Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kentucky 2017

I fully intended to do some sort of wonderful entry about each of our recent trips, complete with pictures and stories, but right now I don't have it in me. I am exhausted and just ready for school to start so we can get some sort of routine and normalcy back in our lives. That's not to say we didn't have a great time on our trips because we really did, but my soul is heavy lately and my eyes burn with exhaustion.

The kids and I went down to Kentucky at the beginning of the month. For the first night, we stayed at Christy's and the kids got caught up and played Roblox while Christy, Carol, and I enjoyed the hot tub (as best as we could with a billion kids running around). It was wonderful to catch up with everyone! The drive down was thankfully uneventful, and we made it safely with no mishaps. For the next three nights we stayed at Jellystone in Cave City. We had been there before back in 2013, but tent camped that time. This time we had bunkhouse style cabins next door to each other where Carol and I shared one and Christy and Jenny shared the other. We all had moments where we totally lost our minds and I may or may not have had an epic adult temper tantrum and drove off with boys so we could cry without everyone staring at us awkwardly. We did have a great time decorating our cabin for the Hawaiian themed contest (ours looked rad but the jerks across the way must've spent a trillion dollars on their pimped out cabin and won) and managed to fit in a few rounds of Mexican Train Dominoes. The kids swam and swam in the pools and on our last full day at Jellystone, we ventured out to a nearby state park to swim at the beach. Our friend Misty and a couple of her kids joined us and we really had a great time. We spent our final night in Kentucky back at Christy's place where the neighbors joined us for some Dominoes. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I miss my friends, but it was so good to get back home and unwind for a couple days. I will add a couple pics from our trip just so it's not totally boring. 

Swimming at Christy's on the first night

The kids were able to watch movies at night

Our awesome group of kids ranging in age from 5 to 13

The kids were able to go make slime and if you can't tell by the looks on their faces, it was an epic fail

Timmy and Elliot, two of the reasons we all know each other

I think I will save our UP trip for another post because, like I said, I am exhausted. Maybe I will feel like actually sharing real experiences if I wait awhile to post! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Road Trippin'

Ten years ago I took a very important test that would forever change the rest of my life. Yep, a pregnancy test. I found out I was pregnant and like a lot of women do when they find out they are having a baby, they hop online, join a forum, and bond with other preggo ladies who are going through the same thing I am.

Ten years ago, I gained the most amazing group of friends (family really) who were all due within a month of me - some of them with their first, like me, some of them with their last, some of them with children already and would go on to have more children. Women from the US, women from Canada, and even one super rad chick from Australia! Some women were stay at home moms, some were working moms, some were single, some were married, some were teens, some were ten years older than me. Some of these were straight, some were gay. Some were Christians, other atheists. Some of these amazing ladies cloth diapered while others used disposables. You get my point - we were all incredibly different but brought together by one thing in common - we were all due in March of 2008 (give or take).

In 2009, I was able to meet one of my favorite chick's from our group in person - Gracie. We flew to Las Vegas for my younger brother's wedding and had the chance to meet up for an afternoon with our then 14 month old toddlers. It was such a fun time and because of Gracie, one of my favorite places to eat is The Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately, nary a TCF to be found here in West Michigan. We still talk on a regular basis and trust each other and love each other.

Then, in 2013, our very first March 08 Meetup was planned. We spent a few days together in Cave City, KY, at Jellystone Campgrounds. It was our biggest turnout and despite so many mishaps on my part, it was such an amazing experience that changed us from "online friends" to just "friends." Our March 08ers were five and I don't know about the other Marchies, but Timmy (and Natalie and Sammy) still talk about that trip.

Timmy and Elliot met in person for the first time. Just today I had to remind Timmy that he didn't have to yell as he Face-Timed with his KY BFF. 

This chick right here, she ROCKS. Christy is seriously one of the best friends anyone could ask for. She goes above and beyond for everyone and NEVER STOPS. And I'm clearly not entertained by having my picture taken. 

Natalie doesn't have a sister, but she has this amazing group of girls call sisters. She cannot wait to see Kaylee, Sadie, and Jo (especially Jo) again. 

