For the Love of SPF

Last weekend on our trip to "Adult's Gone Wild", Jay & I got pretty sunburned. We did apply sunscreen but obviously not frequently enough or at the proper SPF level to stop the blazing hot Kentucky sun. (Jason swears the sun in KY is different than the sun in Chicago.) We were sore and slept miserably and showering was a torture unlike any other. Once we got home we hit the aloe but the damage was done. Our faces are already molting and my shoulders have started peeling as well.

This is happening just a few days shy of us leaving for our family vacation to the beach. I love nothing more than spending hours sitting on the beach reading and playing with my turkeys (the boys) all while soaking up some sun. Well, that was before last weekends frying. In an effort to prevent any further damage to my already freckled, peeling skin I decided to take precautions.

As I headed into Target last night my list was fairly short. Diapers, sand buckets and shovels, milk and sunscreen. $286 later I am not sure what happened. That store can actually suck the money right out of me. Now granted I did stray from the list ever so slightly (there was a cute must-have sweater and bathing suit cover up I could not pass up) I quickly realized after scanning my receipt where the bulk of my money was spent. Sunscreen. I spent a crap load of money on about 10 different varieties of sunscreen. I have sunscreen lip balm, a special kind for faces, one for sports and several geared towards babies / kids. I have varying SPF's (from 12 to 50) and both spray and lotion varieties.  I feel like the spray is not as efficient in protecting the skin because a) that was what I was wearing when I got burnt and b) when you spray it on half of it blows away in the breeze and c) I had uneven stripes where I clearly had no spray landing on me. Bright red-sunburned stripes are not attractive, just so you know.

Some say this might be a bit much. I realize I have enough ounces of sunscreen to keep my family protected from the sun for the next 2 summers but I can't take any chances. It is bad enough I will look like a worn leather handbag when I am older (or next year), my kids are fair skinned and I refuse to let them be fried turkeys. I screw them up enough on my own, so I need no help from outside sources.


Jason & I were lucky enough to be invited to Kentucky for the weekend to stay at our friends parents lake house. The house is on Lake Barkley, which is one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen. This is saying a lot since I am from Wisconsin and that state has its fair share of lakes. It was a gorgeous place and our hosts had all the necessities covered. Cold drinks, large boat, multiple jet skis, large tube for dragging said intoxicated friends around on and several great playlists.

There were five couples in attendance. The guys all went to school together (some of them since elementary school) and the girls met when we all started dating and then marrying the guys. This is the group of girls I go out to dinner with once a month. They are truly great friends and after the weekend I am more convinced of this than ever.

We were all so happy to be together, at the lake, away from our kids (everyone needs a break from their small people) that we drank, laughed, swam, skied, danced (thanks to Meg for the choreography for Dance Party 2010) and drank some more. We celebrated a couple of birthdays and Jay & I celebrated our wedding anniversary. What better way to spend your 6 year anniversary than hanging out with the same friends that were there partying with us that day. At the end of the weekend we were drunk (and hung over), burnt to a crisp (there was more liquor than SPF. Not. A. Good. Thing.) sore from the days of skiing and dancing and couldn't have been happier. A perfect summer weekend.

Not Nice

I am at the point in my life where I am starting to care less and less. Wait, that isn’t really what I meant to say. What I mean is I am caring less and less about people who are assholes and treat people badly. I have always been the kind of person who feels bad for the person that is disliked. For the person left out, made fun of or embarrassed. Does that mean that I never made fun of someone or purposely tried to exclude him or her from something? No. I am human and when I think back on those instances (at least the ones I can recall) I feel bad. Or mostly bad – there were a few people who were treated this way because they deserved it, asked for it even.

I am the kind of person that likes to be liked. Can I deal with people not liking me? Yes. But it depends on who it is and why they don’t like me.  If my old boss doesn’t like me for quitting my job after I was mistreated at the company, I could care less. If my ex-boyfriends new girlfriend dislikes me, for whatever reason, I am over it. If someone whom I have never met or do not know dislikes me that is a problem. I want to fix that – make them see how likable I am! Really, try me out and you will see I am fun and not at all as horrible as you are imagining.

