Archive for February, 2013

Most of the time I don’t have thoughts in the morning, except things like:
it’s morning already? or
what day is it? (which is sort of code for hoping that it is somehow Saturday.


My first thought this morning was “what is she doing here?

You may know that we have a stubborn co-sleeper in our house. So this face I see every morning. There are often other faces I see in the morning.

This morning Natalie was in bed with us as well. I don’t know when she came in. I didn’t hear her or feel her climb in. I urged her to get up quickly since I had three stops to make before school this morning and I knew that she had to get out of bed before me so that the co-sleeper stayed sleeping.

Natalie was ignoring me until I reminded her we were getting gas this morning and maybe she could get a donut if she got ready quickly. She said, “You didn’t even ask me why I was in here. I had a dream and it was scary.”

We got on our way this morning and fit in three stops before work. I don’t typically write down my first thought in the day but I paid attention today. I wonder what I will think tomorrow? Perhaps Thank goodness it’s Friday!

What is your first thought in the morning?



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20130221-181253.jpgNatalie put on her snow boots in the morning for school.

There was a small, wet baby sock unknowingly shoved into the toe of her boot.

“Ow!” she said. “My toes hurt!”

“Why? What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t know. It’s my toes. You know, the one that went to market and the one that went wee wee wee all the way home?”

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It has been long since said that Miss Liberty is independent. She has her mind made up about the way things should be. I like her name, but she has her own opinion about that too. She was born in 2011, but she has her own thoughts about that as well.

Me: What’s your name?
Liberty: Lilly.
Me: Libby?
Liberty: No. Lilly.
Me: Liberty?
Liberty: No. Lilly!
Me: Lilly?
Liberty (Lilly): Yes. Lilly.
Me: Oh! Well, how old are you, Lilly? Are you two?
Liberty/Lilly: No. Three.
Me: Are you sure?
Liberty/Lilly: Yes. Lilly. Three.

Well, okay, then!

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On Blog Titles

IMG_0132Blog titles are interesting. I know there are probably stories or inspirations behind every Blog’s title. On a regular basis, I like to read personal blogs. I enjoy behind the willows, all I want to say, faint starlite, and Life with Three Boys!. There are other blogs that I also enjoy reading occasionally as well, but these four I know well.

As for my blog title, my oldest daughter was the inspiration for the title of my blog. When I started blogging, the purpose was to share my thoughts and ideas with an audience who couldn’t visibly judge my ideas as dumb or ridiculous. I also enjoy writing and sometimes, the process of formulating my ideas into a blog post helps me think through a problem or solution as well as get it off my chest. I have had some amazingly loyal blog readers across the world, who have not judged, but encouraged me to write; even when I have take 3 month vacations from my blog.

Thinking of a title to encompass the ideals in the above paragraph wasn’t easy. At the time, Natalie was into describing things in terms of size. Things were as BIG AS THE UNIVERSE or as small as a dot. At night, when I tucked her in, she would tell me, “Mama, I love you BIG MUCH.” That meant a lot. She loved me as big as the universe. And that, my friends, is very big.

She warmed my heart with her ability to unconditionally love me as big as the universe. I wanted to think and learn and share with that vastness. So, I adopted her grammatically incorrect parlance for enormous, vast, large, and all-encompassing. Think. Big. Much. And, a blog title was born.

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On The Get-Up-And-Go

ImageI really like having four kids. I would have even had more, call me crazy. I always had visions of family soccer games or family softball games filling up the whole field with just our family. If my kids each have four kids when they get married, I will still have a chance – 4 x 4 = 16 + 10 adults = 26 people. When I am an old grandmother, I will be able to fill the softball field.

Each addition to our family has brought more depth, more challenges and more joy. Taylor came with my marriage to Riley. We have had a special bond since he was two years old. I got to practice being a mom without (sole) the responsibility of totally screwing him up. Natalie brought us a lot of joy. The first girl, the first baby for me, Taylor’s first sister. When we found out we were having James, I knew he was a boy right from the beginning. We had decided to name him after his to grandfathers and this brought a lot of pride to the family. Liberty’s addition to our family was a little unexpected, but welcomed. She has always been feisty, independent and has kept up with the rest of us very well.

You might have read lately that she hates being outside. Aside from that, though, I am really enjoying what I refer to as the “get-up-and-go.” All of the kids are potty trained, they can dress themselves with little or no help, they can walk, feed themselves and talk. I have been waiting for this for 5 years. Because, lets face it, even with more children, you can’t fill up a softball field with crawlers and droolers.

