Out With The Old....In With 2012

It has been quite a year. I left 2010 with high hopes and a positive outlook and am leaving 2011 the same way. When I was younger I didn't realize exactly how much change could occur in one years time. Back then it was just time passing and although I had accomplishments and ups and downs, the years passing as adults seem to mean so much more.

Another year passing means another year my boys have grown and OMG! where did my babies go and when did these smart, insane and loving small people get here? My kids are my every last breath and having them has brought so much to my life. There is not a way to describe that kind of love. I look forward to another year of watching them learn and grow and having them not only make me crazy each day but amaze me as well.

It also means another year I have been married to Jay and anyone who is married knows, marriage is hard work and the years are truly a work in compromise and love. I am so thankful to have him to spend the years with. He is my everything.

It was also another year I was able to spend with my family and this past year we spent more time up north at my Dad's place and spending time with him and my sisters, watching my boys get to be boys has brought me incredible joy.  My Dad is one of the funniest, loving people I know. He brings my family so many laughs and I hope to spend more time with him this year.

I always spend a lot of time with my Mom and my Mother-in-Law and this past year was no exception. My Mom went through a difficult surgery and as she always does, worked her ass off to get herself healthy again. My MIL continues to be a support to Jay and I and she proved (yet again) to be more selfless than most women I know at the end of this year. Her help has been a true gift that Jason and I are both so incredibly thankful for.

I am well aware that as I get older so do my parents and having another year with them in my life is something I am so grateful for. I am well aware that there are many people who are not as fortunate as I am.

I have always felt lucky to have my sisters and this year was no exception. The four of us together, with our spouses and kids are truly a loving, dysfunctional mess of a family. I would give any of them everything I had if they needed it.

I am old enough to know that there is little chance a year will pass without some low points. We have had our share of those this year, but those low points brought us love at some point or have taught us to be better people. We have loved and learned which is all anyone can ask.

I have big hopes for 2012. I have my own personal goals and also a wish list of things I hope for my family. No matter what the new year brings our way, we will get through it together and that is my biggest dream come true - us together.

To all my friends and even the perfect strangers that come here to read my life stories, thank you.

So from my family to yours, Happy New Year! May 2012 be a happy, healthy year and may it bring you all you've wished for!


I Am So Jealous (As is My Husband)

It is no secret that I work out and spend a good portion of my free time in the gym running, boxing TRXing and so on. I consider myself to be in decent shape most of the time.

My definition of decent shape means my pants button and aren't too tight, I can run a couple of miles without wanting to die and I can do some push ups on my toes. All of my time and hard work at the gym is virtually for those small things.

Then my sister showed me this video and I was amazed. I now realize that I am sooo not in shape. Also, I am thinking of getting a pole in my house.

This girl is unbelievable regardless of the fact that she may or may not be a stripper and her last name is Butterfly (that could be a totally real name for all we know). Her level of fitness makes me jealous and her pole skills make my husband jealous.




If I Didn't Have Bad Luck, I'd Have No Luck At All


I get that everyone has bad days. I understand how a bad day can quickly spiral downhill into a bad week. I know the feeling of the never-ending bad mood that a person can get stuck in like a quicksand you just continue to sink lower and lower in.

I also know good days; great days even, where all is well in my world. My kids are healthy and listening, the weather is sunny, there is no pee on the bathroom floor and I feel blessed for all I have.

Then the universe steps in and smacks me off my happy high horse.

The past couple of weeks have been trying. It started with Jason getting the stomach flu on Thanksgiving and leaving my Mom’s without a single bite of dinner, then his Dad being hospitalized days later and continued to progressively decline from there.

The quicksand just started to pull us in. Slowly we were sinking.

We were thrown into a situation we had no control over but became partially responsible for. My father-in-law is not well and can no longer live on his own. This has put stress on the entire family and my husband became a key decision maker for his Dad, making decisions he doesn’t want to make. It is frustrating and unfair, but we were dealing with it one day at a time.

Then the dog started to decline and I had hoped she would make it until Christmas, but she just couldn’t. She had had a bad back leg for years so when she started limping on her front leg I figured she strained it trying to get up. Then the swelling came and she could barely walk and would cry out. The vet confirmed our worst fears – bone cancer in her shoulder.

We knew what was best for her and as heartbreaking as it was we decided to put her to sleep and to end her pain and suffering. It was the hardest thing I have had to do and my boys are so sad. Jay and I don’t even know what to do without her. There is something incredibly comforting about walking in your house and being greeted by a dog that is always, no matter what kind of shitty day you’ve had, happy to see you.

I will miss her forever. She was that good of a dog.

As we are still reeling from that and trying to deal as a family with that loss, we needed to drop my car off to get the brakes replaced. The guy thought it would be around $300 and although I wasn’t thrilled with spending this money so close to Christmas, we will travel a lot in the next couple of weeks and I would really like my car to stop.

You can see where this is going, right? Stomach flu, sick family member, and dead dog…yeah we got the call that the car would be over $900 to fix. (Cue the sound of me curling up and dying here.)

So $940 later we pick up my car and the guy informs us that there is something wrong with one of my tires as well and it needs to be looked at immediately. At this point I am thinking someone is fucking with me, because really? No one person deserves this much on their plate in this few of days. We head to the tire store where I thankfully have a warranty on my tires since they cost more than my children to get the tire replaced which they were able to do  2 HOURS LATER. In case you didn't notice I was fresh out of patience at this point.

My mother-in-law graciously kept the boys for a sleep over so Jay & I could get some last minute shopping and errands done and we spent most of it at the tire place and visiting his Dad. Zero fun.

We did manage to swing through Target at rapid speed to pick up the bike for Jack and the scooter for Joey that Santa is bringing. We felt good about our purchases and then on Sunday morning I open the Target ad and see said bike AND scooter on sale for significant discounts and I feel like I am getting laughed at, mocked even, by the Target ad.

Nothing is going our way. Everything feels difficult. I my trying desperately to hold my shit together for the kids but just about everything is making me feel sad, miss my dog and I am teetering on the verge of a break down. We all feel miserable and now, thanks to my car, broke.

When it rains it doesn’t just pour, it f'ing monsoons on my ass.

