Monday, December 26, 2011


Two years ago, on December 19th, he turned 89 and we had a big party.
He turned 91 last Monday and we thought warm fuzzy thoughts about what a wonderful grandfather he is. I wasn't there for his birthday, but missed him all day long. I knew for sure that I'd make a visit over Christmas break.

Then on Saturday, he passed away. My Grandpa was granted entry into the pearly gates for Christmas this year.

Happy for him. Sad for us.

I will always remember:
*chocolate in the refrigerator
*a deep, slow voice
*a warm laugh
*bread and butter
*gentle hands
*oatmeal cream pies

He called me Melanie Rose. I like that.

Oh, I love my Grandpa Harold.
Heaven got one of our good ones this time.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some Days

Sometimes I wear sensible shoes.

There are no sparkles. No bows. No wow.

My feet feel happy all day long, regardless of their calm and quiet exterior.

I get home and my feet do not hurt. There are no cramps in my arches. My legs do not ache.

Sensible shoes are the way to go.

Even if they do not always get noticed. They are happy and feel good.


I like sensible shoes.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011


Last year I was inspired to make a gratitude garland.

I carefully stored it and was excited to bring it out again after Halloween. I was not disappointed when I got it out on November 1st, it is one of my favorite decorations.

I added to it this year, with a few berries and some extra rosettes.

I made four new leaves and we all wrote something we are thankful for:
Bee - Blessings
Buddy - Thanksgiving Party
Hubs - a job that I love

I also wrote the year on the back of the leaves, hopeful that we can use this for a few more years.

For my leaf, I went a different route this year and added a Bible verse that has touched my heart this fall. "The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love" Galatians 5:6. Now close your eyes and picture a world where people live those words. I guess I'm grateful that I get the chance to try. Through God's grace, I'm forgiven over and over and keep on trying.

I'm so thankful for so much. I love to spend time in November reflecting on that and giving credit where credit is due.


Monday, October 31, 2011


I spent way too much on candy this year. I'm not sure what happened?

So here I sit, in my Halloween socks, with my bat headband. Waiting for the party that never started...

Maybe there are too many other parties? My kids have already worn their costumes twice, received candy, and said trick-or-treat five million times. All before Halloween even came. We've had a few trick-or-treaters, maybe 20 or so, but I thought there'd be so many more.

Kids these days.

It's Murphy's Law, if I hadn't bought any candy - there would've been a line up the sidewalk of angry children demanding candy!! Speaking of that, do you watch Happy Endings? If not, you should start. I suggest the Halloween episode. It's HILARIOUS!

Happy Halloween!!!


Monday, October 24, 2011


We spent yesterday at a huge pumpkin patch outside of Omaha and what a perfect day!

I had to work really hard not to let the fact that I had left my camera at my sister-in-law's ruin the perfect day. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm. The kids were happy and so excited. Hubs gave us a whole day, when he could have filled it with work to do's.

I wanted to take pictures of all of the beauty, but only had the Hubs phone. So we have a photo of the day, to remember the fun and excitement and warm fall weather.

Because really, the memories of that day are more important than the photos. We can make do with the phone pictures because we will hold that memory in our hearts - of how great a day spent together as a family can be!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Frugal? In some instances, yes.

In the interest of full blog honesty. Yes, I am the girl who holds her (cheap) eye shadow together with duct tape after it breaks because I like the color and there's a lot of it left.

I also have been known to use a sharpie to fill in the end of a particularly loved shoe to make it last to at least the end of the season. Who may also convince herself the next year that the particularly loved shoe can make it just ONE.MORE.SEASON.

Yes, that's me.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Science in Action

Yes, my kids take tests at school. They are measured against normed group samples and then tested again to show progress. Yup, that happens.

What we all need to remember is that there are also some really great things going on in schools and that teachers work really hard to make that happen.

The assignment was for science. Bring three ideas of what you would like to bring for a plant buffet. My Bee looked at the fruit and vegetable sections of my two best cookbooks and wrote down 1. Cinnamon Apples 2. Cheesy Broccoli 3. Potato Salad. Hey mom! Did you know that broccoli is a FLOWER?!?!!

The third graders are studying plants in science and today they are having a grand feast of roots, stems, leaves, and flowers.

