Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween Memories

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Halloween wasn’t a holiday my family ever celebrated, but here are my top five memories:

  1. Turning off all the lights, pulling the shades down, and sitting in the darkness to watch a movie.  I felt like a spy!  (Or maybe someone hiding from the spies…)
  2. Telling my dad I had to “walk the dog,” and then hiding in the bushes with my siblings.  We giggled and watched the costumed kids walk by right in front of us.
  3. Getting a piece of candy from my Grandma’s leftover trick-or-treat stash, plus $5 in a Halloween card.
  4. Carving jack-o-lanterns when we were really little, and roasting the seeds we scooped out of the pumpkins.  I still love to roast and eat pumpkin seeds!
  5. Walking around the day after Halloween, looking for dropped candy in the street, and admiring the toilet-papered trees.  I always thought it would be fun to toilet paper a tree.  If I do, I’ll make sure I use one of my own maples!

I still don’t celebrate Halloween, but my kids know it’s a national holiday.  How can you escape it?  It’s EVERYWHERE!  My kids and I have had some good chats about why we don’t celebrate this holiday, and why their dad and I won’t let them go trick-or-treating or watch parades.  I know I can’t force my beliefs on my kids, so I hope my kids see my actions measure up to my words!  I mess up sometimes.

Who needs scary decorations with these faces:

And if the faces don’t scare you, he can always Kung Fu you, Cboy style…

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Am I the only lame mom?

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Apparently, since I don’t drive a 2011 Toyota Highlander, I’m lame.  I don’t usually stew about things, but Toyota’s new campaign ruffled my feathers.

I was watching NBC’s “Parenthood” on Tuesday night, when I saw the Toyota commercial.  (Tangent:  I’ve never in my life been addicted to a tv show, but I love, love, LOVE “Parenthood!”  On my birthday when I was out with Dee, all I could think about was making it home in time to watch “Parenthood.”)  In the commercial, this kid suggests that his parents are making his life miserable by driving him around in a wood-paneled minivan.  He climbs into another mom’s Toyota Highlander and says to the camera, “Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you have to be lame.”

Lame?  How arrogant is that, Toyota?

Seriously, kid, grow up.  Life isn’t handed to you on a silver platter.  Sometimes, yes.  If your parents have money.  But for the rest of us?  We WORK to have nice things.

See how I said that?  I’m not bashing nice things.  Being wealthy is okay.  Living comfortably is okay.  I don’t even have a problem with extravagance!  But to lay a guilt trip on your parents because they drive an old minivan?  NOT okay.

Not all parents can afford a brand new SUV!  This Highlander, by the way, starts at $27,390, and reaches into the $40,000’s for a hybrid.  I know that’s not even extravagant, but still.  Parents already struggle with guilt.  I struggle with guilt!  Lay off!

Driving an old Suburban is NOT something I feel guilty about though!  In fact, I will make my kids drive clunkers even if we have the money for a sports car.  (We won’t.)  I will make them push a push mower even though we own a zero turn.  I will make them wash dishes by hand even though we own a dishwasher.  I will make them turn over a garden with a spade even though we own a tiller.  I hope I never have to enforce these declarations, but I WILL if my kids need more work ethics!

Toyota kid, what will happen when your trophy wife starts sagging?  What will happen when your kids start acting up?  Especially in public?  (They will, you know, because you won’t have any kind of relationship with them.  You’ll be working long, hard hours to pay for your “perfect” life.)  Will you abuse them?  Lash out because they are now LAME?

Sorry kid, I know Toyota told you to call us parents lame.  It’s not your fault.  Just don’t take their message to heart!  Go rake some leaves.  Earn some money with your own two hands, and then YOU can choose to blow it or save it.  Learn to appreciate the sacrifices your parents make for you.

