Sunday, September 26

Have You LOVED Your Husband Today?

I find that the longer we are married and the further we get into doing this thing called 'life' together, the easier it is to take for granted our marriages and our spouses and not do the things we should do to love one another. Do you feel that too? 

The girls will be up any minute so my words need to be few this morning, but here is what prompted this thought...

I crawled out of bed at about 7:15 hoping, praying, PLEADING with God that my children would sleep long enough for me to creep downstairs, have a hot cup of coffee, read something uplifting and maybe even blog a bit! 

It is Sunday morning and while I LOVE Sunday mornings, they have changed a bit in our house these last couple of weeks. It used to be that we all got up and it was a team effort to get the girls dressed, fed and out the door. That has not been the case lately. 

Scott recently made the worship band at our church...(my little rockstar guitar guy!)...which is WONDERFUL beyond wonderful for him. Truly, I'm pumped for him. We just started attending a rather large church less than a year ago. A church so large that while Scott's passion and heart to be able to play worship music within it were HUGE we had our doubts that it would happen because the church is so huge...meaning they likely have LOTS of talent at their disposal and Scott is on the newer side of being a guitar playing guy! 

Seriously, when God wants to use your talents He opens doors like you would not believe! I could write an entire post about this and perhaps I will another day...BUT...while I've pounded, and kicked, and scratched on doors to find writing gigs and try to get published...Scott seems to just tap and then waltz through like the door has been open and waiting for him all along....I don't GET IT! 

But really I do. 

It's like I said, when God wants to use someone's heart and skills HE paves the way....

So, back to this morning...

Guitar Guy...aka gone by 7:15 which means wife of guitar guy has two little (CRAZY and energetic) kiddos to feed, clothe and get in the car and off to church (with underwear on!!! wink. wink.) on her own...this makes Sundays not so peaceful sometimes...and can turn my attitude just slightly sour if  I'm not careful....

So, this morning, I came downstairs for coffee and saw this....and went GRRRRRRR. (that's my crabby bear grumble!). 

And my mind went like this...

"My morning would be MUCH nicer if there wasn't a sink full of dishes from the apple crisp making extravaganza in the kitchen last night (apple crisp that I had no part in making or eating)!!! GRRRRRRR!!!" 

(hold on...before you go throwing know you have ALL had thoughts like this!)

And then, convienantly, Scott came walking back through the kitchen to grab his coffee before heading out the door.

"You know how you asked what would make Sunday mornings easier when you have to leave?" I said.

"Uh huh."

 "Well...(with a passive aggressive joking but not joking grin I raised my eyebrows towards the sink)...Not having a big sink full of gross dishes. He. He."

"Oh, honey. Sorry. I know. I promise I'll do them later," Scott said.

That was really it. I grabbed my coffee to go sit down and pray (and you're thinking...yup...that girl needs to PRAY!) and Scott was about to walk out the door. 

And then the holy spirit had something to say.

"Yo. Lisa. Is that the kind of wife you want to be?"


I set my coffee down...turned towards they door...

"Hey. Honey. Just wanted you to know that I'm really excited for you to play guitar today. I hope you have a great time. Good luck. I'm so happy for you."

"Thanks babe." he said with a huge grin on his face as he leaned forward to give me a kiss.

"And really, the dishes are not a big deal. Sorry about that."

 I helped him carry his stuff out to the car. 

Simple moment. Simple change. Big impact. 

Changed my heart. Changed his morning.

Thanks holy spirit. I needed that. 

If you can't hear the holy spirit reminding you let this post serve as your reminder (and then open your ears because HE always has something to say!) LOVE your husbands today. They deserve it.

(by the's 8:15 and my children are still sleeping...miracle of miracles! God may not be swinging doors open to the publishing world, but he helped my girls sleep a little longer this morning so I'd have time to the dishes...HAPPILY....pretty cool, huh?!).

Saturday, September 25

Counting My Blessings: Family

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about thankfulness and promised I would have a little more to say...particularly in regards to family, friends, neighbors and church. I'm starting here with my thoughts on family...

 The biggest portion of my gratefulness this year has to do with being closer to some of our nuclear family; for me, namely, my siblings and parents. This was none too evident two weekends ago as we all packed up (Scott, I and the girls, my sister, her husband and her two small boys, my two brothers (one with his wifey!), and my parents) and towed a whole lot of stuff to a campground about 45 minutes away. It was a first ever "family vacation" with extended family (spouses and grandchildren now included)...though I am a bit hesitant to call anything resembling camping with four children 3 and under a 'vacation' it was fun and a great time for family connectedness (you can see the kiddos in the picture above).

