My Father has it, my Father's Mother had it...and now I have it too.
    The Family Curse that states that for whatever reason, it's not humanly possible to sleep past 6:00 in the morning.  I hate this curse. 
    We used to wonder why my Dad would wake up at the crack of dawn, every. single. day. of. the. week.
    It didn't matter if he had to go to work or was on vacation.  You could always find him wide awake with his cup of coffee at o' dark thirty every morning, no matter what the situation.
    My Grandmother was the same way.  We used to have to put pillows over our heads when we went to visit as she clanged pots and pans around for breakfast...even though it was still dark outside.
    It never made sense to me.  Why would anyone want to wake up that early?  What could possibly be that important?
    Then something happened.  I don't know what it was, but for some horrible reason, I'm finding it harder and harder to sleep past 6:00.  It's awful.  I, who used to be able to roll out of bed at ten in the morning when given the chance, am going stir crazy by 6:30. 
    I don't know how to break this curse.  I've tried to stay up late on a weekend to be able to catch some extra z's on a Saturday morning.  It only makes me tired when I wake up early regardless.
    It's no use.  I'm cursed to wake up at an obnoxious hour for the rest of my life.  My husband and kids could sleep the morning away, but I have no such luck.
    So, if you happen to be up this weekend at 6:00 for absolutely no apparent reason at all...give me a call.  While the rest of the world snoozes away, we can catch up and chat for awhile.  Maybe make some breakfast, have some tea.  
    It would be nice to know that somebody else has the same family curse too.    
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    I'll never forget when I moved from my home in Ohio, to the state of North Carolina.  
   It was February of 1999 and I remember loading the car during a huge winter storm, only to drive to my new apartment, in 60 degree weather. 
    I moved for my first job, and everyone I met looked at me like I was crazy for being in short sleeved shirts and dress pants in the "freezing" air. 
    If only I had a dime for every time someone told me that I'd "catch a cold without a coat". 
    It was around 60 degrees warmer from what I was used to (give or take) and my jaw would drop when I saw people in winter gear with scarves and hats.  I was convinced that southerners must obviously, be pansies. 
    Something began to change though.  I noticed that over the next few years, I too, started to feel a difference. 
    One example happened when our nephew was baptized in December, near Cleveland, Ohio.  We drove the whole day, only to get out of the car and totally lock up where we stood.  
    My brother thought I was kidding when my eyes watered and I could barely speak from the artic blast. 
    (He came outside to greet us wearing a t-shirt and shorts mind you.)  
    It's a strange thing that happens to you when you get used to the south.  Your blood seems to thin and the colder temperature tends to freeze you to the bone.  What once was "flip flop" weather, is now considered to be "winter coat wear".  
    As I write, it's raining and 60 degrees outside.  I'm wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt...and don't tell anyone, but I actually just turned the heat on in our house. 
    My brother would disown me, and I guess I'd have to say that it is I, who has officially become a pansy. 
    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find some fuzzy socks. 
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     With four kids, our house is already crazy enough.  It's usually covered in a wild mess from things you wouldn't believe. 
     I can deal with that.
     For years though, I've wanted to get a dog.  A puppy in fact.  Everyone said, "You've lost your mind.  Getting a puppy takes as much work as having another baby...and it'll RUIN your house!"
    Well, we got one.  She's seven months old now and I wouldn't really compare it to having another baby...but she does fit right in with the insanity of having kids. 
     Take today for instance.  You know how when you have children and it seems like they're being too quiet?  Yep, you get a little nervous. 
     I hadn't heard a peep downstairs, so when I went to check on the dog, this is what I found...
     Yes, the fun never ends in this house.  I guess the person who said, "Silence is golden" - didn't have have kids - or a dog. 
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     When the fifth grade rolls around in school, the students have the option of joining the choir or starting the band.  Our son decided on band. (And he's awesome.)
     I don't even know if awesome is the right word.  Magical, maybe?  You see, his instrument is the trumpet.  Ahhhh, yes...the trumpet.  That same glorious sound that rings through heaven's gates as choirs of angels sing. 
     Our house has been full of heavenly music since the fifth grade began.  It's so beautiful that I think multitudes could actually be found rolling over in their graves at the pure sound.
