The “Honey, I’ve Been There” Smile

To moms of younger children:

I have five kids, preteen and up, and I have watched many kids over the years. A screaming kid in the grocery store doesn’t phase me one bit. I’ve been there… more than once. When I go by, you might see me give you a small smile and a nod. If you notice, I’m ignoring the kid, they don’t need my attention at the moment. I’m doing this toward you. Why? Because I want you to know that I’ve been there. I’m not pitying you with that smile, I’m sending my support and encouragement. I’m saying, “I totally understand what you’re going through. You’ve got this.” I saw that smile when mine were little. At first, I was embarrassed. I thought they were laughing at me or pitying me, but then I came to realize… this is a part of motherhood and those are other moms connecting with me. It’s a small way of letting another mom know that we understand and we aren’t judging her on how her child is acting. We know that all children have times of meltdowns. They could be tired or hungry or just having an off day.

So, the next time you are having one of those shopping experiences and a woman walks by and gives you a smile and a nod. Remember… we’ve been there and we know you’ve got this!!

Being a Parent is HARD

The last few weeks, I have been in tears more often than normal over having to parent my children. It’s been a very stressful time.

As a parent, you are trying to bring your children up to have good moral standards. As they live under your roof, you sometimes have to make decisions of which you know will break your child’s heart or make them very angry. We don’t always know how our child will act, but as their parent, we can make an educated guess as we get to know how they think as they grow up.

The “Deadpool” movie is one of those hard decisions. It has caused a lot of tension in this house. We were all very excited to hear about it when it was announced, especially James. He has a bunch of the comics and is a big fan of the Marvel character. Then Amie’s best friend, who is also a fan, selected that movie as what she wanted as part of her 18th birthday party. My two oldest children were looking forward to seeing this movie very much. Because I knew this movie would be cruder than other Marvel movies, I had already told my other children they would not be going to see it in the theaters and only at home if we felt they could after we’d seen it.

This week, after much praying, thinking, and research, we decided that none of our children would be going to see it. In fact, because of some of the situations in the movie, neither my husband nor I are going to see it either. We broke it to the children that we were not allowing them to go see it and it felt like there was a bomb that exploded in my house with the anger and hurt that came toward us. “But her parents are okay with her going to see it.” Her parents are not me. “But all of my friends are going.” They are not my children and I am not responsible for their upbringing. “I’m 18 years of age and you can’t tell me what I can and cannot do.” Legally, that is true, but I am still morally obligated to help teach you what is right and wrong and how to make the hard decisions to not do something you really looked forward to when you find out there is something in it that would not be good for you.

I was really looking forward to this movie myself and I have cancelled my own plans to see it because of the contents in the movie. I am not trying to tell others what to do with their children. Each parent has the right to decide for themselves what is right for their children. For me and my children, this movie will be off-limits. We are still getting the aftereffects of the bomb that went off when we told them they wouldn’t be allowed to see it. They are mad. They are hurt. In time, I hope they will understand why we decided this.

Parenting is not for the weak-hearted. It takes guts and standing up for what you believe is correct, no matter how many others come up against you. You have to say “no” sometimes and stick to that, not giving in. There will be a lot of parents who have different opinions than you and will look down on you for it, but stick to your guns and know you are influencing your children with it even though they may not like it.

Thankful… (Typical Thanksgiving Post)

Yes, I am going to finally break this pattern of NOT posting by posting on my blog about what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving.

*shakes head* I am pathetic. LoL (I know I’m not… I’m just joking around.)

ANYWAY… here it is.

I am thankful for:

– my husband and his love and help with all I am going through.

– my very helpful children who do so much for me around this house.

– my kitties who love to cuddle with me.

– a guinea pig who squeaks with excitement just to get petted and talked to.

– our extended family for all of the support I’ve gotten especially since my scleraderma diagnosis.

– good health, even though I don’t always feel well, I know I am still doing ok

– humor… without it, life would be bleak

– chocolate… see reason for humor… LoL

– Dr Pepper… ditto reason for chocolate and humor…

– Baby M and Little A for the fun and company they give me while my children are in school.

