Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Twenty years old was I
When I finally met "the guy".
While studying abroad in college,
I discovered both love and knowledge.
I called my mom to let her know,
She answered with "I told you so."
For she had known that I would find,
My future husband who was one of a kind.

Twenty years ago today,
I married that guy who swept me away.
What can I say about this prince of a man,
He's a saint, my best friend, my #1 fan.
The most generous person I've ever met,
He gives and he gives with no regret.
Never once has he made me seem,
Anything less than a beautiful queen.

Twenty years ago our family began,
That young groom quickly became a man.
He's provided for both our needs and wants,
Teamwork makes the dreamwork he chants.
Our kids have the best role model,
In words and actions, it's him they follow.
Which makes me happy, makes me laugh,
Because I know he's the better half.

Twenty ways to describe my Phil,
Is not enough, but try I will.
Handsome of course, wise beyond years,
Holy yet humble amongst his peers.
Kind and caring and good to all,
Always ready to catch me when I fall.
Friendly to strangers, helpful unasked,
Listens intently and puts himself last.

Works hard on the job and at home,
Never complaining, not even a moan.
Grocery shops and cooks and cleans,
Yardwork and housework, all needs are seen.
A mighty fine catch who still makes me blush,
With his sweet words and affectionate touch.
Loyal to his promises, his vows he heeds,
Teaches of God in both words and deeds.

Twenty years more from now, 
If the stars align and God allows,
We will make our dream come true,
By sitting at home with our growing crew.
We envisioned it while we were dating,
And in that direction we seem to be heading.
Seven wonderful children, who will, we pray,
Gives us loads of grandbabies one day!

Happy 20th Anniversary Phil. While I would happily marry you all over again, I somehow love you more now than I did back then (and back then I loved you lots!).  Thanks for choosing me twenty years ago and every day since.  I love you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Feeling Crazy Busy? It's Not You, It's May

 Mother's Day was perfect!  I've discovered through the years that the secret to enjoying a good Mother's Day or birthday or anniversary is to lower your expectations.  Ha!  One of my sisters and I hosted a breakfast for my mom, then I went shopping and out to lunch with Phil, and then we took the kids out for ice cream instead of feeding them dinner.  

I received the cutest cards and school projects from the little guys, a promise for a breakfast date from the college boy, a clean car from the girl, and a gift certificate to an ice cream shop from another.  It was a cold and windy day so we decided to postpone a family bike ride to another weekend.  Phil bought me a Farmhouse Candle Warmer which is so cute and was very unexpected.  The best kind of gift!  My dad brought a newspaper with some facts about moms, and these were noteworthy:

100% agree with this.

Safe to say we went through 50,000 diapers.

They Forgot Her Name?!?!  She had no single babies, only multiples....can you imagine?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Yeah I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

Sunday is Mother's Day and if you haven't yet bought your mom (or your children's mom) a gift, then I've got you covered!  While every mom deserves a nice present, it doesn't have to be something you can buy at the store.  As a full-time working mom of seven wonderful children, I can think of many alternative gifts I would prefer over a last-minute order from Amazon.

1)  A Nap (This is Definitely Number One)

Moms are tired, ask any mother you know and she'll verify that fact.  Tell her to take a nap, light a few candles, turn on a sound machine, and most importantly TAKE THE KIDS AND DOGS OUT OF THE HOUSE.  There's nothing more annoying than trying to sleep with a dog barking or a kid yelling from the bathroom asking you to wipe them.  Put her phone/watch on sleep mode and her favorite beverage next to her bed.  Bonus points if you hang a sign up by the doorbell warning anyone who rings it that they may be causing your future divorce.  Kidding, mostly.

2) A Meal (She Doesn't Have to Shop For, Prepare, or Clean Up After)

Going out to eat is fun, but restaurants get busy on Mother's Day, so if you go that route, please make a reservation or call ahead.  Personally, I prefer takeout (or home-cooked if you are skilled) set out on nice china.  What are you saving that wedding china for anyway?  Mom deserves it!  Kids can get involved in cooking the meal, since the main goal is that mom doesn't have to, but choking down scrambled eggs speckled with shells is not the stuff mom's dreams are made of.  The effort is sweet but the end result needs to be edible.  If she had to buy the groceries for, or clean up after said meal, the gift is null and void.  Sorry but I consulted with my legal team and they agree.