I called Sunday a day after grocery shopping the last of our money away. When did my kids start eating so much anyway? I decided I needed to hit the couch during naptime. I saw that Top Gun was on and thought, whew a little boy eye candy, don’t mind if I do. Except, of course, I turned it on right at the scene where Goose dies.

Cue the sobbing and crying all over again.

It only continued to get worse as Joey woke up at 3am that night having an asthma attack that has led to doctors visits (although thankfully not hospital visits) round the clock nebulizer treatments and steroids. My already strong-willed three-year old on steroids…oh the joy!

It’s as if the universe is fucking with me and I give up. If you need me I will be in bed, head under the covers crying…after I stop at Target and get my price adjustment, of course.


Yes

Anyone who has ever been proposed to remembers the moment the person they love popped the big question. It is one of those life-changing moments and the memory is one you are not likely to forget.

That is why people go to great extremes to make the proposal just right. Exotic trips, special dinners at the restaurant you had your first date, on the jumbo-tron screen at a big sporting event, or even on-stage at your favorite concert. Generally the person doing the asking puts a great deal of time and planning into asking someone to marry them. It is just what people do. They fret about making the moment perfect because that will hopefully up the odds of the person saying yes, and if it is a moment you are going to remember forever it just seems like it should be one you make fancier than all the other ho-hum moments in life.

On December 6th, 2002 Jason proposed to me. It was one of those life-changing moments and I will, without a doubt, remember it forever.

When you date someone for 6 years, and you love them, you often think about marrying them. I am no exception to this rule. I made it no secret that I wanted to get married and in all fairness, Jason made it no secret that we would one day get married but that it wouldn't be until he was ready. So I waited, some days more patiently than others but I did what any girl who was head over heels in love with a boy would do. I waited, well that and I bought a house with him because that seemed to make sense. 

I knew we would end up happily married someday but at the time I was thinking the 6-year wait was a bit long. Looking back, I think that six years was the best thing we could have ever done for our relationship. As much as I hate to admit it, Jay was right about waiting.

Sometime during year 4 1/2 I found a picture of an engagement ring I loved. I ripped the ad out of the magazine and hung it on our refrigerator. I hung it there because I loved looking at that ring and I wanted to offer a subtle reminder to Jason that no, the milk wasn't free and yes, he was going to have to buy this cow. Also, the longer he waited the more expensive the cow might be.

He was a good sport about it for a long time and then one day there was mention from one of us about the ring picture and the argument ended with me taking the ad down and yelling something or another about never getting the ring anyway. I tucked that picture away in my bin of special things and that was the end of it. Yes, we would still talk about whether or not he was ever going to propose but I backed off on the talk of the ring as much as possible.

My thought was, he should want to marry me. He should feel lucky to have me and if I had to talk him in to it or remind him of these things then I didn't want to marry him after all.

I can't recall how long we went on living with the ring picture tucked away but it was for quite some time. During that time, we were happy and in love. I loved that ring but I knew I loved him more than any piece of jewelry so we lived our lives together  - no ring.

Fast forward to 2002 and you will find me laid up for two weeks with one of the worst colds / sinus infections a person could be plagued with. I had been in bed for what felt like forever and I was miserable.

I can still remember laying in bed feeling so sorry for myself and wanting nothing more than to be up and feeling well again when Jason came home from work. He came strolling in our bedroom carrying what looked like a magazine. He asked how I was feeling and when I snapped back that I was most likely dying, thank you so much for asking, he proceeded to tell me my ring made the front cover of the local jewelry store's Christmas catalog. He tossed it to me so I could take a look and sure enough there in all its sparkly gorgeousness was the ring I loved. All perfect looking with its impeccable clarity and cut and huge carat size. 

Being the sick and bitter girl I was, I threw the catalog across the room. The last thing I wanted rubbed in my sick, snotty nose was the ring I was not getting. Jason picked the catalog up and begged me to get out of bed and head downstairs to snuggle on the couch to watch a movie with him. Talking me into getting out of bed was no easy task and I was super annoyed that he was even asking me to get up. I recall thinking, clearly he is not realizing exactly how sick I am. 

I stomped downstairs and laid on the couch buried under blanket after quilt after blanket and was hastily flipping through the TV channels when I realized he was sitting slightly behind me in the chair flipping through the jewelry catalog. All I could think was, are you fucking kidding me? This guy just doesn't get it.

When he started talking to me about the ring again, I just kept flipping through the channels getting angrier and angrier. In my mind he was cruel. I was sick as a dog, he dragged me out of bed and now he was going to tell me how beautiful the ring was - AS IF I DIDN'T KNOW? Seriously?

It wasn't until he said something like, what would you say if I bought you a ring like this? I remember rolling my eyes and answering rather hastily, you won't so I wouldn't think anything of it. Still flipping through channel after channel looking for something, anything, to focus my attention on so I didn't jump up and kill him.

My blood was boiling so when he asked me again; no really what do you think you'd say if I showed up with this rin...? He couldn't even finish his statement before I lost it. I remember screaming, why are you doing this to me? You are never going to buy me that fucking ring so just shut the fuck up!

As the last few words rolled off my angry tongue I sat my clogged head up and whipped around to face him as if to say you are messing with the wrong girl today. I am sick and not in the mood for your bullshit!

It was just as my head was thinking those things that I noticed he was on his knee in front of me. There was a ring box and the sweetest words I have ever heard. I remember the dizziness taking over and wondering if it was the cold pills or the moment and when he opened that box and my ring, the ring I dreamed of for years, was in it, I remember letting myself be dizzy. This was happening. It was really happening, to me, after 6 long years. 

I was in pajamas and hadn't showered. I had matted hair and was as ugly as any sick girl with a red chapped nose who had been in bed for days smelling like Vicks Vapor Rub could be. He still asked me. Right there in our living room with no fancy anything around, he asked me to marry him. I have never been more sure of an answer in my entire life. We cried and in between my sobs and asking him how he paid for such an amazing ring, I blew my nose on his shirt and told him over and over how much I loved him. 

I love him more today than ever and I adore the memory of that moment. It was perfect, for us. I was me at my worst and he loved me anyway. I literally blew snot on his sweatshirt and he never even flinched. I will take that over the Eiffel Tower or some fancy romantic dinner any day. 