– awesome friends all over the world

– my Google+ photographers who are encouraging and helpful when I have questions

– my Facebook friends for the prayers and encouragement

– my photography to give me the ability to use my creativity

– the freedom to worship as I want

– a great school for my kids

– glow sticks because they are cheap and very entertaining and extremely fun for photography.

– hairbows to keep my hair out of my face

– the ability to start taking photography classes and learn more about my favorite thing to do

Well, to be honest, I have SO much more to be thankful for, but I’m getting tired. Turkey coma?? Maybe… LoL

I will try to keep this a little more updated. If you want a new post and I haven’t put anything up for a while, just let me know.

A Day in my Life

There isn’t a lot for me to say right now, but it’s been a little while since I’ve talked about my health. I think I’ll just tell you how it’s affecting me in a day to day basis.

I get exhausted so easily. When I try to get up and do as much as I used to do a few years ago, I end up extremely out of breath and worn out.

Yesterday was really busy. I had church in the morning. It was our new Pastor’s first Sunday (WELCOME PASTOR MIKE!) and I worked at one of the name tag tables to remind the people to get one as they came in. I also took my computer and put the wedding photos I’d taken last week on a slideshow so others from the church could see and so the newlyweds could see all of their pictures.

After church, we finally got to celebrate Noelle’s birthday at Tyler’s Tenders and played at the attached arcade. It is small and very family friendly… so much better than Chuck E Cheese. They have yummy food with lots of different options and the smaller arcade section makes it easier to keep track of where my children are.

I was pretty exhausted by then, but I still had more to do. On the way home, we stopped and I got a few things we still needed for our church’s youth group Christmas party. Once we got home, we had an hour before heading to the church. I dropped into bed and slept until time to go.

The nap definitely helped and I went to the party ready to have some fun. I was my normal crazy self, though after about half-way through it was getting harder for me to breath and I was getting a migraine. I didn’t want to ruin the party, so I kept going. After it was over and I helped with a bit of cleaning up, Jeremy sent me home. He stayed to finish the cleaning up. He could tell I wasn’t doing well at all anymore.

So, that is how a day affects me. I used to love days like these. Lots of fun… but I don’t handle them so well anymore. I still had fun, but it cost me. Today, I am sitting and cuddling Little A. He’s having fun running cars and trains and animals all over me. I have very little energy. I have found ways to watch him without completely wearing myself out. He’s doesn’t know any different and knows that this is how Ms Julie is. He’s a pretty good boy, even when he’s hyper and dancing and jumping all over the place. He does have his days when he tests his boundaries as any 2 year old does, but he brings joy to my days. I am blessed to have him in my life.

From My Children…

Having five children is quite hilarious at times. I love sharing those on twitter (@pixiemom) and now I’m going through and sharing them here.

James: “We learned about eunichs in Bible class at school last week. *shudders* It was not a fun thing to hear.”

AnnaBeth: “What are you doing?” James: “Nothing.” AnnaBeth: “What kind of nothing?”

Speaking of computer class… Amie: “They use Windows. Its horrible!” Hehehe… that’s Jer’s daughter.

Jer: “So, are you hot or not?” James: “I don’t know. I don’t speak girl gibberish.”

Ask Little A where James is… “Right there!” And points to James. Ask him where Miss Julie is and he pointed at Chris. He knows his buddy.

Kids’ answer to if a girl calls for James: “Too young… access denied.”

Little A is talking high pitched while playing with AnnaBeth because her voice is so high.

Chris: “Mom, Charlie is making me lose my marbles!”

My 7 yr old daughter has been speaking with a Louisiana accent all morning. Thanks to Gambit and Rogue.

While looking for shoes… Noelle: (with appropriate pirate accent) “There be one!”

Chris: “He’s got a giant guinea pig from the north!!” (The kids have Creme out in their little play town.)

Amie and James made a bunch of origami boats and now their armadas are warring.

My kids are pretending to be spies… but I don’t think they get the “stealth” or “quiet” part of the job.

Noelle: “I know why you love chocolate… one of its ingredients is happiness!”

James: “That uses more batteries than a hippopotamus with an electric toothbrush.”

