Monday, October 24, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Brian and his wife (and their new baby) have finally moved to Las Vegas which means a whole new stage of our lives here in Colorado.

No more week on, week off, no more two households, no more Sunday night switch.

I actually like it better and I believe the girls do too. Consistency in a home is a good thing. While they both miss Brian he's been good about calling them and texting Ky etc.

But the move also means school holiday visits. Colorado has a fall break for a week in October and so this was the first visit since he moved at the end of September.

Because Ky is 16 now we don't have to pay the unaccompanied minor fee, she just has to be in charge of Lizzie. That is a nice money saver but also a worry for me because those two seem to get under each others skin.

Not really having a sister I assumed that because there was such an age gap between them this wouldn't be an issue. I was mistake. Lizzie has a way of teasing Ky that Ky takes VERY personally and she retaliates in a pretty mean way to Lizzie which makes her cry. My nightmare was that happening in the airport and Ky losing Lizzie at some point.

Luckily for me Frontier Airlines was very understand of my neurosis nightmare concern and gave me a gate pass. The girls and I made it through security and lucky for me Lizzie and I didn't have to go through the body scan. (Sorry Ky!)

After we got through security Ky's Kindle stopped working and so her mood went from Eeyore to MASSIVE TEENAGED ANGER so I was glad I was there. First to call Amazon and find out what the deal was and second to make sure Lizzie was watched over because at one point Ky just got up and walked away without telling me where she went. Nice.

The girls posed for me while we waited for their flight to be called.

Lizzie had a case of the fidgets in a big way and told me "I think I'm gonna SQUIRM" after I asked her to try and control her body. But she did LOOK as though she was fighting it.

Finally their row was called so I walked them up to the ticket agent. Lizzie hugged me huge and I hugged her back. Ky of course is a seasoned pro of leaving mom on an airplane so I'm not even sure she said goodbye to me. I got this photo of them before I just started crying like an idiot in the airport.

They did make it safely and no one called security on me as I stumbled/cried my way back through the airport so I guess it was a good day overall.

Now I'm just counting down the days until they get back.

And eating ice cream for dinner. Because I can.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hanging on with two hands

In two weeks I will be the mother of a 16 year old.


Sweet 16.

I actually struggle to wrap my mind around such a thing because I keep thinking that it must be impossible.

How can my little girl be almost 16?

I still remember her staring at my mother with rapt attention as a new born while my mother sang her the "onsie song".

I can still feel the spit from her spit wet open mouth kisses on my cheek at 1.

Our family STILL says "Doing?" as short hand for "what are you doing?" just like she did at 2.

I remember the elaborate dance she made up to "Rum Tum Tugger" from the musical "Cats" when she was 3.

When she was 4 she could already read fluently.

She was 5 when the school district told me in Tucson that it didn't matter if she was reading college level material, she wasn't starting Kindergarten that year.

At 6 she fully believed in magic, so much that her birthday party included a magician.

I can still hear her at 7 making up stories with her grandma over the phone for hours.

When she was eight she chose going to Alaska to see her family over a birthday party and wound up with a surprise stop in Disneyland.

She was almost 9 when she called me at work to find out if she was going to have a little brother or a little sister.

I can still see her writing her letter for her grandmothers casket at almost 10. She had more poise during that time than any adult in the room.

At 11 she would still hold my hand at the store and didn't care if anyone saw.

I can still hear her singing in the basement at 12 loudly and like no one was listening.

I can see her crying uncontrollably at 13 and being so angry that I couldn't seem to help her.

When she was 14 she handled her parents divorce with grace I myself rarely felt.

I can still hear her at 15 screaming at me that she hated me.

And now, here she is 2 weeks from 16.

I am so excited for her as she grows and develops into the amazing young woman she is meant to be. But I still don't know that I'm ready for 16.

Luckily I have two more weeks of a 15 year old. And I'm going to hold on to every second of it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Young Man

The other night I was walking up the sidewalk and noticed my son peeking out at my from the window of his bedroom. It was dark, about 9pm and he was supposed to be asleep.

"Young man, you get down from there and get in bed RIGHT NOW!" I said in my best stern mother voice.

He laughed at me.

"I mean it. It is past your bedtime, you go inside right now and get in bed." I was now standing in front of the window by at an angle and he was giggling maniacally.

"I mean it. If I have to come in there and put you bed myself I will."

More laughter.

"Fine I'm coming in there but you are not getting another bottle!"

As I turned around to go in the house I heard to my left, "Are you talking to me?"

Apparently my neighbor's 18 year old son was standing on his front stoop, I have no idea why. He thought I was telling HIM to go to bed. Of course he couldn't see the baby on the other side of the window or hear the laughter, he just heard the crazy neighbor lady scolding him and telling him to go to bed. At 9 o'clock at night.

Perhaps that explains why those neighbors choose to mow their backyard at 7am on Saturdays.

They hate me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

59 reasons

I love you....