At the end of the day it wasn't about the beautiful ring or a fancy location or me being dolled up in the perfect outfit. It was about him and it was about me. Together. That is a memory I will never forget and the easiest yes I have ever said.


Selfish?


I wouldn’t describe myself as selfish. I mean I have two kids and often use the bathroom with one of them in the room with me, if not both. I know selfish people. The real, honest to God, I only care about you if you are talking about me kind of people. I am not that girl.

That is not to say I don’t have selfish tendencies or desires because, well, everyone does. So I want things for myself and I do things for myself sometimes without putting other people first. I know, the shame of it all!

When you are a wife and a mom your “me” time ends up being such a small percentage of your overall life time. I really believe that in order to get any time at all you need to take it when you can, schedule it and hold it sacred. It is this time that can keep a person sane. There are already enough times throughout the month, week, day, hell, hour when I am losing my shit going all “mean mommy” on my kids. I don’t think it is bad to take a break, for myself.

I am aware some people don’t get this and judge my decisions to do this. By me going to the gym and dropping my kids in the play area while I workout, or even by leaving them home with their Dad, I get criticized. If I have a hair appointment and haven’t been in 8 weeks, I get criticized. Dinner out with my friends, once a month? I hear about it. I am reminded that if I was home more I could stay on top of things like housework, homework, cooking and making sure my kids weren’t running wild. 

You didn’t know an hour or two away from your family a day could make you such a bad person, did you? Me either. What people don’t understand is that by taking care of myself both mentally and physically I am actually worth a lot more to my family. Me being frustrated by my kids and stressed out about the ins and outs of parenting AND working from home AND cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping and and AND - the list would never end, I am not a better person.

I need to take care of myself so I feel capable to take care of others, which is what I do all day long. I need to feel good about myself physically so that I am a happy person who feels healthy and loves herself so she can love others. If that makes me selfish, then I am guilty as charged.

BUT, and this is the key, but that also makes you ignorant for judging me.

Winning and Losing

There are no winners in marriage.

I know that sounds bad, but it is the honest to God truth. I am speaking from experience. I am part of a marriage that generally "keeps score." You know what I mean, I changed the last poopy diaper so it's your turn or I got up last, you get him this time. You went out last night so tonight is my night "off" from baths and bedtime. This is my weekend to sleep in because last weekend you stayed in bed until 9:30 uninterrupted (which is totally like noon in parents time.)

So yeah, in my life and marriage there is a whole lotta keeping score. I feel entitled to something, like a night off or a break from the kids and my husband feels the same. He thinks it is his turn.

I will tell you the facts. My husband is an incredible Dad and an awesome husband. I don't want to brag but he probably puts your husband to shame. He does A LOT around here, for me and the boys. He is present and participating in our family life more than most Dad's I know.

Another fact: He will still never one-up me on the score card because come on, I, as a mom, do more of the crap jobs around the house and with the kids than he ever does. This is apparently just the way the world works. Life is not fair but at least I win.

For instance, tonight when he was relaxing watching football and hanging out with Jack discussing why we can't cheer for the Packers, ever, I am coloring and decorating feathers with Joey for his Indian hat project for school. No big deal you say, the decorating involved glitter glue. I WIN.

Jason and I have been known to play rock, paper, scissors for most of the keeping score type things in life. Picking up the dog poop on the walk, rochambeau. Changing diapers back in the day, rochambeau. It is as fair as any score-keeping method could be and I never, ever, win. It is like Jason has some sort of special voodoo rock, paper, scissor magical powers. He gets in my head and I choke at the last second.

Even when the score says I win, I still lose. We are both pretty competitive so winning is important to both of us. The longer we are married the more I am getting used to just taking one for the team. The important thing is I know I am winning and deep down inside he knows it too.

He just doesn't want to admit he's being beat by a girl.

So although neither of us can really win in this marriage, it is still game on around here and I'm bringing my A-game.




Leg, Shmeg

I am back after a little time away and I wish I could say I am all happy and shiny and new with a complete attitude adjustment, but I am only kinda, sorta a few of those things. Some are better than none, right? Let's not get greedy.

Remember when I told you about my diet and my nutritional counseling and all that torturous jazz? Well as part of that plan my trainer / food nazi had me running a minimum of twice a week. One pace run and one sprint run. I hated running and was not a runner but the more I did it the farther and faster I could go and it didn't make me love it, per se, but I did feel good when I was done. I felt like I had accomplished something really good for me. I was exhausted and sweaty and felt fit. I started dreading the runs less and less and learned to love them since I knew by doing them I had a direct life line to additional calories I could consume - or more pounds lost. So I ran..and ran some more.

Two weeks ago, I was doing just that, running, when I felt a little off. It was my usual day for my sprint run (which is a 1 mile warm-up followed by a 30 second sprint at a super-human speed then 30 seconds off, rinse and repeat) when I hopped on and started my run I noticed my left leg felt funny - and not funny in a ha, ha kind of way. It was tight and felt sore almost like it didn't want to go. Since I am no quitter and my legs have tried convincing me they didn't want to go in the past I did what any person who needed the 450 calorie burn would do. I kept on running.

There I am running along and it is time to start the sprint portion of the run so I set the incline at 2% and jack up the speed so the treadmill belt is humming along below me. When I hop on for my first round of 30 seconds I knew my left leg was not happy. During my 30 second rest I stretched it out and got ready for round two.

The pain has been slowly increasing with each set but I am still thinking I can just keep pushing through and make it through the workout - which is anywhere from 4 to 5 miles. Fast forward to round five of these sprints (I generally do 10 -15 sets) and I am now literally begging my leg (in my head, of course, I am not the crazy lady who talks to her appendages while exercising) to keep moving - we're half way there! Only my leg has decided it wants no part of this party and then BAM! Just like that my leg whips back and the stabbing pain that shot down my leg and straight into my lady parts was paralyzing. I simultaneously grab my crotch and the treadmill so I don't literally fly right off the back while trying to hit the big red emergency STOP button (the one no one ever things they will need to use) with my elbow so I can stop the track of death from turning.

