Bradley’s Thanksgiving Present

Bradley came across the playground wearing his coat and stocking cap. He also had a necklace made of  noodles around his neck. He was spinning the noodle beads and I noticed his hands had blue smudges on them from the dye. 

“Mom! I made this today in school.”

I told him how nice it was and that he did a good job. He was still messing with one flowered looking noodle. “But Chris (a boy in his class, name has been changed to protect the hungry), ate part of my noodle,” Bradley pointed out.

“It’s okay. I think it is a wonderful necklace.”

“I know, Mom. Chris also eats wood chicks (a.k.a. wood chips) off the playground though, Mom.”

I never know what to say about these stories. I always get a good laugh at the things he tells me…and I wonder how his teacher does it every day, she must have a wonderful sense of humor to be in a room of twenty something kindergartners all day. I’ve been there, it’s a blast, but I have always been exhausted by the end of the day.

“Well, hunny,” I explained to Bradley, “I think he is still learning that you don’t eat those things.”

He continued playing with his necklace and we headed for home.

When we got home he took off his necklace. “This is for you, Mom. Happy Thanksgiving!” He was so happy to give me the present. And every Mom loves a noodle necklace!

And Bradley must have been in the giving mood because he also gave Terri, who watches the babies all day, a picture he made of an owl and told her Happy Thanksgiving also. What a sweetie!

As I was tucking Bradley into bed that evening he asked, “Mom, where is your necklace?”

“I had to take it off because I’m getting ready to go to bed. I put it by my purse. I will put it on tomorrow. And you know what, I’m going to wear it ALL day tomorrow.” He started to smile and I continued…

“I’m going to wear it to work. And I know everybody at work is going to love my new necklace and they are going to ask, ‘Where did you get that awesome necklace?’ and I am going to say ‘My son, Bradley, made it for me.'” His smile was getting bigger and I continued…

 “They are going to LOVE my necklace so much and say that I am the luckiest Mom in the world because you made me such a beautiful necklace.” His smile was so big and he was so proud of his present he gave me.

“I love you, Mom.” We said our good nights and I gave him hugs and kisses.

“See you in the morning.”

I was starting to turn off the light and walk out the door when he said, “Mom! Wait!”


“When are we going to break bread?”

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Winter Scarves and Empty Santa Threats

The heat started blaring cold air through the vents as soon as I started the car. It always seems to take forever to warm up. I said my thank you to the seat warmer as I flipped the switch. It heats up instantly. A warm butt equals a warm me. This motto was instilled into me at a very young age because of my mom. When my sister and I were kids she would always make us get winter coats that covered our bottoms, “to keep us warm,” she would say. I always thought this idea was ridiculous. I wanted the turquoise coat with the tight elastic waistband and white stripes going up the front (it was the 80’s when I was a kid). That never happened. We were forced to pick out a sensible winter coat that covered our butts, and preferably a long coat that covered our legs. Ugh!

“Mom,” Bradley said from the backseat. He’s wearing a black stocking cap and bright blue stretchy gloves that do not what-so-ever match his gray coat. For some reason he loves those silly gloves, so to me he looks super adorable. “I need a scarf. Scarves are cool.” He has mentioned this once before when Brad was in the car. Brad said, “Scarves are for girls.” I protested this immediately. Let the kid wear a scarf if he wants to. He’s in kindergarten.

“And I want some of those things that go over your ears.”

“Earmuffs,” I told him. “You know, Santa will be coming soon. Maybe he will bring you some.”

This Santa business is my excuse for everything this time of year. I get the necessities and wrap them up. Socks and underwear. New jeans and gloves. And of course some toys. I’m not a mean Santa. If he’s lucky he will get a tooth-brush in his stocking, maybe even an electric one! Heck, I haven’t actually thought much about Christmas yet, and I should be with six kids to get presents for. Phew!

I also love the threat of Santa. If you are a parent you know exactly what I mean. Even if you aren’t a parent, think back to when you were a kid. “Santa is watching. He knows if you are good or bad.” So if the boys are acting up, I’ve pulled the Santa threat out of my stocking and said, in my mom warning voice, “Boys, you better behave. Santa is watching.” Of course Santa is watching. I’m right here.