    Dogs too.  Dogs can be heard howling incessantly as our little cherub practices each night.  I'm waiting for reports that canines from as far as two towns over, have dug holes in the ground with utter joy, just to stick their heads in.
    We're so happy to have our home filled with such harmony and peace every. single. night.  It's as though we've been given this gift, that we get to enjoy over and over again.
    The best part is - now we don't have to save for that trip we've always wanted to take to Alaska.  We now know what it's like to hear the melody of moose, or whales...or moose getting attacked by whales.  National Geographic hasn't even done a show on that one yet. 
    Yes, we're loving it.  Our son can't get enough and neither can we. 
    Oh, and I almost forgot.  This week he told us that we were supposed to be filling out some sheet or form every week, stating that he's practiced daily.  And ohhhh has he practiced.  Why, even just tonight in the kitchen, the whole time I made dinner, he graced me with a serenade that would make a grown man cry.
    He thinks he's actually getting an F in band, because we haven't filled out these sheets.  Our straight A student, who would freak at anything less, could possibly fail the one thing he's so unnaturally gifted in.  It makes it all just that much more wonderful.  
    We're so proud and we're actually finding it difficult to contain our anticipation for the hours and days and months of never ending music we have to look forward to. 
    I guess you could say, it's our own little piece of paradise.  Every single night of the week. 
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   'Tis the season.  The first day of Fall is right around the corner - and with it - brings the cooler weather and yes, cold and flu season. 
    We spoke with our Pediatrician about getting the flu shot or mist for the kids.  This year we have another decision to make though.  Our oldest is 11, which means he's at the age to consider getting the HPV vaccination. 
    I go back and forth with these issues.  Not that I want to Jenny McCarthy it or anything, but it also scares me that once it's done...that's it.  You can't take it back and you just hope that your child's system doesn't have an adverse reaction to anything.
    On the other hand, if all goes well - as it should, how could I not want to protect my children from getting the flu or a disease which can lead to cancer?
    What are your thoughts?
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5 'n 5



    The ladies at are running a five-part series on how to laugh and keep your sanity during mommy hood.  They generously asked me to be one of their guest bloggers!
     Please check out my post and "like" their page!
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    Early in the morning, my husband and I got ready for work.  For about the third time, we yelled down the hall for the kids to wake up for school.
    After a few minutes of no results, Adam marched into each of their rooms, opened their windows, turned on their lights and pulled them out of bed.
    Four crazy haired and groggy zombie kids later, he came back into our room. 
    Looking exhausted, he said, "From getting them ready in the morning, to making them go to bed at night, it feels like all we ever do is lose our minds.  I constantly feel like the bad guy who does nothing but yells and disciplines."  
    I understood him completely.  His days are spent from sun up to sundown providing for his family and shaping it in one way or another.  That's what a real dad does though.
    Real Dads put their kids and family first.  They're there to raise them to do what's right and shape their moral compass.
    Real Dads have daughters that snuggle up and fall asleep on their chest because they feel safe and protected.
    Real Dads watch their sons take the field for their first scrimmage of the season with as much pride in their hearts as if they made the NFL.
     Real Dads are not the richest or the poorest, they don't give their kids every toy in the world, but instead, they give them their time.  They're there.  Even when it's impossible to be physically available due to work or service, they're still present.  
     Real Dads are not their friend, they're their father.  They make the tough calls, discipline with consistency and yes, are at often times...the bad guy. 
     They're also their hero.  They are the rock that holds them together through life's adventures and challenges...with an unconditional love that's infinite. 
     To all the real Dads.  Thank you for doing what you do everyday.  Every single morning and zombie bed-headed day at a time.
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    Our three boys are playing football this year.  They've had practices for the past few weeks and are getting ready for their first game of the season.
    During these weeks of practice, our daughter and I have spent hours together sitting through everything from scorching heat to pouring rain, watching them play.
    The other day, a brother and sister were running off to our left and I overheard the older boy laugh and yell at the younger girl.  She was trying to throw something to him when he said, "You can't make it.  You throw like a girl."
     Let me back up a minute.  I've never really cared much about stereotypes when it came to boys vs. girls/men vs. women.  It's never bothered me when an issue came down to a gender related argument because I've known where I've stood.  If I wanted to do or not do something, the decision was up to me...not because I was male or female.
