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Monday, March 26, 2012

REALLY? Really.

Hello! Long time, no blog! Between computer issues, lots of work to do, kids, activities, etc it has been one crazy month.

Last week my son had pink eye in both eyes. I took care of him, and we had to quarantine him into his room so no one else got the pink eye. WELL, no one else did get the pink eye, besides Kennith and myself. I just happen to have allergies on top of it, so I still have red puffy eyes, and basically I look like a crazy woman.

And now that I think about it, I am sure the woman at Wal-Mart yesterday was looking at me like I was a mad woman for a reason. I was trying to figure out why she kept giving me the stink eye--- and smiled uncomfortably at me... I was so perplexed at how odd her behavior was, when I got in the car after shopping (mind you while shopping I had SPOTIFY playing in my ears--Best hits of GLEE, FYI---which means I was kind of dancing while shopping)... ANYWAY, I get in my car and look in the mirror... to my shock and horror... that red eyed, crazy curly haired person staring back at me was, well ME. OMG, talk about embarrassing moment. I cannot believe I looked that bad. Have you ever had one of those moments? You know where you are like, "MELISSA? ARE YOU IN THERE? I KNOW I CAN KINDA SEE YOU THOUGH THIS CREATURE IN THE MIRROR!!!" I had one of THOSE moments. Man, I looked scary. PURE fright. And then I almost had melt down, because I thought the child in isle 13 didn't just cry when I started walking down the aisle because he was cranky, I think I may have scared him. REALLY.

Anyway, I feel as if this has been my week. Full of "what is that?" or "what the heck???" moments. LOL

Saturday evening Phillip and I celebrated our first anniversary. It is the paper anniversary, what do you get your spouse that is paper? I got him a "he said, she said" silly book from the store, and I made him a quote collage with famous love/anniversary quotes hand written in a frame with decorations. He loved it. Sometimes it is the small, thoughtful things that we do for each other that mean the world.

We went to see "Cabaret" in Sioux City, at Lamb Theatre... it was FANTASTIC! I really loved it a lot, and loved the emcee. He was AMAZING in his role. I have seen this actor in several productions, and this was by far his best performance ever. Not only was I emotionally moved by his character, but as an added bonus I can call him friend. He is truly an amazing performer. Also, the cast was very good. I really enjoyed the musical. NOW, I am a theater lover and I have never seen Cabaret... so Phillip and I went with my cousin and his partner, and we took our 15 year old. OMGOODNESS! I know she has seen worse in movies and TV, but seeing it live sitting next to her made ME blush. What is that about? Teeehhhheeeee.... I did though. If you have never seen Cabaret, it is a must see. Funny, sensual, and it has serious moments, and is very touching (in both a bow-chicka-wow-wow way and a ooooohhhhhh, nooooooo way).

So, even though this week has been busy, I am glad I went through it. NOW, if I could just find a good eye shadow color to go with red eyes that are puffy and swollen it would all be golden.

Happy Monday! Make every day count.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alex!

Today is Wednesday, the middle of a very busy week!  I wanted to take time out and write about one of the most fantastic teens I know!

When Phillip and I reconnected, we both had children.  He has as step-son (I don't know a lot about him, but when I do see him he is polite and funny), a step-daughter (who he raised from the time she was a baby, so she is his in every sense of the word), and a daughter--- all teens, and grown up. While on the other hand I had two little ones, a son and a small toddler girl. When we decided to date- we both spent time thinking about how it would affect our kids, and we lived over 4 hours apart.  Meeting Alex and Serina (Phillip's girls) was awesome.  They are both wonderful teens, and any mom would be so honored and blessed to have them as children.  Really. I am not just typing that. I mean it. They are loving, giving, and funny.  They both are great role models for our younger kids.  AND they really are great with their younger step-siblings.  Even though it can be VERY hard deal with a cranky toddler or an 8 year old boy who knows everything, they are both amazing with Maddy and Kennith.

So, I write this being the blessed mom to this blended family with wonderful kids.  I don't know if I tell them enough how much I love them, or show them enough how much I care. Every day when they leave for school I tell them I love them... every night before bed I give them hugs (when wanted, lol) and tell them I love them.

