Day 5: Ready to throw in the towel, and then…I counted my blessings

The day started off like any ordinary day with breakfast, feeding the cat and dog, doing laundry, tidying, the kiddos played a game of basketball, made a fort, watched a movie (did you know there is a  Leave it to Beaver movie?) etc. 

Then the kiddos inquired, “What else can we do today”? I stood there for a few minutes thinking to myself……Crap!! What can they do? What do we have left to do? We have done it all!! I am burned out!! I wish the children came with pause buttons.  Maybe I could somehow convince them that staring at the wall quietly for an hour was a game?  My brain has no more ideas, I am out! Please, can I tag someone else in, please? Please God, please help!


Me: Hello

Alison: Go look outside your door.

Me: What?

Alison: We dropped something off to get you guys through these last few days.

Me: No!! You are so kind. Thank you!!

So I opened the door and this is what I was greeted with……

She had left me a huge iced coffee and magazine, the kiddos a fun game, our toddler an Elmo book, our first grader a book she has read five times over because she likes it so much, and a Spiderman activity set for our little man. She left us a bucket full of what I call “sanity”. I don’t think there are enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude. And the timing, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I felt like I was mere seconds from officially losing my mind.

But that’s not all….for dinner, I was off the hook. I didn’t cook because my parents had arrived back in town and showed up with this…..

That’s right!! Bob Evans down on the farm. It was like a mini Thanksgiving feast, precisely what we needed, what we craved, comfort foods! It was so nice to have a hot delicious meal that I did not have to cook. And for dessert…that’s right, they brought dessert too! Baskin Robbins!! I almost cried, tears of joy of course…the love was so intense.

But wait there is more….

While eating our neighbor stopped by to kindly inform me that our tire was low on our SUV parked out front and he was concerned about me driving the children around town with a low tire. He also brought over treats for our dog that was in need of a little TLC. His bad leg and healing process kind of got pushed to the back burner when the kiddos came down with HFMD. Don’t get me wrong, I still gave him his meds but we were not as attentive after the kiddos got ill.

…and more….

In the evening we put our toddler down to sleep and let the older two kiddos stay up and play Fruit Ninja, the game that was in the “sanity bucket” that Alison had dropped off.  It was so much fun, just the four of us playing a game together; we had never done that before. It is amazing how an act of kindness can evolve into a memory to cherish.

Then, once the children where in bed I checked my email, blog replies, and facebook while cleaning up the day’s mess.  The first comment I read was this one in response to the Day 4 post, from a good friend Tammy…..

You had no idea your kids were sick, please don’t be too hard on yourself! I’m sure the other family understands that if you knew you wouldn’t have been there. You have done a great job entertaining the kids this past week and keeping as much sanity as humanly possible. After the kids go to bed, pour a glass of wine, take a warm bath, play some relaxing music…you deserve it! Nothing needs cleaned or washed that is more important than taking time for yourself.

Precisely what I needed to hear, today my prayers were answered.  I needed someone else to tag in and boy did God listen!! He tagged in my amazing parents who are also amazing grandparents; they have given me the skills, faith, and fortitude necessary for life and that is a gift that is truly priceless. God tagged in and has blessed me with an amazing group of friends who have been so supportive throughout this entire ordeal. Friends who have their own lives, issues, family, children, wedding to plan, family trips/vacations, etc. but yet have taken a moment to think about my family…thank you Alison, Lilly, Tammy, Allie, Jill, Cheryl, Mary, and ALL my dear friends for your replies, texts, emails, and  words of encouragement and support.

I think I know precisely what we can do for the family I spoke of yesterday. The family who contracted HFMD from us, I would like to pay it forward and drop off a “sanity bucket “and dinner for them on day 5, when it is needed most.

As I lay in bed last night I thought about how I almost lost my cool today. How I had prayed to God to please help me get through the day and boy was my prayer answered.  I also thought about all those moms out there who have children with compromised immune systems. Moms like Piper and the Kids,  and a dear friend Allysa whose daughter is undergoing surgery today, who have to endure weeks, even months of staying indoors so that their children’s lives will not be compromised. I don’t know how they do it!  I pray for all those moms today who are quarantined to a home, hospital room, etc. with a child. I pray that they have a strong support system of friends and family.


