You should have been there. It was important and special and you missed it. You shouldn’t have.

You should have been there to support them and to let them know you care as much about this day as they do. Just like they have for all of you.

You should have seen her. Her smile, her tears and her absolute joy. You will never know how beautiful she was.

I know sometimes you can only do what you can do. I get that. I also believe that if you wanted to be there, really felt it was important enough, you would have been. No excuses could have stopped you. It was that important, to her. It mattered, to her.

She has always been there for you. You should have done the same for her.

Wedding Day

Today my sister gets married. My baby sister. The one I shared a room with for the better part of my life, us talking into the night from our respective bunks.

She is my best friend and I wish for her all the happiness this world can offer. I have seen her be married before and then have to battle through a nasty, heart-breaking, yet completely necessary divorce. She was broken and said to me in those early days she would never get married again.

And here we are. She called me after meeting Chris, she called him the dirty carpenter, to tell me although he was great she wasn't sure what would come of it. After all, she was newly divorced with a two-year old son. She was the epitome of baggage.

He didn't seem to care. He never left her from that point on. Like all relationships, there was work to be done, problems to fix, broken hearts that needed mending. They put the time and energy into fighting through the bad to end up at a place of so much good.

I love her so much. I love him and welcome him into our lives, our family. I wish the two of them, and their boys, the kind of happily ever after that everyone deserves.

Happy Wedding Day, Doni & Chris!

I love you always. xoxo

P.S. Although my sister has picked the MOST remote place in the Midwest to get married, the color of the trees here are enough to take your breath away. So we will trudge through mud today to get to the lake front to hear them say I Do with colorful trees exploding around us. Say a prayer I don't bite it in the mud!


Tomorrow is his birthday. He would have been sixty and we would have been celebrating in a true  Griswald manner.

I am sad I won't see him turn sixty.

I have talked about Cozzi here before. How we all loved him and how he left us too soon. That is no more apparent than at times like this. Times that should be happy. Times when we should be eating cake, watching Papa as he huffs and puffs to blow out all 60 candles with the help of his two best pals. There are so many missed times.

My heart aches when I think about all he doesn't know about us anymore. Our new house, new jobs, Jack in school, Joey growing bigger by the minute. The way the boys giggle and play, wrestle and tackle, chasing one another for the football. The way Jack can hit a baseball to our deck and how he is really starting to get the hang of catching with his glove. The way Joey will sit with Jason and watch the Bears play. The two of them cheering in tandem, filling the void that was left after he was gone.

The way I still sing the National Anthem, with a lump in my throat and a heavy heart, like he is right here with me. The way Jason misses talking to him about sports, fantasy football and spreads. The way we miss all the laughter. All the non-stop laughter.

He has been gone for the same amount of Jack's life as he was here. Still, my sweet boy will flip through photo album after photo album telling stories of his Papa and the fun that they had.

He is still so missed, so loved.

Happy Big 6-0, Coz, wherever you are. We will sing and eat cake and miss you so. xoxo

Let the Worrying Begin

I have never left my boys alone for the weekend with anyone other than my Mom. She is the one Jay & I got to when we need, okay, fine, when we want to get away for the weekend. She has been doing this with them since they were babies and she knows the quirks, and oh my do they have their quirks, and their bedtime routines. She knows what they like to eat and what their favorite cartoons are.

She knows all about asthma and notices the first signs of Joey wheezing. She never forgets the dreaded peanut and egg allergy. She is on the ball and has it covered.

I still get nervous and worry when I leave them with her. But it is not because I am worried about their care and more about me being worried they will be bad. Let’s be honest, they are often naughty and I worry they are going to run her ragged. More times than not, they do.

They are a lot of work. Once you add Joey’s asthma and allergies into the equation, they are a job.

Since my Mom will be at my sister's wedding with me this weekend she is unavailable. Instead we have Jason’s cousin Lauren, or Oorna as the boys lovingly call her, watching the boys this weekend. Overnight. For three nights. I am officially freaking out.

