily if I need to make room for a passenger. It's a step. Someday I won't be in a car line so often, or at all. Then my car will revert to a simple mode of transportation instead of a mobile office/craft area/waste basket.

Do you have a messy passenger seat or do you actually transport people in that seat?

Monday, January 17, 2011


My baby girl is going to start preschool in September. In some ways September seems eons away but as time has a habit of doing, it slides by faster than my brain can process the changes. Honestly, didn't I just find out I was pregnant with my third child?

D is my always baby. My last child. She's going to hate that label someday I suppose...until she has her always baby and then she'll understand.
One of my friends has 5 children and commented a few weeks ago about preschool for her fourth child who is 7 months older than D. I was taken completely off guard. There was no way these kids were old enough for preschool next year...but they are. Sigh.
Seeing your kids grow up is bittersweet. I miss the babies and toddlers they once were but love to see the kids they grow into. I suppose this is why I take so many photos. Thank goodness that the digital camera came along when I was pregnant with my first baby because I would definitely be broke by now if I had to buy film and pay processing fees to get all these photos of my kids!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Break

When I close my eyes, I'm somewhere warm.  There are palm fronds and hibiscus blooms and pink drinks with umbrellas peeking over the top.

But, really, I'm here.

It's lovely in its own way, but warm?  Most decidedly, it is not warm!

In lieu of plane fares and passports and faraway tropical destinations, we decided to find warmth a little closer to home.

Great Wolf Lodge has several locations, including Wisconsin Dells, Traverse City, MI, Sandusky, OH and Mason, OH, and Kansas City, KS.  If you're not close to one of those, I'm sure a Google search can help uncover a waterpark closer to home.  If you're in need of a winter break, I recommend it for a quick getaway.

It's not paradise, but for a few hours it can sure come close.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate and the Best Sugar Cookies Ever

Oh my goodness, it's almost midnight on Wednesday!  How did that happen?

1.  Laundry.
2.  Basketball game (mine).
3.  Grocery shopping.
4. Turning above-mentioned groceries into meals for laundry-generating family.
5. Laundry.
6. Coaching 6th grade basketball.
7. Cub Scouts.
8. Sliding on ice and hitting Cadillac in parking lot of Cub Scout event.
9. Basketball games (8th graders)
10. Auto Body Shop for above-mentioned fender bender.

And all of this happened on Monday and Tuesday.

That said, we've had a patch of lovely weather here in the Midwest.  The Northeast is getting slammed with snow yet again, but we've just had a slow steady snowfall, blanketing our yards and trees.  It's sparkly and beautiful.

When the kids come in for a break from the snow, here are two of my favorite recipies:  homemade hot chocolate (throw that instant stuff in the trash!), and the best sugar cookies ever.

Hot Chocolate
photo credit: Stepheye

1 mug of warm milk, not quite boiling
1 small spoonful of sugar
1 slightly bigger spoonful of cocoa powder (unsweetened)

Warm milk in saucepan.  Mix sugar and cocoa in mug.  Add small amount of warmed milk to sugar & cocoa and stir until dissolved.  Add remaining milk and stir.

Best Sugar Cookies Ever
My mom's friend Dolly Fischer gave her this recipe when I was a little girl (KG, maybe?).  While I was still a girl, Mrs. Fischer died from breast cancer, but her recipe has lived on in our family for all these years.  I think of her and her family every time I make them.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2 c flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c margarine
1/2 c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Also need:
melted butter
extra sugar

Sift together the first 4 ingredients.  In a separate bowl, cream the last 5 ingredients.  Add sifted ingredients to creamed ingredients and mix by hand.  Roll into very small balls; press flat with the bottom of a glass dipped first in a bowl with melted butter, then a bowl with the extra sugar.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Don't bake for too long!  If you want to get creative, you can add food coloring to the cookie dough or used colored sugar.

These are thin, airy, and absolutely delicious!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cooped Up!

What to do with 4 young kids during the sick cold winter days? 
Kids (& adults) start to get stir crazy when they aren't feeling well plus it's either too cold or too blizzardy to go outside and play. Bickering ensues, crying happens too often which makes me want to pull my hair out.

Here are a few things I pull out for a change of pace. 
First, I got a ginormous bag of rice at Sams Club, poured it into a shallow plastic bin, threw in some toys and placed it on a plastic tablecloth. Called the kids and they were all excited and played well for an hour or so.  Although, Easton (17mos) kept throwing the rice, he's in the throw everything stage.
Yes, it's a bit of a mess to clean up, if you have little one who like to throw but, it's worth the laughter and smiles.  I've tried out dated oats I had in the cupboard and that's too dusty. It's rice, so I don't care if it goes in their mouth. 

Our next favorite (especially for my littlest ones) is to put toys, animals in our case, on the kitchen table and let them play while sitting in a big chair.  My babes love to line them up, stack them, knock them down, hand them to me, take them back, repeat.
My older kids love to play with their toys on the table too.  It's a nice change since normally they are playing on the floor.

{"Mommy, why do you have the camera?"

{Miss Adler has had enough of the camera }
 Our other favorite is to put on the music and have a dance party!

What are your cooped up activities?

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year!  Happy 2011!

I was originally going to blog about why is it when mom is out and dad is home that people ask "Dad is babysitting?!" babysitting?! no he's parenting! Its almost never the other way around.  I don't hear people ask "Mom's babysitting?"

Or why does a dad get more sympathy when he's a stay at home parent? It must be so stressful, blah. blah. blah. No matter who stays home with the kids it's stressful. Parenting in general is stressful along with tremendous joy! 

Instead it's 2011 a new year, a new decade.  A clean slate.  A full promising year ahead. A time for resolutions.  A time to put the past behind us.

I'm not a "resolution" type of girl. Not sure why.  General goals yes. Goals that ebb and flow thru the year or years.  Goals that I've thought, planned but rarely at New Years time.  My main goal since stating my own business and working from home is to get better at balancing family and work.  When I think I'm mastering it something changes.  I'm always looking for better ways to be more and stay organized with 4 growing kids.

Do you have new years resolutions? If so, I'd love to hear them.