Dec 23, 2008

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

I'm sure you can picture it.....

The party was festive and fun....the people warm and inviting and the conversation lovely. We were all sitting in a large circle, visiting and laughing when suddenly...out of the 10 year old son asks from across the circle.....
"Mom....what's a douche bag?"   (talk about a conversation stopper!)

With flaming cheeks I quietly say, "Lets chat about that later sweetie'. To which he (thankfully) replies "ok". I think he could tell that it wasn't really 'party talk'. Unfortunately I didn't just let it drop there...which in hindsight....would have been the best choice since we did now have quite an audience of wide-eyed spectators. No....instead I ask, "where did you even hear that?' to which he replies......
"Dad called someone that today when were driving in his car!"

Father of the year anyone?????

Dec 19, 2008

Oh....the holidays!!!

As the frantic final week of Christmas arrives, I am personally feeling a little overwhelmed. We have had a BUSY month....full of activity, excitement and of course....stress!
Sometimes its hard for me to slow down and really reflect on the meaning of the season and the things I am thankful for. I think you will understand better after reading/singing the following song I wrote about life in the Flanigan house.

(Please sing to the tune....'what child is this?")

What child is this.... who 
in the house kicked a soccer ball
through the window glass?
Whom mommy greets with stomping feet 
and thoughts of spanking his a#%.

This, this is child #2, whom 
makes a mess in every room.
sigh,sigh...try not to cry
the month is just beginning.

What child is this...who rolls her eyes
at every thing I do or say?
Who threatened to scream 
over the flu vaccine
and acts like we're all in her way.

This,this is child #1,who
thinks we are lame and not any fun.
sigh,sigh...try not to cry
December is just halfway over.

What child is this....who 
walks in his sleep and 
keeps his mommy from counting her sheep.
Who never stops eating and always is bleeding
from taking such huge flying leaps.

this, this is child #3, who's
broken most ornaments on the tree.
Sigh, sigh...try not to cry
December is almost over.

So bring me food and drugs and beer
I need it to capture this Christmas cheer
2008 hasn't been too great
Let's hear it for 2009!

Merry Christmas Everyone! (don't worry....I really DO love my kids and plan on keeping them)

Nov 18, 2008


This morning I was on a mission. Drop kids before I needed to pick Kellen up at 12:15. Every minute mattered. Every single one.  I was actually doing well until I made that fateful stop in the laundry room, on my way out for errands, to fold one last load of towels. Thats where my day took a turn for the worse.

(Hmmm....funny how so many of my posts are about time spent in the laundry room. This should tell you 2 things: 1) I have a very boring life and 2)I spend a fair amount of it washing clothes). 

So there I was, quickly floding my clean, fluffy towels and listening to the washer fill. I was even feeling a little smug as I realized that not only was I a few minutes ahead of schedule, but that my precise timing was going to allow me to throw the stuff from the washer into the dryer before I left. My heart feeling of accomplishment growing with every moment.

Suddenly, I heard some strange noises in the distance which pulled me from my happy place. It sounded like rushing water....Maybe a little like someone was in the shower....only I was the only one home. Hmmmmm??? I pause for a moment longer, trying to figure out what it could be because now I hear another noise....a thumping the noise the sump pump in the basement makes when we are flooding.....HOLY CRAP! I tear out of the laundry room and as I do....the sound of rushing water gets louder. Its coming from the bathroom. The bathroom???? What the heck????
I switch on the light and much to my delight....the toilet is spilling laundry water all over the floor. In addition, the bathtub is also filling with bubbly liquid that smells of Tide. As fast as my legs will carry me, I run back into the laundry room to stop the washer. As I dive for the knob that will stop the spin cycle (and hopefully stop Niagra falls in the bathroom) my sweater catches on the little sensor that exists inside the door of a dryer (which tells the dryer that the door is closed and allows it to...well.... dry clothes)  and rips 
it clean off of the appliance. So now I have a flood, a broken dryer, and a crazy long piece of snagged yarn hanging off my sweater. In addition, the sump pump is still making its thumping noises in the basement....... I'm afraid to look.

I have a hunch that Tom isn't going to be too happy about this. 