Our weekends lately have been a lot of fun. We have been able to do so much. This past weekend, for instance, we got up on Saturday, got dressed, brought the garbage to the dump and headed to Eau Claire. The kids and I visited Nana and Papa and played while Riley got a few things done at work. The kids can play at Nana and Papa’s house with a variety of interests. I got a workout done on the Eliptical and when Riley got back, he and I took Liberty and ran a couple of errands while the older two took turns playing video games with Nana. When we got home some of us took a nice, lengthy nap. The kids played with toys, had dinner and watched a movie. Sunday, we got up and headed over to a local hotel and took a swim. We were able to stay at the pool for over an hour, really getting our money’s worth, before going home for a snack and some shopping. Again the kids took out toys and played by themselves while Riley and I took turns running errands and getting housework done.

That afternoon, I took James and Natalie skating, sledding and to play at the park for almost 2 hours. Natalie and James can entertain themselves and climb up the hill after sledding on their own. They can explore the park and discover what is different about the playground in the winter. When we came home, they could take off their winter clothes independently. And, while I wouldn’t trade their baby and toddler years for anything, I love the “get-up-and-go.”

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We recently had our third snow day for the year which slates us to extend our school year to include a half day on June 10, the Monday after our original last day of school. This is a bummer. And, to boot, there were 4 inches of fluffy snow, which finished falling well before the first yellow bus was scheduled to rumble out of the bus garage.

I’m glad that I’m not the one who has to make this decisions because its always easy to judge one way or another, but the bottom line is that our district really needs to figure out how to offer transportation for a 2-hour delay. We could have saved two snow days this way.

That being said, 35 degree days with four inches of fresh, fluffy snow and three little kids with cabin fever sparks my desire to venture outside. And I had grand plans of skating or skiing or sledding. Or, at the very least, working on the snow fort or building a snowman.

This Valentines day we had fresh warm muffins for breakfast, brought out our snow stuff and started to whine and cry about not wanting to go outside. Wait- what? Oh, yes. A chorus of cries from the cabin-fevered prisoners; a clan of five-and-unders wishing to remain inside to make messes and fight over toys rather than get fresh air and expend stored energy creating and imagining in the snow.


So, I did what every good mother does and forced them to go outside and have fun. Forced them to exercise their minds and bodies. Forced them to enjoy a questionable snow day. In the snow.

After a few minutes James and Natalie came around. They shoveled and climbed mountains and moved around big chunks of ice. They invited over the neighbors and played outside for three hours.

The small one, however, hates playing outside. After threatening to leave her inside alone she finally joined me. She wandered around watching her siblings for a hike before initiating a very convincing whine accompanied by constant request to go “Side! Side!” She took off her boots in favor of galoshes and stepped in the black, wet slush in the garage. Then she proceeded to complain about being cold.

Finally I took her inside to go potty and regroup. I offered bribed her with the Mai tei carrier and a sucker. She took the bait and I finished shoveling the driveway.


As soon as she finished her sucker, she began with a very convincing reverie, insisting that she needed to go “Potty! Potty!” I was on to her tomfoolery and reminded her she had just gone potty. “Potty again!” she insisted. I was able to finish the driveway without getting a wet back and caved to her insistent requests.

While she did not actually use the bathroom upon re-entering the house, she did stop making this unimpressed face, so I figured she was happy?


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I read a book recently that talked about the speed at which things moving our Society right now. Here are the comparisons:

100 mph The company
90 mph Civil society including NGOs
60 mph The American family
30 mph Unions
25 mph Government bureaucracies and regulatory agencies
10 mph The American School System
5 mph international/intergovernmental agencies
3 mph political structures in developed countries*

See how fast “the company” is moving? Technology – a competitive market – makes it possible to do surgeries without slicing someone’s abdomen open; to complete complex surgeries and less and less time; to speed up the healing process; to use imaging techniques that allow us to see inside the body in ways we’ve never done before.

Just in the cell phone market, think about how things have changed. In 2008 I had a big heavy cell phone that called people. Period. It really didn’t even fit in my pocket. Now, I surf the net, email, and compose blog posts. I watch movies, set reminders, use Facebook, and play solitaire. I text, Skype, check the weather and actually call people. On. My. Phone.

See how fast the government moves?

Now, politics aside, should we really let a turtle be in charge of a cheetah?

*ShiftEd: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education, Houle & Cobb

This post was adapted based on a WordPress Writing Prompt: The Right to Health. I have written about political beliefs before and, in order to keep this from being a heavy, heady post, I adapted the prompt to focus specifically on government control of healthcare instead of addressing the prompt itself. I did tuck that prompt away in my memory bank and may revisit it at some point…

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