But when you think about it…it is kind of creepy. Some guy you don’t know is always watching you and may or may not bring you presents. We have weird traditions. 

I pulled up along side of Bradley’s school and let him out. I kissed the top of his head as he was trying to escape to the playground.

“Have a super good day!” I called out. “I’ll pick you up after school.”

“Bye, Mom,” he said, not looking back.

I pulled away. Off to work.


Every Book

It was quiet after dinner. WAY to quiet. The babies were toddling around the living room, looking adorable as usual. “Where are the boys?” I asked Brad. “Upstairs,” he replied.

Hmmm… I wonder what they are doing. It may not be good with all that silence. What am I saying? It is usually never good with all that silence!  (Unless they are sleeping.)

They play loud. They argue loud. Unless they are watching a movie it probably means they are going to be in trouble, and even that doesn’t stop them.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

I walked up the stairs and right around the corner two cute boys sat next to each other. Collin was holding, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” and Bradley was flipping through a book about Blue Tongued Skinks. Bradley would say, “Hey, Collin! Look at this.” And they would both stick their tongues out – “Blah!” they would say in unison over the picture.

I am a proud momma. I have been reading to them FOREVER and CONSTANTLY and it just makes me proud when I see them reading without me. I mean, seriously, I have been brainwashing them to love reading since they were in the womb.

Maybe next time they wont drag out EVERY SINGLE book off the bookshelf though. That was a mess. Oh well… anything for reading.

These are some of the moments that I love, but easily forgotten with time. This is my way of remembering.


October/November Recap

It has been so crazy here I haven’t blogged in a while. I feel like I have missed a lot. So I am just going to condense it into one big recap.

First we had Bradley’s 6th birthday.

And then my birthday.

Then Halloween. The kids got a lot of candy. I ate a large amount of chocolate.






And the day after Halloween was Elsie and Mallie’s first birthday. They really chowed down on the cake.

And the day after that was Brad’s birthday. And then Grandpa Don’s birthday.

And then my computer went haywire, not all by itself though… partly because of me. But thanks again, Dad, for fixing it.

And between all of that was the everyday jobs of keeping up with dishes, laundry, and all that fun stuff.

And finally a break!

It has been so busy I kind of felt like this (check out the video below). DIZZY!

It just makes me dizzy watching it. The first time Collin did it, he stood up and fell over. It was hilarious. I guess he learned, because from then on he just crawled afterward.

Actually, this is just one example of Brad’s way of entertaining himself with the kids on Sunday when he is watching football. I guess you have to do something with those commercial breaks.


Pumpkin Carving

The newspaper covered the linoleum floor. We sat the fat pumpkin with the chewed up stalk (thanks to our dog Mickey) on the kitchen floor, ready to be carved. I examined the knifes in my kitchen. I picked the one I thought was sharpest and started cutting the lid. It was hard and I was barely making any progress. I scanned my knife selection again and chose an old one. It was skinny and extra pointy at the end with a good angle to it, it looked like a Jack the Ripper knife, perfect for Halloween. It cut right through the pumpkin flesh.

My job for pumpkin carving is simple. I cut the lid and help the kids clean out the pumpkin. Brad carves the face. Before I had kids I would spend hours designing and carving elaborate designs on numerous pumpkins. Now with so many little ones and limited time, we carve one or two and clean it the best we can. A little innards left gives it a spooky feel. I forget about the day of a perfectly smooth and even flesh of the inside of the pumpkin. I have forgotten about the elaborate designs. We go by Bradley’s ideas on how he wants his Jack-o-lantern face. It always ends up really cute. Oh, and my other job is snapping a lot of pictures until Brad grumbles so much that I just put the camera away…for a few minutes.

My favorite part about carving pumpkins is that last cut and pulling up the lid. I love the smell of the fresh pumpkin that rolls out when you pull off the lid, the strings and seeds trying to hang on to the inside, even though they have no chance of clinging on. I love digging my hands in the slime and pulling out all the junk and seeds. I love the smell. I love feeling the cold fall nights that are stored in there.