There our people in my life or my family’s lives that mistreat us. I have come to learn that this happens for all different reasons and in many different forms. One thing I am learning is that people mistreat you because you allow them to. They take you for granted, use you and then treat you like garbage because you don’t stop them. This is a continual pattern. We drop everything and come running when they need us, only to be criticized, talked down to and offended. For some reason we keep signing up for more.

We do this because of the fear.  I am just one big scaredy cat who is trying to play nice with everyone. I don’t want to have to deal with the backlash I would get if I actually told one of these jerks they were assholes. That they were the kind of people no one wanted to play with because they are mean. And we all know mean people suck.

At some point, which is what I am working on, this has to stop. It has to stop whether it is a family member, friend or acquaintance that is doing it. I am not your doormat! You are no better than me or anyone else and I could give two shits if you don’t like me or are mad at me! This is my pep talk to myself….pretty convincing, huh? I said I was working on it. In the meantime, I believe in karma. What goes around comes around so stop being an asshole.

Father's Day

You often hear people say, "I have the greatest Dad." Dad's can be great for all sorts of reasons. They can make you feel safe, teach you all you need to know to survive in this world and care for you. I think the most important thing a Dad can do is love. My Dad is the greatest guy. Not always perfect or pretending to know it all, but always loving. He loved me when I was good or bad. He gave me everything I need and helped make my every dream come true. For those simple reasons, I have the greatest Dad.

He also turned out to be a great Grandpa. He spends time doing things with the boys that they dream of. When the boys talk about him they say, "My Grandpa Don is going to take me..." That sentence could be filled in numerous ways. He spends time doing things with them that they love. Teaching me a little about raising boys along the way.
I knew how important a good Dad was and before Jason & I were even dating, I knew he was going to be an incredible father one day. Incredible doesn't do him justice. I couldn't ask for a better father for my kids.

From the birth of one son...

To the birth of another....

He has been the greatest Dad along the way.
He is their world, their everything. And they say, "We have the greatest Daddy..."

Happy Father's Day to my Dad. I love you so much.
Happy Father's Day to my husband. Thank you for being the kind of Dad our boys dream of and deserve. We are so lucky to have you...the world's greatest Dad.
Jana, Jack & Joey

The Smell of Summer

I once had a boy I liked tell me I smelled like summer. He wasn’t referring literally to me, but rather the perfume I was wearing. The scent was Mariel by H2O+ and it smells fresh and clean. Just like summer.

There are a million things I love about living in near Chicago. One is summer. It is like we live all winter dreaming about what is coming, what could be, and it takes so long to get here. But when it finally arrives, there is no place else on Earth you would rather be.

It is filled with cookouts and bag games. Playing in the pool and beach days. Cubs games are always on TV and my boys are singing “Go Cubs Go” just as often as they were singing “Frosty the Snowman” just months earlier. There is the constant green after a long white winter that turned to gray brown. There are flowers!

As I have said before, winter tends to get a little long for me. I live for nights like tonight when it is perfect weather to go for a jog, take a walk or simply just sit outside an enjoy a drink on the deck. Yes, it can get humid and my hair may grown three times its normal size, but the color of pale winter skin turned brown makes up for it all. Well that, and my perfume that smells like summer.

Birthday Girl

Today is my mom’s 60th birthday. I am sure she will be less than pleased that I am announcing that, but I feel it is important. Significant. 60 is a big deal. In those 60 years my mom has accomplished so much. She is a worker and very rarely stops doing things, mostly for others.

She has raised four daughters and is currently helping all of us with our 7 kids. Being a Grandma (or Yama as Joey says) is hard work. There has never been a time when she has missed something big for one of us girls or for one of her grandkids. She defines the word selfless.

That is why when she cringes at the mention of the number 60, I say she should be proud. She has done more, taught more and loved more than some people do in their entire lives. No, she hasn’t traveled the world or changed the world with her successes. But she has changed mine, changed ours.

So happy birthday to you Mamma…may all your birthday wishes come true. I love you to the moon and back.


