Friday, December 5, 2008

What about the Flying Cars?

I was sitting in traffic today. I was on my way to get Maggie from Brownies and the traffic was slow going. It made me think about the Jetsons and how the people at Hanna-Barbara imagined the 21st century to be. And to think, we have actually exceeded all of those wacky inventions they dreamed up. No, I don't have a robotic maid, but the luxuries I do's crazy! Who could have imagined? Most of the time I think about how lucky we are; then I also realize how spoiled, impatient and intolerant we have become.

Example. Remember records? We saved our babysitting and/or lawn mowing money to buy albums. We lovingly cleaned them with special clothes and replaced the needle on the turn table when it wore out. It would take days to create a mix tape. The agonizing over the tracks to put on it; the perfect timing of the release of the pause button so there would be a smooth transition between songs, no awkward pause or jarring jump to the next tune. My kids? They quickly click on a list (a mile long) of songs to make a playlist. They sure don't have to clean their i-pods, and I don't remember them saving up for weeks to buy songs, either. It takes about five minutes, start to finish.

Remember letters? Getting stationary as a gift? Hand writing a letter and sending it, typos and all? Then waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a reply. Oh, and how exciting it was to get a letter in the mail! Now, we dash off e-mails and get kind of pissy if we don't get a reply that very same day. Sometimes it only takes an hour or so for me to think, "Come on, people!" I have gotten so impatient!

Remember when seeing certain movies on tv was an event? Like, The Wizard of Oz. When that came on, ONCE A YEAR (!) it was serious movie time. No talking, no horsing around. We watched that movie start to finish without moving from our spots. And we had to wait for 60 Minutes to end before it came on. That tick tick tick used to really get on my nerves. Then we went to VHS and even those seem crazily inconvenient compared to DVD's. I mean, who has time to rewind a movie? Or to fast forward looking for the good parts?

Remember when, if someone wanted to talk to you on the phone, they had to catch you at home? And back then you didn't know who was calling you. Answering the phone was a leap of faith. You could even prank someone and they couldn't *69 you.

I think I'm ready for science and technology to slow down. We take so much for granted now. I want my kids to feel what it's like to earn something, to wait for something, to anticipate something. I want them to appreciate this life and to linger on the good stuff. But before I wish for all new inventions made to simplify our lives be put on hold, I'd really like to wish for one of those flying cars...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodness and Kindness

I think we all want to be thought of as good. As kind. I do, and I certainly want my children to be thought of in that way, too.

I'm pretty sure most people like to be remembered well. Haven't we all thought about what people say in our absence? What people will say if we were to die?

I know a man who was so good. So kind. He called his wife "beautiful" a lot. Such romance! He treated her like a precious pearl. His children? He was hopelessly devoted. So in love with his family. He did fun, crazy things to make them laugh and to make sure they knew....

This man taught at his church. He was beloved. He was a teacher, a role model. My children? He taught them how to launch many many paper airplanes at a dance studio and smiled like a boy when the dance instructor demanded "WHO DID THIS?". She laughed. I picked up airplanes at my house for a bit...found behind furniture and atop the fridge.

We will miss him at the studio. He will be missed at his church, at his work place, by anyone who knew him. His family will ache with the loss. But, you know what? They have such faith. They know that they will be with him again some day. They are brave and strong. And good. And kind.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Benefiting the Summers Family

Duane Summers passed away on Monday. I don't feel particularly "bloggy" at this moment, but I wanted to share this information. If anyone is willing to help out, I can think of no more deserving family. These are his children: Ben, Hannah, Molly holding Emma, Katie, Grace and Jack.
Here are some details of how you can help.