1. You weren't afraid to let your hair grow gray
2. You showed me women didn't need to wear makeup to be beautiful
3. You instilled a distrust of pantyhose
4. You taught me how to manage my money before most of my friends even had money
5. You let me get a rabbit as a pet
6. You displayed patience that I can only hope to achieve
7. You taught me fractions
8. You accidentally taught me an Irish drinking song
9. You found money for summer camp
10. You made me laugh every time I spoke to you
11. You planted flowers where ever we lived
12. You had true compassion for your fellow man
13. You got me a phone when I was 13
14. When I was 11 you shared me special powder after a bath because I was feeling so hormonal
15. You bought me bath gel that you wouldn't even buy yourself because of the cost
16. You suggested I share my middle name with my daughters
17. No one else's mom had green eyes
18. Even though I was you never made me feel like an accident
19. You bought me groceries when I lived in Vegas
20. You had more friends than most people have hair on their heads
21. You honored your mother, even when she drove you crazy
22. You taught me the importance of knowing your family history
23. You told me to finish a semester of college before I got married
24. You scrimped and worked so we never had to leave my childhood neighborhood
25. You made up songs for each of my baby girls
26. You yelled at the neighborhood creepy boy for me
27. You brought me mac & cheese when I was babysitting for the "all organic/sushi" family
28. You cheered at all of my junior high meets and games
29. You showed me that family is more than just the people related to you
30. You believed me when I told you I didn't steal the Baileys (I really didn't either!)
31. You had a life that revolved outside of me
32. But also made me feel like I was your world
33. You never told me how hard teenage girls are
34. You let me call you "Mammy" when we lived in Texas
35. You never kept me from my father, even when he was a huge jerk to you
36. You let me figure stuff out on my own
37. You introduced me to Josh Groban
38. You paid $25 for my flute for 3 years
39. You took me on roadtrips
40. You taught me how to cross stitch and knit
41. I never went without what I needed
42. You watched "Pride and Prejudice" with me
43. The last thing you told me was that you loved me
44. When the world was crumbling around you, you faced it with dignity and grace
45. I never saw you stressed out
46. The best quote I ever learned was hanging in your house
47. You watched Dr. Quinn and Saturday Night Live with in the same night
48. You taught me how to ride my bike
49. You let me order cream pies for dessert
50. You gained 60 pounds when you were pregnant only to have a 6lb 9 oz baby
51. You knew I was sick before I did or my Dr.'s believed it
52. You found me a mid-wife for my delivery with Ky
53. You let me change schools
54. You guilted me into getting my first tattoo
55. You loved with your whole heart
56. You took me to church
57. You defended me
58. You wouldn't let me be a statistic
59. You were born on August 10, 1952

Happy Birthday Mom.

I miss you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not a photographer

Lately when I show people pictures of my kids I get "Are you a photographer?".

The answer is no. But, I explain, it's easy to look like one when you have a camera more complicated than the space shuttle and such easy subjects to work with.

For the record, I STILL don't know how my camera works. But Micah does and that's all that matters.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When Kylie was a year and a half, she loved to watch Quasimodo on TV which was a VHS copy we had of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". The Disney version.

When Lizzie was a year and a half old she knew some colors and could sing some nursery songs.

Will is a year and a half. The following photos should explain why he knows no songs, watches almost no TV and has no interest in reciting colors for me.

Trying to climb the penny horse at the grocery store. Half of his shirt is under his armpit because he struggled to get away from me so hard.

This image is from the video camera we have set up in his room. We have it as a safety precaution, I think you can see why. This first image shows that Will has throw his favorite blanket on the roof of his toddler bed "fort" and is now attempting to climb up after it.

This image shows that he got up there, the canopy was strong enough to hold him and he sat up there. For almost 20 minutes.

Not shown: Pictures of Will climbing into his high chair while my back was turned cooking dinner. Also not shown: Pictures of him scaling the dinner table, patio table and various other household furniture.

Anyone taking bets on how many bones he'll break before he gets to Kindergarten?

Does anyone know how many near heart attacks a mother can have because in 20 months I'm pretty sure I've reached the 3 digit mark.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby's Day Out

While my brother in law Andy and his wife Sara were in town they decided it would be fun to take Will to the zoo for the first time. Sadly I had to work but Micah and his mom Leslie were able to join the fun.

Upon entering the zoo Will behaves like a good boy and holds Daddy and Grandma's hands. Any Monkey backpacks tail.

At some point Uncle Andy ends up carrying Will. He also admires Monkey's tail

Will rides in style. My understanding is that he wasn't all that impressed with most of the animals at the zoo. Probably because really he's only tall enough to see everyone's rear ends and feet.

There is a wonderful carousel at the zoo and it appears that Will and Grandma had fun.

Uncle Andy and Aunt Sara also joined in on the fun.

After a long, hot day everyone was tired, sweaty and over it. Will and he Monkey backpack said "bubye" to the zoo.

Is it me or does Monkey seem to be looking back a little wistfully?

Monday, June 13, 2011

I know

I know. I knooooowww. Iknowiknowiknow. Alright already. It's been awhile. Don't hate.

I had a surprise anniversary to help plan.
I worked almost 50 hours last week. While my brother and sister in law were in town. I worked on Sunday for crying out loud. I'm trying not to panic about the idea of traveling with 3 kids and a husband this weekend. To Minnesota. Hello family reunion! (My house will be totally guarded though internet. Don't think about breaking in. Besides, if you could see my husbands student loan bills you'd know there isn't anything worth breaking in for anyways.)

My mother and father in law had their 20th wedding anniversary which, in this day and age is frankly a miracle. Heck, I'm pretty shocked that anyone married in the 90's is still married today. What's that? Bitter you say? Perish the though.

Regardless I'm still in awe that two people can go through as much as these people have gone through and still want to sleep in the same bed every night.

I helped plan this surprise anniversary party with my sisters in law Mel and Sara as well as my husband who pretty much handled guest inviting for anyone not on my father in laws side of the family. I was pretty impressed.