There are special times where I can take a few minutes and remind them of how important they are in my life.  How lucky I am...And how lucky they are.  They have their momma who loves them so much and is always there for them, and they have me.  Two women who would "take a sword" for either of them. Who love them unconditionally and will be there by their side forever. I take this role very seriously.  I would never trade it for anything in the world, because they are my world.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand... today is Alex's 15th birthday.  She is growing up, and even though she is becoming an amazing woman before my very eyes... I would like her to stay young for a little while longer. I just became a part of her life 2 years ago, and I want to hold onto her for as long as I can--while she is young. I didn't get to see any of her firsts as she was growing up, first step, first tooth, first crawl... but I am there today and forever. I get to share in the rest of her firsts.  And that is pretty powerful.

Being a parent or a step-parent doesn't come with a manual.  We have to make it up as we go- along the way we figure out what works and what doesn't. We use past experiences, and build from what our parents taught us (whether our parents were good or bad, we learned from them-- for the record, my parents were AWESOME growing up).  Being a parent doesn't mean we are perfect.  We definitely are not perfect, we make mistakes... learning from the mistakes is priceless.  Forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make is necessary.  Don't forget to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Now, I hear my grandmother (the grandma who LOVED Jesus with her every fiber, and taught me so much) in my head... God forgave everyone. Hum... I am so not better than God, so I should take that into consideration. Have a great Wednesday!  Think about the blessings around you… even the small ones (like 70 degree weather in the middle of March).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my precious ALEX!  You are an amazing young woman! I love you muchly!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, Monday

Ah, nothing better than the Monday after we "spring ahead" for a time change, right? (are you sensing my sarcasm here? lol) I could not for the life of me go to sleep last night... I don't know if it was the Apprentice (and my "oh no he didn't" attitude at the end) or the coffee I drank in the evening, or the time change that kept me up.  Today, my kids slept in and everyone was running on slow motion this morning.  I feel like there is not enough cottage cheese (my go to stress food) or coffee in this house to make it through the day... Anyway, I am ONE tired MOMMY.  And I cannot afford to be tired.  I just can't.  Tonight Kennith has a concert at school at 6:45 pm, he then needs to run over to TaeKwanDo to get his belt (he has to miss his belt ceremony because of the concert)--- Between now and the concert, we need to figure out dinner, which might just be leftovers. LOL 

Alex and I decided to start going to classes at the YMCA daily to find the one or two we love and keep with it.  This is our adventure in exercise! I need to really start doing something to get rid of my jiggle in the middle... Anyway, tomorrow night we have a class, then Alex and I have our Relay for Life meeting... Wednesday is sweet Alex's 15th birthday! OMG, I cannot believe she will be 15 on Wednesday!  We are going out to dinner and we will do something fun over spring break to celebrate.  So, dinner on Wednesday is planned.Thursday is cardio kickboxing at the YMCA.  A class Alex and I have decided is a must try for us... Friday is TaeKwanDo and body pump. It all sounds crazy, but with the time change yesterday, we decided to get more active. I don't know now how this will all pan out, but it is worth the try!

So, that is what I have been thinking about today, how busy our week is. And thinking about it is making me more tired.  I would take a nap, but naps make me grouchier and I have a lot of "work" work to do... and I have to teach 61 minds this afternoon. I don't want to be grouchy for them. I could have more coffee... or I could take the dog for a little walk, get some fresh air, and use my lunch time for good. OK, you have convinced me... I am going to take a cup of coffee with me on the walk. HAHA

Happy Monday, enjoy the time change!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recipe Time - Breakfast Pizza!

We love breakfast pizza on the weekends!

Here is the recipe I use---

1 refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade dough if I am super prepared)
1/2 lb of turkey sausage (or bacon, we use turkey sausage a lot)
9 eggs
1/3 cup of skim milk
1/4 cup of light alfredo sauce or Ragu's double cheese sauce (I tend to mix them and it is as much as you want regarding the sauce)
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
Cheese - I use a LOT of cheese- motzarella and cheddar (this is to taste, just sprinkle on pizza covering)

1) preheat oven to 425--- then, brown sausage in a skillit until fully cooked (breaking up into smaller chuncks), drain excess fat off of meat (I usually leave it in the strainer while I make the eggs)
2) combine 9 eggs, 1/3 cup of skim milk, garlic, salt, and pepper  --- whisk well
3) spray pan with cooking spray, and scramble eggs until done (I also make sure I break the eggs up into smaller bits so I can spread it over the pizza dough)-- when eggs are done, set aside
4) spray a pizza pan with cooking spray and place dough on pan (spread it out to get your crust evenly placed on the pan).
5) spread sauce on crust, add eggs, sausage, and cover with cheese
6) bake in oven for 15 minutes... if crust is not golden or cheese not fully melted, continue to bake for 5 extra minutes!