No worries, we stayed in cabins with toilets, full running water and electricity! Ava was pumped to sleep in her bunk bed (though I nixed letting her sleep on top for fear of a loud thump in the middle of the night). Nonetheless, my brothers both commented on how camping with small children was MUCH different than camping with adults and that while they were both enjoying playing with our adorable munchkins I could see relief on their faces that they didn't have to do this 24/7 at this stage of their lives!

It was a ton of fun to see my girls play so well with my sister's kids; especially our oldest kids, Ava and Noah-- they were quite funny. They chased and ran and wrestled and contemplated climbing trees together-- and Ella threw herself into the fray whenever possible. Our brothers did a great job in their role as uncles-- tossing kids, throwing footballs, chasing them around.

This was all possible because we live near all of them now. In the past, our trips to Buffalo were divided between seeing Scott's family and seeing mine-- making separate family vacations and get-togethers a challenge because one only has so much vacation time from work and time to commit to traveling.

It strikes me as funny that I was SO ready to move away from my family 10 years ago and then you have children and you somehow seem to gravitate back to them.

I think I actually VOWED that I would NEVER, EVER live in Buffalo again. But, once you have children the lure of a big city doesn't seem to matter as much. The idea of a more glamorous job became inconsequential, and my envy for people who lived near us in Massachusetts who had family near them seemed to grow with each day of motherhood.

I think it got to the point in which Scott and I were almost keeping tabs on how often the grandmother of the children who lived across the street from us came over to babysit....

"Scott, look, she's there AGAIN!"

(And now my poor mother is probably saying the same thing between babysitting for me and my sister..."Oh, boy, they're calling again!")

So, all in all, to the inquiring minds who want to know: Are we happy we made the decision to move closer to family, a.k.a. back to Buffalo? 

Yes. We are. Because sometimes relationships mean more than regions (like our love of New England).

I love that my sister can call me on a whim and say, "Hey, bring the girls over for lunch after preschool" and that her son Noah looks forward to it all morning and shrieks with delight when Ava walks in the door because he KNOWS Ava...he has a relationship with her and they LOVE to run around together (and drive each other crazy sometimes! It's part of being close!)

I love that the girls both say, "Yay, Grandmas" when we pull into my parents driveway without any prodding on my behalf.

I love that Ava jokes and calls my brother Aaron "Bubba" because there is a familiarity with him and she can joke around.

I love that my mom, sister and I have done an ongoing book/bible study together.

I'm grateful that my girls have gotten to go to my grandmothers house and play in her yard and have dinner with her on a more regular basis so that they will have memories of her as they grow up.

In addition to my family Scott's Dad, his Dad's wife, his 14-year old sister, his aunt and his grand-father all live close by. We actually went out to a very nice dinner with Scott's family last night to celebrate his grandfathers 88th birthday! How cool that the girls got to be a part of that--whether they remember it concretely or not I am convinced that all of these experiences become part of their foundation, their sense of who they are and what their place is in this world. I'm glad the girls have closer relationships with them as well...that they know them, their houses, and have shared dinners and celebrations with them.

Is all is possible when you live  more than 400 miles away? Sure, close relationships are totally possible from a distance--the girls ADORE the rest of Scott's family who live out of town-- his brother and brother's girlfriend, his sister and her husband, his Mom (who we do get to see quite a bit despite distance)-- we Skype with them, see them at holidays, are actually taking a trip to Ohio to see a bunch of his family next weekend.

I'm just glad we only have to travel to visit part of our family and not all of them...ya know? That it is not as it used to be where we would spend 4 days in Buffalo and be in a frenzy the entire time we were here-- trying to figure out who to see when and how to balance it all and trying to get the girls to take naps, etc. By living close much of our time is spent in more relaxing ways, it is more quality time, it's more engaged.

So there it is! If you live away from your family and were ever wondering about moving closer those are my thoughts for now...sure, it also comes with it's own set of complications (don't all families no matter how the cards are dealt?!), but it's good...and we're happy...and it works for us for now.

Tuesday, September 14

Living Together: It Ain't Always Easy

Alright, so despite my promises to blog about my thankfulness today, I have another story to tell. I PROMISE I'll get back to the thankfulness tomorrow!

My story today is about living with one another. With our family members. With our husbands. And sometimes our children.

It's not always easy.

It gets complicated sometimes.

Like this morning...

I'll start off by saying that I've often found one of the challenges of marriage is that you live so closely, and interact so frequently with your spouse (and children) that it can be easy for them to throw a little curve ball into your day.