During the first trip, I managed to back my sister's van into a tree, Natalie impaled her face on a firepit (stuck her teeth through her lips - she forever has a massage scar to remind us of this trip), Timmy nearly gave himself a concussion by tripping on the tent and nailing his forehead on a stake, and Sam stole everyone's marshmallows and apples. Also, he wouldn't leave Christy's fan alone. He turned two during this trip. This is how long the obsession has lasted, friends. 

In 2014, we met up at a Jellystone in southern Indiana. It was a smaller group, but a very memorable group. Christy's friend Jen and her two adorable little girls joined us and Christy made friends with a raccoon. Wait, did I say friends? I mean mortal enemies. Natalie threw a 45 minute long tantrum because a big spider was being eaten by an even bigger spider and someone then killed both of the spiders. This was just NOT okay. Some jerk kid called Sammy (three) a crybaby and the kids still say he was being bullied (ha!). 

Look at this awesome group of kids! Celebrating the 4th in style!

Jo & Nat - they are sooooo stinkin' cute together! 

Timmy and Elliot making campfire pizzas

In 2015, we changed it up a bit, which was a bad choice. Oh, Lordy, Jesus Junction. We stayed at what was advertised to be an amazing setup complete with a lake for fishing (basically a cesspool) and all sorts of other fun things like hundreds of millipedes in your rooms, fans that you had to assemble yourself (because no AC like advertised), and a tarp versus a slip and slide that was supposed to be available. But, despite the crappy situaish, this was still a great trip because we got to see our people. And hey, my husband came to the meetup for the first time ever! Now he knows my friends aren't imaginary! 

Timmy, now seven, was moody as hell. He spent an entire day moping about while wearing this awesome get up.

And of course, me surrounded by kids. This is my life.

Nat and Joey Bear (that I may have paid $5 for her to snuggle with me)

The crew ready to play at the "slid and slide"

Nat and Addie - Tim and Nat finally realized that they aren't all actually cousins. They had figured up until this point that we were just getting together with family that lives far away. That works. 

Last year we didn't do an official meetup - but I have spent time with my March 08 family many times between then and now. In November 2015, my "wifey" Carol and I met up in Gary, IN, to drive down to Louisville together to stay with Christy for a few days. When my family went down south for spring break a couple years ago, we stayed at Christy's house overnight on the way back to break up the trip. This February, Chris and I went down to celebrate Christy's husband's 40th birthday with them. Over spring break, the kids and I picked up a puppy here in Michigan and drove it down to Indiana where we met up with Carol and Christy to transfer the pup to a friend of Christy's son. 

These ladies aren't just online friends. They are my best friends and we literally spend all year trying to come up with ways to get together. I am so excited to head down to Kentucky and stay at Jellystone again with Carol, Christy, and Jen. I wish so much that more of our March 08 family could join us, and hopefully sometime in the not so far future, it'll happen. 

Jesus Junction...(plus Heady, who is a poo and not coming this year! I need someone to be doopy with me while Carol and Christy look all cute!)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blog Revival!

I've had numerous blogs in the past, since about 2003. Some of my former blogs were Adventures in Cavaland, Supertramp, Jazzy and the Chicken Coop....

Okay, so most of my blog names have been really off the wall and random, but hey, that's me. Well, a week ago a great online friend of mine, who also happens to be my kids' Internet Godmommy (Hi, Kristine!) decided it was time to start up blogging again! In a world where Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter rule, actually writing out our feelings, whether in long form or short, seems to have gone by the wayside. A lot of times my blog entries were like diary entries - here is what I did today and what I ate and who I talked to but sometimes my entries were actually meaningful and heartfelt. That's what blogging is all about. You can post anything on your blog! Wanna write a timeline of your events from the last week? Do it! Wanna write about that time when you were ten and got so embarrassed because you felt awkward in front of your first real crush? Do it! Facebook isn't about that. Facebook is all about the 'hey guys my toddler just took a crap on the toilet for the first time, look in the comments, there's a pic to prove it!'

I've never photographed my child's poo, just for the record. But Beth did once. Ewww. Pretty sure it was Maddy who smeared (my least fave word ever btw) poo all over her crib and Beth was totally that mom that posted about it. But, in Beth's defense, that was pretty epic and I didn't envy that clean up job at all. I did, however, post about the time I puked on top of puke and had to clean up all the puke while Timmy watched and commented about how I was pooping out my mouth. Pregnancy rules, by the way.