Birthday Letter

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Dear CJ,

Happy 3rd Birthday!  I love you more than all the chocolate chips in the world!  I’m sorry I kept forgetting you had a birthday coming up, because my birthday was such a big one.  Your birthday is every bit as important as mine!  I’m sorry it’s like that a lot, because you live smack dab in the middle of this family.

Thank you for your happiness and excitement over simple things.  Like meatballs.  Or a trip to Tony’s and CVS, just you and me.  Like when I gave you a toy lawn mower I’d bought at a yard sale.  Even just the balloon and “happy birthday” banner made your eyes light up!

One of your sweetest traits is your gratefulness.  My heart melts when you say, “Mmmm!  This is GOOD!,” whether it’s just mac and cheese again, or something I’ve spent two hours making.  If I hand you a new package of socks or a new truck, it doesn’t matter.  I know you’ll hug me with excitement and say, “Thanks Mom!  THANKS!”

I love your kisses on my sleepy head first thing in the morning.  Sometimes I’m frustrated that you woke up so early, but I treasure those kisses!  And I’ll miss you when you don’t come in to kiss me anymore.  Or climb under the covers with me, or sit on the bed and play with a truck and a flashlight.

What an awesome daddy you’ll be!  I saw you run over from jumping on the trampoline when Megan fell, and stay until you knew she was okay.  You can be super bossy and stubborn too, but those traits will turn you into a fine leader someday.  I’m sorry when I yell at you, instead of figuring out what you’re feeling and why you’re doing what you’re doing.  And I’m glad you don’t let us stick you in the corner anymore!  Always yell out for more of my attention if I’m not giving you enough.

I love your persistence, and doggedness, and calm patience when you’re trying to understand how something works.  You’ll sit for hours with a lock and key, or a wrench, or any of daddy’s tools for that matter!  You are one smart cookie when it comes to things mechanical.  I’m counting on you to fix all my broken stuff, and create new gadgets while you’re at it!

Thank you for loving me unconditionally, even when I’m a grumpy mommy.  (Good practice for a wife!)  Thank you for all your hugs and kisses, and for letting me into your life.  I love talking to you!  You waited FOREVER to start talking, but now I’m amazed at some of the things that leave your lips.  Never stop talking to me!  Tell me if I stop listening.

I love you, I love you, I love you!  I’m never going to stop loving you, and I’m never going to stop telling you that either.

Breastmilk smoothies… or not

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I thought I’d be lazy this morning.  Moosies has a cold, Kbug might be coming down with one, and CJ stayed home from church just because Daddy said so!  So, I was thinking we’d have a quiet, slow paced, hang-out-in-jammies Sunday morning.

Not so.

I had to pull out my vacuum first thing, because Moosies spilled her fishy crackers four times in twenty minutes.  Yeah, we had fishy crackers for breakfast.  And cold cereal.

I don’t remember why I opened my freezer, but I did.  I saw messily stuffed freezer-burned food, so I decided to clean out my freezer.  All this before I’d had my second cup of coffee!  As I was sorting through the freezer, the kids ate a second breakfast of half-eaten Gogurts, popsicles, and peaches from 2005.

My biggest find?  Frozen breastmilk.  I’d saved all the milk I pumped like crazy a year ago, when I was trying to keep up my milk supply for Moosies.  Quart bags, snack baggies, and bottles.  Did I throw it out?  Nope.  Not yet.  I worked my butt off for that milk!  I put it all back in the freezer.

Weird, I know!  (Doesn’t mean I’m a weirdo!)  You’re not even supposed to store frozen milk longer than six months, but I still couldn’t throw it out.  I thought about using some of it in a smoothie for lunch.  It’s SO high in immune boosting properties, and hey — my kids are sick!  (Don’t worry, I didn’t.)

Some moms share extra milk with friend’s babies. And if you don’t want to go the friend route, you can purchase milk from a milk bank, where the donors’ milk is tested and pasteurized.  It’s true!  It costs around $2.25/ounce though, plus $.25 shipping.  See?  I’m NOT a weirdo!  Not the only one.