It can be easy for them to make or break your day...sometimes. The 'making' I'll take (won't we all?!). The 'breaking', well, I'm learning to adjust to that. It's the curve balls that can turn your day sour that we, especially we women, need to learn to control our emotions around. Like this morning!

So what happened this morning you want to know? Well, nothing out of the ordinary. Just a curveball, but I figured you'd all be amused so I'll share.

Ava had pre-school this morning. A friend who lives close to us also send their daughter to the same pre-school so we decided on a little carpool plan for Tuesdays. One Tuesday she'll take the older girls to pre-school and I'll watch the little girls (we each have 1 1/2 year olds as well) at our house and then we'll switch the next week. That way on Tuesdays we either get a free mommy day to run errands etc. or we are home with the little ones at our house so we can get a few things done there (in theory!) while they play!

Her husband actually drove both girls this morning and she took Ella (God bless her!) so I had the morning free!

I needed it. My house needed it.

The house was trashed! Laundry everywhere, empty fridge, randomness all over the kitchen table and floors, the girls summer clothes needing to be put away and fall clothes organized into their closets-- all that good stuff.

Well, I was on the TOP of my game. Worship music blaring, smiling and happy, cleaning and folding and dancing like it was nobodies business. I was so thankful for the chance to get on top of this stuff. Though I am not a good housekeeper (compared to other momma's to whom it seems to come my sister....!) my heart's desire is to create a home that is nurturing and comfortable, healthy and somewhat organized, for my family. This morning it felt like an act of love and an act of grace that I had the time to do some of these things.

Well, an hour into this happy cleaning frenzy I whipped out the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming floors and rugs as well. I turned the music up to hear it over the vacuum and vacuumed away.

I have yet to mention that Scott was working from home during all of this. His home office is in our basement. If any of you have ever experienced the sound of a vacuum, especially on hard floors, through a basement ceiling...well, go ahead and laugh aloud now.

Apparently it sounded like a fighter plane flying through our house. Apparently.

Scott was on a phone call...which he did not inform me I was vacuuming...I mean, flying my fighter jet, through the upstairs.

I ran down to switch the laundry and seriously...though Scott SWEARS he was not upset...I received the most vicious look known to wives as Scott mouthed...

"YOU'RE KILLING ME HERE!!!!!!!!!!" while he was still on the phone.

Whoosh. Smack. Whack. Pop.  Happy mommy singing at the top of her lungs bubble burst.

I try not to be sensitive. And I've gotten SO much better. I swear! Scott will even attest to that. But when I'm caught off guard...well...

Scott found me upstairs, sitting in Ava's bed (it looked more inviting than my own!) SOBBING five minutes later.


I don't know. I think because life is HARD with kids and family and balancing it all. I so often feel like I'm merely surviving. I'm going through the motions of trying to keep everything clean and everyone fed, and keep tempers tamed with two pre-school/toddler aged kiddos.

It feels so hard and like there is no time to get on top of any of it. Finally you have a day to get ahead. You're feeling good, on top of your game and then whack! Your husband seems pissed at you because you are vacuuming because you want to create a nice home for HIM and you didn't know he was on a business call!

When he found me I was not pretty. I don't know if this happens to other ladies but I was all red and blotchy and blubbery and snotty. I really didn't want him looking at me!

He apologized profusely and went on to tell me that he really wasn't's just that the vacuum sounded like a fighter jet going through the hallway, he couldn't even hear the woman on the phone and he didn't mean to be was just an expression his football coach used to use when he was frustrated....the "you're killing me part" that is....

He told me he was sad he had burst my happy bubble. And, genuinely, he was.

It's just SO. DARN. HARD. to live with other people sometimes. Some days you just want to live in your little bubble all by yourself, don't you?!

We resolved it and then I got ready for a run. Scott sent me out with the following decree,

"Lis, I'm really sorry. I hope your bubble gets filled back up. Turn some more music on. Really God wants your bubble to be filled back up."

And it was a beautiful morning for a run. Perfect temperature. Beautiful blue skies scattered with big puffy white clouds. Goldenrod filled fields and fall flowers and leaves scattered about.

I thought about life and how I really do love my family. But how it is like a stinkin' roller coaster ride to live well with others sometimes.

My bubble did fill back up.

I listened to some great music on my run. When I picked the girls up from pre-school they were so darn cute and chattering away that I couldn't help but smile. Scott ordered and picked up a greek salad for me from a local restaurant. Ava and I went to the local corn stand and bought peaches, and pumpkins and corn. I'm sitting and blogging, Ella is still sleeping and Ava is sitting next to me eating a lollipop and watching Little Bear.