SUMMERS’ BENEFIT GARAGE SALE/BAKE SALE All proceeds will go to the Summers Family. Saturday, November 15, 20087:00AM- 3:00 PM1701 Hickory Ave, Broken Arrow Please donate baked goods and gently used items to sell. All unsold items will be donated to Goodwill after sale. Drop off items Saturday morning or contact Heidi Roberts for further info:’ Benefit Silent Online Auction. All proceeds will go to the Summers family. December 1-3, 2008Monday-Wednesday. Please donate new items or a service to be auctioned.(example items: handmade items; event tickets; gift baskets; craft items; services i.e.: baked/cooked goods, babysitting, yard work, home maintenance, floral arrangements; Professional Services i.e.: painting, haircuts, carpet cleaning, haircuts; 72 hour kits; cookbooks; etc.)To bid on items go to: To donate & participate, please contact:Sally Rollins at Danielle Olaveson at Summers Family Fund has been established to help this wonderful family with the trials ahead. If anyone would like to help, please inquire at any Bank of Oklahoma or mail donations directly to:The Summers Family Fund Bank of Oklahoma PO Box 2300 Tulsa, OK 74192. Read about Duane and Becky Summers here and here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Volunteering is for Woosies

The next time someone asks me to volunteer for something, I think I'm gonna say no. If any of you out there hear me agree to doing something, you know, FOR THE KIDS, please slap me. I mean it. I need one of you to slap me HARD! Any volunteers?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sometimes There Are No Words...

I have learned a lot in my time here on earth. Sure, I have a lot more to learn, but the early days of learning to ride a bike, conjugate a verb, change a poopy diaper....those days have passed. The things we need to learn as adults are hard. And they suck. We have to learn how to let our kids decide their own fate and find their own way. We have to learn how to say good-bye to a grandparent or beloved friend. We have to learn how to help our children learn how to deal with loss and disappointment.

We also have to learn how to help our friends deal with grief. Today I stood in a hospital room with a friend whose husband is seriously ill, fighting the battle of his life with cancer. As we chatted and laughed about our kids, the room phone rang. Her husband's doctor was calling to tell her that, though her husband made it out of surgery, more cancer was found in him. Being in that room, right in the instant that her very tenuous hold onto hope flew out the door... it was the worst thing ever. Her heart is breaking. Her mind reeling....what to tell the children, how to continue to pray. I have never felt so useless. I didn't know what to say or to do. I am very bad at grief and even worse at knowing the right thing to say. Luckily I was not alone with her and others did and said the best things they could do/say. I know it's not about me, but I want to help. I can't. All I can do is pray, and I'm not very good at that, either. Why isn't there a manual for things like this?

Please help me pray for this family. I wish you all knew them. They are some of the finest people I know. God broke the mold when he created Duane. And Becky is the person I want to be when I grow up (and she's about ten years younger than I am). Go to her blogs and see for yourself. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. And it will make you hope.....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fun at Robbers Cave

We had a dance/sports activity free weekend, believe it or not, so we decided to cram as much family fun into the two days as humanly possible. It was a lot of fun, but by Sunday evening, Mike kind of reminded me of the dad in National Lampoon's Vacation where he demands that they will have so much fun they will be whisteling zippidy- do- da out of know where's. We went to Lowe's on Saturday and bought a fire pit, so Saturday night, we had a wienie roast and had the neighbors over to make S'mores. We all enjoyed sitting by the fire and talking. Up for early church on Sunday, then off to Robber's Cave State Park for a day of hiking and rock climbing. (and whining and complaining...) I forgot my camera and the pictures I took are being held captive inside of my cell phone, so here you see a two year old picture of the kids on a rock. See all the smiling faces? That is how they looked BEFORE the three hour hike up and down rocky trails. Honestly, the kids enjoyed the caves and climbing up the steep rocks, but the hike stopped being fun about an hour in. We did it anyway, and we were richly rewarded by Mike taking us out to a famous Italian restaurant called Pete's. We carb loaded big time. The two and a half hour car ride home was nap time for all but the driver (me), but I did enjoy the quiet time. I listened to some NPR and enjoyed driving through the Oklahoma hills, which are quite beautiful. We should go that way more often.