Chris’s tip for today: “Don’t let guinea pigs go up your shirt.”

AnnaBeth: “Its raining.” Noelle: “Indeed, it is.” (I always get a kick out of when she uses such proper grammar.)

Noelle: “I have the power! The power of NAIL POLISH!”

Doing silly skits… James: “You can use Little A, he’s a prop.”

James and I came up with Candy-land Clue. “Professor Sugarplum, in the chocolate valley, with a candy cane.”

AnnaBeth: “Little Miss Muffet sat on a tough one, eating her herds and cray.” “I’m a little teapot, short and sprout.” (I’m cracking up!)

AnnaBeth: *sees the cats hissing at each other* “They are internal enemies.”

Me: “James, you look like your dad in this pic.” James: “No, I’m so much better looking.”

AnnaBeth: “Our normal is funny.”

While playing by herself, Noelle is pretending to be the bad guy and the good guy (different voices) and just tied herself up.

Overheard Chris talking to Little A: “Hey! You aren’t supposed to eat dinosaurs for breakfast.”

AnnaBeth and Noelle were discussing their Dad this afternoon. They decided he is a ‘Techno-nerd’ and not just a geek.

Hehe… Chris got Little A headbanging to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

The rolls at our dinner table are talking…

Chris: “I had something in my mind, but it made no sense, so I changed it… but then it made even more no sense.”

AnnaBeth: “Mom has a pink belt in TICKLING!”

James: *holding Martin’s arm* “You can’t go! You are stuck like peanut butter on bread!”

Amie: “You have grown a bit.” Noelle: “No, I’ve always been this small!” *pats top of head*

James: “I’m not very good at chess yet… I can’t even beat Daddy yet.” Jeremy: “He has an interesting way of complimenting us, doesn’t he?”

James: (discussing his aunt and uncle’s ages) *sigh* “They grow up so fast.”

2 yr nephew: “Where’s the James? The James are outside.”

Noelle: “Tada… I am… POLITE WOMAN!”

James: “My arm fell asleep last night… and kept me awake with its snoring.”

James: “I think I will grow my beard out… this clean-shaven look isn’t working for me.”

Noelle: “My frisbee never respects me. It refuses to go far when I throw it.”

Noelle: “Daddy, you are crazy, crazy, crazy. You have a crazy heart.”

Me: “James, here’s your lego man… in pieces.” James: “Must have been an explosion.” Chris: “Or a girl!”

Me: “Dad wants a date, so I need to get prettied up.” AnnaBeth: “But you’re already so pretty.” Noelle: “Yeah! We love you.” (Awww)

AnnaBeth points to her lemonade and says, “Can someone take out the watermelon?”

Noelle: “Two of my toes hurt and they are my two bestest toes.”

James and Noelle just did an improv duet song about maple syrup and whipped cream. It was awesome.

James: “Spoon #1 reporting in… I am running away with the dish. Repeat… I am running away with the dish.”

Amie: (telling joke) What do you call a lost wolf? James: I’d call him George. (10 pts to whoever knows what he’s referencing.)

Made some hot tea for myself. AnnaBeth walked by, saw it and ran into the kitchen to make her own, exclaiming, “Its a hot tea kind of day.”

Not quite awake… I thought James said, “He turns evil when he changes his socks.” (He actually said thoughts not socks. LoL)

James: *pulls heart ornament out of shoe* “My shoe has a heart!” Amie: “Wow! I knew it had a sole (soul), but never a heart.”

My two little girls are pointing out where Daddy has white hair.

LoL NOW Chris is telling Daddy about how she can see his wrinkles and double chin easier when he doesn’t have a beard.

My 8 yr old daughter who wore lime green pants with a pastel pink top is now critiquing my clothes.

Overheard at my house: “They have no legs! They’re just floating heads!”

“The First Noel” came on and Noelle started yelling, “Turn it off!! I don’t like that song!” Poor girl…

I have a 13 yr old and a 11 yr old dancing to Backyardigans music with a little 1 yr old. I think they’re having more fun than Little A.

Aww.. talking about Thanksgiving. Noelle: “What will Grandma Anna have?” Chris: “She’s in Heaven, so she gets a great feast everyday.”