This weekend was LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!

This weekend was such a fun filled extravaganza. It all started Friday afternoon.  We started packing up the car around 3pm for our road trip to Dayton. We would be heading to Dayton to see my baby sister graduate the next day as a Dr. of Physical Therapy. Around 5pm the game of maneuvering the pack-n-play, stroller, diaper bag, 2 suitcases, swim bag, snack bag, and a few odds & ends to keep the kiddos occupied into my hubby’s car was complete. I made careful note of where everything ended up because I would be taking this trip solo since my hubby was ill and I would be the one placing everything back into the car at the culmination of our visit (Tip: take a picture of everything once it is packed into you vehicle you will thank yourself later, it is tricky remembering how you got everything into such a confined space). So by the time everyone had pee twice, we located my son’s preschool Olympic medal (yes, he is still wearing it, 3 weeks and counting), changed diapers, hit the ATM, went through Starbucks drive-thru, and gas station we were finally on the road around 7:30pm. Anyone else spend their first hour of their vacation/trip in their home town /city grabbing last needed items?


We arrived in Dayton at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites around 10:30pm. As we entered the room the kiddos jumped for joy when they saw what my mom, Nana, had in store for each of them. She had place graduation balloons in the room along with a sand bucket with Legos, coloring books, pool toy, etc. for each kiddo and for my hubby and I she had snacks and beverages, she is amazing.  She always manages to make the ordinary extraordinary, that’s my mom!  So the kiddos looked though their goodies wide-eyed and eventually the excitement from the day got the best of them and they fell asleep. I am pretty sure my son was dreaming about the pancake machine that would greet him in the morning with the continental breakfast.

Since my hubby had to stay home my brother kindly stayed with me and the 3 kiddos to help out in the morning with breakfast and the festivities the next day.  Keep in mind my brother is a now 26, his birthday was yesterday, bachelor who, while excellent with the kiddos doesn’t contain that daddy gene just yet. You know the one that tell Dads that grabbing a paper in the morning and trying to read it at the breakfast table with 3 kiddos 6 and under is not a good idea? Yep, that one!  So, while he sipped his coffee and read the paper I played mommy juggler with the diaper bag, bowl of cereal, banana, camera, and toddler. On the up side I think I put on quite a show for the other guest dinning that morning. Then, after picking up cereal from the floor the hundredth time I was lucky enough to visited the restroom, not once but twice! God forbid they both go at the same time, seriously! On the way back to the room I managed to take a sip of my then cold coffee and eat the bruised parts of 3 bananas, and while doing so my son asked why I was still hungry after all that food?  Funny, didn’t anyone realize mommy never sat down, mommy never ate breakfast? “Haha…I was a little busy during breakfast” I exclaimed to him. After breakfast we headed to the pool for a swim before going to the graduation ceremony.

My son’s Spiderman bag filled in as the diaper bag for this trip. The diaper bag was at home being washed, some weird unreconizable goo was lurking in the bottom of the bag. I know what you’re thinking, classy!! Right?

After our relaxing swim, what is it about a pool that lowers your blood pressure? We then got ready for the graduation, packed a diaper bag (my toddler was the only kiddo who didn’t have a BM and after swimming I thought for sure she would have a blowout during the graduation.  There are few things worse than sitting in a humid arena with a toddler who just had a massive poop). If that happened I needed a plan. Once we were seated in the Arena I noted all possible exits and restrooms, and which route would be the fastest and which would be the most discreet.  Yes, moms are also specialist in reconnaissance, we have to be! I was prepared. Then the excitement built as the music began and the students made their way down the aisles with their caps and gowns. I got goose bumps. I was so excited for every one of them. All the hard work, all-nighters, research, disappointments, progress, and emotions that comes with the journey that they had each experienced all to arrive at this point. Then I saw my baby sister and my eyes began to fill with happy tears.  She has been working so hard for this degree. She has put the rest of her life on hold and focused solely on her studies.  Since she started her graduate work she has attended numerous wedding showers and baby shower, a handful of weddings including 2 family weddings, has become an aunt again, a Godmother, and welcomed a new cousin into the family, all the while hauling books in and out of coffee establishments, looking for free Wi-Fi signs, sneaking in flash cards to movies and church not wasting any free moment to study. And guess what, it paid off!! I am proud to introduce to you my sister, Dr. Kunkle.