While all of this is going on I am actually kind of quietly yelping, still holding my crotch and bent over the treadmill actually leaning on the display. The guy running next to me is eye cornering me in a way as if to say what in the fuck is wrong with you lady while also pretending like he is minding his own business and that there is no a girl holding her vagina on the treadmill next to him. Nope, nothing to see here!

One of my trainers walks in, sees me doubled over, hand on my crotch and it only takes me a second to explain I was stabbed in the vagina and OMG my leg won't move on its own. The treadmill killed my leg and lady parts! He was kind enough to try and calm me while asking me to please stop yelling crotch and vagina and asking how about we call it a groin, okay? He was clearly not getting it. I gave birth to two children and it never felt like I was being knifed in the hooha. Kicked in the crotch with a steel toed boot, yes, that I was familiar with. Stabbing, um, NO THANK YOU.

So it has been two-weeks and since that horrible night I have not been able to run, at all. No jogging, no trotting, hell I am hardly able to walk briskly. I kept attempting to do my other workouts (TRX, kick-boxing, spinning, etc) and all of them were causing me pain. The general consensus was a pulled groin. Jason said I needed to rest it completely and see a doctor, I ignored him and tried to workout. My husband always has to be right and I was totally thinking I could just work through this. I am no sissy, dammit.

Still, no luck. It wasn't getting better so last week I gave in and went to the doctor. It was bad news and he promptly sent me to a physical therapist. It turns out I have a 2nd degree partial tear / sprain of my groin and hamstring where they attach to my pelvic bone (aka my crotch)....I know all you heard was blah, blah, blah, right? Me too. Out of all of it all I heard was you can't do any leg workouts for the next two weeks, if not longer. My therapist kept talking and I zoned out and envisioned all my hard work from the past 3 months piling back on to my belly. Without exercise I would, without a doubt, gain back every pound I'd lost and lose every mile I had worked myself up to running.

I would have to start over. When my leg healed, I would have to start over. I went home and cried. Jason thought I was crazy for being so upset and reminded me it was an injury and I wasn't dying. He was also quick to offer me up a big dose of I told you so with a side of I'm always right. Sweet, I know. Since it was Halloween week I was lucky (or unlucky, in the long run) enough to have a shit load of candy to sit and eat while wallowing in my own pity party - with ice on my crotch.

Life lessons I have taken away from this so far (two therapy sessions in and still walking with a slight limp)? Exercise is over-rated, treadmills ruin lives and there is very little in life a Butterfinger can't make you feel better about.

I will be rocking some winter weight in no time.

The Things They Say


I have had numerous talks with my boys about how you can’t always say every single thought that crosses your mind. They are like loose cannons with diarrhea of the mouth. You just never know what is going to come flying out of them.

The tendency for my boys to spew out whatever they are thinking has taught me so much about how simple their minds are and also how I never was really, truly embarrassed until I had children. 

On a Break

I know I haven't been updating this here blog as much as I should be or used to be. I am sure none of you really noticed the break in writing but for me it is one of the things that keeps me, well, me. I have said it before but it is worth repeating, this is my therapy. You showing up and reading? Icing on the cake and who doesn't love icing? If you don't, you should be reading someone else's blog because I am all about the icing around here.

Anyway, lately I have been in a meh kind of mood. You know, a take it or leave it, not particularly thrilled with anything or anyone (myself included) kind of a mood. Just kinda blah.

There is no one single thing that is bringing this on me. Just an overall desire to have things, people, me be different than their current state. The lack of change or rather the rate at which this change is happening makes me feel unlike myself.

I generally try to be a glass half-full kind of girl but I am also aware that I am easily sucked into a debbie downer spiral. I don't want to feel so negative and mean about things but it is like one nasty thought triggers another and before you know it I am all everybody and everything sucks - again, me included. 

So I am working on this shitty mood of mine and thought it was best to follow the golden rule of if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Otherwise I will get griping to you about all sorts of stuff which will likely land me in trouble. So for now mum's the word.

I'll be back when I can be less cynical and bitchy.

The Time is Drawing Near

For those of you that have pets that you adore, you know how hard it can be to see your pet getting older and older. That is exactly the case with my sweet Zoe girl. She isn't just getting old, she is old.

I can see the days counting down. I know instead of dreading the ending I should be loving the final chapter. It is funny how you wish for something and when that wish comes true you get greedy and want just one more wish.

Last year we were all let's just get her through winter and enjoy this Christmas because it will probably be her last. Now that this winter is rapidly approaching I am all Noooooo! She can't go just yet. Let's just get through Christmas! because in my head I can't imagine not having her there on Christmas morning.

The thing is, that really isn't the truth either. I can't imagine not having her there on any morning.



Jay and I got Zoe when she was 8 weeks old but since she was one of the puppies my sister's dog had, we knew her from the time she was born and she spent those first 8 weeks at my Mom's surrounded by us. She was our baby before we had a baby. I have never had a better behaved, sweeter dog in my entire life.

It should be no surprise to me that she is slowing down these days. In May she turned 11 and since she is a pure bred large breed dog (a Rottie) everyone, my vet included, is shocked at how well she is doing for her age. Big dogs just don't have the same life-expectancy as little dogs.

She is a different dog in her old age though. She no longer can climb the stairs to sleep in our bedroom like she has her entire life. She suffers from a partial tear in her knee and she is slow to get up and get moving and she requires an almost daily arthritis medication. She is grey around the face and glossy in the eyes.

Then there are the times I see the pup in her. She will hear one of us and perk up and as the boys talk to her, her nubbin gets wiggling and she offers an endless supply of kisses. Still after all this time she is happy to see us each and every time we come home and she is as loyal as she ever was.

Jack & Zoe 

Joey & Zoe playing

She is a part of our family. She is one of us.

I walk downstairs every morning saying a silent prayer that she will be alive when I get down there. I pray that when I flip on the bathroom light I will see her head turn from her bed to see me and hear her snore and sigh as she rolls back over to sleep. I don't know what I would do if I walked down and found her gone from us forever.