I have also lost that warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment.

After the waters receded, I assessed the damage. 
Tub, toilet and floor.....cleaner than they were before the flood.
Basement....damp but smells nice (at least now). Sump pump did its job. Yeah! (by friday it will likely smell like mildew ....or urine)
Sweater....slightly more vintage looking. I managed to creatively tuck the dangling yarn.
Schedule for my 'productive' morning......completely shot.
Dryer....silent. Broken. not working.

You may think this is the end of the story......sadly its not.

For some reason....I decided that I should try to fix the dryer. I really can't say what posessed me to take on this project. I know nothing about dryers. Perhaps I was blinded by my obsession to acheive on this day. I still had much laundry to do and was not willing to concede. hard could it be????? 

I managed to slightly lift the top off. Maybe 3 inches. Just enough to reach my beefy arm in there and feel around for the backside of the sensor button. The top of the dryer, which as you may recall, is only open like 3 inches.... is cutting off all circulation to my hand and probably making actual cuts in my arm. Suddenly...  I find the sensor with my throbbing fingers....and then listen as it drops deep into the bowels of the appliance....most likely never to be seen again. Sh*T!!!!! With much effort and wiggling.....I free my nearly amputated appendage. I did manage to pull out the box of wires that controls this sensor button.  Somehow (I'm unsure of exactly how...possibly divine intervention), I manipulated that box of wires with a screwdriver and a strategicaly placed sliver of tape . Now, the dryer runs and actually never stops....even with the door just dries and dries....unless of course you pull the screwdriver out. (which is what is holding the whole thing together.) Its very tricky. Please don't try this at home. Also, please dont' call to borrow my dryer.

Here is a photo of my handi-work. Maybe you'll agree that I should stick to nursing......

Nov 9, 2008

What happens when men are left in charge....

Nov 6, 2008

some pics from Halloween...

Colleen as captain Jack Sparrow....

Miss America and first runner up!

Oct 12, 2008

my day as a (half) marathoner.....

The alarm went off at 7. 

Holy's race day. Once again I think..."what was I thinking when I signed up for this?" But I have already paid my money and I'm too cheap to not at least get a shirt for that so... I get out of bed and try to figure out what one wears to run when it's 22 degrees. Let me repeat that...its 22 degrees. I'm not even sure I CAN run when its that cold. I decide to go with the 'zero gravity, wonder woman sports bra", dri-fit shirt topped off with a pink running sweatshirt (which I think looks quite nice with the pink stripe on my nike's),sweats, hat, gloves and handwarmers. One bowl of cheerios and one cup of coffee and we're off. 
On the way downtown, Tom "encourages" me by telling me that he's heard this is the 'worst and hilliest' run around. He makes some groaning noises as I describe the course and finishes off the pep talk by commenting on how few people are at the starting line. ( I think he thought my chances of actually coming in last were pretty high...especially with so few competitors). 
I jump out of the car, after a good luck kiss and an "I hope you don't die" embrace to join the other runners.
I quickly find a few people I know and we huddle together, trying to keep warm. All around us runners are jogging around, stretching, etc.  and I start to feel insecure about my 'warm up" (which consisted of flexing my legs while sitting on the seat heaters in my car) so I throw in a few knee bends and lunges. A few minutes later we're ready to start....

Gun goes off! Michael Jackson is singing "wanna be startin' somethin'" on my ipod and I feel empowered to be a part of the "small-ish" swarm of bodies pounding the pavement.

Mile 1: Feeling good. Starting to get a little sweaty so I ditch the dollar store hat. There are a lot of people passing me at this point as everyone falls into their pace. WOW! I start to wonder "how long until people stop passing me!"

Mile 2:I thought I was seroiusly kicking butt at this point because it had only been like 7 minutes since mile 1. My accomplishment was short lived, however, because a few minutes later I passed another "mile 2" sign and realized that the first ego-crushing sign was for the full marathon (which was going on concurrently.) By the way....People are still passing me.

Mile 3-6: Basically uneventful except for the soreness I started experiencing in my toe. I walked for about a minute to shed my sweatshirt and gloves and decided that I run faster when listening to 'bust a move'.....  