Let me just say that Lauren has been watching my kids since Jack was just a baby and Joey was not even a thought in my mind. She has been caring for Joey since he was just days old. She knows my kids and she loves them, almost as much as they love her. Jason & I could not trust her more.

BUT. I hate that there is a but, but there is. She has never watched them overnight, let alone for three nights and never when we were going to be far away. So I worry that she won’t hear Joey crying at 2:30am for his mama. That she wouldn’t think anything of him sounding a little out of breath. That they will give her trouble and try to buck the system, corrupt the schedule, and she will want to do nothing but sit on the couch and drink Vodka until she can’t hear or see them anymore. She might want to do this anyway, and I wouldn’t blame her. Unless she did of course, in which case she knows I would have to kill her.

I still worry. I worry about them and I am worried for her. This could quite possibly be the best form of birth control she will ever know. Staying with a 4 and 2 year old (one of which is potty training) could make her swear off having nookie for life. I don’t want to be the one that causes her to drink alone (I better bring all the booze with me) and swear off the fun that sex can be. Sex without babies, that is.

I know it will be fine, that she will take the best care of them and that they will have the greatest time with her. I will still worry, well, because that is what I do. I just hope if she has a party at the house while we are gone, she dresses the kids appropriately so they fit in. No one likes to be the uncool kid at the party.

Good luck, Oorna. xo

My Lists

These last few weeks have been exhausting with a capital E. I am struggling to keep my head above water. There is so much I (or we when I can con my husband into participating) need to do, but there just never seems like enough time.

I have been so unsuccessful lately at keeping up with the everyday things. Things like paying bills more than once a month or worse yet, at the very last minute and cleaning my house or putting away my laundry. Don’t get excited, the laundry is only clean because our super-nanny does it. She puts all of the boys laundry away, but Jay & I are on our own and rightly so. It would be a teensy bit inappropriate to ask her to start putting away our underwear. We are beyond lucky she is even washing them. Jason is a little old to be picking clothes up off the floor and sniffing them before throwing them on.

I feel like there are just lists of stuff to do piling up in my head with no light at the end of the tunnel. No chance they will ever get crossed off my mental list. No sense actually writing them down since it will only make me feel like a failure when they don’t get accomplished.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us as well. Next weekend my sister gets married! It is all very exciting and nerve-racking. I am her Matron-of-Honor. This is a big responsibility and I was so honored she asked me, except now I am freaking out. You know what a matron of honor does, right? Well, no, besides get drunk and dance like rock stars. They give speeches. Which means speaking in front of a group of people. Which I am totally not keen on doing. If they are lucky they give heartfelt, witty, lovely speeches that people laugh and cry at. I am just not certain I have that kind of speech in me. I do not want to fail at my honorable duties, nor do I want to disappoint my sister. The pressure! Needless to say, this is what the next week will be consumed with for me…the dreaded speech.

I am also kinda flipping out because we are leaving for the weekend and the kids will stay home with a sitter. A perfectly responsible sitter, who the kids adore, but this still makes me nervous. When you have a kid with food allergies (the dreaded eggs and peanuts) paired with a doozey case of asthma, emergencies can occur. I will be pretty far away and this freaks me out. I know our Oorna (what the boys call our sitter) will have it all under control but I am a worrier.

Then not long after that I am off to Vegas with my girlfriends. A trip I am really looking forward to but need to do some shopping before I go. My wardrobe is not Vegas ready at the moment. So although that will be non-stop fun, I still have a lot of work to do to prepare.

The list goes on and on. I guess you have to start somewhere so I am going to start with sleep and head off to bed. Boot camp at 5am is on the list and since I am already exhausted I need to get a head start on some sleep. The rest of the list, along with the laundry, will have to wait.

An Apple A Day

As I pulled into the driveway last Friday after work my kids, along with the neighbor kids, and our nanny were out playing in the backyard. Right away Jack swarmed my car (Joey was way too busy playing with the other kids to be bothered by me) and was yanking my door open before I could even turn the car off. I love that they are so happy I’m home, so happy to see me. I don’t want to be the only one doing the missing all day.