Next week, we go back to our regular activities...running to and from Nutcracker rehearsals, late night high school football games, basketball practice, ballet practice, scouts...and hopefully my bottom will no longer be sore from that VERY steep rock I had to slide down because I am way too claustrophobic to go through the caves. Hopefully the memories of having fun together will last longer than our aching legs!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Nothing says "German" like Oktoberfest! Wiener schnitzel, beer tents, the chicken dance and The Dance Pointe dance company, En Vidette. WHAT?! That's right, our dance company performs at Oktoberfest each year. The dancers get much needed practice in front of an audience before heading to competitions. The funny thing is, they are not on a stage, but on a large(ish) piece of plywood sitting on some concrete blocks in the grass under a tent. Hey, it works....kinda. It kind of reminds me of trying to fit our full drum corps show on the race track at the Illinois State Fair year after year. I can't tell you how many colorguard flags I took to the head back then...Oh, well. The old guy running the show is a sweet heart and the audience is typically made up of sweet senior citizens. Ms. Cara has the good sense to schedule us before the beer tents get rockin'. We did get to see a dude dressed up like a lady last year, with a floral skirt and head scarf on; and another highlight was the pregnant lady who fainted while getting a piece of pizza. Some kind of excitement! Above is a picture of Mary (on the left) with her friend Anastasia getting ready to dance last year. I'll add a couple of more pictures from last year, including the guy in charge in his lederhosen leading everyone in the chicken dance. I can't wait until next week. I'll let you know how it goes!

Ms Cara with Lyric and some crazy characters!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Want to Run Through The Halls of my High School......

I just read an e-mail from Seth!, a guy with whom I went to high school. (do you like my proper and correct grammar? Don't get used to it...I don't use "whom" often) Seems Seth! has been bustin' his butt (his words) getting ready for our class reunion. I sincerely wish I could attend, but I can't. The reasons are many and unimportant, but I truly regret that I can't go. I am curious about the old high school, though. There is a tour planned, and I'd like to see how much it has changed. There is a picnic planned for the families and a dinner bash as the main event. Mostly I would like to go and see how everyone turned out. I know that the images I have in my mind's eye of the guys and gals I suffered through, I mean successfully graduated with are far different than the , dare I say, middle aged men and women we turned out to be. And I seriously hope we all ACT differently. And, don't we all secretly want to see if that certain cheerleader/jock ever gained weight, got married, had children, got over themselves? I would really love to see Seth!, who always was an individual in a sea of people desperately trying to conform. He even legally changed his name to add that exclamation point at the end of his first name. I'm not joking! I'm thinking of adding something fancy at the end of my name, like qor e. What do you think, Seth! ?

But honestly, I can't stop thinking about how much and how little I've changed. My oldest child is a high school freshman and I watch him every morning as he gets out of the car. He leaves as Stephen, my son, and slowly becomes united with this moving sea of insecure guys and dolls trying their best to find their place in it all. You see all the stereotypes: the over confident jock, the gorgeous campus goddess, the lanky nerd, the drama types, the band geeks....but mostly you see everyguy and everygirl trying to find their niche. I don't think I ever found mine. Somewhere between band geek and complete loser, I recollect. And I still freeze when I'm around the "popular" kids, or in my case, popular adults. I still crack myself up, and get embarrassed when nobody else laughs. (yeh, that still happens) The more things change, the more they stay the same. A couple of things that have changed, though, are that I no longer care about how my butt looks in jeans and that I can no longer carry a tune on that clarinet. Just minute details, really.

Probably the only people from my graduating class that will actually read this post are Seth! and my oldest BFF Roxanne. (Love to you both) But if I could send out a message to all the other folks from SHS Class of '83, it would be....Have a great life! I should have said that 25 years ago, but I didn't know I wouldn't see you all again for so long! Also, I forgive Gary Moler for telling me I had thunder thighs our sophomore year. My kids forgive Edith Glosecki for inspiring me to say "Tardis discipuli" when one of them does something stupid. I also forgive Jim Ko for not inviting me to that party when his kitchen floor fell through. While I'm at it, I forgive Shelly Proves for pointing out that I wore fake designer shoes and had flat hair. I forgive the fashion designers during the 80's that convinced me to wear straight leg jeans. (Not a good look for ol' thunderthighs) And, dear friends, please forgive me if I ever did ANYTHING to make you all feel less than great. Retrospect is a bitch.