I know we are so lucky she has lived this long and every day is like a cherry on top.  She gets extra pets and snuggles now. The boys beg to give her just one more treat and I give in because she is such a good girl and she deserves all the treats in the world. Jason gives into her eyes and sneaks her his pizza crust and other tidbits here and there these days and when I shoot him the we don't feed her people food look he is quick to reply she has been good her whole life. She deserves the pizza crust and anything else she finds on the floor that the boys left behind.

I just know the time is drawing near. I can see it and feel it, but mostly I just hate it. I know it has been said all dogs go to heaven. I can assure you my Zoe girl deserves a place there. I just want more time. If we can just get her through the winter....

Zoe, age 11

The Diet


I am on a diet. I know, I know, who isn’t these days, right?  I also know that some of you (mostly my family) are rolling their eyes and calling me crazy. Unless you are my Mom and then you would be calling my psychotic, that’s her favorite way to describe my diet and exercise routine lately.

I will admit I am not overweight. I amwas, errr..still am sometimes an unhealthy eater. I have been pretty good about exercising since I was in college. Something about dating a bartender and drinking multiple vodka lemonades several times a week followed by a frozen pizza at 3am that add up to one giant ass. So I have been good about getting to the gym since that guy.

I have always been a crappy eater. My diet was the equivalent to a toddler’s. I ate mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese, cereal, pancakes and pb & j. I loved to chase it all down with a Mt. Dew (since I gave up that guy and the twice-weekly vodka lemonades.) As I got older I started eating more dinners out like pastas and pizza but I don’t eat meat and I was never a cooked veggie eater and honestly only ate a few select raw veggies.

I knew it was a poor diet, but I also knew if I busted my ass at the gym I didn’t gain weight and my pants still fit so sure, I will gladly celebrate with an Oreo Blizzard, thanks!

I survived this way for a long time. Got married, went through two pregnancies and was still able to get back down to my pre-baby weight with minimal effort. Until one day I noticed my pants getting tighter…and tighter. Before I knew it I was up 10lbs and rapidly gaining. I didn’t get it since I was working out more than ever and wasn’t eating more calories, just the same old crappy diet.

I headed to the doctor all “something must be wrong with me because look at my ass!” and after several tests the results were shocking. He explained I had so many vitamin deficiencies and that my diet was to blame. I explained that although Frosted Flakes were my dinner at least twice a week that was better than a burger and fries and I hardly ate any fast food and, and, and....

No luck. It was official I was a horrible eater and it was catching up to me. The truth was no amount of exercise and no multi-vitamin were going to help. I needed to change my diet.

I hired a nutritionist and officially became “on a diet.” Yes, I wanted to lose the 10 lbs that I had gained but I really wanted, needed, to learn how to make healthier meal choices. This was a challenge since I am the pickiest eater – ever. I have to weigh in every week and I have to log my meals (which I will admit I am better at doing this some days than others.) The only other part of my food nazi’s (that is what I call my nutritionist since, well, that is what she is) plan was I had to run twice a week and she gave me a schedule of what I had to do in terms of miles and pace, etc. I am not a runner. I don’t get a runner’s high; I get shin splints and pulled groins. This was hard for me at first but crucial to my calorie burn. My food nazi was also a personal trainer so she created a workout plan to go along with my food plan and, abracadabra! I am trying to be healthy.

It is hard. There are days I am so, so hungry and then there are the days I silently tell my food nazi to go f herself because I am eating ice cream.  So, I do. Then I feel horribly guilty and head to the gym. It is an addictive thing, being healthy. Since you put so much work into it and the rewards are hard (and slow) to come by, you feel that much better when you see it working. I love the days my pants feel a little loose and hate the days the scale says I am up but both of those things is what keeps me working hard (well, that and I am scared of my food nazi, of course.)

No, I am not crazy (or psychotic, MOM) and I eat plenty of things I shouldn’t. I am also not trying to be a size 0 skeleton of a person. I just want to be healthy and feel fit for me. I also don’t want to have a big ass because come on; no one wants a big ass.




No Guarantees


I don’t know what it is about that place that makes me want a baby the minute I walk in the office. I am pretty sure it is a place most women dread going to, even put off because ugh, really who wants an appointment that involves a speculum? Yet for the past two years I have gone to my annual OB/GYN appointment and the minute I walk into the all too familiar office, I yearn to be pregnant.

The place must pump something into the air.

Maybe it is because I am so wishy-washy on the have a baby, don’t have a baby crossroads Jay and I are currently standing at. We just don’t know, for sure 100%, which is the right path for us to take. Or maybe it is because I get to see all the people, my doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, that I saw every week for so many months that they became like friends and family to me.  It is because of all of them that I made it as far as I did in my pregnancies and ultimately had healthy (enough) babies. They fought each week with me and they listened to my complaints and then quickly reassured me that yes, I could hold on one more week. When I was tired of it all and wanted to give up, they wouldn’t allow me to quit.

I go back and forth almost weekly on whether or not having a third baby is worth the risk. The hardest part was I really believed when I was done having kids I would know. I would have no doubts or second thoughts, but I would be 100% sure of my decision. Is that really how people know they are done having kids?

I am not sure, one way or the other. I am however aware that because of my pregnancy complications and premature babies I may not get to be the one to decide that I am done. My body may be making this decision for me and it will just have to be something I have to be okay with. Which I think I could be, but again, I’m not sure.

Most days I struggle to keep my head above the water with my boys and on those days I think, this is enough. It is, they are. I know how lucky I am that my situation had the outcome it did and that my babies were healthy. I also know that there is a chance that I may not be so lucky next time. There are no guarantees.

What gets me is my doctor telling me he thinks we can do it again. He thinks I could have a third, healthy baby. He admits it will be hard and that there will be struggles, but that at the end of it all I could have a baby. That’s the best prize ever.

As he talks and reassures me that I could do it again if we wanted to, I need to listen to my little voice reminding me that if I don’t get as lucky as I did before, I would be the one heart broken. My family would be hurt in a way that might never heal.

I am so thankful for the family I have and I might just be too chicken to try again, I just don’t know.