My sister in law drew this tree free hand. I'm pretty impressed. We had all who attended the party do their thumb prints (or finger prints, I'm not picky) and label them with their names. Later Sara and Leslie had it framed and it is gorgeous. You can't tell but that's their initials in the heart on the tree and two birds kissing. Under the tree it says "Rex and Leslie 20 years of love" and the dates.

We got some great pictures of the grandkids although by this point in the day Will had decided life was not worth living unless a bottle of milk was in his mouth.

Lizzie and Paloma were just happy to have their picture taken. And to play together.

And we were able to get a giant group family picture which was amazing. Usually someone is looking funny or my husband is mock choking his sister or something weird is going on and that's all we have. But because we have a pretty wicked camera (in a good way) we took about 400 pictures of the family shot and what do you know! 4 of them turned out.

Happy Anniversary Leslie and Rex. Here's to at least another 20 more. Although I'm probably not throwing another party until you hit 50. Sorry. I'm STILL exhausted from the last one.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Will is a man of limited words. He gets his message across with cuteness for the most part and so I was pretty happy with Mama, Daddy, Ba and the occasional word that sounds like Good Girl (for the dogs and cat and most animals), Sizzy (or is it Lizzy) and Uh oh.

Saturday though we added a word to his vocabulary that makes all other words meaningless, at least to him.

Friday night we drove to Micah's parent's house in the mountains. It's a 2 hour drive and Will and the dogs were over it by the time we got there. It was dark, we put him to bed and he was happy. Saturday morning he woke up and experienced his first morning camping. Grandma made hashbrowns, bacon and scrambled eggs. He had orange juice and eggs, potatoes, fruit. Then, he played. Outside. All Day. Between naps he ran around, navigated up and down hills, helped grandpa build a retaining wall, helped grandma haul stone, walked to the neighbors, played with dogs, chased birds and rode on a 4 Wheeler. (New vocab words also now include WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

Since we got home Saturday night all I've heard from him is "outside". From the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep it's "Outside".

So desperate was he to get outside that yesterday he climbed out of his crib during nap time, scaled the spare bed in his room, opened the crack in his window into something big enough for an 18 month to get out of and stepped out into my window boxes. Once out there however, he realized that he couldn't slide down and couldn't figure out how to get back in the house.

Luckily Micah heard his terrified screams from the backyard and came running.

Even after all that though, I'll I've heard from the boy is "Mama. Outside."

It's going to be a long 18 years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


She's so brave. It's like she doesn't know to get embarrassed or anxious or worry about what others think. Which is ridiculous because she's 15. She cares what her peers think about almost everything.

Instead she's up on stage in front of over a hundred people dancing. And maybe not dancing well, although it's hard to know what dancing well is these days for me. I'm so far away from teenaged dancing I probably sound like a 70 year old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. "Why in my day we didn't jiggle our hips and hop on one leg."*

But she's up there dancing to a pop song, unlike any of the other dancers this evening who have danced to hip hop or rap or even dance mixes like at an adult club. She's dancing to a pop song in pants and a silver sequined top when all the other girls had flapper like dresses. She's dancing alone on stage, by herself. The only performance this evening to contain only one dancer.

I watch her and I feel like I'm going to be sick.

When she took the stage almost no one clapped. A kid next to me started to laugh when her music started and I stared him down. That's my baby. Shut up you hooligan. He stopped.

When she finished the auditorium erupted in applause. I screamed for her.

She's so brave, my 15 year old. So beyond anything I could have ever imagined at 15.

As a parent I shouldn't take credit when my child does well because she is her own person.

But I certainly think I must be doing something right.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


When we first moved to Colorado it was March which meant there was snow on the ground. Brian had bought the house with me only having seen it via the internet so I had no true idea as to what it looked like. Within a few days of moving here I flew with my 9 year old and 6 month old to Alaska to be with my Mother who, for those who don't know, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in February.

It's a good guess that I didn't pay much attention to my house. I didn't really care about it because I was worried about my new baby, and my move from Tucson to Colorado and finding a job and helping my 9 year old adjust and oh yeah, my mother dying.

I especially didn't care about my back yard. I could see it was large from my sliding glass doors in the kitchen but that was about all I cared about.

But I noticed it for the first time on Mothers Day of that year, 2005. I was in the kitchen and the radio was playing. It played a song called "No One Will Ever Love Me (that way again)" by Rebecca Lynn Howard. I had never heard the song before and it caught me off guard because it was about a Mother's love and reduced me to a sobbing mess. You see, I knew already that it was my Mother's last Mothers Day even though everyone around me either wouldn't acknowledge it or didn't believe it.

I sat at my dining room table crying my eyes out while my then husband sat across from my helpless but trying to comfort me. I looked up from the table when a familiar scent grabbed me and for the first time that spring I looked outside my kitchen door. There, in bright bloom with a strong lilac smell was this huge purple lilac tree to the side of the house.

I believe in signs and I believe that signs tell me when I'm on the right or wrong track and for me this was a STRONG sign. You see, while Iris's were my mothers favorite flower, she loved lilac trees. One of her boyfriends after she and my father divorced had once given her a lilac tree as a gift (I can't remember why now) but sadly Alaska wasn't the place for lilacs. I know she kept it in that pot for awhile but I think it eventually just succumbed. She may have planted it but it never grew, it's hard to say for me know, over 20 years later. I just remember her loving them.

Since that spring in 2005 my lilac tree has never really thrived or bloomed like it did that year. My Mother in law tells me it's because we've had so many late freezes in the years since and it just does a number on the lilacs.

This year though the winter was mild. This morning I took this picture:

Right before I came down stairs to write this post I stood at my kitchen door and looked at my backyard. It's very different from when I first moved in but one thing this year was very much like that first year.