Have a great time at the reunion! You all look awesome; not a day over 40!! (This would be a great place for before/now pictures, if I only could learn to scan....)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Save the Drama for your Mamma

When it comes to dramatics, my kids seem to have cornered the market. (Present company excluded, Mr. Shatner)
There is always something going down, and it usually starts with a wail of MOM!!!!! He touched me, she poked me, he called me a name, she won't pick up her stuff, he's breathing my air, they won't let me do whatever dumb thing they're doing.....on and on. Some days are better than others, drama wise, but those are usually the days they are rallying together to do a group project that they fear I will not approve of, so they keep it quiet. (Moon Sand in the bathroom? How about making a stepping stone in the game room? Playdough. Ugh. I hate playdough.) But today was the topper. One of them said, "I'm telling mom because you are such a tattle-tale". I wondered if it could be delivered with a straight face. Luckily, she thought it through before she actually came to me. I heard them all laugh and apologies were said. Smugly, I was starting to feel like Mike and I might be doing something right. Right about that time, someone discovered ink spilled in the bottom of the lego box. The legos that were dumped on the floor. The carpeted floor. The ink was discovered by Clare who was scooping the legos with an ink soaked aquarium net. The finger pointing started. Who spilled the ink? Not me!!! Couldn't have been me! Had to have been him! I don't care, I shouted. Just look at this mess! Aaaugh! Six pairs of eyes looked at me with a little bit of fear mixed with a whole lot of concern. The drama nut doesn't fall too far from the drama tree. (or something like that)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Coolest White Kid I know

The next lucky kid in line to have his own blog post is Dominic; our fifth born and best looking baby. Don't worry that I'll hurt the other kids' feelings, they all agree. Dominic was the cutest baby ever. He came out looking like a three month old with hair thicker than anything and a serious expression on his face. No ugly Winston Churchill baby pictures of Dominic!

Well, crap. That was my first attempt to scan. But you get the jist?

Here is a great example of Dom's personality. On our vacation to Hilton Head Island, he eagerly volunteered to be the sucker...I mean to be the one buried in the sand. He so very much wants to be cool in the eyes of his older siblings. They, of course, enjoy keeping him grounded. Anyway, he held it together for bit, even long enough for me to run and grab the camera. Clostrophobic outburst in

Get me outta here!

Good thing I was there to help. AFTER I took a picture, that is.

Dominic makes us laugh. He doesn't always mean to, but this kid is funny. And he is sweet. He doesn't like anyone to feel left out or sad. When he was two or three, he would cry at the music at church. Especially at touching songs. He would just weep. Now he tries to hide his tears. He does like to be cool, but that doesn't mean he won't cuddle in my lap at least once a day. And if I go to the store and have been gone an hour or so, he will run down the stairs and hug my waist when I get home like I've been gone for days. I really love that. Mike recently asked him what he thought he'd be when he grows up. He pondered for about thirty seconds and said, with complete seriousness, probably a rock star. Mike, being a dad who I'm sure had visions of supporting a garage band twenty-something year old some day, talked to him about studying hard and going to college and practical jobs. But I say ROCK ON, Dom. Dream now and save practical for later.

I love this picture of Dominic. He's mad about having to get his hair combed before church. Look at how cute he is! I think I love it because it looks just like his newborn baby picture. Same hair, same look on the face....classic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lighten Up Already!

Just a quick post today. I noticed that the last couple of postings were a little heavy. I thought these pictures would lighten things up a bit. It is a cloudy day here in T-town, so here's a little sunshine to brighten my day and hopefully yours! By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARMANDE!!!!!! We love you! And we eat a candle in your honor!

Some good lookin' kids, right? did Maggie get the nick-name "The Mouth"?
Anna looks like she is "The Mouth Part II".

Clare looks like she sees dead people. And Mary.....having a "duh" moment, maybe?

Maggie, pop up in pictures much?

Stephen, you really need a haircut. This is when we started calling him Moe, to which he said, "Wadda ya standin' around for?".

