Monday, April 27, 2009

Favorite Day

When I was working, my favorite day of the week wasn't Friday. Oh sure, I enjoyed Fridays, especially since I got out of work at 4 on those days (I know, for an attorney that sure is sweet), but it was Sunday that held a soft spot in my heart. We always did our activities on Saturdays~all our errands, or visiting with friends and family. Sundays were always reserved for a quick early morning trip to the grocery store, and then we stayed home. Laundry was washed, dried and folded. Sometimes it was even put away. Sunday included football games ad nauseum in the fall, golf and baseball in the spring. If anyone wanted to see us, they had to come to us. We just wanted one day to relax in the quiet of our home.

Sundays these days are quite different from a few years ago. For the last two years Meg has had hockey practice on Sunday mornings. A trip to a big box store usually followed a hockey practice, since it was on the way home. Then we rushed through lunch, naps, laundry and any other things we needed to accomplish. Sundays haven't been that enjoyable of late because of the harried nature of it all.

We had a great Sunday the other day. It was a beautiful day out and the kids were having fun just playing. I grabbed my camera and here's what I saw:

It was unhurried and so pleasant. The twins ran around the yard, Drew loved playing on the swings and I managed to capture Doug and Meg dancing to the Latin tune on my cell phone. Considering that we still had snow in our yard last week, it was nice to be outside in shirt sleeves and shorts. I hope we get more of those unhurried days on our calendar, soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I've been drafting this blog post in my head on and off since last week. I have a tendency to write eloquently in my head, but when I sit down to type, it all comes out in a jumble. I haven't had a lot to say lately. Correction~I haven't had a lot to say that is really worth saying. Oh, I could complain about my husband's lack of a full April vacation, or that after a month the kids are still not adjusting to his schedule. But honestly, I don't want to. I don't want to complain about my kids, or my husband or anything. It just feels...wrong. In the wake of Maddie Spohr's passing, I've felt differently about my blog, my Twitter account, everything.

I've spent time in the last couple of weeks trying to imagine how Heather and Mike, people I "only" know thru their blogs, are coping with a silent house. I've tried to visualize my life without one of my children, to silence their voices when we're all in a room, and I absolutely cannot do it. I cry when I read tweets on Twitter, or blog posts that people have written about Maddie, Heather or Mike. Doug says I should stop reading, but I can't. I don't want to. I don't want to forget, because it could happen to any of us. We could be Heather and Mike.

So I'm taking my blog, and tweets, in a different direction for awhile. It's my small way to remember. I'll be around, commenting here and there. I'll post, but you won't hear me complaining about my kids or my life. I have so much to be thankful for and I'm trying to remember that. I don't want to regret things said or done. I want to enjoy my family, my life. I want to remember.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I have spent much of the last week thinking. My heart is still so sad for Heather and Mike Spohr over the loss of their beautiful daughter Maddie. Her funeral service is tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 PST. Her family has asked that people wear purple in her honor and I will be doing that for her family. I have turned my Twitter avatar and my Twitter page purple. My blog is already purple. I have donated to Heather's March of Dimes page (and Mike has one too) and will be donating to the PayPal account that has been set up to help the family cover the expenses of burying their daughter. You can find both of those links if you click thru your feed reader to my blog; they are in my sidebar.

I have been DOING these things because they take my mind off how helpless I feel. Whenever I start letting myself THINK too much about what Heather and Mike are going through, I start to cry. Their little girl is gone and when I let myself think too much about it I feel sick. I cannot imagine not seeing one of my children ever again. I cannot imagine having to plan a funeral. If it is overwhelming to me, I truly cannot wrap my head around how Heather and Mike are managing. They have wonderful friends with them, like Casey and their friend Meghan has taken on the absolutely enormous task of coordinating all the information, the PayPal account and the service arrangements (please go to Meghan's blog for any and all information you might want; she has a "For Maddie" tab on her home page). The massive outpouring of love from the internets has been amazing for them, and the LA Times did an article about them yesterday (you can find it here).

So if I've taken anything positive at all away from this, it's that there is goodness in humanity. Heather and Mike have suffered a loss so unimaginable for most of us, yet we have banded together to support them. They're going to need so much support down the road. I know I will continue to be here for them in any small way that I can. After all, that is what friends are for.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Give your kids a little extra squeeze today for Maddie Spohr

I've been reading a blog called The Spohrs are Multiplying for about a year now. I found it thru another blog and was just taken in by the story of Heather and Mike and their little girl Maddie. Maddie was born prematurely, wasn't expected to live, and proved them all wrong. She turned a year old last fall. I followed their battles with RSV, her hospitalizations, her triumphs. I loved the photos they posted as Maddie has the best smile.

