Monday, January 31, 2011


"Mommy, (So-and-so) said I couldn't play with them at school anymore.  She said I had boy socks. I really don't want to wear these socks anymore."  I'm sure you've heard something like this before....heck, maybe some of us have even said something like this before.  I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this.  After all, my daughter only almost FIVE years old.  I know this should not surprise me.  I remember some of the love-hate relationships I shared with some of my grade-school friends.  I think the reason I'm so surprised (besides the fact that she's in PRE SCHOOL) is that I have talked to Emma so much about what a good friend is and different ways she can be a good friend to others.  I want her to be a strong, independent person who doesn't have to rely on her friends to make decisions for her.  I do, however, find a lot of value in friendships which are formed along our journey called life.  

Since Emma talked to me about this few weeks ago, I've been thinking about the many different relationships I've shared.  Throughout our life we become friends with many people. Some of these we are born into, such as a mother, sisters, aunts, or cousins - over which we don't really have much control. Other contacts are relationships we have some sort of control over.  You pick your friends based upon unique bonds which are formed from the day you first meet.  I am eager and nervous (as you can see from the above paragraph) to see the friendships which Emma and Kaiser will form in years to come.  

I feel fortunate to have the best friends in the world.  This is rather cliche to say this, for everyone believes they have the greatest friends.  I feel fortunate to be so close with my mom and sisters, but also feel blessed to have a similar relationship with a few women I frequently call my 'besties'.  I really don't think I could possibly function without some sort of friend-therapy sessions with them on a frequent basis.  Then, there are some of my oldest friends.  There are times when I see these women only a few times a year, and no matter what, we can always pick up right where we left off and come back together again without missing a beat.  

I'm sure it will be easier to deal with the friendships of Kaiser and his guy-friends rather than Emma and her girlfriends.  I all-to-vividly remember some of the run-ins I had with people during grade, middle, and high school.  I often question why we feel the need to treat others badly.  What do we gain from making someone feel crappy about themselves? What did Emma's friend gain by making fun of her socks?  I'm quite sure this won't be the last time someone questions the clothes-choice of my children (see below).  I just pray they're able to brush themselves off and roll with the punches.  I hope Emma will become a strong woman who doesn't form a complex because someone says something mean to her.  I have plenty of regrets about the way I handled things from childhood.  What I try to think about now is that regrets shouldn't exist.  The experience either happened for a reason and it's a good thing, or it happened and was a learning experience.  Hopefully I can pass this on to Emma and Kaiser. 

One of my current favorite quotes I recently heard on American Idol:  "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends on the couch."  Well, sometimes I have wanted to do just that.  Have you ever wanted to wipe your friends on the couch?

Wow, Emma.  Wow.

Cheezy hair-do!

Amazing outfit choice!

Food, please.

Goofy girl!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Cover All the Bases...

**On a side note, I spent tonight curled up on the couch with Emma and they boys watching Beezus and Ramona.  Great movie.  While I'll eventually have to send it back to Netflix, this will definitely be a movie I'll soon purchase to watch again and again.

Why is it that when we bless our food and are amongst our family or friends, Emma feels the need to say 123 blessings?  Don't get me wrong, I often giggle to myself each time she initiates it.  When we're at my parents' house, we all know that we must say every one, and we are all very used to it.... our 'Line Up' of prayers is as follows: (but isn't limited to...)

  • God is great; God is good; let us thank Him for our food, Amen. (this is the one we say before meals at home)
  • Bless us our Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
  • Come Lord Jesus, be our guest; let this food to us be blessed, Amen.
  • Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub.  Yay God!
  • Over the teeth; through the gums; look out stomach; here it comes!
Emma is sure to make sure no one feels left out or slighted.  While most times it's no big deal to let her make sure she's politically correct, including all religious prayers before meals, I wouldn't be being truthful if I said that sometimes I didn't just want to yell, "Hurry up!"  I sometimes feel the same way when I lay with her at night before bed.  I sometimes feel it's a continual how-long-can-I-put-off-my-bedtime scheme.

Last night, I asked Emma to fold her hands, and I braced myself for a 20 minute session.  With no other prompting, she proceeded to say her nightly line-up of prayers, Now I Lay Me...; I See the Moon...; Lord's Prayer...; Angel of God...; and she even has me say a prayer from when I was younger that Nana told her about, but she makes me say it.... the Hail Mary.  After completing these, she God-blessed each friend, teacher, and family member she has ever had (including her cat and dog cousins) and still had enough sense to ask, "God help me with making good choices tomorrow, make me be nice to my brother, and thanks for Your Son, because He takes away all the bad things I do." 

Tonight after the regular line-up, she said she was thankful for the world, and glad that we get to live here for a little bit before coming up the sky into heaven.  She said she thought it was cool that God uses different colors to 'paint' us, even our eyes are different and special.  She said she was happy that God 'painted' her into her family, and not a different family.  "'...'Cuz if that happened, Kaiser wouldn't be my brother." She also wondered if we get to eat in heaven.  I told her I wasn't sure, since I'd never been there.  She said, "We'll have to wait....then ask Gramma Kaiser."