Then it was time to party like my parents had been paying college tuition since 1999!! (Because they had) They decorated the guest apartment where my sister lives and had bubbles at each person’s setting, they had balloons, champagne, and had dinner catered from a local Italian restaurant. Everything was perfect!

The party continued on till 2pm the next day during which we also celebrated my brothers 26th birthday.

It was such a memorable, LEGENDARY weekend. So many emotions filled the weekend, including, excitement, anticipation, sadness, joy, gratitude, and love, there was so much love.

Have you ever experienced a legendary weekend? Please share.

Happy Birthday Mama!!

I turned 32 this past week and it was awesome. I received so many warm wishes from family and friends, cool gifts, and surprises too!  I figure what better way to share my experience with you than by posting a few pictures. 

We partied like it was my birthday!!

As tradition would have it in our family my birthday began with birthday donuts for breakfast. (Birthday breakfast is the only time our family has donuts, that way it is truly special and a fun tradition. Although my hubby might not always agree, he is the one getting up early and going out in the cold/heat, depending on whose birthday it is, to get donuts and we all greatly appreciate his sacrifice).

It really means a lot to me to have the entire family sitting down to breakfast together on a school/work morning.

I can’t think of a better way to wake up on your 32nd birthday then being greeted by your 3 beautiful children and loving husband (and dog and cat too!).

After breakfast it was time to get ready. I did the morning drop off, afternoon preschool pick-up, and then during quiet time I received a surprise visit from my sister and mom as well as balloons and an iced coffee- AWESOME!

That evening we went to my mom and dad’s for dinner and cake.  My sister and brother also came over for dinner and before we ate they played with the kiddos, I loved it, it was such a genuine moment. As I stood watching them I realized how truly blessed I am to have family in town, family that speaks to each other, that loves one another, and enjoys spending time together. The two best gifts my parents have given me are faith and my siblings.  Faith is just as vital as breathing as far as I am concerned and my siblings keep me real, they don’t allow me to get a big head, they enforce humility in a good way.

And did I mention they are a lot of fun!

Earlier in the week my in-laws came over to celebrate my birthday and they brought a delicious cake.

Best gift, my toddler saying "Happy Birthday Mama"

I bought a new living room area rug with my birthday money, I love it!!

As an added bonus, in addition to the Scott Hahn Signs or Life book my sister watched my two younger kiddos so I could meet  friends for lunch.  On my way to lunch I received another surprise, my hubby called and informed me that there was someone interested in seeing the house that evening (we are talking 5 hour notice for a home filled with lively youngsters and animals, AHHHH). I was still in shock from the first surprise when I walked into the second surprise. 

Instead of just having lunch with two of my close friends all my mommy friends were there, it was a wonderful surprise but I fear my face didn’t exude happiness since I was still overwhelmed by the fact that the house would need to be clean in record time. (The image above is of a previous event but most of the mommies in the picture were present at lunch).  These women are amazing and I am so thankful they are each in my life. Most had to get babysitters to watch their children since we met during lunch and all are on a budget, amazing friends.

I received so many beautiful cards, presents, and spent precious time with family and friends.

My wish is that everyone cherishes the relationships in their lives and realizes that it is truly the people who add substance, value, purpose to your life.

Thank you everyone for your warm birthday wishes.

God Bless,



Thankful Thursday: That’s not mud, a new kind of mommy guilt, and having it all!

As I stand here cleaning dirty diapers I find myself reflecting on this morning and desperately trying to recall all the make that, any thankful moments. It is kind of like grasping at straws at this point.

Run down of this morning….

