January 7, 2014

Good luck blooms

Over the years I have become happily superstitious about my plants. We had a peace lilly from my mom's memorial service that always seemed to bloom just before some happy event. In my garden, the most beautiful purple delphinium bloom at the anniversary of my Grandma's passing. 

A little piece of Christmas cactus fell off my coworker's larger plant at Thanksgiving, so I stuck it in a spare pot with a random piece of succulent that someone else brought in.  

I returned to the office this week to see my new little Christmas cactus starting to bloom and can't help thinking that this little plant - blooming after being carelessly tossed in a pot, barely rooted, and ignored for two weeks of vacation - is a sign of something very happy to come. 

January 3, 2014

Let's review

This year I really planned time for myself to focus on shifting years - reflecting on what was 2013, and starting 2014 with intention. More about the intention part later....

I wanted to collect the past year of memories from the rest of the family, but finding an idea they will play along with can be challenging. On New Year's Day, I put a box of crayons - the big box of 64, with new tips and no broken ones or peeled paper - on the table with a piece of poster board that had 2013 written in the middle in plain bubble letter outlines.

They took the bait, and today I have this beautiful collage of memories hanging in our entry closet.

January 1, 2014

Why, yes. Yes it is.

I was riding home with my sister, and set my water in the cup holder. "Is... Is that a rubber toilet?" I asked. 

"Yeah," she said, "I gave the boy $3 to buy something at the book fair and he got that eraser and an itty bitty plunger." 

And he came home with $2. 

December 20, 2013

the real work world

On the way to school my youngest was complaining about a teacher who said they were too old and too busy for holiday parties. I said, "That's not true - we take time to celebrate in the work world."

"I know," she said, "I watch The Office."

December 15, 2013

Second time around

When the kids were little they made string bracelets, and sometimes I felt like I was living in a bracelet factory. Then it went away and I was sad. Guess what? It's back.... with bigger string and the awesome addition of needles and pegs to step on - hooray!

December 10, 2013

happiness is...

As I was getting ready to go into work this morning I realized that I had a great cup of coffee, a rocking travel mug that actually keeps it hot, and cozy mitten gloves. Add new boots, a perfect playlist, and light snow - it was like everything lined up perfectly to remind me to pause and be happy. So I did.

December 5, 2013

Sleep tight

Last night I went to say good night to the youngest and this is what I found...

December 4, 2013

They're perfect!

The youngest made me these awesome mini leg warmers to go with my new boots and skinny jeans. They are so warm and snuggly! And it's way better to have knitting everywhere than a bracelet factory.

November 28, 2013

we might need a really big table....

I am so grateful to have my kids home for the long weekend. We did a Thanksgiving Day run together, watched the Macy's parade, and each of the kids helped with part of dinner. My sister and her family came for dinner (my other sister and her husband had to work, and we missed them). I'm already excited for just a few weeks from now when my family will be together again.

I am so grateful for all of the family I have: kids, step-kids, sons and daughter in-law, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, the nephew, my dad, great-grandma, cousins, aunts and uncles, and all of my husband's family members.

November 21, 2013

just a few more minutes

On Thursdays, school starts half an hour later than the rest of the week to allow for staff meeting time. This busy week I was especially grateful to sleep in a little (if ten more minutes actually counts as sleeping in - when it's still dark and cold outside those covers, it does to me) then make coffee and eat breakfast at home.

November 20, 2013

another season

We had a parent meeting for the start of the basketball season. The youngest has worked so hard on the off-season, and we are excited to see her on the court in a week or two. I am so grateful to have kids that set goals for themselves and work hard to reach them.

November 19, 2013

Plus also...

This week the author of the Junie B. Jones series, Barbara Park, passed away. I am thankful for authors like Barbara who bought reading and imagination to my kids throughout their childhoods.

She will be especially missed by my middle daughter... cuz that girl readed every book that Ms Park wrote, and not just once or twice but a million bazillion times. And wait 'til you hear this, she didn't hardly even like to read. Plus also, her mom and sisters heared her reading them too. And I think they sneaked into her room and readed them all. I bet they all loved that girl for bringing those books home. It was funner than doing stupid school work, that's for sure.

Thanks, Barbara.

November 18, 2013

Its beginning to taste a lot like....

Target had different holiday flavored milk in the seasonal case, and I thought the youngest would like them as a change from chocolate milk after workouts. She won't even try them. That's ok, because Snickerdoodle is like a Starbucks Frapp - even better than egg nog (but don't buy the mint chocolate).

November 17, 2013

Stormy day

I am thankful we did not have the severe weather that other parts of the Midwest did today.

know the potential for storms was here because our dogs felt it. They hid in the bathroom -together- and went in the basement without being bribed. We are lucky the worst passed by us. 

SNL time

Saturday Night Live has become something that connects me with my girls. We don't stop our lives for it, but when I do catch an episode, I can usually find one of my kids who is also watching. We will often text back and forth during the show. It's a little thing, but gives us common jokes and stories - even apart.

November 15, 2013

Finally Friday

The best part of attending a work conference is having time to take off work after! Turns out my youngest was off school today too, so we got to sleep in and spend the day together.

November 14, 2013

I work in the best place

Today there was a security incident at work. It ended safely. Since then I have received communication from every single level of management making sure that facts about the event were conveyed, that staff were prepared for any effects of it, and offering any support services we needed.

I am proud to work with people who can respond to an event like this with professionalism. I am beyond grateful to work in a place where I feel that my employer has my back and cares about me.

November 13, 2013

Maybe one of each....

Dinner was provided tonight for the conference I am attending. When I registered, I was happy to see both a vegetarian and a gluten free option. Before dinner I talked to the sever about get a meal that was gluten free and vegetarian.