Surf the turtle!!
There. I feel about you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brave Girl....Blessed Girl

Can you believe this? My niece, Kristin, was driving this car when she was hit head-on. She survived this wreck, thank you God! Amazing, isn't it? The moment she was being life-flighted, the prayer chain began. Armande, my mother in law, called her prayer warriors into action, called us and others in the family. Tom and Dianne fervently prayed for the safety of their daughter. As word spread throughout Kristin's home, church and school community, the Lord was bombarded with prayer. None of us had any idea what the outcome would be. As it turns out, before the prayers had even begun on her behalf, she was already surrounded by a hedge of protection. Her injuries, though painful and severe, were few compared to the visions I know we all had going through our minds. There were some scary complications, but she's doing well. The road to full recovery will be difficult, but Kristin is unbelievably strong. I am convinced she will be running marathons this time next year!

That's my brother in law, Tom, watching the jaws of life getting Kristin out of the car. Can you imagine seeing your child go through this?

We love you, Kristin! We can't wait to see you!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oh, Grow Up!!!......Wait!

Have you ever had an older, wiser person tell you to cherish these crazy, hectic days because they will soon be gone? I sure have. Many times I have been at my wits end about one thing or another and someone will say words to that effect. Almost every Sunday at church, an elderly person will grab my hand and say that our family reminds them of their own. They, too, had a large family. By the way, they always say, they grow up too fast. One day you are herding your kids to and fro, the next day they are grown and gone. Not from your life, of course, but from your home. No longer are you the shepherd of your flock. Suddenly you are the lonely lady in church grabbing the hand of the young mom with her brood following behind her. They tell me of the joys of grandchildren; but it's just not the same. I really do try to remember the wisdom of these words, especially when it is a hectic day and I'm frazzled and feeling pulled in 100 directions. It is hard to not wish time away. I want to enjoy my kids and relish every moment, but I fail. A lot. I get angry and frustrated. A lot. I lay awake in bed at night wishing I could have a do-over of the day. Surely I'd do things differently. I want to slow the clock and take a deep breath and count to ten before flying off the handle and really, truly listen to everything they try to tell me. I think I'll start today. Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ain't She Sweet

I have decided to dedicate a blog post to each individual child. I'll start with Anna, our youngest and most carefree child. Being only three, her most pressing daily task is to play, be cute and, well....kind of annoy her older siblings. I tell them that they created the monster, they get to deal with it. She has been catered to since day one, so she does have a bit of a princess complex. She has been made to feel like she is somehow above the law here in our house, and now that she's a bit older, the others sometimes resent her attitude. Well, what are you gonna do?

She is funny, sweet, infuriating, loves to dance and sing, has a very vivid imagination and LOVES with all her heart. I can't wait to see what she'll be like when she's grown, but for now I am enjoying that impish grin and sticky hugs. Why are three year olds always sticky?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Pre-Blog Happening

Stephen just started his freshman year at Bishop Kelley High School. I'm not really sure how that doesn't seem like we've had him around long enough for him to be a high schooler! But, rather than wax nostalgic, I'll have a little laugh at his expense! There is a tradition at St Pius X school that the 8th graders participate in. The annual Shakespeare in the Park plays! The kids really did do a great job memorizing their lines and projecting their voices over the occasional overhead plane or loud truck going up the road. But, because they were all 13 and 14 year olds, they were self-conscious and embarrassed. Sounds like a good time to break out the camera!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Maggie's First Communion

Maggie with a few of her friends before mass.

Here is Maggie with Mrs Presley before the mass.

Also titled: Something That Happened Before the Blog

While I wait for my missing camera part to be replaced, I thought I'd document some things that went on before the blog.

Last spring, Maggie and the rest of her second grade class made their first holy communion. This was an event they prepared for all year. They learned about the physical and spiritual aspects of communion; what it looks and tastes like, how it is made and the consecration of the host and wine into the true body and blood of Jesus. On the day of their special sacrament, the boys dressed in suits complete with jackets and ties, which led Dominic to be heard saying several times throughout the day, "I'm not wearing that next year." or "You might think I'm doing that, but I'm not." Well, we'll see about that! Anyway, the girls looked beautiful in their white dresses and veils. I think they really enjoyed the day. They were solemn and respectful, a tribute to Mrs Presley and Mrs Schultz and their dedication to these kids and their faith.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good Boy!