Me: “So… any cute boys that aren’t on TV?” Amie: “Yeah… but they’re all toddlers.” – Good answer, Amie… good answer.

Noelle ran into a wall… Me: “You have to be careful and watch where you’re going.” Noelle: “How could I? I wasn’t looking!”

My 2 yr old nephew knows the best stuff. He pointed to a picture of a snowy landscape and said, “Narnia!”

Noelle: “We have gravity shoes, so we can stand on the ceiling!” Seriously, this girl makes me laugh to much!!

Noelle: “We need to tell the dragons about Jesus so they will know about Him and be good dragons. Good dragons are awesome and fun.”

AnnaBeth: “Oooo… pretty, cute, nice, handsome Dad!” *throws her arms around him*

From James: “You can call me anything except late for breakfast, late for lunch, or late for dinner.”

Happy Thanksgiving

There are so many things that I am thankful for, but I’m not going to list them all.

I am grateful to be able to have my children in a good school. I have been able to watch my children grow and learn in this new environment. Seeing my 11 yr old picking up books and reading gives me a big smile.

I love that my husband has a job he loves. He gets into the car after work and tells me about what he did that day. Don’t ask me what he is actually saying… I really don’t understand, but I love hearing the excitement in his voice as he tells about “shaving yaks” or whatever he’s doing.

I am happy to have Little A here during the day. I get hugs and cuddles. He helps me to smile when I’m down. He’s my 6th baby and I’m his second momma.

I am grateful to have a wonderful family. My parents, brother, sister and her husband, my nieces and nephews. It is always so good to get phone calls or to be able to skype.

I also love having a great family through my husband. His parents and brothers and my brand-new sister-in-law, Betsy.

I am glad to have found answers to some health problems I’ve had for years. I may not have been happy finding out at first, but now we know what is going on with many things with me. I am praying that we continue to figure out things, but at least I have a good dr.

I am grateful for friends, especially those who I have found to be trustworthy and can tell the things that weigh on my heart.

I am extremely grateful to have a really good church to attend.

I love being able to have good cameras and to take pictures. I love the ability to help others capture moments in their lives… weddings, birthdays, and dance performances.

I enjoy being able to sing and share the joy I find in praising God with others.

I know these are usual things to be thankful for, but this has been a really rough year for me and I am finding that I am more grateful for them than I ever was before. I could go on and on, but I will leave this for now.

Weddings

In August, my husband’s younger brother was married. All of us had something to do for it. Jeremy was a groomsman, very handsome in his tuxedo. James was a candlelighter. Amie and Christine greeted people and reminded them to sign the guestbook. AnnaBeth and Noelle were flowergirls. I didn’t have a job with a name, but I was very busy the whole time. I was taking pictures and doing make-up for the girls.

It was a beautiful wedding. My little ones had a blast throwing the flowers all over the aisle. All of my kids are very excited to have their new aunt. Up until now, my sister was their only real aunt. They have many great-aunts and “adopted” aunts, but now they have another aunt.

We had another wedding this month. My very good friend, Sarah, married a very sweet southern gentleman. I had the privilege of being one of her bridesmaids. I’ve never been a bridesmaid before and I enjoyed getting all dressed up. It was a small wedding and it was lovely. AnnaBeth got to be a flowergirl for this wedding as well. The ring bearer thought AnnaBeth’s job looked fun, so he grabbed petals out of the basket and started throwing them as well. It was SO adorable.

The reception was different. The guests stayed seated and the wedding party, minus the bride and groom, served the guests cake and punch. I took care of the bride and groom with the help of my children. James did some candid photos for me and I took some as well. The only dancing was the bride and groom, the bride with her father, and the groom with his mother. Then they climbed into an Amish buggy and left with a ringing of bells. It was very cool.

We have another wedding coming up in November. My cousin is getting married. My sister’s daughters will be the flowergirls in that wedding. I look forward to seeing my dad’s family again, especially since I missed the family reunion this summer. I will enjoy welcoming his bride into the family and taking pictures.

I’m sorry it took so long to write about these. I haven’t been feeling my best lately.