I guess it all started last night. Our toddler, once again, got up and refused to return to her crib. I have no idea what is going on, she is to young for bad dreams and she has never had the privilege of sleeping in a different crib so it can’t be chronic crib envy (phew, we can cross that off the list). For those of you who have not experienced, or are not familiar with the term I provided the definition below;

Definition of Chronic Crib envy – baby or toddler becomes accustom to sleeping in a crib that is not their own.  Perhaps the babysitter or grandparent has a comfortable crib they prefer but since they can not speak you have no idea. The result, they fall asleep in their own crib then roll over and awake horrified by the fact that they are not in the cozy crib they prefer but rather their own uncomfortable one.

Now here is a crib to envy…checkout more at Posh tots.

So, once again she was in our bed. And sometime during the night another child was added to the mix because when I woke up our toddler was desperately grasping at my neck, the cat was sleeping on my head, and there was two additional legs kicking my torso, talk about a great night sleep. You know how those famous people are always talking about their Sleep Numbers. Well, my sleep number, is 3-1/2 or what I call maximum capacity, that breaks down to, two adults, one animal, and and child under 4 feet tall.

My personal preference is to not be choked, kicked, or sat on while I sleep. Is that asking too much?


So I managed to free myself from all the people and animal in my bed and make my way downstairs to start breakfast. After everyone is fed it is time to get teeth brushed, get dressed, and then do the girls’ hair. Little did I know that I would be in for so much more than the occasional “ouch”, I would be introduced to an entirely new concept of mommy guilt.

This site has awesome ideas for hair.

My daughter requested a braid in her hair this morning and while most moms might think this is a small task I am here to clarify, it is not.  First I must make my expectations clear, so I ask that she stand straight, gently place her head where I need it to stay for the next two minutes, and ask her to not put her hands on her face. So, what does she do?  She puts her hands on her face, slouches, and starts bending her knees.  I then repeat my expectations and explain the consequence of not following my directions, which is no braid.  She then informs me that a friend in her class gets two braids and she would like two braids. To which I reply, “maybe tomorrow, we do not have time today”.  Then she went somewhere we have never been before, she expressed “But Amanda’s (name has been changed to protect the innocent) mom has time to do her hair”, ouch, really, the mommy jugular.  Now, I am definitely familiar with the self-inflicted Mommy guilt but having my child inflict it was an unfamiliar pain. I didn’t know what to say, I panicked, and pulled the number of children card. I asked her if Amanda had brothers and sisters.  She quickly expressed no. And there you have it folks, mommy comes out on top with the old number of children card!!! As I finished her braid and she made her way down the stair to put on her shoes she added, “Oh, no wait, she has two brothers and two sisters”.  Really!?!  In my mind I replied, ” well, she sounds like a lovely mom maybe you shouldgo live with her” (but I am the adult in this situation so I did not say this outloud, God did hear it though, I think I need to go to confession). At this point I added a note to self, figure out how many siblings Amanda has and how the heck she get her daughter to sit still long enough for two braids. I wonder if bribery is involved.

That is not mud, or my dog for that matter but it gets the point across.

Once downstairs I noticed dog paw prints all over the house. It rained last night and is still raining today, so mud happens but I prefer that it doesn’t happen throughout my home.  Then a non appealing aroma started to linger throughout. NO!?! Could it be that the dog did not track mud throughout the house but instead, poop!?! Yup!  So I request that all kiddos step around or over the paw prints as they proceed to the door.

We divided and conquered today. My hubby took my son to preschool and I took our daughter to Kindergarten (different schools/building but they begin at the same time).  Once home I had to rush downstairs to clean diapers because I put the last clean one on her this morning. And so here I am cleaning diapers and contemplating what I am thankful for today.

Then it dawns on me, I am thankful for all of it, everything!   I am thankful for the fact that I have a little toddler to keep me up at night, a preschooler who infringes upon my quality of sleep, a kindergartener who made me a mommy which also gave birth to mommy guilt, a cat that sleeps on my head, dog that tracks poop throughout the house (well I could do without the poop, it is just not sanitary, but you get my point), and a house for that dog to track poop throughout.  But most importantly I am thankful for my hubby, my partner in lives journeys and that God has blessed me with so much.

What are you thankful for today?