Megan is old enough now to tell me when she wants to nurse, which IS a little weird to me.  I never thought we’d get this far, so I didn’t think to use a “code” word!  Let’s just say I will be super embarrassed if she ever says, “Nurse, Mommy!” out in public.

Sharing is for mommies too

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I’ve always suspected this, and now I know it’s true:  I could use a nanny!

My sister Liz was here with me for a few days, and I got so much done!  I wish she didn’t live so far away.  Not just because the kids love her, and I can clean and organize while she’s here, but because I love her!  I wish I could brew a pot of coffee in the afternoon, call her up, and have her stop by for a mug and a chat.

My windows and curtains are sparkly clean now.  I love that the sunshine actually SHINES IN my windows in the fall!  While Liz was here I also washed down walls, ceiling fans, wood floors and woodwork, vacuumed the stairs, the upstairs floors (a rare feat!), window blinds and lampshades, cleaned out kitchen drawers, wiped down kitchen cabinets, and piled up stuff for the Goodwill.  I also had NO mountains of dishes or laundry, thanks to Liz!

Maybe I have a nesting addiction?  Megan is nineteen months old, and normally I would have a brand new baby by now.  So I don’t have a baby, but still have nesting impulses?  Crazy theory, nevermind.

Today I have dishes.  And laundry.  But I finally got to sit in my chair!!!  That birthday present papasan?  I set it up days ago, and even lit candles for a calm, relaxing atmosphere.  But every time I tried to sneak in my room, I got caught.  I did get serenaded by Moosies!  When she saw the candles, she started singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  Adorable!

This afternoon I brewed some tea and cuddled up in my chair while the kids watched “Snow White.”  I read five pages of a book, and dozed for maybe twenty minutes until Megan and Cameron both woke up crying.

Interruptions are my life!  I guess I don’t mind.  I do in the moment, yes!  I get frustrated when Derek brings me home a hot, steaming, DELICIOUS cup of coffee from Starbucks, but I have a toddler following my around demanding, “Mommy!  Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”  And Derek can’t take her because the phone keeps ringing.  And he has to go work on the truck.  And CJ let the chickens out, and the rabbit is still lost, and Kbug let the door slam on Cboy’s face, and somebody doesn’t remember the other Hunsbergers’ phone number so they call US!  So I sink down on the floor with a bucket of blocks, and build towers for Moosies to knock over while I sip my coffee.

My heart softens as Moosies grins at me and says, “elephant?”

“Yeah!  That’s an elephant!”  I’m amazed that she remembers.  I show her more wooden block pictures, and she knows at least half of them!  And I remember that I’m her teacher, and she loves me, and we’re bonding, and tying heart strings, and I’ll be sad when she’s too old to follow me around and beg, “Hold me!”  So for now, I’ll just hold her tight.   I can share my papasan with a little girl who won’t let me go, and her big brother that still gets jealous.  I can stop blogging and finish at night, so I can read a book to a six-year-old daughter who’s wondering how much I love her.  And whether I’ll love her unconditionally, or be a fairweather mom. 

I have a lot of time to share right now, and children who still want me to share with them!  It won’t always be this way.

Yep. I’m still talking about my birthday!

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If I use too many exclamation points, blame it on the coffee.  I’m high right now!  I’ve missed these late night, quiet hours.

My week has been stuffed with fun!  Last Tuesday was my birthday.  You already know that, because I keep talking about it.  I did school with Kirstyn, ate lunch at the park with my kids, Mom H, Shelley (who bought my lunch!), and Erin, threw leaves in the air with my kids, and ran away to Starbucks with Derek.  We were planning on a nice, dress-up dinner, but Derek got sick that day.  So we sat in Starbucks, and Derek listened attentively while I sipped coffee and talked about babies.  And gossiped.  Is it gossiping if I’m just sharing with my husband?