And we are bringing the flowers.
I say THANK YOU to every grade school teacher, you make such a difference in this world in ways that are amazing and special. There are special halos reserved just for you, I'm sure of it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy soup

The chili that I made this weekend was a little odd, made from random ingredients I already had. V8 instead of tomato juice, navy beans instead of chili beans, corn (?) for no reason other than I thought it sounded good.

What made the chili special were the tomatoes. The last from my garden. Beautiful red tomatoes, my last harvest. Diced and sauteed with onions and garlic.

There are some delicious left overs are in the fridge and waiting for my lunch today. Now that is a reason to be happy.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Things that are always in short supply at my house: scotch tape, markers, printer paper, glue sticks.

But hey - we are all decked out for Halloween!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Because they won't be little forever...

A pile of found things can be a very exciting thing around here
Today I choose pure joy over the complete mess of toys in our basement. My kids are still young enough to spend the day pretending all sorts of wacky things and I am choosing contentment in this time rather than frustration.
Joy. Contentment. Fun. What a perfect Saturday.
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Good Remider to OBEY THE LAW

I suffer horrible claustrophobia. I have always assumed it's because when I was three, I had a spinal tap under duress. My mom was made to wait outside of the room and I freaked. Or was I four? All I know is that my entire life, I've been afraid of small places, being restrained in any way, and locked doors.

Today, as a part of my new job, I delivered papers to our county's detention center. If a student receives special education services, they receive them anywhere...despite their current circumstances.

I was buzzed into a small space, a hallway really, and asked to wait. So I sat and waited. Calmly. I noticed all of the crickets, dead and alive, and thought about how lucky it was that I wasn't afraid of insects. A person would freak out in there if they were afraid of insects. I thought about how warm it was in that tiny hall, what with there being no ventilation. Then my eyes wandered to the door I'd come through. Locked. The door into the building? Also locked.

I rang that buzzer again. Hello? Is anyone coming? "Yes, ma'am. They're just clearing the lunch room."  This is when I remarked, as calmly as I could, to the nice voice in the buzzer that I am horribly claustrophobic, and could I please just go wait back outside??? I think I heard a slight chuckle in his voice when he told me yes. When I was buzzed back in, the female officer told me to wait while she checked with the sergeant, to make sure it was okay for her to accept the work I was dropping off. I asked her, as calmly as I could, could I please go wait outside while she finds out? She was not amused. She buzzed me out.

A few minutes later the nice voice behind the buzzer told me that we were all set and I could go.
Thank goodness.

I was shaken.

So...I must remember to NEVER find myself an inmate. I would surely lose my mind!

I'm not even sure yet how I'll handle it next time I have to go there as an educator. Maybe the nice voice behind the buzzer will let me wait the entire time outside? Maybe I could just mail the papers?



Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Fun Little Game

I realize that not everyone has this fun box of cubes, but you could use just about anything. Legos come to mind immediately.

First, Buddy would roll the dice. I had him tell me which two numbers came up, then he would count out that many cubes. Once he had the cubes, he found the corresponding card to put into the number sentence.

Then he would count up the total cubes and put the answer into the equation. At that point, he would read me the sentence. Six plus four equals ten. He touched it, he counted it, he saw it, he heard it.

His attention span was good for about five turns. We didn't play this game a lot over the summer, but I thought it was a fun idea!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Time flies.

And now we are all in school. The kids will spend their days at our neighborhood elementary school, B is in 3rd grade and Buddy is a kindergartener. Wow.

J and I spend our days at local high schools. The Hubs is principal at our districts high school and I work for the public schools as a special education teacher in the resource room at a parochial high school. It's a strange position to be in, but so far I love it! I always say that the Hubs and I are such nerds about school that we decided to spend our whole lives going there.

This year is sure to be crazy busy, but so much fun. I can't wait to see what sort of brain expansion occurs. We have a new token economy for our screen time (it involve chips worth 30 minutes each and budgeting time for how to spend them). We started it this weekend and it worked great. I'm hoping that it helps reduce some of the fights for how to balance time. The kids will start fall activities in a couple of weeks and I'd like to get a solid school routine down before we get too far into the year.