That Day

If I had been there
on the saddest of days
would I have left here knowing
I had nothing left to say
or is that never really the case
are there always words unsaid
I wonder what you were thinking
the last thoughts left in your head.
I cried and prayed for you,
the faces I never did know
and I ached for your loved ones
who wondered why you had to go.
I honored all your bravery
as you ran up, never looking down
and I cringed at the thought of the ledge
you stood staring, jumping to the ground.
As it all fell apart
my world was wrapped in you
and all that you never got to be
and all the horror you went through.
But, you are not forgotten
in fact you are very much alive
in the hearts of all Americans
your honored memory will survive.

Bad Days

I get that as a parent you are bound to have some rough days. I understand that there will be moments when you look at your life, full of craziness, and wonder what is going on and how you got there. I have had those kinds of days, weeks even.

But lately, I have had more bad days than good. The truth of this makes me incredibly sad.

I am not sure what is causing the problem with my boys. Their ages or close proximity in age? The fact that they want for nothing and are pretty spoiled by all that know them? My lack of follow-through and constant need to make them happy? That they are just boys?

I just don't know. I think it is most likely a combination of all of these things and they are colliding at just the right time these days creating the perfect storm within our house. I am starting to think none of us are happy.

It is embarrassing to say they are just out of control. As in they have gone bat-shit crazy and act like animals wherever and whenever they want. They do not listen to me. AT ALL.

When I was younger and would hang out with kids who behaved like animals I remember not liking them. I remember talking about how obnoxious they were and how their family was a disaster. Perhaps this is karma biting me in the ass. Point well made.

Lately our house is filled with mis-behaving, tantruming, rambunctious, defiant children. It is also filled with screaming, threatening, miserable parents. No one is winning. They are not getting it and we are beyond frustrated with them and each other. We always want it to be somebodies fault the kids are behaving this way so we generally blame each other.

It is me saying things like if you didn't all wrestle with them and play so rough then maybe they wouldn't be punching each other all the time and him shooting back things like if you only followed through with one thing maybe they wouldn't tell you to F off when you threaten them. And so on.

Already today Jack has thrown two epic tantrums (yes, he is 5 and should be over tantrum throwing but he is apparently holding on to the habit), broken a glass pane in a door in my house, gotten into a boxing match at the deli and sprayed each other with applesauce during lunch. It is 1:10pm and both of them are in their beds and will most likely stay there the remainder of the day.

Someone please tell me how to do this right because after all that I just sit in tears, my throat raw from screaming, knowing damn well no one is listening. I don't want to be the mom with bad kids. I don't want to have to scream and yell and I don't want people to stare at me in public thinking they are so happy those aren't their kids!

I need help but I have no idea what that help is and where to find it. All I know is this is hard and we are unhappy and I don't want kids that act like assholes.

Send help or vodka or the number to the local orphanage or I am going to need more wooden spoons and a divorce lawyer stat.

The Night Before

Tomorrow is the big day. The first day of school for both Jack and Joey. They could not be more displeased.

It all started with Jack. Jack is my kid who doesn't deal well with change and is well, difficult, I guess you could say. He is smart and funny and can be so kind but he is not what I would describe as easy going. There is no rolling with the punches with this kid. He wants to do things on his terms, his way, the way he wants when he wants. Like most 5 year olds he isn't keen on rules and being told what he has to do. Like, you know, going to kindergarten.

I don't even think it's the going to school part that is causing us so many problems. It is the fact that he is going to a new school with new friends. And oh my God nothing will be the same as it was at my school...if I had a quarter for every time I have heard that in the past month. Since my kids go to a private preschool they have to start fresh at the public school for kindergarten. The kids in preschool are from all over town so they all end up dispersed in our towns many elementary schools. Jack knows no one in his new class. And so the anxiety begins.

About a week or two ago he started telling us he WAS NOT GOING. Period. End of discussion. He didn't care that we were the boss and that we said he had to go, he was not going to do it. He also informed us he was not going to listen to his teacher, he was not going to read and he was not, under any circumstances, going to learn and be smart. No way, no how.

See what I mean? Difficult. So we have listened to his concerns (that he won't like it there and he won't have any friends) and we've tried to reassure him to the best of our abilities. But I will admit after weeks of this, Jay and I are running short on patience and high on YOU WILL GO AND YOU WILL LIKE IT. So there's that. No one is happy and no one is winning.

He saw his classroom today and met his teacher (who seems like the best kindergarten teacher ever) and even met a few boys from his class who he promptly told me he probably wouldn't be friends with as they ran off to play. *Deep breaths...*

I know he is nervous for tomorrow morning and so am I. I want nothing more for my baby to be smiling and confident on his first day of school. It would be icing on the cake if he would actually be polite and pleasant. I am scared for what tomorrow morning brings. I don't want my kid to hate school - or me for making him go.

Then there is Joey. My sweet faced, special child. He is starting preschool tomorrow at the same school Jack just left. He will have the same teacher his brother had in 3 year old preschool and still he did nothing but cling to my leg and suck his thumb at his open house the other night. He tells me he wants to go to school but he wants me to go with him - and his blankie to come too.

So there are two boys upstairs sleeping who will be off to school in the morning (even if the first day is only like an hour and a half long!) My stress and anxiety level is running high tonight and I am praying and begging the sweet baby Jesus the morning goes smoothly. Hoping that my boys although hesitant will walk into school scared but walk out smiling, happy.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, won't you? On second thought you better cross your toes too.

My Turkeys.

Are you there God....?

I am not super religious. Yes, I believe in God and try my best to have faith but I will be the first to admit I am not hauling my butt out of bed every Sunday morning for church.

I believe you can have faith and believe in God without having to necessarily go to church to pray. Some of my biggest prayers have been answered in hospital beds. I think if you believe in God (or any other religious figure) then He is with you.

We sent Jack to a Lutheran preschool and Joey will start at the same school this year. It is a great school and we love the program. They have a regular school curriculum and they also have "Jesus Time" every day. It is a good mix of the basic school stuff and a little religious ed as well. I have no problem with my kids learning about Jesus as long as they know their alphabet too.

Since Jack has been attending school there he has had quite a few questions about God. Things like why his Papa has been in heaven at Jesus' house for so long or why God makes people die. He has recently started asking me why God would make the Earth have such big storms like tornadoes that rip out trees and blow people's houses down.