If you are a fan of Casey's breakfast pizza, this recipe comes pretty close too it! AND it is PACKED full of protein to start the day (now, it is maybe not the healthiest of recipes I have, but it sure is delicious!--- everything in moderation). 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One of THOSE Days

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those days where everything feels right? (You thought I meant one of THHHHOOOOSSSEEE

Today was one of those days for me. My husband (bless him) came home from work yesterday with a fever and felt achy. He rested all night and today.  So, to give him some quiet time, I decided to take Alex, Kennith, and Maddy out for the afternoon. But here is the thing... they didn't know I had this all planned yet, and the following events REALLY happened in the Wenndt house...

A calm was over the house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when all of a sudden giggles poured out of a 2 1/2 year old diva's room.  She then beckoned, "MAMMA. DADDA. KB (Kennith's family nickname). ALEXX." Then, more giggles.  Maddy will stay in her toddler bed until someone comes in. It is crazy, because she can get out... she just waits. She woke up in wonderfully happy mood. It was 6:30 AM and everyone else was asleep. She says, "Good mornin' mama... I wuv you ." I said "I love you too, sweetie." She then wanted a drink and wanted to watch Mickey Mouse while snuggling. We had some great snuggle time, just Maddy and I. 

Then Alex got up and we chatted a bit about her odd dream. Alex then said she would make breakfast. It warmed my heart because she was excited to do it and I didn't ask her... she just did. She will be 15 in a few days, and I love seeing the young woman she is becoming.  She made "bird's nests"... she sprayed a pan with olive oil... put a slice of bread in it with a hole cut out of the middle and put an egg in the middle of the toast. I had NEVER had this before (her dad used to make it for her when she was little, and when she sees her grandpa at the farm; she always makes it for him). It was absolutely delicious. What made it even better is the time we all spent together.  What made it special was the joy I saw in her...and how randomly thoughtful she was this morning. These moments are what make being a mom (or a step mom) the most special time ever.  AND she made a very healthy breakfast! WHOOT WHOOT! Go teen Wenndt!

After breakfast we went to TaeKwanDo, and Alex, Maddy and I watched Kennith as he practiced.  From there we shopped a bit and went to lunch.  We went to HuHot and used chopsticks (everyone used them, even Maddy--- quite funny!) and made different sauces.  I saw the kids all laugh with each other. Alex and Kennith sitting side by side talking about their Mongolian BBQ choices—they laughed and were enjoying each other’s company. Maddy danced in the isle while we head to get our plates made, and we laughed--- from the core center of our bellies kind of laugh... And then… everyone was watching in awe as they cooked our food on the HUGE grill.  Something so simple as a lunch out turned into an event where we just were "in the moment" together.

We then went shopping at the mall. Alex had Lisa with Clinique (love her, fyi) put some smoky eye shadow on her--- so we have it for Friday (dance at school)--- she looked so beautiful and so grown up.  We laughed... we got some gadgets for the kitchen (I wanted an olive oil container so I could infuse it with garlic on my own)...We got popcorn.  We didn't spend a lot of money, but we did spend a lot of time just being together.

Life is full of little blessings. Those moments that take your breath away and make you go, is this MY life? I am so lucky to have this life. It may not always be smooth sailing, we may not always get along, but, man... can we laugh…we can smile... we can love.

This evening (before dinner) Maddy and I ran to the store. She is very independent and stubborn and wants to walk by the cart and be funny or bossy; it just depends on the day.  Today, she was like, "I don't want THAT one."  (with the most 2 year old attitude ever) because she wanted different crackers... a woman walked by and said, "Just wait til she is a teenager. You think she has attitude now..." and she laughed.  Normally I wouldn't say anything; I would just smile and nod my head... but not today.  My response with a huge smile, and love in my heart was, "I can't wait for that day.  I have an almost 15 year old who was very similar to this one when she was younger …and if this daughter turns out as great as our 15 year old, I will be so blessed…I can't wait for that day." 