Anyway, Kristine suggested we post an update for all us old-schoolers, so here it is. For those that don't remember me from back in the SPF days, my name is Liza. I'm currently 36 and I live in West Michigan. Back in the SPF days I was single, then dating Chris, then engaged to Chris, and eventually married Chris. Now, I'm ten years married to Chris and we have three fantastically insane children - Timmy is nine, Natalie is seven, and Sammy is six. They are all wildly creative and horrifically gross and funny at the same time. I am a SAHM but plan to find a part time job once the school year starts. I am terrified. I have not had a job outside of this house (not counting the several years I did childcare at LaGrave CRC because that never felt like a job - that felt like going to church and entertaining children for a couple hours each week) since before Timmy was born. I don't have a degree and my former jobs and/or employers are nonexistent in my life. I suppose working as a panhandler could be an option, but I don't like people looking at me while I roast in the sun attempting to make the most feeble attempts of actually being in need. (Sorry, that might've been a bit mean)

Chris works for a pretty awesome place where he is the program coordinator in the refugee resettlement program. He's worked there since he was like four. Of course, Trump is trying to screw us all over in that area. Sigh. Timmy, going into 4th grade, is my athlete. He excels in soccer and cross country and also won the math award for his class in 3rd grade. Natalie is my reader and writer and won both awards for her class in 2nd grade and is heading into 3rd this fall. She's also pretty athletic herself and ran cross country and did great despite being smaller than everyone else in the race. She also loves basketball and soccer. Sammy is my Fan Man. He is six and going into 1st grade this fall and is all about science and math. He is super funny and really clever. We also have a snake, Lennon Fitness. We've had him since February 13, 2015. He's a ball python and super snuggly, I swear.

So...that's the basics. You can read in my blog from the last few years about anything else random and as I get back into this blogging thing, you'll get to know us all a bit better then.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Classical Music

You guys, I love music. We all know this. I love all types of music and can appreciate a little bit of everything from time to time as long as it's not too obnoxious or full of nasty crap. For instance, I love Prodigy. I also love Benny Goodman and that's who I am going to talk about today.

I am so grateful to my dad and my mom both for playing classical music for me as a child (and jazz as Benny Goodman was mostly known for his swing and jazz style music). Some of my most favorite memories are afternoon naps and going to bed when my mom would play Benny Goodman doing Mozart. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY6vLmjUAeI ) I'm currently listening to it right now and all it does is stir up those rare happy moments from my childhood.

I remember my dad and my sister both playing the clarinet when I was a kid and I wished I had the skill to pick up a clarinet and play it without sounding like a dying mouse. I can play a saxophone, but I can't even begin to play a clarinet. Speaking of dying mice, we caught a mouse in our living room the other night and the poor little turd got it's tail stuck under our couch leg and there was a lovely little path of mouse blood. So gross. Poor little Stuart.

Some of my other favorite classical music would be Haydn's Horn Concerto #1. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGw9HHOEK4 ) I could play this (near) perfectly and when I wanted to play it for solo & ensemble, my band teacher said it was too difficult for me. He wouldn't even give me a chance to play part of it for him. You can ask my mom, she'll vouch for my French Horn playing abilities.

This is a popular one, most people recognize this when they hear it, but it's still lovely. Vivaldi Four Seasons - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxofEmo3HA

For some insanely creepy yet beautiful and moving music, look no further than The Changeling soundtrack. Fantastic movie (RIP George C Scott) with amazing music. The Music Box Theme is so eerie and macabre. Full Soundtrack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdQ4ebsEg9s Music Box Theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fHwLudbRj4

Anyway, I have a feeling this post will go unseen but I'll later look at it and be able to find links to some of my favorite pieces. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Just Kinda Wanted To Write

Sometimes I get in the mood where I wanna write whether or not anyone reads. I wanna remember what was going on in my life and be able to look back on it. A couple weeks ago my friend Shirley and I went out for coffee after drop off and we laughed and laughed as I reminisced about some of my entries from when my kids were babies/toddlers. Sadly, it was all puke related...why do I write so much about puke? Such is the life of a mom, I guess. Shirley is a writer too. I like that about her and I feel like it's one way we can connect.