Mile 6:My terriffic dad shows up on the course to give me water and shed some tears. I hope it was because he was proud of me and not because I looked like I might end up in a medical tent. 

Mile 7: Some lady in front of me dropped her really nice running glove which I bent down and grabbed. I then spent the next mile trying to catch her. I think that really helped my time! Maybe if I ever do this again someone should run in front of me with a donut or something so that I'm actually chasing them??? I wonder how fast I'd finish??
(I did finally catch her in case you were wondering)

Mile 8-9:Pretty much from here on out, it sucked. My toe was killing me, my knees were aching, the people around me were annoying with all of their breathing and shoes on the pavement noises. I hated the spectators with their clapping and cheering. My ipod was uninspiring. Did I mention the fact that people were STILL passing me? I begged Tom to give me a ride. (I think he thought I was kidding)

Mile 10: I got another small boost which was soon squelched by reality. Suddenly these REALLY FAST men were running up behind me and passing me (big surprise). I was thinking to myself, "How in the WORLD did I stay ahead of these stellar athletes for 10 miles? I am a stud!" Moments later I realized that our course had just merged with the marathon course and these men were the elite runners, about to finish 26 miles and finish them before I could finish 13. UGH! I thought about trying to draft behind them but by the time I decided that, I couldn't see them anymore. (There is also not much of a 'draft' when you're only going like...2 miles an hour.)

Mile 11-12: Just... keep... g-o-i-n-g.....I had to keep telling myself this. Everything hurt at this point and to top it all off, we were now running on a gravel/dirt road with a sidewalk that was like...2 feet up from the road. I had to go from sidewalk to road a few times(to pass people..yes, I finally passed someone) and let me tell was painful! My legs were lead. I think I was almost running in place! The really fun part was when a car would go by and spin up some dust into my already burning lungs. My dad showed up again to 'run me in' and/or check me in to the hospital. One quarter of a mile from the finish my sister-in-law Ann joined us (who had already finished. GO ANN!)and the 3 of us ran in with Tom snapping our photo. I was never so glad to see a finish line. 
So here I sit, on the couch. I am thankful to mark this off my 'list' and I  do feel accomplished. I did it!!! I am sporting my new tee shirt and also a half dollar sized blister on the bottom of my big toe. In addition,I feel worn out, sore, and like I might have diarrhea at any moment. I'm not sure that I am really cut out to be a runner but for today....
I am a (half)-MARATHONER!


Oct 8, 2008

A new feature...

Click on the tab to the left to become an 'official' follower of my blog. I'm planning to send one lucky follower on an all expense paid vacation to somewhere really awesome. (The winner however, will not be announced to the rest of you and will be chosen by an ultra secret mathematical equation that I am not at liberty to share).

Oct 3, 2008

The tale of the stinky washing machine.

Its nearly bedtime but there are still enough minutes in the day to put one last load in the washing machine. I scoop the pile of whites up off the laundry room floor, throw in some Tide and start the washer. Off to dreamland and then to work the following morning. That afternoon, I remember my wet laundry and head into the laundry room to start the dryer. Hmmm.....when I open the lid to retreive the washed smells. Not too bad,  but definitely not that nice clean laundry smell I am used to. I decide that it probably stinks because it sat all day in the machine and so I just restart the washer and throw in a little "biz" to help with the odor. Skip ahead 2 hours and I attempt to repeat the "move the clothes from the washer to the dryer' routine.... but this time, when I open the lid, it REALLY stinks. Rotten and nasty and horrible. What the heck???? I can't figure it out???? Could my laundry soap be expired? Let's try this one last time, but THIS time...I'm adding bleach. Swish,swish,swish....load done. Open lid and sniff. HOLY COW!!! My eyes are watering and my nostrils burning as the scent of...well....crap..... fills the air and infiltrates every square inch of the room. Now I'm sure that someone has taken a dump in the washer or something. The strange twist is that the clothes LOOK clean....they just smell like butt. I guess something must be wrong with the washer?? I decide to pull the wet shirts out in order to rescue them from any further 'stinkage' and also, try to see if I can locate the source of the offensive scent. Let's just say that I was in no way prepared for what I found. After every last item was removed from the washer, I peered into the tub..... only to find at the bottom.....a deflated, decomposing mouse. 