All of these are great questions for a 5 year old. I have been able to answer them in a way that he understands while hoping not to create additional questions about why God does the things he does.

I explained that people sometime go to heaven to be angels or to be Jesus's helper. I told him that Papa had to live forever at Jesus's house because he does special things up there like look down on us and keep us safe. I told him that God made storms like tornadoes so that when old trees fall down knew trees get a chance to grow and live and people's houses do sometimes get destroyed but that means they get new houses to start fresh with.

Although these answers aren't all completely true they are all I can offer him. The truth is, I don't know. I don't get it myself. I'm not sure why his Papa had to go too soon or why people's lives are sometimes destroyed by acts of God. I do my best to believe and have faith, but there are days that is just so hard to do.

The day I learned my good friends baby passed away at 4 months old I could not make myself understand why God does what he does. At that time all I could think was his plan was pretty shitty. When my dear friend died moments after her son was born, tragically and entirely too young, I thought this is not fair. Why would any God take this baby's Mom away? There were no answers that brought me any peace. It is just unfair.

Then yesterday I got the news that a girl I went to high school with passed away. She was 32 years old and one of the most wonderful people I came across during my high school years. Although I've only run into her a few times since I graduated, she was still the same great girl. When I think of her back then I think only one thing...everyone liked her. Really, do you know how hard that is in high school? I can't recall ever hearing one single negative thing about this girl. She was loved by everyone. She was funny, smart and caring. She was doing great things in her life. She has an incredible family full of brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews who are literally heartbroken over her being gone.

So right now all I can do is ask God, why? Why her? Why did she have to get cancer and not beat it? Why take a girl who has so much to live for and so many people loving her? Because I am certain there are people out there that don't deserve to see the light of day for the things they have done and still you take her....a coach, a friend, someones daughter, sister and aunt.

I am trying hard to believe in God tonight. Right now I am not finding any peace or comfort in his plan. I pray she is at peace tonight and her family has the faith to believe. Goodbye, Ellen. You will be missed.

We Interrupt this Blog to Bring You....Summer Break


It has been a busy summer around our house so although I would have loved to be writing more, I haven’t been home long enough to do so.

We took a few trips up camping – and by camping I mean staying in a trailer or camper with AC, satellite TV, a real toilet, shower and fully functioning kitchen. There were bugs, and wildlife (I do love me some deer sightings) and 4-wheeler riding, fishing and swimming. There was also a campfire and s’mores so in my book that equals camping. Since it is my Dad’s property and he spends quite a bit of time there we are lucky that many of the amenities are ready and waiting for us when we arrive. We all love going up there and getting to spend quality time with my Dad is just an added bonus.


Then there was our week in Michigan, which is probably my favorite week of the year. It is incredible up there in summer and the boys love it as much as we do. We stayed in the same cottage as we did last year which was great, last year. This year, well lets just say the novelty wore off by Wednesday when the dead animal smell started wafting in through the floor vents. I sent Jason and his uncle down to the basement in search of the rotting offender but they had no luck.  I covered the vents and did a lot of gagging when in certain areas of the house.

It wasn’t until Jason woke me out of a sound sleep Thursday night (or Friday morning, I guess) at 2am to tell me there was a live squirrel in the living room running across the beams in the ceiling mocking him. Apparently he tried to kill him using the fireplace pokey tool but again, no luck. I recall being confused but also very tired so I rolled back over to sleep. In my mind, the squirrel was on the first floor and my room was on the 3rd floor so I had some time before he got to my room and surely as he passed my mother-in-law’s room on the way up she would scream loud enough to wake the entire town up so I was safe.

After that we decided to call in a guy who finds dead things and traps living things in houses. Bummer about his job. It took him no time at all to locate the dead, rotting squirrel that had fallen in the furnace (hence the stinky floor vents) and get him removed. I am still having nightmares about all the flies. As for the live squirrel who was staying with us, rent free mind you, he set a few traps and informed us they were flying squirrels and were nocturnal. I made it a point to get to bed on our last night there before the squirrels came out.



Besides our run-ins with the squirrels we had all sorts of family-fun and quality beach time as well. We enjoyed a week of swimming, fishing, walks, go-karting, a dune buggy ride, CARS 2, golf, game playing, face-painting and relaxing. It was a great week and we hope to have the opportunity to spend more time there as a family in the future.






Now Jay & I are gearing up for our annual Adults Gone Wild trip. It is a long weekend with some of our closest friends, KID FREE! Our great friends are gracious enough to invite us to stay at there home in Kentucky around the Land Between the Lakes (which is a gorgeous place) and there is a boat, some beer, a couple of waverunners, some vodka along with some more beer and not nearly enough suntan lotion and most importantly, no kids. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

So hopefully the noodle I am choose to float on all weekend while sipping my adult beverage holds my ass up and none of us get arrested for drunkin’ boating. I don’t think we need to meet those two lovely boat sheriff’s again this year because lying is not nice. Just in case I have been practicing what to say, no, officer this is not a beer in all of our hands leaving no one sober enough to drive the boat home. Thanks for stopping.  Or perhaps offering them a beer would work better? We shall see!

School starts in two short weeks and after we get back from Adults Gone Wild so things are bound to stay busy. We will celebrate my birthday and try to get one last camping trip in before we are back to the seriousness of school and strict bedtimes, etc.

Happy Summer!

Forty

My sister Amy turns 40 tomorrow. It is both shocking to me that she is already forty and mind-boggling that I am old enough to have a sister that is turning forty. I feel like it was just yesterday that she was complaining about having to babysit us.

 My Mom and Amy on her 1st Birthday

She is the oldest of the four of us and without a doubt the least selfish. Despite the fact that she is not married (trust me, this is by choice and she will gladly show you her "I don't have a husband dance") and has no children she has helped organize and throw wedding and baby showers for the other three of us girls. She comes to everything for us and showers us and our families with gifts. We always tell her she doesn't need her own kids she already has seven in her nephews and niece.

She is a giver.



She is always there. She will go out of her way to come help you whenever you need it. She is the sister who will bend over backwards to make sure your wedding details are just right. I could not ask for a more supportive, giving and loyal sister.