3) Pampering

This can come in many forms, lucky you!  I love a good foot rub with a relaxing lotion. Some moms may prefer to get their nails done, a facial, a massage, a soak in the tub, or a visit to the hair salon.  Even a suggestion to go watch a movie or read a new book in peace while you take care of the house and kids would feel luxurious.  Just hearing the words "Why don't you go do___________ while I take care of things here" is a gift she'll treasure.

4) A Clean Car (or Kitchen or Bookshelf or Cabinet or Shower)

When my lovely children ask what I want for Mother's Day, I always tell them I absolutely do not want them to spend their hard-earned money on me.  And I mean it.  However, a clean car is high on my list of Lifestyles I Do Not Have Time For and therefore makes a great gift.  Can kids always do the best job cleaning?  No.  But even if my car gets 50% cleaner, that's a win.  Preferably, they can clean my car outside while I am napping inside :)

5) Flowers (But Not The Kind You Are Thinking Of)

I love a good bouquet of flowers like the next mom, but honestly I would prefer a flowering plant that I could have for years to come.  I would rather pull into my driveway and see a cute little line of tulips adorning the way then look at tulips in a vase on my counter.  A tree planted with help from the kids that will stand the test of time would be another great option.  Even a potted plant that stays indoors would be much more appreciated than a bouquet that will die in a week.

6)  A Shopping Spree

Well, maybe not as much a spree as just the opportunity to go pick something out for mom and only mom.  Does that sound selfish?  Well one day a year moms get to be selfish to counteract the other 364 days a year they put themselves last.  Give her a gift card to her favorite store (may I suggest Marshalls/TJ Maxx) and then, here's the kicker, tell her to go out and buy herself something.  For this introvert, shopping alone on Mother's Day is a real treat, but if she's an extrovert, maybe she can get some mom friends to go with her.  Or better yet, she can take her own mother and use your gift while giving the gift of quality time to her own mom.  

7)  A Family Activity

Sounds simple, but most moms will agree that Mother's Day should be spent with the mother lovers that made them a mom (you know, apart from the napping).  If the weather agrees, a nice walk or bike ride is very much appreciated.  Family time together, some activity to burn off the Mother's Day treats, and Vitamin D keeps everyone's spirits high.  If the weather is not as beautiful as she is, maybe a family board game or movie could scratch her family bonding itch.

8)  A Photo

Moms are notoriously annoying about making everybody else get in photos but rarely appear in them.  It's usually because they are behind the camera making sure every.memory.gets.recorded.because.time.slows.for.no.mom.  So set a timer on your camera and pose for a nice family picture to add to those memories she so diligently records.  Or just step behind the camera and take multiple (multiple!) photos of her with the kids while you yell out phrases like "Work it! Gorgeous! You are killing this! Beautiful!".

In the end, know that no matter how you choose to celebrate the moms in your life, she will appreciate the effort.  Moms are super like that :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Wednesday Wrap Up: Walking Weirdness, Wordle Wins, and Wronged Woes

It's fire pit season, and the tabletop version we bought over a year ago still brings us so much joy.  We sit on our screened in porch and pretend we are out somewhere fancy.  We added a new twist on our most recent home date night...Keno to Go!  You just buy a Keno ticket and then you can watch the recorded games play out on your phone as if it's in real time.  It's like being in a crowded noisy bar minus the crowds and noise :)

During my lunch walks, I have come across two very interesting women.  The first one walks a loop on her dead-end street without coming onto the main road where I walk.  Every day, I watch her loop around a few times as I pass by and wonder why she won't venture out further than her own small street.  Could it be fear?  Maybe she is caring for someone and needs to stay close to home but also wants to get some steps in?  Perhaps her child is napping and she has a monitor in her pocket waiting for the child to wake up?  Very interesting.

The second woman was older, and she was walking on the main sidewalk as I approached from the opposite direction.  As soon as she saw me, she tried to cross the road, but a car was coming.  She waved wildly at the car to hurry up, like this:

But as I was getting closer to her, and the car was still in her way, preventing her from crossing the street, she abruptly turned and walked down someone's driveway in a circle until I passed on the sidewalk.

Ummm. What?