Needless to say, the washer has been bleached several times and I have attended numerous counseling sessions to deal with the trauma of this event. The smell has tatooed itself into my brain....probably forever. As far as the mouse, he did not receive a proper burial but I feel peace knowing that at he went to his grave.....he was really, really clean!

Sep 29, 2008


Hi Everyone! Okay....Other than the month leading up to Christmas, September has to be the busiest one around my house! I truly have not had even a moment of serenity since labor day and there is no sign of it letting up anytime soon!

I'm sure my readers, ( all 3 of you) have been wondering where I've been......
Well, along with the general craziness that goes along with the beginning of the school year, I got a job. A JOB! Can you beleive it? After almost 13 years of being home, I am now officially employed as a pediatric cancer nurse at a local hospital!!!! I applied, went to the interview, got hired, stressed out a little, bought some scrubs, crocs, and a pink stethescope and the rest is history! It has been an interesting journey so far. Scary and intimidating to say the least, but also really wonderful and rewarding. Tom has had to become "Mr. Mom"each morning and is doing a stellar job at it! (Thanks honey)! The boys have put together some interesting outfits under daddy's watch and had some really bad hair days... but so far, no permanent damage done! 
One of my favorite things so far (well, besides the sweet kids)  are the scrubs. I LOVE them. (Don't judge me). I wish I could wear them as my regular clothes. So much time would be saved on outfit planning! They are comfortable, don't wrinkle, don't really stain, don't require any special care or accessories, cheap...awesome! Dig around in the drawer, pull out a top, find the matching pants, DONE! Go buy yourself a set...wear them around town and pretend you're in healthcare or wear them as won't be sorry! Just make sure to get the one's with the drawstring and not the elastic waist because...well, let's face it....elastic waist pants are lame.

Happy Tuesday!

Sep 5, 2008

School begins....

Whew...we survived the first week of school! I know all of you mom's out there must feel like I do....worn out and very glad that it's Friday. 

Kelli started middle school 
this year and (so far) really loves it. There were a few 'bumps' at the beginning of the week. She spent 20 minutes sitting in the wrong gymnasium for P.E. on the first day, tripped in the 8th grade hallway, struggled endlessly to figure out how to open her locker and forgot her lunch in
 the car. Typical 'nightmarish' happenings when you're 12. However, I think she's got it all figured out now and will probably even go back next week!

Keaton is now in 4th grade and it THRILLED beyond measure to have a male
 teacher this year. His first days have been mostly uneventful.....I guess after 5 years at the same school you have the routine pretty well figured out. Mostly he has been preoccupied with checking the mail each day
 when he gets home to see if his new shoes have arrived and also asking how many days until he can sleep in or until summer......
it may be a l-o-n-g year!

Kellen is back at preschool for one more year and thoroughly enjoying going to school every day, just like his big sister and brother. The first day for him was exciting mostly because he finally got to wear one of the new t-shirts we bought for back to school. He has been admiring it in his closet for quite some time and was absolutely stoked to get to put it on. He has fondly named it his 'special k' shirt,( he thinks there is a 'K'  for "Kellen" on the front). Strangely, he has named all of his new clothes.....there is the 'awesome shirt',( not to be confused with the'awesome sweatshirt'), the 'heavy' pants, the "spraypaint" sweatshirt, 'tatoo' shoes, etc. What can I say....the kid loves adjectives!
Happy first week of school!!!!

Aug 25, 2008

Extreme Sports! STARRING....Kellen Flanigan!

Here is a short video from our weekend at the lake starring Kellen, the daredevil. As I watched this unexpected event unfold from the shore, I once again questioned the Lord on his wisdom in giving me 2 boys. ....I'm not sure my fragile heart can take the stress!!! I also questioned my husband's wisdom on granting permission for him to launch himself off a ledge into the water without a life jacket or helmet.

P.S. You can't see it in the video but he was supposed to have ridden the bike off a jump. Clearly he missed the memo on exactly where the jump was located. I have no idea what posessed him to just ride right off the edge......