I can smell the lilacs again.

Happy Mothers Day Mom.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.

The world is watching us. Celebrating the death of another human being they watch us.

I do not know the devil that whispered into the heart of Osama Bin Laden and told him that his religious convictions were worth the price of innocents. I do not know the demon that took hold of his soul and convinced him to kill thousands.

But he was a beloved son. He once played soccer with his siblings and was loved by his children who did not see him as an evil extremist. They saw him as their father. They loved him.

When I was young and impressionable my mother took me to a Church of Religious Science which is basically Christian Scientists (not Scientologists). I don't remember a thing about it except that I believe we went for quite awhile and the young program left a lot to be desired. Say what you will about organized religion but I'd say the Christian Protestants (as opposed to the Christian Catholics) have a pretty awesome program with AWANAS and all that.

I digress.

The ONLY thing I remember about that church, our Church of Religious Science, is that at the end we would form a circle and sing a song. All day long that song has played in my head.

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
God is our father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brothers in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.
With every step I take let this be my solemn vow.
Take each moment and live each moment in peace eternaly.
Let there be peace on earth. And let it begin with me."

So there will be no "thank God he's dead" from my lips or in my house.

I will not mourn his passing but I will not celebrate it either.

Let Peace begin with me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bin Laden

I actually missed the breaking news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. I heard about it almost 2 afters it happened.

My first thoughts were "And?"

Because I think we generally know that terrorist organizations will not just pack up and go home now. The biggest bully in the yard is gone but that doesn't mean there aren't others just WAITING to take his spot. In fact it seems US Diplomats were put on high alert in case of retaliation. So are we safer today than yesterday?

I don't think so.

While I would like to think that in my normal everyday existence I do not wish for the death of any human being, this is one that I will make an exception for and I will be okay with the consequences of that death wish. But that's pretty existential for me and not a part of my everyday life.

But then I received a text from my friend Mia who reminds me what the death of such a mass murder means. What it really means.

You see, her fiance Doug was killed in action in Iraq almost exactly 6 years ago. This month. While I would never accuse Mia of waiting around and not living her life I know that a lot of dreams died for her then.

So tonight, the man she holds personally responsible for the death of her man who would have been her husband, would have been the father of her children, would have been there to hold her every night is dead.

And it brings her peace.

Justice is served.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Raised Garden Beds

My lack of ability to garden is sadly embarrassing considering my mother was a master when it came to getting plants to grow. Frankly I'm surprised my children have lasted as long as they have with the way I manage to turn growing things to brown things so quickly.

So of course it made sense last year for me to decide to begin trying to grow food.

Last year it was a few containers. I was very successful at cucumbers and mostly cherry tomatoes but I managed a few other items as well.

This year I decided to step it up and join the big leagues. Rex and Leslie were kind enough to design and build me (with some minor help from me and Micah) 2 sets of raised beds for my food garden.

Why raised beds? Well my yard is possibly the 5 circle of Hell for plant life with the dogs constantly digging and pooping etc. and so I struggle to grow weeds in the lawn area of my back yard. Vegetables just didn't stand a chance unless we raised them and fences them in for their own safety.

This is the beginning:

That's Micah showing a stubborn stump who owns this yard. You see that patch of green in front of him? That's the only spot where grass grows in that yard. Wanna guess where the dogs pee?

This is a rare moment of Leslie sitting down. Will assists with general supervision duties.

And this is the end product.

You see that roof between the two of them? That's a mini Pergola. My plan is to have my vining plants (I'm torn between cucumbers, green beans or sweet peas) climb up each side and hopefully over the top.

Each bed measures 12 feet long by 3 feet wide by 18 inches high (roughly).

That's a LOT of vegetables. I can't wait.

First tooth lost

Poor Lizzie has been waiting so long, first for a loose tooth and then to actually lose the darn thing. At 6 and a half she's already the oldest kid we know to not have lost one and the wiggly thing was just teasing her.

Imagine then my surprise when I came home tonight to this:

Unfortunately she doesn't actually HAVE the tooth. She says the bell rang for the end of school, she reached in her mouth to wiggle the tooth and it was gone.

Most likely she ate it at lunch but we'll never really know since she never noticed.

She wrote a letter to the tooth fairy explaining what happened and where the tooth most likely was.

I have it on good authority the tooth fairy at our house is VERY understanding about that sort of thing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sock Hop

Lizzie attended her first school dance tonight. It was a sock hop put on by the Student Council. Since I am a lazy bad busy mother I mentally pretended as though I didn't know about it until last night at 9pm when I realized she had no costume.

Being a mother of economy I convinced her to wear the dress you see above. It has now served us very well three times. Once for Alice in Wonderland ballet, once for Christmas and now for the Sock Hop. And at the rate Lizzie grows it will probably serve us another 2 years before I get sick of it or she outgrows it.

Lizzie's date for the evening was Evan, her life long friend of around 4 years now who she is going to marry someday. So comfortable with the idea are they that both his mother and I have a rule when they play together at each house they must leave the door open. Firm rule of "no kissing" also applies and I personally have threatened to move schools and homes if I catch them at it.

So far they believe me and are content to play other games.

The dance itself was cute and I watched while Evan presented her with a glow in the dark bracelet (an elementary school students idea of corsage) and twirled her around the dance floor multiple times.

I love that she loved the Sock Hop.

Next year though, I'm hoping the Student Council goes with "Masquerade". That way I can get a little more use of her Halloween costume.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've mentioned him a time or two on my blog and what a wonderful blessing and gift he is to me and my family. I just want to remind everyone that today was my father-in-law Rex's birthday.