So...what's been going on lately...

The kids are getting older. Duh. Timmy is in third grade now, Natalie in second, and Sammy in kindy. All three of my kids are super smart (and I know I'm biased, but they really are!) but sometimes they are way too much to handle. Timmy is incredibly defiant at times while Natalie is highly emotional. Sammy is a mix of the two and can be very clingy which makes drop off difficult sometimes. Today he did great though and didn't even have to say goodbye to me. Breanna and I watched from a distance as he lined up and went in all on his own. I guess from now on the trick is to just ignore the kid.

Lately I've been dealing with a lot of health issues...again. Story of my life, right? The major issue has been my back. The discs in my back have been bulging out in so many words. I've been going to PT for a few weeks and it helps, but not long term. I've been on my feet most of the last few days and I'm definitely paying for it now with pain shooting down both of my legs and the inability to stand up straight. I truly don't think anyone can understand how horrid back pain is until experiencing issues like this, sciatica, and SI Joint pain. I was in the ER 3 times in one week because of this pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance after experiencing appendicitis, gall bladder attacks, kidney infections, a PE, and three labors and deliveries (thankfully medicated so the pain wasn't TOO bad...) but this pain has had me in tears and wishing I could be put down like a horse with a broken leg. I feel like an old lady some days and hate that people might think I'm being dramatic but like I said, until you've experienced it...

In other news, today was picture day. Sammy has taken after both of his grandfathers and his Uncle Nick with what I call "Chandleritis" - kid smiles so adorably when his picture is NOT being taken, but ask him to smile for a picture and you get a hot mess. Natalie looked so pretty like always though I wish her loose front tooth would've fallen out before her picture. Timmy battled us on wearing a nice shirt but in the end we compromised with him wearing it ONLY for the picture and letting him wear a t-shirt the rest of the day.

Soooo....that's about it for now. I know, super boring, but eh whatevs. Mom life isn't always exciting. Sometimes it's monotony and humdrum boredom.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


It's been awhile, yet again, since I've posted. Today I'm just going to write about some randomness and that randomness is about storms.

I'm not going to be all sorts of metaphorical and talk about "storms in life." I'm talking about real storms - storms with streaking lightning and booming thunder and pelting rain. Storms that can be so full of electricity that the hair on your arms will stand up. Storms that are so windy your gas permeable lenses are almost pulled from your eyes.

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved storms. While most people dread seeing storms in the forecast, I get excited. I have skipped more than one meal because WoodTV8 has interrupted our regularly scheduled programming to bring us a weather alert and I become glued to the TV like it's the Super Bowl.

I remember being as young as three or four years old and my older brother Tony and I would be sitting on our enclosed front porch with the main door open and peering through the screen door, past the bus garage and football field, and into a darkened sky filled with lightning. My mom told us that the thunder was just Smurfs bowling. I told Timmy that once and he blinked his eyes at me like I had lost my ever-loving mind.

As Tony and I got older, we would take the stools from the counter and sit in the studio (basically just a back room in our house, but we dubbed it the studio because when my Dad and Mom were still married, that is where my dad had his music studio) and stare out the big window with the broken window sill (broken because my dad had taken a broom and tried to kill a wily and elusive bat that had made it inside our home and instead of hitting the bat, hit the sill instead) and gaze across "the back 40" (our nickname for the backyard) and watch storms roll in from the west. By the way, I am aware that that sentence is quite long and confusing, possibly a run on sentence. I'm okay with that.

Not everyone is like me, though. My little (but bigger than me) brother was a little more on the anxious side when storms rolled through. The only reason this entire blog post came to mind was because I watch my kids together and they fight so horribly now. They can be so mean to each other and everyone says it's normal and it's sibling rivalry. For me, it just wasn't ever that way. I rarely ever fought with my brothers. They were my best friends. My sister and I never really fought, but she is also much older than I am and was out of the house by the time I was nine. I was super close to my brothers (I'm closest to my sister now that we are adults though!) and we truly never fought. I don't know if it's just because we were spaced out enough in age to not always be in each others' business or if it is because I only saw them a few times a month because of our various custody schedules. Either way, any time my little brother and I would even start to fight, we would be immediately say 'fake fight!' and then we'd hug and go back to being best friends.