The best part about this year? My hours. I work 12-4. Meaning that when I get home from dropping the kids off to school, I have a few hours to do chores/errands...and ahem, a little computer time.

It is balance that I seek, yet again. I think we are off to a great start for finding it this year.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here We Go Again

So summer's over. Everything has changed.

We took a trip to Kansas City over B's birthday and I came back to a job interview and a new job. I'm going to be working afternoons as a special education teacher at our local parochial school and started last Friday. My head is so heavy with new information, it makes for very little room for anything else.

My own kids start school on Monday. My little Buddy is going to kindergarten and B will start third grade. Two school age kids in the house and we are all so excited! I tell everyone that the Hubs and I both love school so much we decided never to leave (we both work in high schools) so the whole kindergarten thing is NOT sad, but a cause for celebration! That doesn't stop me from getting a little nostalgic and perhaps a wee bit melancholy about the speedy passage of time and the lack of babies in my home and the massive changes that these kids have undergone in such a short period of time.

That being said, we are all very excited for the year to begin. I can't believe that my year off is over and here we are again. Working part-time is going to be a really great fit for the family, I'm grateful that it all worked out that way. Now if my brain can just catch up and comprehend everything it's been learning over the past week. I'll be good to go.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A little trip down memory lane. The year our Bee turned 3. Look at that sweet little face.

Now it's five years later and we are approaching her 8th birthday. Time has a funny way of going really fast, but it also seems like that was so long ago. I'm not sure how that can be. All I know is that I'm so glad that I have the pictures to look at. To remember such fun times.

Pinatas. Ballons. Slip-n-slides. Games. Cake. More cake. Lots of laughs. And kids running everywhere. I get a little nostalgic for those parties, time and geography and made them a bit harder to do. I'm just so glad we had the chance to have so much fun. What better way to celebrate the birthday of such a great girl?!


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This summer I will always remember as one of great growth and development for our Bee. She'll be eight next week. On her birthday, we will be at an amusement park in Kansas City. She will probably be riding her first roller coaster. She will be EIGHT.
Over the holiday weekend she lost two teeth in 24 hours. She's suddenly got the standard jack-o-lantern smile of any school age child.

She jumped off of the diving board for the first time ever on the second day of swimming lessons two weeks ago. It was with zero hesitation that she took her first dip in the deep end.

She tried out a rope swing on a lake and rode on a tube behind a boat minutes after her very first boat ride. She thought that a day spent at the lake was the very best thing she'd ever done (she feels that way often) and that it was definitely the BEST DAY EVER.

Maybe because she's our first, we've sheltered her a bit. Suddenly she's in the big world and trying new things with more energy and delight than anyone I've ever met. She's excited by small things and still loves being a kid.

It's off to third grade in August and I can only imagine what's next. I'm so glad to be her mom.

Honest, generous, creative, and sweet. Our Bee is such a joy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This is the view from our deck. Over our fence, over the walking path, over a semi-busy road...there is this field. I absolutely love this view. The darker green is an alfalfa field that has just been harvested. It will grow back, be mowed again, and baled. It's fun to see the process, which we've watched three times over the year that we've been here. The lighter green is pasture, where cows roam and eat and moo. We watch storms come over the horizon and firelies dance at night. It makes me happy.

We've got such a different life here. The kids are currently out front with the neighbor kids, caring for a painted turtle that their dad found fishing. There's a freedom in their lives that is new and fantastic. I know that part of it comes with the independence of older kids, it's a great feeling to know that your kids are happy.

 We've had picnics. Fireworks shows. They ride their scooters up and down the block. There are kids everywhere.

They've had their first boat rides. Summer day camps. Art and music classes. Nature hikes.

And lots of down time. It's been such a change of pace here and I LOVE IT.

August 1st will mark one year since we left Omaha. Yes, saying good-bye was hard, but there have been no regrets. Kearney is home.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Peek Outside

Early in spring, I planted some herbs and watched them sprout by my kitchen sink. Teensy seedlings, I wondered if I'd ever really see them to harvest. I was not confident. The good thing is that by doing it this way, the kids were able to help out with planting and enjoy watching the growth. We've actually got one little patch of chives that have made it...and...

Real, live basil. Growing outside in my garden. I did that!