    Then we had a daughter.
    Ironically, I had recently seen a Dove ad regarding how younger girls were asked to "run like a girl," or "throw like a girl," and they ran and threw with all their might. 
    When older girls were asked to do the same however, they mocked a silly awkward run and throw, as though girls can't manage to do things with strength or control. 
    When does this transition occur?  When do our girls switch from thinking they can do anything, to well...that? 

    Something came over me that wanted to protect her from these ideas of what "being a girl" infers.  I turned to our five year old and asked, "What does it mean to run like a girl?"
She looked at me with a smile, "It means to go really, super fast."
    "And what about throwing like a girl?  What does that mean?"
    "It means that if you have a ball, you can throw it as far as you can."
    I was relieved from her answers.  In her five little years, she's had no awareness of what the concept means...but when will that change? 
    It's up to us to help girls feel confident and secure. 
    I knew the boy who said it, was only joking around - but it made me realize that she's going to hear things like this to whatever degree, for the rest of her life. 
    I hope she'll always stay strong though. 
Many things will come her way but I pray we'll give her the tools that every daughter should have, allowing them to be as happy and successful as they possibly can. 
    Daughters should always know and believe they can
run as "super fast" as they could ever dream, making them forever and completely...just like a girl.
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    This morning, I stood in the kitchen making eggs for breakfast.  As I cracked each one, I had to stir them while the heat from the stove began to rise.  With the last egg, some of the shell accidentally fell into the skillet.
     My first reaction was to reach in and pull it out.  I tried, but it was impossible to grab through the slimy egg white...and besides was really hot. 
     As the eggs continued to cook, I had to think fast.  Using the spatula, I tried to fish it out.  No such luck.  It was a small piece and it kept slipping away again.
     Suddenly I remembered hearing that the easiest way to get a bit of eggshell out, ironically, was with an eggshell. 
     Taking one broken half of the shell, I scooped it slightly through the skillet and sure enough, the tiny piece came right along with it.
     The solution was right there in front of me the whole time, I just hadn't realized it yet.  It was a simple fix that actually worked well, but I had to do what I thought I should do first.      In life, this seems to happen quite often.  We can beat our heads against the wall trying to do things our own way or how we feel they should be done.  This doesn't always lead to a clean cut solution, however.
     God puts answers right in front of us, more than we could ever imagine.  Sometimes the solution can even be found right in our own two hands.  
     It's up to us to be willing to put our own agenda aside and see what possibilities might come. 
     After all, you never know how wonderful discovering the answers in life might be...even if it's only one eggshell at a time. 

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    It's back to school time, which inevitably picture day.  I loathe this day.  I'd rather take all four kids to the dentist than to deal with school picture day. 
    Every single never fails.  I vow to get everything ready the night before to avoid the chaos.  I instead, wake up with the gut wrenching realization that I forgot to get their outfits. 
    At six in the morning, my eyes pop open as I shoot out of bed to scurry around the house in search of clean dress shirts and pants. 
    With the boys in check, I try to find an outfit for our five year old little girl, which is a task in and of itself.  This was only the second year of picture day for her and I've learned that for's nothing short of a miracle to get it done.
    By 6:20 I'm ironing, starching, looking for ties, belts...forget the belts, headbands, dress shoes...hopefully it will be from the waist up because there are NO MATCHING DRESS SHOES ANYWHERE. 
    I hate the morning, I hate the running around, the crazy, messy bed-head that's most definitely the worst on picture day than any. other. day. of. the. year.
    The kids need to have breakfast but they can't eat or brush their teeth until after they're dressed because they'll spill.  Their pajamas will stay clean, but oooooooh you put a nice outfit on and they'll have pancake syrup dripping from one shoulder to the other. 
    Finally getting them in the car only makes me sigh as the seat belts and backpacks flying, make their perfectly ironed outfits wrinkly and scrunchy.  They don't care though...and neither should I, I guess. 
    It's a maddening, hectic, crazy-wild day of hustle and bustle that will represent a moment in time, which will last forever.  It's that one day a year that does nothing less than act as a reminder of how quickly they're growing - and that pulls at my stomach as they run off to school...crazy haired and untucked. 
    Yes, I hate school picture day.  Next year, I'll be ready for it though.  I just know it.  :)   
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