Like I said, my little brother wasn't a big fan of storms when we were young. There is one very specific memory I have from when we were about 8 and 11ish and we had a pretty strong storm rolling through during the evening. I think only me and my brothers were home at the time and there was a lot of thunder and lightning going on. We were watching TV and I was sitting in one of the recliners. At one point there was a clap of thunder that shook the house and my little brother squished himself into the recliner next to me. I put my arm around him to keep him safe and we sat like that until the storm passed.

There truly wasn't much more time after that when my little brother surpassed me in height and our roles reversed - he became the one that protected me from boys and jerks and bullies. Even now he stands nearly a foot taller than me and even though we don't see each other that much anymore, he still takes care of me.

As for my big brother, we are still pretty much the same person. We share almost all of the same loves whether it is our love of storms or our interests in conspiracy theories or our taste for music and movies.

I don't really know why I felt compelled to write this, but I'm glad I did. I should do this more often.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Top of the World

This isn't going to be a typical post for my blog. It doesn't have anything to do with my kids, anxiety, funny things that have happened, a birthday post, etc.

This blog post is dedicated to my cousin-sister who is getting married today. Let me tell you, sitting down to write this is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I don't know if it's because I'm so beyond happy for her or because I'm super sick and can't make it to the wedding that I'm sitting here a weepy mess as I go through the last 20 years of memories.

I met my cousin Alicia when I was not quite 15. She was...8? I don't even remember exactly. We weren't technically cousins, and even now, we aren't related by blood - but we are by love. Her mom was dating my step-uncle and we met because I would become her babysitter (along with her little brother..dang jacob was a handful! I do remember threatening to hot glue his head to the garage door :/ HA. He's grown up to be a very funny, handsome man who got married recently himself!). I seriously wonder if Aunt Julie regrets ever asking me to babysit knowing the things I would teach her during those years, ha!

So many memories. Ish is pretty lucky that I don't have many old school pics of us from our younger days - our crazy styled 90s hair, big ugly glasses...yikes! But we have been through so much together. Her devastating car accident that left her with a broken back. I remember running home from school to celebrate with her when she got her back brace off. We broke hammocks together, I made her laugh til she puked...TWICE...we danced in the rain (or storms maybe) had some amazing days camping and fishing together, walking home in negative temperatures and saluting cars as they drove by...dancing and singing for hours on end. Slumber parties, late night movie fests...I came home early from homecoming so I could spend my time with her my senior year. She was truly the little sister I never had and always wanted.

Brent, I have yet to meet you in person, but I know you must be some kinda awesome if Alicia chose you to be her husband for always. I know I don't have to say it, but I am just kinda throwing it out there...treat my girl well. Love her always, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, and never question the strange relationship she has with me and our weird love of The Carpenters.

Speaking of...I guess it's time for me to pass this on. Alicia, this can no longer be one of our songs. One of my gifts to you is simply this.


BUT this is still ours


There are so many more memories that I didn't mention (like actually singing that song together at the Ionia theater, when you got me hooked up with my first "real" phone haha...I named it Burt...your snuggles with my babies...dancing with you at my wedding...I wish I could be there to dance with you at yours...) and I wish I had pictures for each memory to share but really no one really would understand how awesome we are anyway.

I love you and I am over the moon for you. You make me proud. My kids are questioning why I'm listening to the Carpenters and sobbing while I type. You'd think they'd be used to this by now.

Hey look, I found a couple pics :D

Monday, July 13, 2015

Samuel is FOUR!

My Best Buddy, my Sweet Sammerson turned four today. FOUR. My baby is four. Where did the time go? Awhile back I mentioned that he is a sweet, sensitive kiddo who is always doing his best to make others feel better (even if he is the one that caused them pain). He's still that way and spends much of his time smooching me and telling me how much he loves me.

Here are some other random things about Sammy at FOUR! years old so I can remember what he was like when I read back on this.

~ He is quirky. It's the number one word I use to describe him. His arms and hands are his favorite toys - and as annoying as that is to me, at least the kid can entertain himself. He used to use his hands as fans, but now they are birds. We are desperately trying to break this habit of his and we're getting closer. He loves to pretend he's a fan and will flap his arms around and sometimes falls backwards onto the ground and says he's a broke fan. He asks people to turn him on and off by tapping his head. He will ask you to put new batteries into his hands. He will talk to anyone and everyone about fans. Helicopters have fans, boats have fans...anything that resembles a fan is a fan and he loves it. The way Timmy remembers what everyone drives, Sammy remembers what kinds of fans and air conditioners everyone has.