I don't know what spurred me to respond. The woman was in shock I think because I didn't complain about my kids, I spoke with love and conviction and a positive force that welled up inside me. I am one proud mama... My kids ROCK. They make me smile from the inside out. So yes, it has been one of THOSE days... one of THOSE days I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world.

    Kennith and Madelynn at the play place in the mall

Alex this morning after making her award winning breakfast!

Friday, March 9, 2012

200 Pounds Ago...

So, what a few folks know (especially my friends from high school, college, working in Houston, and NYC) I used to be VERY overweight. My heaviest weight was 360 lbs. Through a lot of hard work after gastric bypass, I have managed to keep my weight off for almost 10 years. WOW, 11 years... that seems like a lifetime ago... If only I knew then what I know now about healthier eating.

My weight journey begins from birth.  When I was born the doctor kept telling my mom she had a linebacker in her belly- I was huge.  When I came out and was a girl... everyone was surprised. The big baby boy that was anticipated ended up being a big baby girl. I weighed in at 9 lbs, 6 ozs and I was ONLY 19 inches long. LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!

I was always the chubby curly haired girl in school from the time I started school.  My mother always made me wear dresses in grade school. I thought it was because it was what SHE wanted (for those of you who don't remember or weren't there... we had LOVELY dresses in the 70s. I recall my favorite one being a BRIGHT green and yellow paisley jumper. NEAT-O), it definitely was NOT what I wanted. I wanted to wear bell bottoms. I didn't realize until six years ago that my mom had me wear dresses and was adamant about it because I was too heavy to wear the bell bottom jeans. They didn't make them for "solid" girls like me. I appreciate what my mom did when I was younger so I didn't feel like more of an outcast, or more ashamed of my body.

As I got older, I knew I was different (and not just quirky) from all of the other kids. I couldn't shop in the "normal" tween or teen stores like everyone else; I had to shop at Lane Bryant. They didn't have ANY other plus sized fashion store ANYWHERE at the time besides Lane Bryant. Man, K-Mart didn't even sell plus sized clothes besides the SHMOCK dresses my grandma wore (that is SO NOT K-Mart smart). So, I shared clothes with my mom a lot of the time.

In high school I was made fun of.  There was one particular boy who was really rude to me. But instead of letting it get me down, I only used it to make me stronger. The kids who were bullied or made fun of in high school do not forget it, and they don't forget who did it. When I was at my 20 year class reunion, (after I lost all the weight) I confronted him. It was empowering to some extent--- I basically asked him if he had kids… he said “yes, a boy.” I said, “oh how nice. A word of advice, teach him not to be mean to people in school because they never forget.” YEP. I said it… Because that is how I roll.

After high school I went to college... I didn't gain the freshman 15, I gained the freshman 50. I ate to heal. If I was sad, I ate. If I was happy, I ate. Eating was my therapy... my friend... food was the only thing that was always there for me. (Which to type it now is very sad read, but it was the truth.)

After college (where I was still made fun of for my weight), I moved to Houston.  I got a job at a mutual fund company, and met my first husband.  We were both over weight and we both had a food addiction.  What is hard about a food addiction is that you can't live without food. You have to eat. A crack addict can live without it… don’t go to the house. An alcoholic doesn’t HAVE to drink to live… So, in my humble opinion… it is one of the hardest addictions to have. Anyway, as we dated and eventually got married, our relationship and our bellies grew.

We moved to the NYC area -- I worked in the city, he worked in New Jersey...  We both enjoyed our jobs and we were making a nice life on the east coast. One thing I can tell you... MAN, is the food good in NYC! Everywhere you turn... good food, and such a variety! The variety led to more weight gained.