On Wednesday, I drove two hours up to York, Pennsylvania, to visit with my friend Amy.  She made me a cake!  And gave me presents!  We sat outside and chatted while our seven kids ran around like the beautiful, lively children they are.  And we decided that rambunctious, manly little men are good.  Who wants a dull, quiet house?  I want my boys to split wood and blow stuff up like their daddy.

On Thursday, I was expecting something.  I’d been expecting “something!”  A girl only turns thirty once, you know?  I’d been looking for clues and hints for weeks, and then my sweet sisters-in-law paid for a haircut, shopping/coffee, and a massage… with orders to be home by 6:00pm.  (I skipped coffee and went to the movies!  I’ve always wanted to go to the movies in the middle of the day, all by myself, for no good reason — just ’cause!)

When I arrived home at 6:15, I was looking for extra cars, listening for more noise than usual, and when I stepped inside, MY FAMILY was sitting in my livingroom!!!  I was surprised, because my brother Andrew had just had surgery on his broken collar-bone.  The day before!   And then drove eight hours in the car!  I was expecting a house full of friends, but my family was even better.  (Plus Ben.  Same difference.)

Friday we spent all day WEDDING DRESS shopping!  SO much FUN!  I cried.  My sister Esther looks absolutely radiant in a wedding dress!  Stunning!  (Yes, Ben, I know she always does.  No sappy comments.)  I made her try on lots and lots of dresses, since I don’t get to be part of the stress and giggles back in Massachusetts.

On Saturday, my siblings and Ben took me to Pier 1 and bought me a papasan chair.  Oh, heaven in a moon shape!  Then we hit up David’s Bridal so Esther could show me a dress she liked.   (Which she found HERE in Maryland on the sale rack!  And bought!)  Next, we went to Highline in Greencastle for coffee.  Ben paid for our bottomless mugs.  (So nice to have an almost-brother-in-law!  Never had one of those before!)  My sisters and I jumped right in with talk of bosoms.  Told Ben this was normal small-talk for girls.

Got home, and HOLY COW!  Here’s the surprise party I had stopped looking for!!!  Derek pulled it off!  Sixty or so of my friends were gathered in my house.  We had a blast!  Oh, and was it that night Derek, Ben and Andrew built a few explosives?  REAL ones!  And set them off in the back yard?  At least it was under cover of darkness.  I would’ve been mad for years if I’d spent the night dragging my husband home from jail!

Smeared windows

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A few days ago, I announced, “The only thing I want for my birthday is a clean house.”  I wanted to be able to relax, and not deal with laundry on the couch, smashed fishy crackers under the couch, leftovers under the kitchen table, dead stinkbugs under my bed, or hair and dried pee spots in the bathrooms.

Derek laughed!  I’m not sure if it was a,” Oh Babe, your house is already spotless, so you have nothing to worry about!” chuckle, or more of a, “Bwahahaha!  Dream on, girlfriend!”  I didn’t ask him to interpret the laugh.

My kids heard me, though!  Next thing I knew, Cory was scrubbing away at my glass front door.  He’d gone over to the Pampers dispenser and grabbed some baby wipes to help me clean.  I melted!  The wipes just smeared the (beautiful) fingerprints into even worse smudges, but I didn’t say anything.  He did my windows, too, and then swept the back porch!

Kirstyn took over cleaning the bathrooms.  She used actual Clorox disinfecting wipes, but I really didn’t care what they used to “clean.”  I showered both Kirstyn and Cory with grateful kisses!  I couldn’t believe how attentive they were to my wishes, and willing to turn off their movie —  at their own initiative — to help make my birthday special.

My kids rock!

On my actual birthday, yesterday, my kids kept saying, “Happy Birthday, Mom!” all day long.  (Kirstyn even remembered first thing in the morning, with no “hints” from me!)  Every time I thanked them for the birthday wishes, Cameron said, “You’re welcome, Mom!  You’re welcome!”