~ He LOVES kitties. And birdies. And doggies. And kitties. Black Kitty (OBK) and Gray Kitty (OGK) are his beloveds. He quite often pretends he's a cat named Meowtions. (Meowsions? Meowshuns?) He loves to chase birds at the park and at the beach. He definitely has a soft spot for animals.

~ He is very much like me in that he feels emotionally connected to music. I've never seen a chid his age cry because of a song making him feel sad or because it moves him. Twice, the song Ripples by Genesis has made him cry big dragon tears and just a few days ago, he heard a pretty classical piano piece that made him sob because it made him feel sad. I love this about him. I hope he's never afraid to show that things make him feel a certain way.

~ He is four and I still have no idea if he is right handed or left handed. More often than not I see him favor his left hand to eat, brush his teeth, or color, but he will often go back and forth so I'm still not sure. By six months old I knew Timmy was left handed and Natalie was right handed.

~ He still talks like a toddler at times. He's got a super cute way of saying certain words, like "blacelet" for bracelet, "ploblem" for problem, and his r sound is still a w sound. So cute.

~ He learned how to ride a bike without trainings wheels at just 3.5 years old - way ahead of the other two which totally surprised me! Tim and Nat were both four, but closer to five when they learned. He's quite athletic already, just like both of his siblings and his dad. Definitely doesn't get it from me!

~ He is slowly learning how to sign all of the letters of the alphabet. I figured if he loves to use his hands so much, he should do something useful with his quirks :) We'll soon be working on some other basic signs.

~ He is a big time hugger and snuggler. He loves to be cuddled.

That's about all I can think of right now. I'm just proud of the cutie pie he is and how he is totally unique. There's not a single kid out there like him!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What's Going On

It's been awhile again, as I tend to with blogging...

Last we left off, my anxiety was through the roof. While I'd like to report that all is well, I can't - BUT I can tell you that my anxiety has greatly improved. I'm surrounded by amazing friends who do nothing but encourage me, support me, and build me up. I am so grateful for my "Brain Trust" and the ways they make me laugh,make me feel better, and pretty much just surround me with light and love. Of course I can't leave out my husband who has had to deal with my insanity over the last couple months :)

Life has gotten away with me. We had an amazing trip over spring break to TN and GA that I intended to blog about, and may still do. Timothy started soccer a few weeks ago and LOVES it. The Boy eats, sleeps, breathes soccer. He is definitely his father's son. He is naturally athletic and just can't get enough. Baby Girl has been doing amazing with her reading and does so well. She LOVES school and is sad that it's ending in a month. She adores her teacher and has made so many wonderful friends that I know she will miss over the summer. Thankfully her best friend's mom is part of my brain trust so they can't escape each other, haha. Sammy is growing fast and at three years old is the youngest of my three to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels! For a kid that does everything last minute, I can say I am overly impressed with how quickly he caught on to riding a bike.

I never in my life imagined how busy I'd be as a technical SAHM. Monday is basically the only day I have to myself at the moment, and when I say "to myself" I mean me and Sam. We're a team. But my gigs are winding down as well and I'm sad. I love the kids at Mars and at LaGrave. I will miss them over the summer and I really hope I will see them all again in the fall. I also love the relationships I've built with Kathy, Lynn, Sher, Jo, and Julie (my partners in crime, ROFL) as we've calmed the chaos.

Things haven't been completely easy with the kids, though. Timmy went through an anxious time while Chris was gone in NYC for work and Natalie is going through an intense phase of emotional distress which causes everyone in the house to be knocked for a loop. We are working through it and I know we'll come out on the other end in a better place. Until then, keep pulling for us! As for my husband and my brain trust (you know who you are!), keep praying, sending love and light, and buy me rolos. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

When did this happen?