I worked in the financial district in Manhattan (lower Manhattan by Battery Park).  My commute every day took me by rail and subway to the world trade center, and then I would walk down the two avenue blocks (whose kidding, I took the subway) to my office.  Every day the same routine- I was too heavy to walk the two blocks without my back or knees hurting. Matter of fact, I needed orthopedic surgery on my knee at that time. It was August of 2001 and I was getting ready to have knee surgery in October. On September 11, 2001, I was on my way into work when the terrorist strikes hit. By some lucky coincidence or chance I didn’t make it into the trade centers on time. Instead, I was stuck in Hoboken, NJ.  You see, a crow flew into the electrical conduit of our train and it stopped--- we were stuck in NJ instead of being in NYC when the tragedy hit. Stuck on the track in Hoboken instead of on the PATH train from NJ into the World Trade Center (man I loved that place, great food, good shopping, nice people and a Duane Reade by the subway). I wonder how many other lives besides my own were spared that day do to some random fluke of nature. That day will always haunt me. I will never forget it. I remember seeing the planes hit the buildings with my own two eyes from Hoboken. If I were IN the city walking out of the trade center (which by the timing of everything) I would have walked out as the first plane hit--- I wouldn’t have been able to run to save my life. I have asthma and at the time I smoked half a pack of cigarettes a day. I would have died, I honestly think that.

On 9/11/01 the old me died and the new me was reborn.  I couldn’t go into work for two weeks, because they had to clean everything up and make sure it was safe… and during those two weeks I decided to be healthier and to live my life this time around instead of my life living me. I  had a second chance. 

In April of 2002 I had weight loss surgery.  When going in, I weight 360 lbs, I was wearing a size 34 dress. I was ready for a change of huge proportions.

After surgery it sucked. BAD. I had to eat baby food for a month, and I had to change what I ate and how much. But I could do this (I kept telling myself that).  Weight loss surgery (again in my humble opinion) is not a quick fix.. it is NOT an easy way out. It is a tool.  When I got the go ahead from my surgeon, I started working out with a personal trainer. I changed my eating habits a LOT!  Today I don’t eat fast food hardly at ALL--- it is a rare occasion, but the night before my weight loss surgery I can tell you what I had for dinner… 2 double quarter pounders with cheese, an extra large fry, an extra large coke, and a chocolate shake. WOW. Today, I can’t even stomach a chicken nugget from McDonald’s.

After having weight loss surgery, I have lost 200 lbs and have been able to maintain the loss. I have had my two wonderful biological kids. (Before weight loss surgery I was always told I had “unknown infertility” which is the polite way doctors tell you that you are too fat to ovulate.)

Today I am trying to stay on track for my couch to 5k, I want to run a 5k in the fall. I eat a lot healthier. I don’t smoke. I encourage my kids to eat a well balanced healthy meal.  My hard work though my weight journey has paid off in spades. How do I know this? My mother, my son (Kennith who is 8) and I went to Granite City for lunch. My son could choose anything off of the kids menu for lunch… he chose grilled chicken and steamed broccoli.  So, through all of my YOYO diets from youth to finally fixing my eating habits, I have not just fixed the weight and food issues for myself, but I have fixed it for my kids as well. 

here are some before pictures of me pre weight loss (and not the greatest since it is late and I took a picture of the picture with my phone)... PROOF. LOL

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cheesy Slow Cooker Chicken

So, the other day, I had NOTHING taken out of the freezer for dinner, and I had to have SOMETHING for everyone to eat, because everyone would be home, and I had to go to a Relay meeting at 5:30...They can't eat cereal or cheese sticks, right?  So, I tried out something in my slow cooker and it turned out AH-MAZING! 

Personally when I do this (forget to get something ready for dinner) it is easier to just order pizza or run to the nearest fast food place, but with the kids and Phillip and I, even a trip to Wendy's costs around $30... we try NOT to eat at fast food places and we do try to cook a lot at home.  So, the slow cooker is my cooking BFF.  (Best Fix-it Friend)... lol  Anyway, the money we save by eating at home when we could have grabbed a "quick" bite on the road gets saved in a jar for vacations.  Then we have extra spending money for our trip. Now, you would think it doesn't add up, but it does.  AND the kids LOVE IT! They get to see the results of their better eating habits. So it is a win-win! We eat better, and we save money, and my kids think its COOL. So maybe it is a win-win-win. LOL

ANYWAY, after my tangent... Here is my recipe!

* 4 frozen chicken breasts
* 1 1/2 cup chicken broth (or combo broth and water)
* 1 can of cheddar cheese soup (I used the low fat one)
* Garlic, salt, pepper to taste

In a slow cooker, place the broth and cheddar cheese soup in, and stir--- add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.  Add chicken.  Leave in slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours (I did 8 hours). 