Sacrifices can be Blessings in Disguise

It occurred to me this morning, while I was changing my toddler into her second outfit in ten minutes and cleaning up the sticky cereal mess (honey nut Cheerios and milk are not as forgiving as the regular Cheerios when it comes to spills, those sucker are sticky) that in a previous time, B.C. (before children) I was a professional.  I have a Master’s degree that I worked hard for and I do have many intellectual thoughts, seriously.  I realize I call food “yummy”, using the restroom, “going potty”, and grated parmesan cheese, “shaky cheese”, but somewhere in my toddler, preschooler, kindergartener consumed mind there is a mature intellectual, honestly.

There is a professional in there somewhere, honest.

There are moments in my day when I do find myself resenting the fact that I am home with the children making PB & J sandwiches, doing laundry, scrubbing crayon off my beautiful hardwood floors, poop off the pack-n-play, and putting a Power Ranger costume on my preschooler for the 10th time.  While my hubby gets to take a shower in the morning and only worry about himself, then its off to work, and he will likely eat lunch at a restaurant where someone else prepared the food, serves the food, asks how his day is going, gets him whatever he needs, and even cleans up the mess.  Then he is off to the next customer via his clean vehicle where he only has to buckle in himself and can listen to whatever he wants not having to worry about little impressionable ears.  Meanwhile I have the Muppets track memorized (and I still tear-up each time I hear Songs about Rainbows, darn frog getting me all choked up). This is when I need to take a moment to reflect and remember that the grass is not always greener, just different.

I love this picture. The family went to the circus and daddy was silly, a sense of humor is a must if you plan on raising children

We decided before we purchased our first home that it was important that I stay home once we have children.  So we purchased a home based upon my husband’s income only.  We didn’t even have children yet and we were already making sacrifices for them.  Well, that sacrifice was truly a blessing in disguise. I am now home with the children, we get to play together, visit local treasures such as the library for story time, the Art Museum for Family Center activities, the parks for outdoor adventures, and these are our blessings.  And I am so thankful to my husband for being the bread-winner of our brood and for making the sacrifices that he does everyday so that I can share in these amazing activities with the children.

Our son was scared of Big Bird so daddy got in the pic too! Too cute!

I think as stay-at-home moms (SAHM) we forget that our husbands are also sacrificing.  From the instant we start a family moms tend to have the upper hand so to speak.  A mother’s special bond with their children almost begins the instant we find out we are pregnant, while dads don’t get to experience the new life until the baby is born.  Mothers who nurse also get to have that extra dose of feel good hormones and bonding with the baby that again, dad misses out on.  Then, as a SAHM we get to experience the firsts while dad is often at work.  The first word, rolling over, crawling, step, poop in the potty (I was so excited when my eldest pooped in her potty I took a picture, right then and there, and emailed it to my husband), etc.  For the big milestones it is nice when mommy can be kind and compassionate enough to keep her mouth shut and allow dad to witness the milestone later in the day but all-in-all we have first row seats to all our children’s lives.  Moms are the ones who get to hear all about the children’s days while it is still fresh in their little minds.  Moms get to be the one everyone runs to with questions (okay, this might be stretching it, but you get the idea). SAHM get to go to all the activities that take place during the day, we get to see the Christmas programs, the Halloween parades, the classroom parties, and so much more.  Granted dad tries so hard to get there (God love my hubby, he tried to make both of our children’s Halloween parades only to miss each by mere minutes).

Our son up on Daddy’s shoulders (there is a book about that) at the apple orchard.

So maybe I don’t wear designer clothes (or clean clothes without stains, shhh, that’s our secret), half my underwear is torn because the dryer eats them (I try to avoid skirts and dresses fearing my underwear will fall down) all five of us have to share one bathroom, my husband can be seated at our kitchen table and remove food from the fridge and oven simultaneously, I have to shovel may way to the car in the winter (single car driveway and garage), I have to delete items in order to make my computer work, and I am the hostess, waitress, chef, and bus boy, I am blessed. I am blessed.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father for my children.

So, make sure you take time out over this Thanksgiving Holiday to acknowledge, appreciate, and thank your spouse for the many sacrifices they make for the good of the family.  Remember most sacrifices are blessing in disguise.