Aug 12, 2008

Next year, I'll be ready!

Today I took my boys to the doctor for their yearly physical. Let's just say that the overall experience was less than great. In fact, its entirely possible that somewhere in their charts they have now been categorized as 'slow'. You'd think that after having done this every year for the past 12, I'd be better at 'prepping' my kids for the 'interview' portion of the visit! You know what I mean....the part where they ask questions like "what color is this?" "can you count to 10?' etc. For some reason, my kids (especially the boys) leave their brains in the car when we go to the pediatrician and end up just staring at the doctor with a dumb, blank half smile. Today was no exception...

First the eye test. Keaton passed with flying colors. Kellen (age 5).....not so much. For starters, he doesn't know his letters very well so after he guessed his way through the right eye and the nurse diagnosed him as blind,  I suggested we use the chart with the shapes. This was better except for the fact that circles were not circles to him but rather 'donuts and cookies'. It was actually sort of funny to hear that little voice calling out "star.....cross.....donut.....hand......cookie, etc."  Hmmm.....I wonder where he gets his preoccupation with food????
Next, the dreaded questions to measure intelligence. Both boys failed miserably. As the doctor asks the questions, each of them look at me like deer in headlights. Kellen was up first. "Kellen, what color is my shirt?" He smiles, laughs nervously, looks at me, then the doctor, smiles some more and says "brown?" (her shirt was white). I'm thinking "brown?? what the heck"?! She then asks if he knows his numbers. "Not really' he replies. (At least he's honest!) The final question was "do you know where you live?" He said, "in my house'... which I personally thought was a great answer. If she was looking for "washington" or "spokane" she should have been more specific!
Keaton's turn. I will tell you that before we left to go to the doctor, we went over the months of the year (which he flunked at last year's physical) and all other random information that I thought they might ask. Of course, this year ....they didn't ask that. The first question they asked was his age, which he got wrong. (A proud moment for me). I'm just going to assume that little glitch was because he just had a birthday (he's 10) and not because he really doesn't know. He did well on the next couple of questions but said he had no idea what our address was and claimed to not know our phone # either.  As she is asking these important questions, Kellen is staring at Keaton with his mouth sort of hanging open, tongue out. Oh my....the doctor had a lot to write after that. 
Keaton also stated that his favorite subject in school is "PE" and Kellen told her his favorite is "playing" and "snack" which I think really dazzled her.
5 immunizations (4 for Kellen, 1 for Keaton) and we were on our way. Tomorrow, I'm going to start prepping for next year. I'm hopeful that we can redeem ourselves!

Aug 1, 2008

My (short lived) experience as a hedge trimmer

Sun is out....slight breeze....perfect day to surprise my husband by trimming up the bushes in the front yard. (yes I am an exceptionally nice wife). 

With love and dedication I begin the tedious process of shaping each little branch, twig, leaf.....they are breathtakingly beautiful as I create cute little squares and domes out of the uncontrollable growth. Mr. Miyagi (karate kid guy) himself could not have done a better job! Suddenly, somehow (I'm still unsure of the actual cause) the hedge hog mistakes my finger for a branch and in a moment, the entire experience is transformed into a horror movie. I run inside, hanging onto my blood-spurting finger, (which I am sure is only hanging by a thread) and wrap it in a towel. (Sidebar, Although I am a nurse by trade, when it comes to my own injuries or that of my kids, I suddenly become a crazed 3 year old child with zero tolerance for blood and an academy award winning display of drama). After a moment, I realize that the finger must still be attached because I can move it under the towel so I take off for the emergency room. The people there were not nearly as worried or worked up about the fate of my index finger as I was......
I tried to look as pasty white and pathetic as possible, in hopes that it would speed up the 4 hour wait that I figured I was facing. The guy next to me (mr. "short of breath, chest pain") was giving me a real run for my money. However, I must have done a stellar job of convincing the recptionist of my dire situation because soon I was in the back, getting a tetanus shot and hearing the fate of "Mr. Pointer". 
I had only nicked the tendon but severed the artery, hence the  river of blood coming from my wound....
So...they cleaned it out, put 5 stitches in it, and sent me on my way with a giant bandage and a prescription for pain meds (which I must admit...I have thoroughly enjoyed)!
The moral of the story is this.....hire out your yardwork....its cheaper than a visit to the ER.