We did pretty good and it went pretty well. I rolled up Collin’s sleeves and the boys dug in, grabbing handfuls of pumpkin brains, as Bradley calls it. For the first few minutes they did good working together. It didn’t last, though. Before I knew it they were thunking each other on the head with theirs spoons and throwing pumpkin guts at each other.

“Mom! Collin just hit me,” Bradley whines.

Collin stands up and points at Bradley and yells something back. I’m assuming he is trying to whine and yell back to defend himself. It’s the same tone as Bradley’s. They stick their tongues out at each other and bicker.

I eventually get them on track, after I sit back and enjoy a little bit of the show. Because I know one day they will look back at these time and miss them. I miss fighting with my sister over silly things.

“Mom, it’s a pumpkin until you cut it. When you make a face on it, it’s a jack-o-lantern.” Bradley is very particular about which is which.

I’m very particular about my pumpkins, too. I like a clean-cut so you can see the light of the flickering candle shining through. I also like a properly cut lid. This means some sort of crazy shape that kinda resembles an octagon with way too many irregular sides. I don’t like a pumpkin lid cut around in a circle. It’s too hard to figure out which way the lid goes on. I like an obvious shape to match up. It’s really quite obvious if you think about it. You always know which way to pop on the lid.

We turned on our fake plastic candles and the boys dropped them in. We turned off the light and admired our jack-o-lantern.

I love Halloween!


Paper Mache Pumpkin

I have always wanted to make something paper mache. So Bradley and I made a paper mache pumpkin for Halloween. It was a lot of fun…AND really messy, but that’s half the fun.

Bradley insisted it had lots of blood. That’s a boy for you.

One thing I learned when it was all done, which I didn’t think about at the beginning, was to make a flat bottom on it. Our pumpkin has a rounded botton from the balloon and it doesn’t sit up right. You have to lean it up against something. That’s alright though, it’s still cute and we had so much fun.

I love the conversations we have while doing projects. I learn alot about what he is thinking. Check out the video below. You have to watch towards the end because he totally cracks me up when I asked him what kind of face he wanted to make for his pumpkin.

Did you make anything crafty this Halloween?

Thanks for reading and watching.


Bradley’s 6th Birthday

It’s the anticipation, the excitement, the adrenaline…of a birthday when you’re young.

The waiting for a whole entire year and the day is finally here.

Bradley has been counting down the days since the first of October.

Each day he would say, “Twelve days left until my birthday, Mom.” Or, “Mom, only three days left,” and I could see the excitement in his eyes as he jumps up and down.

“I can’t wait to turn six, Mom. Almost everybody in my kindergarten class is six.”

My boy’s day is here. His special day.

The sugar rush from frosting and melting icecream getting soggy in cake.

The presents waiting to be torn open.

The great big birthday smile.

Running around with cousins up and down the stairs, being as noisy as possible.

What a great birthday party.

I love you. I am proud of you. I can’t believe my first baby boy is 6!



Just a Few More Bits & Pieces

I watch the kids play and they are getting so big. Bradley has a birthday in four days! I can’t believe he is going to be six. The girls will be one in less than a month! And Collin just turned two, and you can tell, he is perfecting the art of toddler temper tantrums lately.

Oh, my dear Collin. He is so cute and sweet…and ornery. He  does love helping. though. The other day at my sister’s house Elsie was crying. Collin jumped down from his chair at the dinner table and swiped Mallie’s pacifier from her mouth and stuck it in Elsie’s. He then got back up and finished eating. One less baby crying. Poor Mallie, but she didn’t seem to mind.

Collin also loves fighting with his brother. Oh, they torment each other so much. Sticking their tongues out at each other or making faces. Collin will steal Bradley’s markers when he is doing homework and take off running. It can be a regular zoo around here sometimes.

My sister and I were talking:

“Where do these boys get this orneryness? I mean, Jonas did those same things when he was little,” my sister said.

“I know, and so did Bradley,” I say. “Couldn’t be from us! They must get it from each of their Dad’s side,” and I can’t help but laugh.

“Remember that time Bradley got so mad at you for eating that cookie?”

“It was one of the greatest temper tantrums I have ever seen.”

And sweet Mallie, I can already tell she is going to be his partner in crime, like stealing pacifiers and chasing her sister. You can read more at this previous post and watch a video. It’s too funny.