Maddie had been in the hospital for the last two days with more breathing issues. I woke this morning to tweets on Twitter that she had passed away and I just burst into tears. I cannot imagine losing a child. My heart breaks for Heather and Mike and their families. I cannot fathom what they're going through.

So please, if you can do anything today, hugs your kids a little tighter. And then go here to Maddie's March of Dimes page and donate (or to my widget in the sidebar).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The sporting child

Those of you with younger children will just have to trust me. Those of you with school aged children will just nod your head and smile. If you have a child that participates in sports (or dance, etc.) you will do the following:

1) You WILL get up at 7 on a Saturday in October to sit at the frigid soccer field.

2) You WILL take all of your children out in the torrential downpour on a Monday night to take your oldest to her next to last hockey game of the season while your husband is at a meeting.

3) You WILL buy new equipment/shoes/socks/hats/shirts every year.

4) You WILL say "ok" to your husband coaching the hockey/softball/soccer teams your kids play for.

5) You WILL cheer the loudest even if it isn't a "real" game.

You WILL do all of these things for your kids because they will score a goal/get an assist/smile at you from the rink~field~dance floor/hear you cheer them on/get a double/have fun. You WILL wish you were still in bed/not out in the pouring rain/someone else was the coach/your kid played a different sport or none at all. But those wishes will be few and far between when you have smiling kids at the end of it all.

I was not a sports kids. I never played soccer, hockey, softball, baseball. I read books and played the flute. I LOVE that my kids want to play sports. I love that my daughter complains because she only scored one goal in her hockey game. I love that they cry when the season is over because they love it so much. I love that right now it's all still about having fun and learning the game. I may have different thoughts when they get older, but for now, I'm going to keep loving being a soccer/hockey/softball Mama.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's like listening to Charlie Brown's teacher

Sometimes the noise level in this house gets so loud, that it almost becomes like a hum. A really loud hum, like the space shuttle on the launch pad, ready to launch. Or, like the sound that Charlie Brown's teacher sounds like on the tv cartoons. That "whah whah whah" sound made by a trumpet or trombone with their mute. Some days it's too much to bear, and I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to hear my own thoughts. Confine us to a small space, like my van (Ford Freestar) and it's even more difficult to handle.

Then there are those days, say in the van, where the cutest conversations take place when the kids don't think we're paying attention. A week or so ago we were going to a hockey practice and Annie and Izzie were talking. Izzie said "Annie you wearing frog socks?" to which Annie replied "nooooo, turtles". I kid you not. My two year olds had a full-sentence conversation. Doug looked at me and remarked that the girls aren't old enough to talk that way. I had to remind him that Drew spoke in full sentences before he turned two. The benefits of an older sister I guess.

Today we got into the van to go pick Drew up from preschool and Izzie asked me to "listen to music please Mama". I put on the radio and she piped up, "no, Hannah Montana". Oh boy!

These are the things that make me love my children so. Their cute little conversations, the way their minds work. The way the four of them will sit together on the couch to look thru the Toys R Us catalog from November and ooh and aaah over the toys. The way Drew sings along with the Hannah Montana songs andwillingly allows Meg to dress him in a tutu and tap shoes to perform for us. The way Meg reads to the girls and Drew, or even makes her own lunch to help me out. Those things warm my heart and hold me until the next sweet moment comes along in the chaos of our days.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our house in the middle of our street

I think part of everyone's American Dream is to own their own home. I know it was my dream. We bought our first house for our first wedding anniversary. Poor Doug was convinced he'd never be able to live up to that gift! We sold that house in 2002 and bought another house in a wonderful neighborhood where we had friends.

In late 2005 we started talking about moving. The house was feeling small with two kids and all their stuff. An opportunity to buy some land sort of fell into our hands and we ran with the idea of building our own home near Doug's work. After several years of him commuting, we were both ready for him to work closer to his home.

So, in 2006 we put our house on the market. At that very moment, the housing market started its collapse. We struggled to even get showings on the house, let alone an offer. I found out I was pregnant. With the twins. Our house was under construction. We moved, leaving our house listed with a broker, and started paying two mortgages. One one income. With two more babies coming into the world. For the last three years we've struggled to find respectable tenants to live in our home. We've hired attorneys, had to pay outstanding bills that our tenants left behind for us. We've had to repaint our home, haul tenants' trash to the dump. Not my idea of the American Dream.

Last month we re-listed that house with new brokers, not expecting much. We were under contract in four days after about 20 showings. I won't go into details of how much of a financial hit we took to sell this house. It was depressing, but it had to be done. Yesterday we closed on the sale. The new owners are young and full of energy. I think they'll love the house. It's a great neighborhood, they both work in the city, and have friends down the street. I'm so glad that the American Dream came true for them. I'm even happier that I'm no longer a dual home owner. Now we can put the energy into this home that we meant to do when we built. It's time for our American Dream to come to light again.