Jul 17, 2008

Note to self...

I can't beleive it! My 'baby' turned 5 yesterday!!! How did this happen? It seems like only a minute ago he was a newborn and we were trying to figure out what to name this sweet boy (who was supposed to have been a girl named kate) ....

Last night as I tucked him in, I asked him what the very best part of his day had been. His answer...."going to Red Robin for dinner and having them sing to me". 
Note to self:
Next year skip the part where we invite 30 people over for lunch, swimming, totally awesome birthday cake (I made it myself), and games and go straight to Red Robin where they will sing to you and give you a free ice cream sundae!!!! Its really a much easier way to celebrate!

Oh well!

Happy Birthday Kellen!
You are a blessing and I love you so much!!!

Jul 15, 2008

Something new....

Today I was exposed to something new in the world of blogging. I was 'tagged' by my friend Holly on her blog. Here are the rules of this tag:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog
3.Share 6 random things about yourself
4.Tag people at the end of your entry. we go!
(It seems weird to post without adding a photo so here is a current one of me with my cousin Travis and his girlfriend Brandi)

-I am currently training for a half marathon which will take place in October. One of my 'life goals' is to run a full marathon before I turn 40 so I thought I'd better get going....only 4 years left!
-I am a 'semi-retired' nurse. After college I worked at a hospital on the oncology (cancer) floor until my first child was born. I'd love to go back someday and work in labor and delivery. I'm not sure it would even feel like 'work'!
-I have a strange obsession with the dollar store. I LOVE it! Something wonderful happens when you can buy something for only a dollar. Just today I got an awesome balloon bouquet and it only cost me $8!!!! 
-One of my favorite TV shows is "the biggest loser'. I cry every season!
-I know how to knit and just learned to crochet. Right now I am working on crocheting a blanket. I think it will be big enough to cover our pool when I'm finished!
-I love clean sheets. If I had enough time and energy, I would have clean sheets every night!

Ok.....Kelli, Courtney and Darci....consider yourself 'tagged'!

Jul 8, 2008

What fun!

Whew!!!!  I feel a little like I have fallen off the face of the earth for the past 10 days or so! The Flanigan clan have basically 'moved' out to loon lake and let's just say that the internet connection out there is less than speedy!

Trying to
 recall each day's events would take forever but I will say that we've had so much fun with our family and friends! Thanks to all of you, I have returned home with a heart full of new and wonderful memories....
Enjoy the photos! The only one missing is the picture of the rock that Kellen stuck up his nose this morning!

Jun 23, 2008

I guess I forgot....

One of the things I love most about
being a mom is getting to 
watch my kids. They remind me of the little things in life that sadly....I sometimes forget to remember. 

Like, I guess I forgot how fun it is to lay on the trampoline on my back and look at the clouds. How there are faces and houses and castles up there.... just waiting to be discovered.

I guess I forgot how nice it is to sit side by side and listen to music with a good friend. And how great it feels to turn it up really loud and dance and sing.

I guess I forgot (or maybe never really knew) that if you put a motorcycle helmet on, your bicycle actually becomes a motorcycle. If you also draw a road with chalk, the pavement becomes a city that you are driving through, complete with drive in restaurants and hotels.

I guess I forgot the simple joy of whacking a piniata, taking a dip in the pool or lake, digging in the dirt, making funny faces .....and how fun it is to have a lemonade stand, even if you drink it all before you sell any! 
I forgot what it feels like to have hands that are sticky with ice cream and feet that are black on the bottom from playing outside all day or wrinkled like prunes from splashing in the pool!

Kelli, Keaton and Kellen....thank you for helping me to remember! 

I love you!!!!

Jun 18, 2008

How the babies get air, etc.

I just love the way kids think....