I've mentioned before that Rex has shown to me how men, real men, men who are completely comfortable in their own skin, in their own roles in their family, behave to women, to children and to others.

He loves his grandchild. He views them as a blessing. Will can say what sounds like it could be "Grandpa" when he sees Rex (and "Grandma when he sees Leslie). He builds the base of a fairy garden for his wife and granddaughters despite being busy and overwhelmed with other constraints on his time.

Remind me to show you the fairy garden. Leslie, Rex and the kids did an amazing job.

He has promised me a raised garden bed before planting season.

He works long hard days but doesn't have a cross word about it.

He doesn't complain when grandchildren spend the night or come over to play. He plays with them.

He is easy to talk to. He has amazing ideas.

I can not wait to see the cabin he is building but truly I find anything he makes to be almost as good as magic since I can not make my brain see things or envision things they way he does.

I am blessed by my mother in law. But I am also blessed by my father in law. Micah's biological father will never be family to me the way Rex is and my loyalty will with him. When my children grow up I hope my girls look to him as an example of how a man should behave and how a man should value his family. I hope my son looks to him for guidance and wisdom. (Along with their parents of course)

Happy Birthday Rex. I have forgotten how many years you have had upon this earth but I hope it's many, many more.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Even after all this time,

the sun never says to the Earth

"You owe me".

Look what happens

with a love like that

it lights the whole sky.


Brian received orders a couple of weeks ago now. He wanted to take both girls with him. I said no. I offered to let Kylie decide. I was certain, based on the way she talked about their home that she wouldn't want to move their full time.

I was wrong.

She wants to move with them to Las Vegas.

My heart is broken into a million pieces.

She says she wants to move, to try a new school. She says she loves me but she wants to go somewhere warm. I hear her. I know her. I still cry.

I have raged. I have been mean. I lash out at her because I hurt so bad. No one said I was always a good mother or a completely mature one.

I love her. I will miss her every moment of every day that she is away from me. I am her mother. She belongs with her mother.

But she does not owe me. That quote at the top reminded me of that today. She does not owe it to me to stay with me.

Despite being her mother, despite loving her from the depths of my soul, despite spoiling her, despite holding her hand at every teenage crisis (real or imagined), she does not owe it to me to stay.

That does not mean that I am any less hurt or heartbroken. It just puts my mind in a different place. A better place.

Because I think I have a love that lights up her whole sky.

Enough to say "You do not owe me for any of it".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


One of the things that I've always been lucky with is family. Despite being an only child and despite being an orphan (okay not technically but he might as well be dead) I have been truly, TRULY blessed with a large and wonderful extended family.

My mother was the 4 th daughter and 4th child in her family of 6 siblings. I have three aunts and two uncles by blood. All of my aunts are still married to their original husbands. Between them they had 10 children. One of my uncles also has a child. 2 of my cousins are gone now but my cousins have been PROLIFIC and have now 21 children and step children between them.

My aunts remember me. They email me. They call me. They still send me birthday cards. I know, at the end of every day that they love me and are looking out for me.

When people talk about the dread of spending time with their extended family I can't relate because I love mine so much. I love my aunts and uncles. I love my grandmother. I love my cousins and their spouses and their children and some day (in the distant future) their children's children. We are a large group of wonderful and I love it.

We have a family reunion/grandma's 90's birthday coming up this summer and I can not wait to go. I can't wait to introduce my husband. Show off my youngest. And my oldest. And my middle. I can't wait to see my kids play with their cousins (third cousins?) and share stories of the years with family who if I wasn't so blessed to be related to them I would want them as friends. All of them.

My family does not have a creepy uncle or weird cousin. No fights break out, no temper tantrums of anyone over the age of 5, no silent treatments. I love it.

On the other side, I have also been blessed with my in laws. I've mentioned before how much I love my mother in law and father in law. I love my husband, I love my sister in law and her family, I love my brother in law and his wife. I love how easily they brought me and my children into their hearts and now it seems like we were always there, always with them. I am such a lucky human being.

Recently when Nana was in town, ready to take Kylie to New Orleans she made an offhand comment. I'm sure to her it was just a statement, nothing to really dwell on and yet I have every day since she said it.

She said, "Your Mom would have just loved Leslie." (Leslie is my mother in law)

While I've always known this to be true it means a lot coming from the person who knew her best.

I've always known that God had to have had a plan for me but I think what I sometimes forget is that the plan was in place long before my Mom passed away, long before my marriage fell apart, long before we moved to Colorado. He blessed me with a wonderful mother who had a wonderful family. He put in my path a closeness to my family that I didn't have while we were moving across the country and a wonderful man to share my life with who ALSO came with a wonderful family.

I'm truly lucky.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Birthday gift

What do you want for your birthday?" he ask me "Do you want like a real gift?"

"I'd rather put the money you'd spend on a gift towards an apple tree this year." I reply

"I'd buy you an orchard." He whispers

My birthday has been wonderful despite the fact that my husband is in Houston this week, I have all three children with me, two of which have colds and one who has a case of the crankies and I started a new job this week.

My husband sent me surprise tulips which are beautiful. I love getting flowers and while I enjoy the ridiculous roses I get on Valentines day it's even more wonderful to get a lovely bouquet of tulips, an often overlooked flower in my opinion.

My mother in law came to Aurora, picked up my son from day care, cleaned my kitchen and cooked dinner. Oh and brought me a cake. It's pink and purple with edible pearls. Lizzie is lusting over the book marks that came on it.