She shows up to help you pack, move and then unpack. She shows up when your basement floods and just starts cleaning the mess as if it were her own. She came when every single one of our babies were born and spent many a long night in hospitals while we were in labor. She cheers us on and celebrates with us. She bakes incredible birthday cakes even when the requests are as crazy as shark cupcakes, a Rudolph cake (in March nonetheless) or a Titanic cake. She is an incredible aunt.


She deserves the world for all she does for our family and I am forever grateful for all she has done for me and my family. There are not enough words to describe how much she means to me and I am so lucky she is my sister.

Happy Birthday La! Wishing you (at least) 40 more....

All my love. xoxo

Lucky 7

This past week Jason and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary. I know 7 years isn't anything super crazy and worth bragging about but still, these days with the divorce rate knocking at any door it can, I am proud of the 7 years.

Here we are saying our I Do's

My favorite place to be.

I know once you are married your dating anniversary doesn't really count anymore. It isn't supposed to matter but it does to me. Jason and I have been together for 13 years, perhaps not as lucky for the superstitious out there. As lucky as I feel the seven years have been, in our eyes it is really 13 years. That my friends is something I am proud of. That is a lotta years of love, tears, fights, babies, houses, more love and a few more fights.

 Our new little family.
What family photos look like when you have little boys.

 Us, seven years in.

I realize how lucky I am everyday that I wake up next to this guy. I am aware how truly blessed I am that I still not only love him, really love him, but like him so much as well. No one else makes me laugh so hard and feel so happy.

Typical picture with Jay's hand in my shirt. Such a boy.
 

Happy lucky 7 babe!

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day and although I didn't see my Dad today, I know he knows that I think he is a top-notch Dad and a pretty great Grandpa as well. I've told you all before how lucky I am to have a great Dad and how lucky my boys are to have a father like Jason. He is the kind of Dad all kids deserve and I am so thankful he is my husband and my babies Daddy.

 Doing what great Dad's do...teaching and coaching.

Father's Day morning snuggles over the Sunday paper.

To my Dad and my husband, Happy Father's Day!
All our love, Jana, Jack & Joey xoxo

The Top 10 Reasons My Mother Can Never Die

Well, it's official, my Mom got the news today that she needs to have her knees replaced. She is just a week shy of 61 and both of her knees are worn out. She has been working those knees for years (not like that you dirty minded pervs, this is my mother we are talking about.) All the hands-and-knees floor washing and gardening have caught up with her. She has been suffering in pain hobbling around for months now so it is good to get the surgery on the books. She scheduled the double, yes as in both, at the same time, knee replacement for July 5th.

This is all good and dandy except I leave for vacation the following week so I won't be around to help out and one of my sisters has a kid getting his tonsils out that week as well so she will be living in her own kind of hell leaving only two of the four of us girls left on the clock. My sister Amy turns 40 that week as well and I am pretty certain walking my Mom from her bed to the toilet is the most depressing way ever to ring in the big 4-0.  Nonetheless, it is scheduled and happening. I am a wee bit nervous because having one knee fixed would be alot but having two done at the same time just sounds down right miserable. My Mom wants it done and over with so she is fine with suffering through. My bet is on her and I am sure she will be up and walking like a champ in no time.

It has left me realizing exactly how much I take my Mom for granted though. For instance, my Mom is my dog sitter while I am on vacation. Since she won't be able to be up and down dealing with my fur-baby that week I am going to have to beg and plead one of my sisters to go to my Mom's and let my dog out. We had also asked my Mom (several months ago) to watch the kids for us at the end of July while Jay and I go on our annual Adults Gone Wild trip with our friends, kid free. Back then she agreed. Now I am thinking we should start the search for a new weekend sitter (although she swears she will be Krausfeldt-boy ready by then.)

So this surgery started me thinking on just how inconvenienced I feel over this surgery. Yes, I am well aware how selfish that sounds. It is selfish, but I am being honest. She is just not someone we can live without, ever. So here are my completely selfish top 10 reasons my Mom can never die:

1. She is my go-to babysitter & dog sitter. The best Grandma ever.
2. Who will use my iron and ironing board? They would be rendered useless in my house.
3. Who will help me pick out & then plant my flowers?
4. Who will alter & sew my clothes when needed? I can't even sew a button on.
5. She is the stain master - really, she can get a stain out of anything. It is pretty amazing.
6. My husbands pants will have no buttons and holes in the crotch. (see number 4)
7. She does it all. Cleaning, packing, moving, puke cleaning, lawn-mowing and laundry folding. Her resume is pretty extensive.
8. Who will I talk to in the morning on the way to work?
9. Who will my sisters and I gripe about to each other? That's what mother's are for!
10. Who will make us feel better no matter what our life's problems are?

In all honesty, there are way more than 10 but these are some of the crucial ones. Obviously my Mom is the bees knees...only coming soon with brand knew knees! She will be a bionic Grandma of sorts after this surgery. I plan on turning her into that Grandma from that movie where they have to plug the Grandma in every night in her rocking chair...I think it was called The Electric Grandmother? That Grandma is great. She just gets charged up each night and then she is able to perform like a regular Grandma by day doing things like baking cookies and playing with her grandkids. That will allow me to avoid actually having to do any of the 10 things listed above without her. Also, she really likes rocking chairs so she will be perfectly comfortable turning into the plug-in Grandma, I am sure.

Let's hope she has a speedy recovery!

Taken for Granted

For every mother who was lucky enough to tuck her babies in and kiss them goodnight, there is a mother heartbroken somewhere that she wasn't as fortunate.

For every father who gets to play baseball after work or sit at his daughters tea party there is a dad somewhere who misses all those things.

I am certain there is a parent who would love the opportunity to put their kid to bed one last time, even as I dread walking in my kids' room, yet again. I am guilty knowing that somewhere out there is a parent who would love the chance to holler at their kid to put on their shoes or stop hitting their brother.

There is a baby out there going to bed tonight missing their mama or daddy and praying they could come back. There is a child missing a brother or a sister and wanting nothing more than to have them home with them.

There is a wife that goes to bed lonely dreaming of her husband and there is a husband out there lost without his wife.

It is so easily taken for granted. It is so easily taken away.

Be thankful. Every. Single. Day.

 My loves.