The rabbits may have eaten my peas and lettuce (you are welcome, rabbits). But my tomatoes, radishes, and carrots are looking promising! The tomatoes I bought as actual plants, but the radishes and carrots are seeds that the kids planted. (Gardening 101, I know, but we are rocking it!). I've managed to weed these small garden beds and keep them watered. We will have tomatoes very soon!

If you look a little closer...looky there! Green tomatoes, soon to be salsa and tomato sauce and also eaten like an apple.

I'm 0 for 3 on gardening experiences in the past ten years. This is the closest I've come to actual success. I read that basil is great to plant by tomatoes, so that's what we've done. Now if I can stick with it in coming weeks, and not let my attention span get me yet again. We may have actual veggies to eat from our yard!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dear Old Dad

Dear Dad, on Father's Day,

I'm sorry I put your Jeep in the lake all those years ago. It was such a lovely shade of orange, if only my short little legs could've gotten that brake engaged before she went under in a bubbly disaster!

I'm sorry for the years 1992-1996. As a current parent of a daughter, I can only imagine what my dating years did to your nerves. I was a good girl, but can only imagine what you must've thought every time I dressed myself up for a date and headed out that door. I know that I will begin suffering the paybacks for that in about 6 years.

My apologies for my left-leaning, liberal ways. Despite your best attempts, your daughter is a democrat (gasp) and thanks for just letting that be. I know it must boggle your mind how you raised a child who would have such different views. Thank goodness you never let that come between us, though I know I drove you crazy in my undergrad days, trying to make you see the wisdom of my ways!

Thank you for taking me fishing when I was little, thank you for letting me hang around the garage, and thanks for letting me be me. I credit these experiences for my high school physics teacher assessment that I had great mechanical skills (the best of any "girl" he'd ever taught, but we'll skip over that little piece of sexism shall we?).

Thank you for being the grandpa that you are. My kids so look forward to coming to your house, they love you the way a kid should get to love a grandpa. For the tickles and candy and jokes. That's just how it's supposed to be.

You never shied from being the parent. From giving some tough love.

Thank you for loving my mom the way you do and thank you for teaching your kids about loyalty, hard work, and respect. I know that I found the right guy, a guy with many similar traits, because you set that bar high. 

If only everyone had a dad like you. What a world that would be.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

I love you. Most ardently.

I need your help.

I'm not sure how, but in 19 years of formal education, I have read ZERO of Jane Austen's books. How is this possible?!

My friend Nan wrote of her husband's use of Austen's text (which was a hilarious post, by the way) and I was certainly humbled. How have I not read any Austen?

I love LOVE love the movies. I own Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense & Sensibility. These are common go-to movies for a lazy Sunday. They take me to my happy place and guarantee an afternoon well spent.

This is where the help comes in. I'm not sure where to start. I'm determined to cure my affliction. I will complete at least three Austen novels this summer. Where to start? Is there a good sequence? Or do I just read them all in chronological order?

Please help cure me of this status. I cannot handle being a person who has not read Jane Austen any longer. What should I read....where should I start. Thank you in advance for you help. It is most appreciated.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


I wrote about My Love on our 6th anniversary. I also wrote on our 8th anniversary.

Today, we celebrate a decade of marriage. When I look back, it seems like a big deal and a long time and a huge milestone.

When I look forward...not so much.

For there will be 20 years, then 30, 40, 50...and hopefully more after that. Ten years seems like nothing when you look at it facing the future.

I joke often about marriage being a life sentence, but I mean it.

If I had it to do again, I would. Over and over again.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011


pe·o·ny[pee-uh-nee] –noun, plural -nies.

any of various plants or shrubs of the genus Paeonia, having large, showy flowers, as the widely cultivated species P. lactiflora: the state flower of Indiana.


Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. Growing up, we had lots of them all over the acres we lived on (and where my parents still live). They make me feel nostalgic and happy and hopeful. That's a lot to ask for in a flower!

Imagine my joy when I found a long row of them on the south side of the house we purchased last summer. I've had such a good time watching them grow this spring. Now that they are blooming, I just like to sit out there and look at them. The smell is so flowery, the blooms so pretty.

It's one of my favorite parts of our yard.

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