And at my new job (HR Employee Connect Representative for CH2MHill) the trainer brought in purple mums and a balloon while my new co-workers all signed a card wishing me a happy birthday and welcoming me to the team. It was honestly the best welcome I could get.

I don't dread birthdays. I don't pretend to be a year or 4 older. I guess either I'm not that old or I just don't care. My 30th birthday was my best birthday ever but each year it seems my life just gets better and better. I think more people are actually like that than we care to admit but for some reason society, especially for women, tells us we must dread the wisdom and experience that each successive birthday brings.

Phooey on that I say.

Here is to another amazing year. I bet this one will be the best one yet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Third child

"I think your son just ate something. Well he put it in his mouth anyways."

I look at him under the play structure bridge. I look around him and assess the possibilities.

"Hmm. Well, whatever it was, it probably won't kill him. Right?" I ask her.

"Probably not." She says to me.

I shrug and for a split second wonder if she's judging me. Then I decide I don't care.

Later on Will wanders over to her "side" of the playground. Her little boy is standing by the stroller digging goldfish out of a giant silver bag. In my son's mind I can hear him think "I didn't think this day could get any better and then it DID!" He loves goldfish. Especially other peoples. I lazily job over to intercede in the theft of goldfish but when I get there she says to me "He's welcome to them."

I smile and thank her and point out that we have some over on our "side". I offer her kids, via her, some juice drinks. She thanks me and lets me know she has some too.

Two moms, smiling, bonding at the park over stolen goldfish and children eating debris.

"Is he your second?" she asks looking around at the other children. I can tell she's trying to figure out if any others are mine.

"My third."

She grins "That explains it."

I'm not sure if she means the eating of strange objects or the stolen goldfish. I know it's because I'm far too relaxed about either to really care though.

"The leaves, I hear, are a good source of fiber." I say.

"My boys have been eating them for years" she replies.

Some days I really love the park.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do you know where your 'maters are?

What's that? Snow on the ground? Temperature is below freezing? Bah! It's spring if I ever felt it! So you know what that means right?

It's time for your FAVORITE annual series, Lacy's Vegetablepalooza!

This year I've toned down my excitement and am eagerly awaiting my raised beds, hopefully going in at the end of the month. *fingers crossed* That means that this year I have honed my focus and know what I want to grow instead of just haphazardly planting whatever I felt like.

Since a lot of my later season plans for canning involve tomatoes it only made sense to try and grow them. To that end today I planted 6 Amish Paste tomatoes, 1 cherry tomato, 1 plain old eating tomato and a pea plant. Just for funzies.

Hopefully in the next 2 weeks I'll have some sprouts. Then I'll be on my way to tomato sauce BABY!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


After many grueling weeks, nay, months we FINALLY got to see Kylie perform in the her school musical.

This year the school put on RENT! which deals with topics such as homelessness and AIDS/HIV. To be sure, in the high school version there are still gay and bi-sexual people but honestly the way it's dealt with is more of a background to the problems faced at the foreground of the play.

That said, we had a FABULOUS Angel and Tom Collins. Truly class act performers.

Kylie was chorus which of course isn't a big role but she definitely acted well and sang well and I think for her it certainly felt good to be a part of the group.

My in laws Leslie and Rex came with us and Brian and Sommer were there as well. There were three performances but of course everyone really came on Saturday which was the last performance of the show. Very moving, I cried.

If you look at the left hand corner you'll see someone in an orange sweater, gray hat and coat. That's Ky.

I am so proud of her. She isn't afraid to try something new, to open herself up to criticism and to perform in front of people. Those are all wonderful qualities.

Good job Cuckoo. Momma loves you.

A boy and his car

Everyday I am confronted with the fact that boys are different than girls. Not just in the usual ways but in the energy level and utter disregard for safety. Or his life. I struggle to navigate which parts are "boys are different than girls" and his own personality traits.

This week, since I've been home due to losing my job (Yes, I lost it and I don't have another one and it's depressing and I don't want to talk about it just yet.) I've gotten to see more and more of the daredevil, high energy boy.

Thursday he was just unhappy. All day he was an unhappy little guy, nothing I did was right. He wanted up then he wanted down then he wanted a bottle then he didn't want a bottle, etc.

Friday I decided that maybe he was too cooped up and to let him run free might help his mood. Boy did it.

When he first saw the car he got excited but didn't really "get it". He thought, like most things with wheels, he should just push it around.

Then he discovered the door. With a little help from Momma.

Soon enough he was inside and living the joy of everyman and his first car.

Even the yucky stuff. I gave up trying to divert his attention from the fact that there was a little water, dirt and old leaves in the back area because it seemed like the more I tried to refocus him the more enamored of the dirty he became.

Besides, I find that children tend to wash off pretty easy.

Will quickly found his inner driver and I'm afraid at one point he was channeling a New York City cabbie.

But there is no mistaking the joy he had in driving his first car. Even if it was his sisters hand me down.

Friday, February 18, 2011

So about those Christmas Gifts.....

Remember this summer when I was canning and I was trying to be all secretive due to people who would receive said canned items reading my blog.


That totally rocked.

I am a gift giving GENIUS. Tell your friends.

So for Christmas to close friends and family we gave what we referred to as our Canned Family. It was a basket of 6 items that represented each of us.

Mine was White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Micah's was Caramel Apple Butter. I don't have a picture of that lid because I bought the image online and so we don't have it anywhere I can display it. Sorry.

