Clean underwear NEED not apply!

As I stand here in my kitchen I find myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion; gratitude, appreciation, and love.  Yesterday everything broke, our garbage disposal, dryer, and food processor (mid-preparations for Father’s Day!), it was frustrating, inconvenient, and financially stressful. Today is our son’s b-day, 8 years old!! We really didn’t plan anything big( not even a cake, which I feel really bad about, especially considering we have ALWAYS done something in the past, DARN MOMMY GUILT!!) and with having to replace a few big ticket items getting his b-day gift and Father’s Day gifts put us over our budget. Thus, our plans today consisted of attending our son’s field day for baseball and participating in Relay for Life. Rather uneventful. Then I started blending!

As I mentioned, our food processor broke mid-Father’s Day preparations. So I asked my neighbor if his late wife, who died from lung cancer a few years after we moved in (roughly 8 years ago), had a food processor. I even slipped when I asked. I said, “Does Emmy have a food processor?” Then I quickly corrected myself and declared, “Did, Emmy have a food processor?” I have to be honest a part of me knew he did have one, I don’t know how or why, but I knew to ask him. And sure enough, he did have one! And with our busy day I am just now getting around to blending ingredients at 8pm. So as I stand here blending nuts and dates for Father’s Day treats I find my mind wondering. The same thing happens when I iron so I gave it up. Haha! I found myself overjoyed with gratitude and appreciation.

My son’s coaches were amazing this year (and last year). I am so grateful that they volunteered their time, shared their skill, talent, and were so patient with the boys.  And, get this, they even remember that today, their last game, was Max’s b-day and they had a balloon and candy for him. Tell me that wasn’t the sweetest!! So after his game he received a trophy, ribbon, balloon with treats, AND, the cherry on his birthday sundae, Muddy & Mudonna (Our Toledo Mud Hens Mascots) showed up just in time & right next to the field he was playing on to sign his baseball cap and get a pic! PRICELESS!! I couldn’t have planned that any more perfect if I tried!!


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Fast forward a few hours and my daughter and I attended Rely for Life for the American Cancer Society.  Mind you there was a lot of planning that went into the event.

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Our team organizer and team mates did a fabulous job organizing everything, making our t-shirts, putting together raffle items, schedules, signs, etc. 

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My daughter and I enjoyed going around the track and seeing what everyone had in their tents, seeing all the fun things people were dressed up in, getting a pic with the University of Toledo’s Mascot….

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and most importantly, simply enjoying each other’s company (which is a true gift).   I couldn’t help become a little sad when I saw pic of ALL those loved ones who have died from cancer….the littlest really tugged at my heart strings. So, what have I learned from today? Why all the emotion? Why all the gratitude and appreciation?

Simple- I. AM. ALIVE!! My Children are ALIVE!! My son celebrated his 8th birthday today!! And I am so thankful for that! There are so many who have lost the battle to cancer. We never know what tomorrow holds. So maybe I DID wear DIRTY underwear today because my dryer is broken and maybe I didn’t bake my son that cake, but guess what, he was here & I was here! I am so thankful for today. I am so grateful for ALL the amazing people (coaches, teachers, friends, family) in my life, my community, my neighborhood!! I am so thankful for all the souls that I have had the pleasure of meeting before they left this earth. I am thankful for Emmy and her food processor. Back when her son turned 8 years old and she purchased her food processor I know she had no idea that in her 50s she would lose a battle with lung cancer. So, what is my message? LIVE!! Live BIG! Don’t masks your emotions with drugs and alcohol, live it all, good and bad!! Feel the pain. Feel the joy. FEEL it ALL!! Tomorrow is not promised. We never know when our lifetime is up. Don’t not show up because you have to wear dirty underwear! Thank those who should be thanked. Forgive those who need forgiveness, including yourself (including not baking your child a birthday cake…perhaps being together is celebration enough?). Don’t live with regret. Don’t live with grudges. Say yes to adventure!! Simply LIVE!! We owe it to all those who have been lost FAR before we would have liked to live our lives to our fullest. May we all be so blessed to live life in a state of gratitude, appreciation, and love!  (Note, this doesn’t mean perfection….and clean underwear need not always apply. Lol!)


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,