It was good!  AND, we used some of the cheese broth in our potatoes when we made the smashed potatoes as a side and it was delicious!  The chicken turned out nice and tender... EVEN my 2 year old ate it and SHE NEVER eats meat!

I wish I had taken a picture, but by the time I got home from my meeting, it was put away and my kitchen was cleaned up. Which I am SO thankful for! My hubby rocks.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shakespeare of Sleaze-The Reason I Write

I always knew my grandfather was a writer, but I never quite knew what he wrote when I was younger. I was told that he wrote about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.  He had a lot of pen names he went under.  My grandfather passed away when I was very young. I remembered him through my dad's eyes and trips to Port Jervis, NY where my dad's family is from. My dad would talk about his father and his eyes would light up and he smiled...a lot. He would drive by the houses they lived in and talk about his life as a child. He told me stories about a car they had that was a unique car (I cannot for the life of me remember if it also flew or went in the water). For a few minutes, my dad was a kid again while talking about his childhood. My grandfather wrote because he loved it. He did something with his life that he loved, and he made money. Listening to my dad and my aunts talk about their dad I find that he wrote from the kitchen - all of his kids with him, surrounded by what mattered most. As with most writers, it was feast or famine...but they were happy and together.

When my sister met with our aunt earlier this year, my sister found out that my grandfather is an icon from his generation. He is the "Shakespeare of Vintage Sleazecore." His writings though weren't just T&A, they were filled with social and political issues of his time. He has a fan page on the internet, for cry eye. My grandfather was a writer of paperback sleaze, and he is a 50s icon. My first thought, HOW COOL.  My second thought, THAT'S why no one ever told me what grandpa wrote.  His books would make a great "Lifetime" movie now… but back it the day, it was trashy. I love it.

My grandfather passed away when I was four, and my father passed away almost 11 years ago, so I have many things I want to know about my grandpa, that I didn't know when I was younger. My sisters and I researched and found out more about my grandpa.  His father committed suicide which left my grandpa to help out his mom. He started working at a very young age. I found out that his mother had passed away during a bad winter storm.  He wrote a new novel every two weeks.  AND one of his best sellers was written under a woman's name and she wrote about her lesbian love life. IN THE 60s! But most importantly he wrote about "guts." Real people, with real issues, and a bit of T&A thrown in to make money.

Then, my sister, Sarah, set us up for a challenge. She encouraged us to write. Sarah, Becky and I have always had a love for writing. Sarah now challenged us to all start writing a story. Our story. "Everyone has a story", I remember her saying to me... So, I blog.

My story may not be as torrid as my grandfather's writing... but it is something I love to do. I write because he inspired me to think outside of myself. Writing about my life is therapy and while going through “therapy” I may find a way to encourage others along the way. I write because it is a healthy outlet. I write to encourage my children to do the same. I write to carry the legacy.

So, the granddaughter of the "Shakespeare of Sleaze" I am. To my grandfather, Orrie Hitt... Thank you for writing. Thank you for having a story... for sharing it... and for inspiring me to rekindle a flame that always existed in me. Thank you for helping me find my voice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Give Back

I was cleaning the house the other day and I cannot believe how much "stuff" we have in our house.  As a combined family, we combined two households into one... which makes our house full and warm.  It makes me get this overwhelming feeling of how lucky we are as a family.  We are so lucky to have each other and we are lucky in the fact that our children do not go without. They may not get some of the things they WANT but they have everything they NEED.  If they want something, they have to earn it. This I am proud of.

I am a big believer in giving back to my community. We have a Relay for Life team here in Linn County (If you want more information, message me.. walk with us, donate or just come and hang out).  I want my children to learn to give back with a loving, willing heart. There is so much they can gain from giving to someone else with no strings attached. So, we walk for a night and raise money to fight cancer. We are team Dah-Feet. As Relay approaches, I see my older kids getting excited.  They have change saved in a change jar to turn in, and everyone puts change in it.  When my son gets his allowance, he keeps part, he saves part, and he donates a small portion. This makes me happy!

Sometimes, I think that we as a society can be selfish with our money and our time... I know I am. But I am trying to change. You can teach an old dog new tricks (LOL).