Ky's was Cinnamon Apple Sauce

Notice the ingredient "teen angst". So appropriate.

Lizzie's was Vanilla Strawberry Jam

Will's was Peach Butter

And Tasha and Molly had Peach Salsa

Really the only family member left out was Jason so hopefully next year I'll be creative enough to come up with something for him as well.

The baskets with the Canned Family were a big hit and it felt really good to give something local that I also knew would be used. To date I've received a couple of jars back and feel like this might be something I'd like to do next year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Plumbers cry

He sits across from me. He's hunched over, he's got tears in his eyes. He didn't know who to talk to.

I had asked him to see me about his car insurance. I had a new policy number for him. That was it. The next thing I know he's got my door shut and he's about to cry.

It's his wife. She says she hates Colorado. She says her Grandma is sick. Her Aunt is dying. She needs to go home. But he knows she's not coming back. He knows she's making up excuses. He knows she's leaving him.

But every night he goes home and they have dinner and they watch TV and they share money and a bed and a life. But she's leaving him. In 2 weeks she's getting on a plane and going to a place that means she's never coming back.

He's devasated. He feels lost and yet not lost because his life is normal. Today. Tonight he'll go home and they will eat dinner and talk and pretend like she's not leaving in two weeks.

I ask him what makes him think she's not coming back. They fight. They argue. They don't seem to get along. She's talked about leaving before. She's taking precious things, she's shipped boxes to "there" under the guise of "I might be there awhile".

I am at a loss.

My heart breaks for him. I want to tell him she's not leaving. I want to tell him it's okay.

I don't know them. I don't know him. I don't know what to do.

I hand him a kleenex. I sit next to him. In my head my mind races with the splitting of assets and taxes and time off of work. I tell him "You're going to be okay".

It's all I've got.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Alternatively title : Animals really are a boys best friend

When I was pregnant Micah and I were concerned about how the animals would adapt to the new baby. He would be loud and grabby and sticky and loud. Our dogs are good dogs with the older two girls but, well, babies are different.

We figured the cat wouldn't care either way. He's a cat.

Fast forward to about 3 months ago. Will was just learning how to walk and he was walking with what we refer to as a "drunk zombie" gait. That is, he stumbles everywhere and doesn't bend his knees much. The dogs were constantly running in fear of his little body hurdling toward them. When he would get close to them initially they would look fearful.

After a little praise of them being "good dogs" when the boy was around Tasha realized it was her job to keep him safe. Ever since Molly arrived Tasha has been the big sister and her attitude and demeanor are certainly that of a protective, sometimes scolding big sister to Molly's devil-may-care lifestyle.

2 months ago when the boy would stumble/fall towards Molly Tasha would immediately stand up and put her head toward Molly's head as a reminder not to scamper off or snap (not that Molly has). She would also stand between the boy and Molly to corral him and protect Molly.

This month has brought unexpected patience from both dogs. Molly likes to lay directly next to the couch when Micah or I are sitting on it. The boy also likes to be on the couch in between riding his dinosaur toy and pretending to be a bulldozer with his head. So Molly is often used by Will as a step in order to crawl onto the couch. Now she doesn't even move or life her head as he steps on her. Tasha rarely has to even remind her to be polite.

Tasha also is the victim of the boys love and this weekend patiently allowed him to POKE HER EYES while he was sitting in his Grandma's lap. She sat there with her mouth literally 2 inches from his face and just let him poke. Grandma was so focused on the mouth that she initially missed the eye poking. Yet Tasha still loves him and has been known to share kisses with him from time to time.

It's the cat though that has garnered the most surprise from me regarding his love for Will. When the baby was new the cat was known to cuddle up with him and initiate his own petting from a few month old, still close fisted baby. Still, it comes as a surprise when I see Will laying against the cat and grabbing his tail while the cat contentedly lays there and doesn't nothing. He's never scratched or hissed at the baby.

This weekend though, he took his love to a whole new level. He thought the baby might be hungry given Will's demonstrated desire to place everything in his mouth and/or consume anything placed on his high chair. So he brought him a dead bird.


Micah was horrified.

After a thorough shower with generous amounts of shampoo and soap I voiced that I believe it was very loving and noble of the cat.

After all, those flying things are hard to catch.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Resume No-No

Dear Potential Employee,

While I appreciate your taking the time to send me your resume. While your credentials did not match with our requirements at this time I will keep your resume on hand in case another position for which you may be qualified opens up.

I would like to take a moment and make a suggestion about your application process. While I am certain that you are very proud of your accomplishments and I, too, find them to be impressive it may be a little off putting to future employers to view your accomplishments as a Sniper and Marksman with automatic weapons on your resume. Unless you are applying for a position that directly involves firearm usage I suggest removing those 5 items from your resume.


What do you do?

The new job I have seems to bring out this question often. It happens a LOT at the actual place I work coupled with friends and even in some cases family.

I've had someone very close to me tell me that Human Resources is essentially useless. (That totally didn't hurt my feelings MICAH)

And I get it. Most people think Human Resources is benefits. Health stuff right? So what do you do the other 99% of your time since there are only 36 employees at the company?

So let me share with everyone else what a person working for a small business in HR actually DOES with her time.

I actually do VERY little with benefits if you must know. But I am responsible for negotiating with the broker to get affordable yet good benefits for our employees. Having a good benefits package makes us competitive and we need to be competitive to get the best employees. I am also responsible for knowing the plans inside and out so that when an employee comes to me with a question I can answer it or tell them where to go for better information. So I need to know 3 different medical plans, 2 different dental plans and life insurance pricing (for us and the employees) and I need to pull the information out at a moments notice.