Life is Good. I am thankful and blessed.

Just need a few good tips on the life of a wife and managing my if you have any, send them along!

Monday, September 13

Counting My Blessings

I am having a thankful day today. Just thought I'd share.

Isn't it so true that gratitude changes our attitude...not that today is a day where I'm in need of an attitude adjustment (though there are MANY of those)...but, nonetheless, I think that it is as important to be as verbal about our blessings as we are about our bad days, so here goes.

It was just about one year ago this week that we moved into our house. I can hardly believe that!

I can hardly believe it because one year ago when we moved into our house SO many things felt unsettled.

We had just spent the summer living at Scott's dad's house. MUCH of our stuff was still in storage. We had our family here (which is a blessing in and of itself) but I had just left a great community of mommy friends-- great, loving, Christian, encouraging mommy friends. Scott was starting a new job and felt tentative and unsure about the whole thing.  Ella was just 6 months old and I was still adjusting to life with two children. We had no church home.  We weren't sure where to get involved or how. We didn't know our neighbors and not one of them stopped by to say hello. I was trying to unpack and establish order while my young children prefer to implement disorder--and I so desperately wanted to have "places" to put our know, everything has a place and everything in its place!

So much felt strange and unfamiliar.

It's hard to believe that was just 12 months ago!

God has been incredibly good to us this year and for that I am so THANKFUL and feel like we have been so blessed.

Scott and I feel like we have been here forever already...

We feel settled into our house and have met some wonderful people in our neighborhood. We just recently had a little neighbor dessert get-together and it was so nice we hope to do more!  

I have reconnected with old friends and have connected with many new friends. Because my sister also has two children and was very invested in her church community here I have been blessed to be invited to many events and meet many people through her. We ended up attending her church, which we feel is one of the best churches EVER! (check them out online and as of recently Scott has started to play guitar on their worship team (a total blessing for him!) and I'm the newly appointed "publicity" momma for our MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group.

Through church, MOPS, and my sister I have met some AWESOME women-- mothers mostly-- who are all on the same page and mostly want the same things for their children.

Though I am far from uber-organized (and am beginning to accept that as part of my personality!) things are mostly settled and have a place (when I get around to putting them there!). Our home is a great place for our family and we all feel settled and happy here.

Scott's job is going well. I've found a couple of new writing gigs (and ventured into blogging!) and it has been wonderful to have our family so close (I'll write more about that tomorrow).

God is good!

I've decided that I feel so blessed that I'm going to write a bit about each of these blessings each day this week. Here is my "mini-series" schedule:

                                     Tuesday: Family
                                     Wednesday: Friends
                                     Thursday: Neighbors
                                     Friday: Church
                                     Saturday: Everything in Between! 

Here's to a week of counting my blessings.

Friday, September 10

Preschool Begins

I feel like it's my due diligence to post a little something about Ava starting preschool. I mean, what kind of mommy blogger would I be if I left it out?!

So, Ava started preschool yesterday morning. It was a day of mixed emotions...actually, a week or so (especially if you read my other preschool blog!) of mixed emotions.

She was thrilled to go, but I knew she'd get a little homesick later in the morning (the class is from 9-12), which is exactly what happened. She was smiling when I dropped her off and crying when I picked her up...poor kiddo. In her defense, apparently the kids were all pushing in their chairs to get ready to leave and her finger got pinched between a chair and the table...I think it was like when you're having an emotional day and just ONE thing could put you over the edge and then that one thing happens!

I was prepared. I had stopped at Target while she was in school and attempted to purchase some yummy little snack that she hadn't had before that I knew would bring a smile to her face no matter what her morning had been like.

Pre-packaged rice krispie treats turned out to be the answer. They took all her woes away! Two minutes in the car and one eaten rice krispie treat later it was like the tears had never happened.

So how did the first day go?

For her: She said she loved it. They painted, they played, they ate cheesy crackers. Sounds like fun, huh?! She's not totally convinced she wants to go back next week, but she had fun nonetheless.

For me: Hmmmm. I still have mixed emotions about this whole thing (Shhh...don't tell Ava that!). There is part of me that thinks this is great for her-- the social interaction with children her age, the guided learning, the ability for her to do crafts and make a mess of their tables and not mine (!), the learning how to work with other kids and listen to a teacher...I think it will all add some much needed structured learning into her life.