Well, tonight when I say my prayers, I'm going to be sure to thank God for blessing me with a daughter who is able to teach me, even when I least expect it (or when I am really annoyed thinking she's giving me her best bedtime put-off scheme).  I will also be sure that I don't roll my eyes when listening to her nightly line-up....because she'll always surprise me, and make me feel good when she's finished.

Don't forget to say your prayers tonight! What do you thank God for?  What do you ask for help with?  Do you think we get to eat in heaven?  :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You're starting a WHAT?!?!

**Mind you, I already typed this entire post, and then it magically disappeared.  So, here's my second rundown.... hopefully I won't lose this one too, or it may be a sign from God that blogging isn't for me :) **

Here I am at a new phase of my life.  My son just turned one, and my daughter will soon be five.  I absolutely can not believe how fast time has gone!  I've had a hard time keeping track of their milestones and events going on in day-to-day life.  Emma often has many insightful things to say, and people always tell me, "You have to write that down!"  Kaiser is doing new things each day as well, and I need a place to keep track of it all, amongst all of the other chaos in our lives. 

I have pondered over this blog thing for quite some time.  "Why would anyone want to read it?  What will people think of it - I don't really have a sense of humor?  How would I ever keep readers interested?"  Well, I've come to the realization that I'm not writing this blog for you, but for myself.  If you want to read a goofy tidbit about how my son has a fixation with a Tinkerbelle phone at daycare and how Emma amazes me with her grasp of reality, then this may be the blog for you.  If you will get nauseous when reading about my kids and their accomplishments, then this may not be the blog for you to read.  This is going to be a place I record happenings in my family's life.  It's a place I can come back to whenever I wish and reminisce about when my babies were young!  

Here's an update of my family so far:

Kaiser just turned one YESTERDAY. Our little "Orange Bowl Baby" surprised us when he finally crawled everywhere at 7 months after being up on all-fours rocking back and fourth since five months.  He hasn't stopped moving since he started walking at 11 months.  He doesn't much like to sleep, but sometimes we get lucky once in a blue moon with a full night's rest.  Kaiser eats people food, and LOVES to eat.  He loves to torment Big Sister by stealing her toys and getting into all her 'stuff'.  I have honestly never seen a kid smile more than this guy.  I know I'm not just biased, because I hear it all the time.  It's taken him a year to master the act of throwing a fit.  This is a new 'thing' he's doing now.  He's found his voice, and by gosh, he knows how to use it.  I wonder who he's taking after!?!

Emma will soon turn five.  Wow, talk about how time flies.  She's in preschool and loves every minute of it.  She comes home with stories and stories about how her day went.  It's unreal to me that she'd rather spend an hour writing, drawing, or coloring than playing with her Leapster or her Tag Reading System.  For Christmas this year, she wanted, "Two American Girl twins and a book."  She'd been saying that since September.  Her American Girl dolls are one thing she will play with for hours.  She takes really good care of them (thank goodness!) and has names for them all:  Lila, Molly (mine from many years ago), Jack, and Cora.  Emma is in her second year of dance, and boy, talk about improvement!  I was really worried the few first practices when all she did was sit and stare at the instructor!  She is also extremely tolerant of her little brother, especially since he loves to pull and pull and pull her long hair.  She's also a master in the fit department and has been since a very young age.  I wonder where she gets her stubbornness??

Eric started a new job this summer as Middle School Principal with South Tama County Schools.  He'd previously spent nine years teaching high school math at Benton Community.   It's been a challenge for him, but in a good way.  He's learning so much and expanding his network of contacts by leaps and bounds.  He's quite the blogger about his educational views, and has many contacts through Twitter. 

I, on the other hand, am still "Twitter dumb" and have no idea what goes on in the world of Twitter, nor do I want to take on that challenge at this point.  We'll take it one step at a time!  I'm still teaching 4th grade and am diving into more technology use in my classroom each day.  This is one of my goals, and then I'll see if I could handle taking care of a classroom blog page.   One of my highlights from this past year is going to the Carrie Underwood concert with my two sisters and my mom.  It'll be a time to remember and hopefully we'll get to do it again sometime soon!

As for the family front, we are fortunate enough that we took a week's vacation to Washington DC with the Townsleys, and we went up to Minnesota with the Kaisers clan again.  At the end of December we FINALLY sold our "summer home" in Van Horne, as we frequently called it.  We bought a house in Keystone in October which is just a few blocks from my school and the park, and it's also closer for Eric's commute to Toledo.  The kids adjusted wonderfully to a new babysitter, and there haven't been tears at drop-off since day one!

For now, that's all I've got.  We'll see if I can come up with anything more to write after this post.  We'll see....we'll see!  

The girls at Carrie Underwood!

Kaiser at the Townsley Christmas

Emma at her Christmas dance at the Nursing home

Our family, Christmas Eve

My goofers, Christmas Eve