I hire people. A job which, until 4 weeks ago I'd never done. Hiring itself isn't too difficult but the interviews are BRUTAL. I hate them. You'd never know that if you were sitting in a room with me during an interview but goodness I loathe them. I think the biggest problem is that I'm hiring for entry level positions in a crappy economy. The whole economy thing SEEMS like it would help but it doesn't. Because the economy sucks (recovery is slow) unemployment was extended so now I have to try and compete with unemployment in terms of pay and let me tell you that there are a LOT of people out there who would rather sit at home and make slightly less with unemployment that work, at least at this job.

So I page through literally HUNDREDS of resumes (Over 300 on the last ad I placed. Which I rewrote. Another thing that I "do".) and maybe I get 10 that I like. Because people need only send their resume to show to overwhelmed unemployment that they are looking for work I get TONS where they aren't qualified or are WAY over qualified. I send those 10 to the manager of the department I'm hiring for. She says yes, bring them in for an interview. I call all 10 people. On average I speak with 8 of them, 2 don't bother to answer the phone or call me back. I do at LEAST a 10 minute phone interview with them explaining the job, the hours we are open and asking them questions. Assuming that goes well I ask them in for an interview. Let's say I ask all 8 because pickings are slim. Fully HALF won't show up. That's an average and this last posting went MUCH better in terms of applicants showing up but this has been my overall average. Half of them don't show.

So now I have to interview in person 4 people. Which means more/new questions and I interview in tandem, usually with the manager of the department but sometimes the Vice President of the company if she's not available. While they are busy asking questions such as "Can you work on Saturday?" I'm busy asking "What motivates you as an employee?". Interviews on average go 30 minutes. HOPEFULLY the manager likes one enough to offer a position to, which I will do for her either later that day or the next day. Then I have to call my other 3 interviewees and tell them thanks but no thanks.

Then I have to process their background check information, walk them through the new hire paperwork and facilitate their new hire orientation and training. Which doesn't exist. Well, it does, kind of. I've been busy creating it for the last couple of weeks. And by creating it, I mean I wrote a training program called "First Impressions Matter" for both the dispatch folks and the plumbers. I've also taken a TON of new hire training online that they now have to complete. Things like safety but also things like sexual harassment and customer service skills. I've developed a 2 day on boarding program that never existed before.

I've rewritten the company's employee manual. I've made us ready to be in compliance with laws that aren't applicable to us. Yet. They will be if we hire another 15 people. Which is a goal we have.

Oh, I'm working on creating goals for employees. They've never had them. Their interview process has been about what they've done but there has never been a planning or expectation process for the employees. That's the focus for February.

I file. I type. I spend 3 hours on the phone and Internet trying to secure a government contract.

And let's be honest, I'm not really even talking about the human part of Human Resources yet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Formal

I tried to tell myself that my baby was NOT old enough to go a dance not during school hours. I fought and kicked and stomped my feet and INSISTED she was still too little to do to a dance that required tickets and high heels.

I pleaded that she was really 5 and not 15.

She rolled her eyes and said "Yeah right Mom. Can we go buy my dress now?"

So we bought a dress. And shoes.

Friday came and I left work slightly early and we spent an hour doing hair and another doing makeup and applying jewelry and lacing the back of her dress and baby went to the Winter Formal at her school. With her friend Ashley.

(Please excuse the poor quality that was an iPhone picture I took there)

*sniff sniff* Not a baby anymore.....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wait, it's JANUARY already?

Gosh I meant to post this a million years ago. Or at least a month ago.

After Cookiepalooza I took Paloma with me and she, Lizzie and I went to the ballet. Well actually it was a performance Lizzie's dance school put on. Lizzie wasn't able to participate.

ANYWAYS, we got all dolled up and went to a ballet of "Alice in Wonderland".

I was nervous that the girls would get bored because it's a ballet and not say, a play or musical. I was not giving these two 6 year old's enough credit. They sat the entire time completely caught up in the performance.

Thank goodness it was something they had seen before (for the most part). There was a part with a duchess and a cook and a baby that gets exchanged for a pig. It's part of the original Alice in Wonderland but not the Disney version. The girls didn't care they loved the entire thing.

The BEST part was as we were leaving though. We saw Alice and Lizzie asked me if we could get a picture with her. That's one of the awesome parts of seeing the world through a 6 year olds eyes.

To Lizzie and Paloma it didn't matter that Alice is 16 and wears braces. That she's probably an annoying teenager at home. Didn't matter to them. In that moment in space and time that was THE Alice and she was a star and Lizzie and Paloma were lucky enough to get a picture with her.

Paloma spied the Red Queen (Queen of Hearts) in the crowd and her request was that we get a picture with her. Lucky for us both Alice and the Red Queen were very happy to take pictures with their fans. I'm sure it's good for their egos that little 6 year olds think they are the best thing that ever happened to the ballet.

Paloma was a lot more excited than she let on in this picture.

Finally we got a picture with the March Hare. She was not as receptive to photos and plainly ignored me standing there with my iPhone at the ready AND Lizzie tapping her arm. Just as we were getting ready to go her father pointed to me and said something along the lines of "I think they want something".

I was over it but I still took the picture.

Her ears are black so you really have to look for them against that background.

Overall we had a great time. Both girls were well behaved the entire performance and I believe they had a good time. Lizzie is semi-excited about her own recital this summer for ballet and tap now.

Semi-excited. Some days she still isn't sure about the whole thing. But the idea of wearing a costume certainly helps.