Update: Not because I forgot, but just because it is Monday and I am half totally brain dead, I also want to wish my Aunt Char (my mom’s twin sister) a very happy birthday. This is the same aunt I talked about here. She is getting ready to start her 2nd round of Chemo so she can kick this cancers ass once and for all. My birthday wish for her is this is the LAST birthday she has to spend thinking of cancer. Happy birthday Aunt Char! Love you. xoxo

Impossible Decisions

I am not sure at what age we stop being concerned about what the local bar’s drink specials are and more concerned about grown up things…like will’s and trusts. When exactly did this happen to me? And sweet Lord, why?

I think it is probably important for anyone who owns anything of value to have some sort of will, you know a prepared plan of what to do with everything you are if you were gone.  This is one of those things that people say, ”I really need to do that…” but never do. Let’s face it, planning on who gets your stuff (good or bad) after you are dead is not a fun way to spend a day.

This same sentence (“I really need to do that..”) has been crossing my lips since Jason and I bought our first home. I am ashamed to say we are on house number three and have two kids and still no plan. The kids somehow add a higher level of shame to this. What kind of parents are we that we don’t have something prepared – ready to go – in case God forbid Jay & I don’t make it home one day?

Truth be told, I am the kind of person that can’t think in these terms. I know it is possible that something could happen and that I need to be adult about it. I get that. But I can’t sit and imagine me not being there for my kids – so I will hide under the covers and pretend that nothing bad will ever happen so screw you, will.

These thoughts create such a panic within me that I can’t even think about the bad that could one day destroy us without starting to believe that, oh my God it is going to happen. Then I start sobbing uncontrollably and the conversation stops. THE END.

Here’s the million-dollar question…how do you choose who gets your kids? As I have written before, I have a hard time with a nanny caring for my kids while I am at work let alone trying to decide who will get to take over my parenting role, FOREVER. This is the worst decision. Ever.

That being said, it must be made. So do you have to choose family? Is that some unwritten rule? Like if I don’t choose one of our sisters, am I forever going to be the asshole? Do I just do eeny-meeny-miney-mo? What if our family members are not in a position to take on two more kids? Or (gasp) they just don’t want to take care of my kids? Then what…

There is the fact that maybe our family wouldn’t raise the kids in a way I would like to see them raised. Everyone has there own way of doing things, which is fine & dandy, but what if my ways don’t fit within my family member’s way. Is it acceptable to choose friends – or does that bring me back to being the asshole? Do I really care if they think I am an asshole if I am dead…at that point the boy’s care is all that is important. Right? The layers of this decision are so deep. There are so many aspects: financial, discipline, education, religion, health, age, relationships and of course there is the love of sports to name a few. How can we possibly find someone that would be just as good as we feel we are?

This, to me, is the hardest most impossible decision - one that needs to be made even if I am screaming and crying my way through it. My panic will certainly get the best of me but I will be damned if I leave my babies without a plan.

So, now, who wants them? Did I mention how cute they are? THE CUTEST. If you don’t agree, no need to apply.

Home Alone and Lonely

I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "If I just had a minute alone I could..." This could be anything. It could mean taking a long, uninterrupted shower, going to the gym or for a jog,  shopping, a pedicure, reading a book - you get the idea. Well tonight I am home alone and lonely.

Jason is in RI again for work and my mother-in-law took the boys for a sleepover. That leaves me and Zoe and she is fast asleep on the deck enjoying the breeze. I already ran around and cleaned up the day's messes, organized toys, loaded the dishwasher and scooped up laundry. So now what?

I could go for a walk, read my book, catch up on my DVR'd shows, hell I could go to sleep! But no. Instead I am wandering around this house wondering where all my mind-numbing noise went. It is so lonely here without all my boys. I guess the truth of the matter is it is great to get a break, to be alone, but I would prefer to be alone with some company. I just don't do alone all that well.

I am sure someone will remind me of this post when I am begging for a minute to myself next week. For now I will go be alone and do my best to fall asleep with no baby monitor lulling me. I wonder if my boys are missing me like this? Doubtful, I know.