It is sad that we live far from most of our family and many of our friends. The kids are missing out on one of Mike's and my favorite memories from youth: sleepovers at the grandparents house. They are missing out on playing with cousins, having a personal cheering section at sporting events, frequent visits from aunts and uncles, having an audience just for them at dance recitals and those full-house family birthday parties. There are some folks who theorize that we have so many kids to rectify some of those situations. That may be true...we can fill a row at sporting events and our family fills up the table when we gather around to celebrate a birthday. It just isn't the same, though. Because we are so far away, we have had few visitors to our fair city and new house. The grandparents have been here, of course, but the rest of the family and very few friends have made it down. I want to put up a couple of pictures of the house eventually, but the main thing you are missing out on (besides our company, obviously!) is our most recent addition to the family: JONESY!! He is a Border Collie and if you have ever researched dogs and Border Collies in particular, you would find that Jonesy looks and behaves quite characteristically of his breed. He is, and I quote my children and many of their friends, "The best dog....EVER!". We love him, even though he sheds terrifically. He is smart and quick to learn a trick. I believe he thinks doing tricks is his "job", and he is quite eager to please. I don't know if a dog can ever get too much attention, but this dog certainly gets his share. He even seems to enjoy Mary's ever growing desire to put clothes (especially sweaters) on him. So, I'll post a picture of Jonesy. If you ever come for a visit, he may growl at you and act menacing in his attempt to be our family's brave protector, but once you hand him a puppy treat, he'll be your best bud and you, too, will then have met the best dog....EVER!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dem Bones

When you have six kids, trips to the emergency room may seem commonplace. But really, we hadn't been to the er any more frequently than the average family. That is, until last summer. I was feeling pretty smug. My kids were pretty healthy. No broken bones. Must be a good, no, great mom. Then, out of the blue, God decided to bring me down to earth, so to speak. I should know better than to feel smug. I always end up having to eat my words. So, last summer Maggie broke her arm at DANCE CAMP! Really, should ballerinas be doing things that cause broken bones? Then Dominic broke his elbow at the CHURCH PICNIC! Really, should young boys be doing things at a church picnics that cause broken body parts? Well, last week, Clare decided to even the score to three out of six. Yep, she broke her arm. Here at home, safely away from dance camps and church picnics. Right up in the game room. Did she fall off her bike? No. Fall down the stairs? No. Take a terrible tumble? Nope. She was doing a HANDSTAND! She "fell funny" and her head hit her arm and that was that. Luckily, she is doing well and her arm is starting to feel better. The pretty purple cast should help perk her up. It looks pretty now, but I'm sure once her friends at school get ahold of it, it'll look even better with all of their signatures on it! So, this reminds me of a saying. Always speak sweetly because you never know when you may have to eat your words!

In the Zone

This is my attempt at a blog. I really hesitated to create one simply because I like to read my friend's blogs and they are always so cute and creative. I'm really not up to competing with them! But, I have always been the worst at letter writing and picture sending and I really want to improve. Grandparents demand it! Our technologically rich society has made it pretty simple, even for someone like me, to communicate with friends and family far and near. And you aren't here to judge, right!? You just want to hear what's going on and see a picture or two of the kids. So, check in every now and then and see what's happenin' in the no bologna zone!!

Why the no bologna zone, you ask? Well, I was trying to come up with a name for the blog and Clare was sitting beside me listening to my lame attempts at cute and clever. She rolled her eyes a few times, then said "It ought to be something about bologna.". You know how sometimes you get stuck on a word or phrase? Well, lately I have been telling the kids to "knock off that bologna" or to "quit it with that bologna" and begging them to "please not treat each other like that bologna" and saying simply "no more bologna". It appears they have been snickering about it behind my back a little. Ahem. Now they're REALLY gonna hear it! So, the no bologna zone it is, though I am wondering if I should have spelled it "baloney".