Am I that offensive?  I took a selfie after to see if I had any strange markings on my face that would have caused her to run from me like that:

Nothing weird here, just your typical mom out for a lunch walk.  My close-mouthed smile is a little creepy, I admit.  But wow, I never felt so disgusting to somebody before.  I thought maybe she may have fear of Covid, but she was walking on a busy street, without a mask, knowing she was bound to have to pass people.  It must be something else.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

First Communion on the First of May

Declan received his First Holy Communion on May 1, and it was a beautiful day in every way.  The sun was shining with temps in the high sixties, and this little boy was so very excited to receive Jesus!  We gave him his "fun" present in the morning (his "holy" present comes later!).

New controllers for the Nintendo Switch!  

Our church has a seperate Mass at 2pm for the first communicants and their families, and though there were only 20 first communicants, the church was packed!  Jesus sure draws a crowd :)  We took a couple of photos at home before we left, and please don't notice that Declan's suit is a tad large.  You see, the church had always given the kids robes to wear over their suits and dresses, which I loved because it took the emphasis off the fashion show that First Communion can become.  But they decided to take the robes away (maybe a pandemic thing?) and we were rushed to find a suit that fit.  Brendan's former nanny hemmed the pants and Declan looked so handsome no matter what.

Off to the church!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday Faves: Watching ~ Wearing ~ Reading ~ Eating

~ Watching ~

While we were on vacation, Phil and I started watching a new show called Murderville (on Netflix).  Have you heard of it?  

It stars Will Arnett, whom we loved in Arrested Development, and is a comedy/mystery/improv show.  Each episode stars a different celebrity (like Annie Murphy! Ew David!) who plays the detective trainee to Will Arnett as the detective.  The cast of the show knows what's going on, but the celebrity does not.  They have to improvise their way through the show and also solve the crime at the end.  It's hysterical.  Some celebrities can not hold a straight face at all. Phil and I were watching it on a phone, sharing airpods, in a hotel room with sleeping little kids trying to stifle our laughs so as not to wake them, which may have escalated the comedy for us.  Now we want to go watch the original British version called Murder in Successville if we can figure out how to stream it.

We have also been watching this lovely PBS show, All Creatures Great and Small.

It's based on the true stories of veterinarian Alf Wight, who wrote the books of the same name.  It's has beautiful landscapes, wonderful characters, and makes me wonder if there's anything James Herriot can't do.  Of course the love stories are right up my alley, as are the costumes and manners of the time, with the accents like a cherry on top.  Apparently the only/best/easiest way to figure out what was wrong with farm animals back then was putting one's arm where it doesn't belong, which makes me a bit squeamish every time.  I just feel for the poor cows!  Other than that, it's a delightfully clean story.  Maggie (14) has been watching along too, and now wants to read the series.

~ Wearing ~

Guys, I've been finding clothes on Amazon lately, and if I don't like them, I just return them at Kohl's and get a coupon to shop there so it's practically no bother.  I tend to order a few things at a time, in multiple sizes, knowing I'll have to return something.  Truly, I detest trying clothes on in a store, so I typically shop and return this way when I shop for myself.  My husband and kids are all pretty easily sized and not too picky, thank goodness.  Anyway, here are my top three finds lately (click on the image to shop if you want...or not...I'm not the boss of you!)  And they all come in LOTS of colors!!

A flattering, fully lined (not see-through) white blouse
A tummy-hiding beautiful dress for a wedding we are attending in June

A fun and comfy romper to wear this summer (I wore it at Busch Gardens already!)

~ Reading ~

I am actually listening to this trilogy, not reading it, but details shmetails.  Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset is about the life of a young maiden set in Norway in Medieval times.  Her name is Kristin, and she's the daughter of Lavrans (hence the title).  It is slow to start, but then full of characters with surprising stories, and themes of love, sin, and forgiveness.  The heroine is annoying at times, but so very relatable in her struggles, and I keep finding myself needing to hear more.   There is no perfect character in the saga, everybody has flaws and temptations and achievements and longings.  It's a great read into human nature and how much it does not change through the years or across countries.  No wonder this historical trilogy received a Nobel Prize.

~ Eating ~

Too much eating actually, but it's still the Easter season!  Ha!  A new recipe we tried that is full of veggies and protein, and low carb is Cauliflower Fried Rice.  We either eat it as is (meatless with cashews) or add whatever leftover meat we have in the fridge (leftover beef bulgogi was delish) and it's a one bowl healthy meal.

Happy Friday y'all!!