Also, because it is a Christian pre-school, I feel blessed to have such wonderful and loving people influencing her life and teaching her about the God who created our world and the Christ who loved us enough to enter into it.

All that said, there is this lingering feeling that it is all too early...that she is only 3 and that we, as a society, might just be pushing our kids to grow up a bit to early. That she doesn't need to learn where and when to push a chair in quite yet, or how to stand in a line of children. That she already knows her ABC's and that I am teaching her plenty at home.

Perhaps it's because I grew up in a very traditional home without a huge pressure towards academics, especially not at such an early age. This was the conversation I had with my mom the other day...

"Ava, is starting preschool this week!"
"Wow. Great!"
"I know, it's kind of crazy. A lot of my friends signed their children up and it seemed like the right thing to do."
"I know. It's almost like you feel like you have to these days. Like your child will be behind if you don't. Geez, the kids used to just learn all of those things is kindergarten. Preschool is the new kindergarten."
"Yeah, I guess it seems that way..."

That about sums it up.

So...I don't have a conclusion...just an ongoing inner conversation. I suppose that is how much of parenting works though. There are some things we enter into with our children in which we have full confidence and other things that seem to be accompanied by a certain degree of skepticism. We walk though holding onto that skepticism until we either change our mind and our decisions or eventually reach a certain peace.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 2

Bargain Shopping and Too (or "two") Small Boots

I don't usually post pictures of my children's clothing, but I got some GREAT bargains today and this momma LOVES! a bargain.

My sister and I frequent the same local consignment shop and both agree we have found some of our favorite clothing items there. Fortunately, since she has two boys and I have two girls, we can go shopping there together without it turning into sibling rivalry or a competitive shopping match of any sort!

We love the store because it's a great place to get brands like Gymboree and Gap at a fraction of the cost...I shop Gap sales at the store regularly as well, but Gymboree is for moms in a different league than my own (hope I'm not offending any friends here, but I just can't see spending $24.50 for a pair of jeans that will be worn for 6 months or $34.50 for a dress-- my clothes often don't cost that much)!

We also love the store because, unlike some consignment shops that have clothing that looks like your mother might have put you in it 27 years ago, this store's clothing is always in GREAT shape and there is  usually a pretty good selection of stuff.

Anyway...their prices are a big high on a regular basis, but they run these great 50% off sales, like the Labor Day Weekend Sale they have every year! You have to get there early though...seriously, it was like those crazy brides you see at the Filene's Basement wedding dress sale in Boston every year-- people line up at the door and can get NASTY!

All that said, here is a bunch of the stuff I got today. I didn't pay more than $5.50 for most of these items...there was one glitch, but I'll tell you about that at the end of the post!

Cute Gap t-shirt with an apple pattern and these ADORABLE jeans (Gap also)

the cutest darn pocket on the back of the jeans!

Two almost new Old Navy dresses and a Gap sweater

A navy blue Land's End t-shirt and pink corduroy pants

Little mary janes for Ella!

This outfit for Ella-- a Gymboree top and Gap jeans

... and a reversable Carter's jacket for fall

I also got Ava the cutest backpack for $4 and 4 books for .60 each! 

So here was the one glitch! 

I saw these boots in the front window and have wanted to splurge on a pair of Pediped shoes or boots for one of my girls for the longest time- 

Aren't they cute?! 

Some crazy rich Williamsville  (the town the store is in) mom probably paid list price for these ($56!) and her daughter wore them once or twice because you cannot even see scuff marks on the bottoms! 

That said, when the owner told me they were $21.50 I thought "wow, what a great deal for $11!" -- well, turns out they were probably the ONLY item in the store that was "final sale" which meant they were not 1/2 off, but the regular price she had them listed at. I didn't realize that until after the fact, at which point I almost took them back, but figured they were probably still worth $21.50 since they are real leather....

Here is the hitch...

Ella has FAT feet! We don't call her "our little meatball" for nothing! 

So, even though she wears a size 5 and these boots are a size 5, do you think they fit her?!

Not so much! 

It was like trying to squeeze the glass slipper onto one of Cinderella's step sister's was NOT happening...

Of course, after I got home and read the reviews online I find that they "run narrow" and "1/2 a size small"...not a good combo for little Ella's chubby feet! 

So...Scott tried to take them back and said it was a good thing I didn't go because I would have cried (he's probably right!)...the lady was not very nice...

My only consolation is that they sell pretty well on E-bay (I looked) for anywhere between $20-$ apparently it is time to learn our way around the internet sales world and sell those puppies online! 

Here's to bargains and "not so" bargains (and the time that it all takes!) whilst we shop for our children!