I guess I am on this "give back" tangental today because I saw the generosity of so many women last Saturday night. Last Saturday night, I attended Macaroni Kid Cedar Rapids/ Iowa City's Mom's Night Out! It was amazing! And women could donate to two local charities that help kids and families... and get raffle tickets.  I was helpig with the event (handing out tickets, doing name tags) and we thought our little folding table would work for the donated items. To my surprise, it was OVERFLOWING halfway though. It sent tears to eyes to see all of the wonderful things that were donated. I was in a great moment of abundant joy. Women who are coming together donated all of this out of their hearts. Love it!

The MK Mom's night out event was amazing. I was one of the speakers and I loved talking to all of the women about taking their own time outs. How to rejuvinate as a mommy! It was also a wonderful night to spend some time with other MK moms that I get together with monthly for our girls night out gatherings. They are a bunch of incredible women who have come into my life. Amazing women... funny, strong, smart, and amazing!

So, mom's night out really inspired me to get my kids more involved in giving back.  Over the next 6 months we are going to volunteer with a couple of things; as always, here are some ideas:
* Serve dinner at a soup kitchen
* Prepare dinner at a soup kitchen
* Read books to kids in the hospital
* Help a women's shelter (I would take my older girls here)
* Volunteer time in a retirement home. Play bingo, make crafts, read, listen

We will start our first adventure in April.  I have made plans for us to take the dog to the retirement home and have the kids visit some folks after lunch on a Sunday. Maybe we will even sing old church hymns.

Macaroni Kid Mommies from Mom's Night Out- some of the most amazing women I know!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Do you remember when you were younger and would go out with your friends for two-fers? (For some of us that is yesterday, for others --- UM, ME, it was forever ago.)  I used to love two-fers night. Two drinks for the price of one. After five hours of dancing, five rounds of booze, and only $20 bucks spent you had a good night. It became an even better night when a fight would break out and you got to watch. I used to love bar drama. Two friends fighting over a guy or a couple splitting up because she saw him look at someone.  Always entertaining.

My two-fers are different today. I still get as silly and giggly--- AND my filter completely shuts down-- but I don't need to have a drink at all.  Instead, my two-fers come from no alcohol at all, but two nights in a row where my youngest is up and down all night.  I am punch drunk tired. Maddy is over the flu, but she is having a hard time staying asleep.  Thursday night she was up and down most of the night.  Finally at four in the morning on Friday, she wanted to snuggle and watch "Beauty and the Beast"--- so what is a mom to do? Snuggle in the chair and sing all of the songs with her two year old. (And now I am humming --"look at the baker with his tray like always... the same old bread and rolls to sell")

Yesterday after work, I went to help my dear friends set up for an amazing event tonight. It is the first of its kind in Cedar Rapids and I am honored to be a part of it.  It is a "Mom's Night Out" event. I am getting dressed up, hanging out with women, shopping, eating, and having a glass of wine... So awesome!

Yet, as I digress... Last night Maddy was up again... five times. I have to potty, I sick (she isn't), I hungry, I have to potty, I want to snuggle.  And let me not forget the dogs barking at 4 am to go outside.  I get up with her, we go through our routine and I am tired, but I would never trade it. My babies are growing up so fast, I want to cherish each moment. They are the music in my life... they are the "Beauty to my Beast" so to speak.

I am excited for tonight. I can't wait to motivate some women, make them laugh. I am excited for my friends, C and L, because this event tonight is going to create some amazing memories for the women who attend. Next year it will be even bigger. I would even bet $100 on it doubling in size next year. For reals. Last night was fun getting it set up, even though the "b*tch" in the pink shirt told me not to blog about her. HAHA, I totally did. She really wasn't nasty at all, she cracks me up. She is amazing, and I hope she found the keys.

And I want to win the Kitchenaide Mixer tonight at the event. Did you see that bird? I need more coffee.  Oh, I like bacon.  Did you know my dog is huge already (she is a 7 month old great dane).  I like pizza. I can't eat the sauce, it makes me sick due to fructose intolerance… Oh, my goodness... it is going to be a great day....SQUIRREL! I think I am getting a zit on my forehead. Coffee? Like I said, my world is random. Today is so random I may need to take a nap...or have more coffee. J