The girls are starting to get too big for the sink. I’m going to start having to give them baths in the tub. But they are so cute in the sink.

Mallie’s bubble beard. She tried to eat the wash rag full of bubbles.

Mallie finally has two bottom teeth AND she took her first little baby step the other day. She holds on and walks around the furniture like a pro. It will be no time before she is walking and chasing Collin.

Below is Elsie waiting for her bath.

She is finally crawling and working on pulling herself up and standing by things. AND she is finally starting to pick up her own food with her fingers and eat. Mallie shovels it in. Elsie will sit there with her mouth open and screams until you feed her. I finally just walked away and left her with her favorite treat. She started picking it up and eating. FINALLY! I think sometimes she would prefer to have you do it. She was the same way with her bottle. She wouldn’t hold it either until I just left it on her chest. She finally quit crying and started holding her own bottle.

Elsie is also really into clapping right now. She claps when she is happy…and she claps when she is mad. Check out the video below.

They get big so quick. I just try to remember to slow down and enjoy the  little moments in this crazy, beautiful, busy life.


My Day in The Dispatch

The phone rang at work. It was the call I was hoping for. “Just one minute, let me switch phones,” I said, buying myself a couple of minutes to compose myself. It was Jonathon Turner from The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. He was calling because I am going to be in our local paper for being in the top 100 entries for my Reader’s Digest “Your Life” story entry (link here to read and vote).

My heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to jump right out of my chest and start flopping around like a fish out of water. I took a couple of deep breaths and gave myself a little  talk.

Calm down, girl! You are used to talking to people and even standing in front of large groups of people talking. You can handle a phone interview/discussion about your writing. Get ahold of yourself. All that schooling and training from your Ambrose education has prepared you for these things. They put you through the ringer with presentations for the education department just to graduate.

“Thanks for holding,” I said.

Here we go… I was so excited and nervous. I have been trying to plan out in my head how this would go and what I could say, if and when I got the call. When it came down to it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I guess I would wing it.

I think I might have stuttered. I felt like I couldn’t put a complete sentence together.

I could hear him typing at a hundred miles an hour as we were talking.

We started talking about my kids and blogging and I started to calm down and relax.

I hope I said what I meant to say. I hope I included everything I needed to. I wish I would have said this…or maybe that. I’m sure it was fine.

Time went so fast. The conversation was coming to a close.

Send a photographer to take our picture at 5:00?!


Oh, wait. “Tonight is Bradley’s school carnival. We can’t miss it,” I explained.

So they came to Bradley’s school and took pictures in his kindergarten room. How perfect!

I can’t wait to see the paper!!

Thanks Reader’s Digest.

And a great big thank you to all of you who have supported me and who are voting for me. I really appreciate it!

You can check out my Reader’s Digest “Your Life Story” with this link here (you can read my story and vote. You have to sign in to facebook to do this. Just follow the prompts, it only takes a minute).

And don’t forget to look for us in the paper this weekend! I will link to it when it is published.

Thanks again.


Hot Dogs and Kentucky Fried Chicken

“What do you want to be for Halloween?” I asked Bradley at dinner time.

“I want to be a hot dog,” Bradley said between bites.

He said it so matter of factly. He didn’t have to think about it. He just wants to be a hot dog for Halloween.

I tried not to laugh too hard. “A hot dog?”

“Yep. A hot dog, Mom.”

“I guess Collin could be the ketchup.”

It just so happened that Connie, my boss, was out shopping today and actually found a hot dog costume. Bradley loves his costume. It makes me laugh. He looks so goofy, but cute.

Thanks, Connie!

When I was taking Bradley’s picture in his costume I told him to smile.

“Mom, hot dogs don’t smile,” he said to me.

“Oh, just smile for the picture, please,” I urged him.

And he smiled his little smile and said, “Eat me.”

I was cracking up. We have also been having fun with, “You have mustard on you,” and “Where’s the ketchup?” 

This is way different from his costume from last year (which I didn’t get to help pick out because I was in the hospital on bed rest).


AND…Bradley learned a new song at school today. Listen closelyto the way he says Kentucky Fried Chicken. 😉