When dinner was served, the plate they brought was 3/4 full of white rice, with a big chicken leg and thigh. "Excuse me," I said, "we talked about a gluten free vegetarian meal a little while ago." The second plate arrived heaped with pasta primavera. The rest of the people at the table looked at me, and someone said, "That's not right."

New rule - always bring a back up.

A little change from the usual

It was an early morning on the road heading to a conference for work. I'm sure that if I had to travel more than a few times a year, it wouldn't be as much fun anymore, but I find it refreshing. It's nice to have a little time every once in a while when my schedule is all decided, my meals are prepared for me, and I can watch tv, read, or sit in the hot tub without feeling like I should be doing something more productive.

November 11, 2013


Veterans Day. Is there anything to be more thankful for than our freedom and those who protect it?

November 9, 2013


We spent the day celebrating the wedding of a family friend's granddaughter. I am so thankful to have great friends that we have shared our life events with over the years.

November 8, 2013

Nope, brunettes have more fun

Today I traded my blond hair for dark. Hair has never been something that I spend too much time on, so it surprises me that going back to my natural dark feels so much more comfortable and relaxed. Or maybe it was sharing dinner and drinks afterwards with my hairdresser and BFF Janet that made me happy.

November 7, 2013

At dinner tonight....

I called the youngest to come sit at the table with us to eat.

Her (in fake whiny voice): Mah-ahm, you're ruining my li-ife.
Me (in fake mommy voice): Don't use that tone with me.
Her: Oh my Gah-ahd. Why do you hate meeee?
Me: You are grounded young lady.
Her: Whaaat? You are so unfa-air.
Me: That's it, I want your cell phone too.
Her: Um. Hmm. I'm running out of things to say.

I guess I'm better at being a bad parent than she is at being a bad teenager.

Childhood friends

The youngest was reminiscing about her childhood toys, and brought out her bucket of Barbies-for-tomboys...

We were laughing about how all three kids really played with all their toys.The Littlest Petshop pets lived in block and lego houses with railroad track roads, and traveled in the playskool camper to visit Fashion Polly. Good times, good times. 

November 6, 2013

Working hard

A month ago I joined a gym, and last week started going to some of the classes. Every time I go, I meet someone new and learn a little more about them.

It's really nice to be surrounded by other people, at all different places for different reasons, with a common goal of feeling better and getting stronger.

November 4, 2013

Up late - on a school night!

Today I am so thankful for coffee, because last night I was thankful to be at the Florida Georgia Line concert!

November 2, 2013

Another "hometown"

It is Homecoming weekend at the college where our oldest two go to school. We drove the hour to watch the parade and have lunch with them at the coffee shop in town. We met one of our middle daughter's roomies for next year and her mom, and some of the oldest daughter's co-workers joined us for lunch.

I am thankful that they are surrounded by wonderful people, enjoy the things they are studying, and are proud of the work they are doing. It's not easy to make a new place feel like home, but the way the community has "absorbed" them sure has given me a soft spot for this town.

November 1, 2013


One of my friends started off the month by posting something she was thankful for on Facebook. I can't promise I will make it every day, but I know there are at least a month of things in my life to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful for the great fall scented candles that make my home a warm, relaxing place to be. 

October 27, 2013

They're like little cabbages.

When I was a kid I hated Brussels sprouts - and my mom was a real butter and lots of salt kind of cook - so I'm pretty sure they were prepared well, and I still wouldn't eat them. But, you know, as we get older our tastes sometimes change. Yesterday, I was in the grocery store looking for veggies to roast in the oven, and there the Brussels sprouts were all washed, trimmed, and looking delicious on the shelf. So I grabbed a bag and took them home.

I put them in the pan with yellow potatoes, baby carrots, onion, and garlic, then drizzled them with olive oil, Lawry's salt and pepper, put them in the oven and waited for the magic to happen. Thirty minutes later I had this beautiful pan of color:

You see how the Brussels sprouts are all moved gently to one side of the pan? Yeah, that's to keep them from touching the good food. Life lesson. Sometimes your taste buds are right the first time. Listen to them.

October 26, 2013

Well, you don't want to mix up the treat bowls.

Earlier tonight the doorbell rang and we were greeted by a group of adults in costume, doing a scavenger hunt. They asked for a q-tip, and while we were getting that for them I said, "So, what else is on your list?"

"A penny from the 1990's," then lowering her voice a little awkwardly she added, "and a tampon."

"No problem," I replied. "You picked a house full of girls. We have that!"

As they were heading down the driveway, I hollered, "...and if the prize is booze, you better come back!"

Why don't I get invited to parties like that?

October 20, 2013

We'll just be in here

Just when I am missing my kids, they come home for the weekend and take over the family room with forts, movies, and junk food. Ahhh.

October 19, 2013

Parenting secrets revealed

My sister is planning a party for her teen and 20 friends. My youngest overheard me telling her to put out just a few of each snack so that she has an excuse to pop into the party and check on things.

The youngest said, "Oh that's what you were doing."


October 17, 2013

Welcome back...

..to me! It has been a long time. Grab a cup of coffee and I'll fill you in (the short version).

This year, I finished a term as an elected official. I am grateful to have had the experience, but it was not where I wanted to be in life. From my view even at the local level, politics was every bit as muddled as people believe. When the kids were younger I told them “you are who you hang with” and in that role, I saw myself surrounded by attitudes and beliefs that did not reflect who I wanted to be. When my term ended, I was done with politics, public demands, and public issues. I needed a serious break to decompress.

So I took one!

And now I am back because I love how writing up the everyday stories about my kids, family, and friends helps me to notice and appreciate the things that make life special to me. It’s very therapeutic. Like coffee.

There’s lots more to tell, so get yourself a refill and come on back.