Sorry It’s Been So Long

I think it’s been a month and a half since I last wrote. I have felt so extremely busy lately, but also feel like hardly anything has gotten done.

In mid-June, the dance recital took place. James did a fabulous job in his jazz routine. I was so impressed with how well he did, especially since this was only his second year of dancing. He also did a good job in his hip hop. Noelle was so cute in her tap outfit and made us all laugh at the way she would look back at her feathered skirt to see the way it moved as she did her little hip movements. She was also quite fun to watch in her ballet dance… as she was about 2 beats off, along with her partner, but they knew the dance and did it all… 2 beats off. I was cracking up a lot watching her. AnnaBeth did well in her ballet routine. She was an adorable skinny deer.

The kids went to their grandparents’ house for two days after that. I spent those days cleaning my house and doing a LOT of laundry.

We went to Six Flags: Great America for the Friday before the Fourth of July. It was so much fun. For most of the kids, this was their first time at a big amusement park. We’d taken James to Holiday World a few years ago, but the girls have never been to one. It was fun watching them get so excited over different and new things.

I signed my three dancers up for summer classes. They love being able to still see their friends and have the classes. I am also taking a class this summer. The studio started offering tap classes and those of you who followed my blog a year and a half ago remember how much I loved tap class. It is popular enough that they have decided to continue offering it through the year. I’m having a lot of fun in that class. It’s so good to dance again. I’ve already registered the kids for their fall dance classes. James is going to be taking Jazz and Hip hop again, plus he’s adding ballet, so it can help him be a better dancer. He is joining the Dance in Love ministry group as well. He’s very excited about that. Noelle is taking ballet and tap again and adding jazz this year. AnnaBeth is going to stick to ballet.

Jeremy was off on a business trip this last week. It’s always rough when he’s gone. I miss him terribly. I had a good amount of migraines while he was gone because I was trying to do so many different things and felt like things were not working out. I needed to take the van for oil and transmission fluid changes and emission testing and went out and found it had a flat tire… and that was just one out of many things that happened.

Ok, I guess I should finish this off with a quick update on my health. I had some blood work done earlier this month for my thyroid levels to see if the medicine is helping. At my dr’s appointment, she said my levels are good for now, so I’m continuing those meds as I have been. I didn’t like the medicine I was taking at night and I told her this. She said we would see how I did without it and so I am slowly weaning myself off of that right now. My anxiety has lessened but I was still having some times that it got too much, so we upped the dosage a bit on the medicine for those. I will be having blood tests on August 9th for my auto-immune disorder. Hopefully, we’ll have more information after that.

And now… I’m going to head out. Talk to you all again later!!

Uh… Where’s Spring??

I’m back from my week away from the internet. I think it’s good for me to take these little times and totally unplug. Anyway…

It was cold and rainy up until yesterday and BOOM… 90* weather today. It was like the late gray winter weather decided to go as long as it could and then let the heat come in all at once.

Seriously though, I like it. I do miss the 70-80* weather that should have come, but I am very glad it is warm. I don’t do so well with cold. I took a walk down to Walgreens this morning to refill my prescription. I love the sunshine and the slight wind.

Right now, I’m busy with the kids dance rehearsals. They all have extra practices to get ready for the recital in mid-June. AnnaBeth and Noelle got their recital outfits for ballet this last Saturday. I took photos with my phone and will be posting them on FB. I can’t wait to see what Noelle’s got for tap or what James’s outfits will be for hip-hop and jazz. We also have other things to do and I really want to go to the zoo again sometime. I love going to Brookfield zoo. I think this Thursday is free, so hopefully I can take the kids then. (Any of my Chicago-land friends want to join us there?)

I’ve had some lovely times with the three kids that are here. Amie and Chris are down at my in-laws’. I’ve been playing superhero stuff with James and took him out for a little bit the other day. I took the little girls to Pizza Hut and while waiting for our pizza, we put on some music from my phone (not too loud) and danced and sang in our booth. We’ve played with some little dolls and played princess. Today, we all went to see the Kung Fu Panda 2 movie.

Tomorrow… back to work for Jeremy and housework for me.