The conversation took place in a little family room off of our kitchen. Keaton, Kellen, and a neighborhood friend were draped all over the furniture, wearing swimsuits, pondering life....staring at their belly buttons.  "Mom, why do we have belly buttons?" I launched into a lengthy (what I thought was quite fantastic) explanation of fetal development, umbillical cords and amniotic fluid. Blank stares.... glazed eyes . Looking quite confused Keaton said, "so how did I get air?" I decided to go a more "elementary" route with this answer and just said, "you didn't need to breathe because you got all of your oxygen through the cord that connected you to me."

The boys on the couch spent the rest of the afternoon trying to breathe through their belly buttons........ 

Jun 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

I am so grateful for the 'dads' in my life and today, I dedicate my post to you. On this day, I hope you feel honored, cherished, special and loved.....

To my Dad, Jerry Altig:

Do you know how blessed I feel to have you as my Dad? How many times your love, support and encouragement have been my 'rock'.....the constant, steadfast, dependable, presence in my life? You are an amazing father, a terrifically handsome guy, and a wonderful person. You have always made me feel so precious to you. One of my favorite memories of you was when I was about 13 and I was throwing a huge, unreasonable tantrum about my back brace (imagine that....?). Mom finally sent you in to try and deal with me.... and ultimately, I ended up getting a (much deserved)  swat on the behind by you. I think it surprised us both, as you weren't much of a spanker...especially with your sweet little girl! The next day, I had all but forgotten about it, but clearly, you had not. When you got home from work that night, you came in and presented me with a big bouquet of flowers and wrapped your arms around me in a tearful embrace. I have never forgotten that moment. Not because of the swat, but because of your kindness, gentleness and love. It was such an amazing display of your tender hearted nature which is one of the things I love best about you. I'm sure you had a million other things going on in your life at that time.....running a business, making a living, etc. but you still always managed, in spite of everything, to make us kids feel important and cherished. Thank you so very much for being such a shining example of compassion, kindness, affection, honesty and love. You have also managed to give us lots of laughter....sometimes intentional, sometimes not! Dressing up in costume to sing or do a skit, the Louis Armstrong impersonation and the always funny "louie-louie" song and dance (do you really even know the words?). I think we all also get a real kick out of the un-intentional 'funnies' like you answering the door in your underwear when one of the boys brought a girl home from college or (much to Mom's horror) you blowing  your nose in a cloth napkin at a restaurant. They are the endearing things that make you YOU.....and I wouldn't trade you for the world. I love you Dad....Happy Father's day!
To my Father-in-law, Bill Flanigan:
Last summer, we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to Bill, who was Tom's dad. So many times over this past 12 months, I have wished that we could have had just one more chance to hang out with you. To share a meal (prime rib with a glass of ice cold milk?), or watch one of the hundreds of videos you shot, or hear of your latest adventure.....
You are missed. The kids still speak often of "papa Bill" and I know that Tom feels such a void in his life with you now gone. He has told me how whenever he was down or troubled, you had a way of bringing light into the darkness and making him smile.  You, with all of your silly quirks, brought us much laughter and joy. I personally will always remember the time you dyed your hair black. 18 years later I am still laughing about it! It's also been difficult to get used to having a family dinner without a video camera set up on the corner....:)!
Not much doubt in my mind that heaven has now opened a comedy club with you as the entertainment.....
Happy Father's Day! We love you and miss you so much.....
To "Papa Barry", Barry Buth:
Ahh.....the 'bonus dad' who joined our family 10 years ago. Barry, you are such a kind and loving man. I am so thankful to have you in my life and in the lives of my kids. You have one of the gentlest souls I have ever come across and the way you love the people in your life is inspirational and beautiful. You have abundant patience, even when surrounded by any or all of the 14 grandkids! I love how you take the time to know each of them on such a personal level. You take such care to understand them and all of their hobbies, likes and dislikes. 

It has also been so wonderful to watch you and Jo together and the happiness you have brought to her and continue to bring to her each day. I know that it really touches many of us to see the two of you're like a couple of teenagers in love! Thank you for being such an awesome example of integrity and kindness.
I hope you have a wonderful father's day. We love you!