When I was a kid, I never wanted to have kids. My mom did in-home daycare and I was constantly surrounded by children. When I was little, it was so much fun to have lots of friends come over and play with me all day, but I grew up and the children all stayed little. It wasn't as much fun being 10, 11, 12, and having my house filled with four year olds. I'd hide out in my room and felt trapped by the chaos. Sometimes I'd get stuck helping out and having to sacrifice my time to play with the kids outside so that my mom could rock the baby or get snacks prepared. Don't get me wrong, some of those kids became like siblings to me and I still have a relationship with them now that we are adults. I've watched so many children grow up and I loved them like they were family - BUT I was a kid and being surrounded by kids and taking away my mom's attention, you know how it goes. 

Even as I got older, I never really had that maternal instinct or desire to be around kids. Sure, I loved my nieces and nephews, but I was so glad that I could give them back. I have to admit, when my nephew Peter was born, I didn't hold him until he was 6 months old. I've never been one to baby talk to a kid. Me? When my nephew Ryan was born, I held him in the hospital and told him I was going to teach him about tornadoes and other cool things. I may not have ever taught Ryan about tornadoes, but he and I are quite a lot alike with our interests - similar tastes in music and humor and it's been one of the ways I could bond with him as he grew up. With Alex, I didn't really sit and do kid stuff with her. Instead, she'd come over for the weekend and I taught her how to play Monopoly. We take walks together, watch movies together, and I pretty much made her my best friend by acting like she was an adult instead of a kid. Now that she is an adult (AN ADULT!? SERIOUSLY!?) we've never had to go through that awkward shift of 'you're not a kid anymore' - our conversations have stayed the same, and we both laugh at totally dumb things like we always did (I've never really been good at being an adult anyway). 

Then this crazy, insane thing happened. I got married and within a year I was pregnant with our first child. Something totally weird happened inside of me and I somehow knew how to take care of my kid when he was born. Then I had another kid. And another. Then my kids got into school and started making friends. I started getting involved with their classes and becoming friends with their friends' parents. During Timmy's second year of preschool we started having play dates with various friends, some of whom are still my closest friends. I started helping with class parties, etc. I used to say "how in the world can anyone be a teacher, I'd die being surrounded by kids all day." 

And then a couple years ago I started working childcare at my aunt's church once a week. The group was small, but I loved the kids I had and I started getting to know these children for more than just "another kid" and I loved them like my own. I came back for another year and continued to watch these sweet kids grow. I loved it so much that when I saw my own church was looking for help on Wednesday mornings, I realized it was perfect for me. The group I have there is very different than my LaGrave group. First, there are a LOT of kids there. Second, I had to get to know the person who would be running the room with me. My "partner" at LaGrave - we bonded instantly. She's a bit older than me, but we are kindred spirits. She's easy to talk to and we do a lot of laughing. She LOVES my kids, even Timmy, and she's never even met him. So I was a little nervous to meet the person I'd be doing childcare with at Mars. Turns out, she's great! We work so well together - she is firm yet loving with the kids, and like normal, I tend to be the one who does the snuggling and comforting. We end each time with book time and I play little guessing games with them and I am getting to know this group of crazy, funny, sweet 3-5 year olds. 

So I thought, why not add another day of the week to spending time with more kids? Today I met my new group of kids at LaGrave - and it's specifically a moms group, so we have A LOT of kids - and you know what? I love them!! They range in age from a few months old to nearly 5. I also met the other caregivers and again - bonded! We all have our strengths and talents and it naturally just fell into place what our "duties" would be. I spent a lot of time just kind of moving from group of kids to group of kids and making sure everyone was happy. I read some books to Mariel, the one little girl I've known for a year and a half now, and got to know some of the kids by playing with them. I also got some baby snuggles! I LIVE for baby snuggles!! 

Did I mention I also volunteer in Timmy's 1st grade class every Tuesday morning? I am getting to know his friends and all the kids in the class and I love it! Smart, funny kids that give me hugs when I leave and their faces light up when they see me come in. I really feel like I missed my calling and I hate that I didn't discover how much I love spending time with kids until now. Then I sit back and I think, maybe there's a reason it took this long - God was waiting until I was ready for it. He needed me to work out some issues and to learn and grow as a parent before sharing my gift of caring for kids. 

And maybe the apple didn't fall as far as I thought when it comes to me and my mom - because if there's one thing my mom was awesome at, it was caring for kids.