“Mommy, mommy, you’re home!” The screams and cheers are heart-warming. So in following our normal routine I give hugs and kisses followed by even more hugs. Then I start the usual questions, “Were you good today? and What did you do?” On school days I ask Jack all about that, “How was school today? Were you a good listener? What did you learn about?” and on and on. I want to know every detail of the day that I missed. Some days the reports back from our nanny are harder to hear. Not good listening. Someone had a timeout. Joey was punished for biting. Joey peed on the floor, the slide at the park, and his brother. Some days are just harder than others.

But on Friday, Jack was bursting at the seams to get at me. He couldn’t wait to tell me how good he was at home; begging me to ask our nanny so she could agree that his behavior was indeed top-notch. He was also so excited to tell me about how great school was and how good he was there.

“Mom, I was sooo good at school I got a gravy apple!”

“A gravy apple?” Quickly looking at our nanny with a look like WTF is he talking about.

She just smiled.

“Yes, a gravy apple!! Mom, it was so good. And I played outside, and…”

“Wait, honey, you mean a caramel apple?”

“No. I mean a gravy apple. You know how they dip those apples in the brown gravy?”

“No, Jack, that is called a caramel apple. Did you eat it all and was it good? I love caramel apples. Did you save me a bite?”

“Mom, I told you it was a GRAVY apple. *sigh* I ate the brown gravy off the apple and then had one bite of the apple. The gravy was better than the apple so I threw it away.”

“Wow. You must have been pretty good to get a caramel apple, err - I mean gravy apple.”

Gravy apple? Seriously he is hysterically priceless. You can’t make this stuff up. He has since started referring to it as a caramel apple but is still not sure I know what I am talking about. I am pretty sure deep down he still believes it was indeed dipped in gravy.

The Simple Things

I don’t think it takes much to make me happy. I am sure my husband would disagree, but I swear I am not that difficult to please. I like the simple things. Just so we are clear, these simple things are not always cheaper things. Sometimes people (ahem, my husband) get these words mixed up in their minds. Which is probably why he sometimes refers to me as high-maintenance or as he likes to say, Jana-maintenance. Ha-ha, he’s a real knee slapper that one.

I think he has no idea how bad I could be. If only he could see that I am pretty easy-going, he would realize he is really, truly, lucky. I am a delight!

The way I see it, generally speaking, high-maintenance women don’t go camping for long-weekends with their two small boys. They don’t pee in the woods, ride ATV’s in the mud or take walks in the woods with the hopes of spotting some deer or a few turkeys.

They don’t help their 2-year-old pee all over said camping area (and by help, I really mean hold it and aim, if you know what I mean) all weekend long. Potty training while camping is so much fun. I think I had urine run down my hand and arm no less than seven times and had my shoes peed on at least three. If I were a boy, I would have the whole grab my boy-parts and pee thing down pat. I guess some learn faster than others.

A high-maintenance mom doesn’t return from a 4-wheeler ride to learn that her potty-training toddler took a shit on her Dad’s lawn tractor, proudly. Only to be told that the “log” must have rolled out his pant leg. If I were truly high-maintenance someone else would have cleaned the poop-smeared child.

But, I am not high-maintenance so I did all those things. I do a lot of un-fun not so fancy stuff everyday.

I am easy to please and prefer the simple things. Things like cold Mountain Dew in the fridge, clean sheets on the bed, and a clean-ish house make me happy. My kids’ happy and squeaky-clean reading books with me, joyous! A shopping trip to Target or an occasional trip to the Gap or Banana and I am content. Add in a nice, thick body butter, some chap stick and a good book and I am in heaven. My husband snuggled up on the couch with me watching TV and ice cream in the freezer, happy as a clam. All simple things.

So the next time my wonderful husband refers to me as Jana-maintenance I am going to hand him the toilet brush, the peed on sheets, the diaper rash cream for the toddler’s red, rashy ass and head over to Tiffany’s to do a little shopping before hitting the spa. You want to see high-maintenance? Baby here I come!