To Tom:
Wow....where do I begin? When I look at you, especially in the moments when you are interacting with our kids, I am overwhelmed with love and thankfulness for your presence in their lives and mine. I so admire the way you are playful and silly with them, yet can also handle the tough 'teaching moments' with such wisdom and grace. You were tender with them when they were newborn babies and continue to be that way, even as they grow....taking time to make them feel special and loved and do it in a way that meets them where they are at. You consistently work your tail off  to provide a life for us that is worry free and wonderful....a life where I am lucky enough to stay home and be fully invested in the kids.....a life where we have been able to take our family on vacation, to the lake, to the ski mountain......I am so grateful. 
I know I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate, admire and love you. I was so inspired by the way you took the role in "Annie", simply as a way to grow closer to Kelli and participate in her passion. I love how you will drag yourself outside after dinner to shoot hoops, jump on the trampoline, referee a boxing match or start up the 4-wheeler. I love the way you cuddle with Keaton on the couch, get up at midnight to check windows and doors with Kelli and how you smile when Kellen wants to get into bed with us....even at 5 in the morning! I love seeing your personality coming through in different ways in each of them and I am so thankful that you are their daddy!
I hope your day is relaxing and fun honey. You deserve it. 
I love you very much.....

Jun 12, 2008

He looks how I feel!

It has been a l-o-n-g week. This photo is the best way to describe how I'm falling over in the grass, mid-dorito, and passing out! We have been at dance rehersals, school olympics, made 500 banana splits, gone on an all day field trip, shopped for Father's day and 3 birthdays, had some fraud on the Visa, took 3 kids to the dentist....all while fighting a terrible cold. I know all of you 'mommies' out there with school aged kids can relate to the craziness of this time of year and probably feel just like I do! Hang in there.....only 1 pizza party, 1 pool party, 1 talent show, 1 dance recital, a 6th grade graduation ceremony and 3 more days of lunches to pack until we say 'hello' to summer vacation!!!!!! I can't wait!!!

Jun 8, 2008

Its a wrap!

The curtain fell for the last time on the "annie" production today. 

A bittersweet moment for everyone.....

Jun 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

June 5, 2008! I dedicate my post this morning to my mom, Judy, who will celebrate her 65th birthday today. Happy Birthday Mom!!!  Some of you reading this don't know her at all.... some of you know her a little bit and others know her well but I am the only girl in the world who is lucky enough to have her as my mother! Mom, I am blessed to be your daughter and I love you so much. I hope you know that. I know I am not always very good about saying it. You are a treasure and I wouldn't trade you for anything.

One of my favorite and earliest memories of you was this.  I was little......... maybe 3 or 4, (in the days before carseats), and I used to ride in your lap in the passenger's seat. Do you remember? We would be chest to chest and you'd rub my back and play with my hair while I looked out the window. I recall being sleepy, gazing at the stars and feeling so safe and loved wrapped up in your arms. 
Mom, you have always done such an amazing job of taking care of us. Now that I am a mother, I can more fully appreciate the daily sacrifices that you made on our behalf. A nice clean house with awesome family meals each night, cool 'with it' clothes (ironed always!), bedrooms that we could be proud to bring our friends into.....and a million other things.....all of which I know I took for granted until I had to start doing it for my own kids. Now I realize what a whole lot of work it is! I know I'm about 36 years late on this but 'thank you' for all of it. Thank you also, for teaching me the 'little' importances in life like not wearing navy with black, the horror of shiny white nylons, making sure you always have clean breath and serving condiments in cute dishes instead of the big plastic bottles they come in! 

I have also always loved the way you take such special care to cater to each of us kids' and grandkids' likes and dislikes. I remember when Tom and I were dating and how you'd always try to have peanut M&M's in that little basket on the counter, simply because you knew how much he liked them. I notice how you always make sure to have everyone's favorite kind of soda in your fridge and favorite snacks in your cupboard; how when I broke my wrist, you showed up at my house with new jammies for me; how my honeymoon suitcase mysteriously ended up with new beach towels and perfume inside it; how you cleaned my whole house after Kellen was born so I wouldn't have to do it myself . You have a thoughtful, caring nature and I so admire it. Thank you for giving so much of yourself for me and for always thinking of new ways to make me feel special!

I hope that your 65th birthday is full of fun, laughter and great shopping!!!! I'll see you at lunch!
I love you Mom......