Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

December 2011 - If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then there’s really no need to write a Christmas letter this year is there? Our pictures pretty much sum up our lives: chaos. Pure chaos. But you know me.. I never turn down an opportunity to talk, or in this case write, so I’m writing a letter anyway  But this year, I had help. I asked each of the kids to tell me three things they think people should know about them, and about Brad and me. Here’s what they came up with:

Morgan (age 2)

• “Nookies.” Morgan loves her nookie (pacifier, binkie, she loves it, no matter what you call it). We are trying to wean her from it, but she truly loves it. I guess there are worse things…. right?

• “Bob.” Morgan doesn’t say many words (why should she? She has three older siblings to do the talking for her!) but she does say “Bob”. He obeys her, because she feeds him all the food off her plate! A few weeks ago, she fed him an entire loaf of fresh baked homemade bread!

• “Ball.” Ok, Morgan doesn’t really love this, but it’s a huge part of her life. She’s been sitting in the bleachers since she was ten days old, and in 2011 she spent even more time in the bleachers, as both Lexi and Jake played school basketball and traveling basketball. She also sat through dozens of volleyball matches and football games, which means I have scrubbed crayon off of many bleachers and walls, cleaned up spilled popcorn, and apologized to hundreds of people who made the mistake of sitting beside us.

Lizzy (age 4):

“I’m funny.” She is. Lizzy is probably the funniest kid I know. In fact, Lizzy is so funny, that her blog, needs to be updated several times a day. She is currently on a “Lizzy-ism” strike – everytime she says or does something that makes us laugh, she quickly tells us “do not put that on Lizzy-isms. Actually, delete the whole thing.” Not a chance.

“I don’t hate speech.” Lizzy continues to go to speech therapy once a week. She’s gone from hating it, to loving it, to tolerating it. She is looking forward to being done with speech and starting kindergarten next year.

• “I love, love, love Barbies.” Lizzy has just recently fallen in love with Barbies. She spends hours playing with them, all by herself.

Jake (age 10, 5th grade, Dorothy Moses Elementary):

“Are you ready for some football?” Jake loves everything football - watching it on tv, watching it in person, playing it, managing his fantasy football teams. Even though his Vikings are having a terrible year, he is loyal. I think the highlight of 2011 for Jake was going to the Vikings/Broncos game with Brad and my dad. Jake also played his first year of tackle football this year and survived without any broken bones! While football is his true love, he’s playing basketball now and doing great.. he’s got a killer left-handed layup 

• “I’ll drive.” Jake spent a few weeks at the Shea farm this summer. His biggest accomplishment: learning to drive. That’s about all I know about that, and to be honest, I don’t think I want to know anymore!

• “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” This became Jake’s catch phrase this summer, when he became the man of the house while Brad worked long hours. He took care of Bob, took the garbage out, and during our week-long camping trip in the Black Hills without Brad, he even fixed the van

Lexi (age 12, 7th grade, Wachter Middle School):

• “I started middle school.” Lexi has made new friends and loves having a locker and changing classes. She even made the honor roll! She played volleyball this fall and is now in the middle of her school basketball season. Traveling basketball will start after Christmas. Then it will be softball or track – she hasn’t decided which she will pursue yet. She played fast pitch softball for the first time this summer, and while she said she was awful, I think she kind of enjoyed it, and may even dream of hitting a homerun!

• “r u here?” This is the text I get every day when she needs a ride home. What did we do before cell phones?

• “Peace, love and duct tape.” Did you know duct tape comes in dozens of colors and patterns? Lexi has boxes of tape and spends her free time making duct tape wallets, pencil bags, flowers, bracelets and more. She’s established quite a little business for herself – selling her creations to friends, classmates, family, and people she doesn’t even know. This month, she’s donating all the money she makes to charity. So proud.

Brad and Jody (ages – OLD!):

• “I got a new job.” After nearly 14 years with KFYR-TV, I started a new job this spring. I’m now working 20 hours a week as a public information officer for four public health units. My focus is on emergency preparedness, but I’ve been lucky to “dabble” in many parts of public health, and even worked for the city of Bismarck during the flood (13 days in a row of 16+ hour workdays!). I’ve also started freelancing for the television program “This Week in Agribusiness” and the website “The Krazy Koupon Lady”. It’s fun way to earn a little extra money! While I changed jobs, Brad continues to work for the Department of Transportation. It was a long summer of road construction – Brad worked 17 hour days most of the summer. The kids and I missed him, but we liked the overtime checks…. while he worked, we bummed at area lakes and spent a week camping in the Black Hills.

• “I survived the Hawaiian tsunami of 2011.” Just before starting my new job Brad and I were lucky enough to go on a KFYR-TV sponsored vacation to Hawaii. We spent ten days visiting three islands. We visited Pearl Harbor, got sunburned on Poipu Beach, rode a Harley around Maui, and survived a tsunami! We would do it all again in a heartbeat… except for the tsunami part!

• “We wish there were more hours in a day!” Our lives are busy! We spend most of our time running our kids around, watching their activities, and working. We both have hobbies we’d love to find time to do: Brad would love to spend more time hunting and working in his garage; I’d love to catch up on some scrapbooking and go to the gym. But for now, our children are our life. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We hope that your 2011 was as exciting and memorable as ours. We’d love to hear from you – look us up if you’re ever in the Bismarck area. And even if you’re not in our neighborhood, find us on Facebook!

May you have a blessed Christmas and an awesome 2012!

the Kerzmans
Brad, Jody, Lexi, Jake, Lizzy, Morgan and Bob

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Little More Time

Today ranks pretty high on my list of "longest and busiest days ever".

From 6:30 am until 11:00 pm, I didn't stop moving. 
  • I made muffins for Lexi's early morning meeting.
  • I spent five hours at my "real" job.
  • I hung Uppercase Living for two customers.
  • I played taxi mom.
  • I made a quick stop at the store, with help from a not-so-helpful-two-year-old.
  • I wrapped Christmas gifts.
  • I cleaned the kitchen.
  • I stood in the longest and slowest moving line at the post office I've ever seen. I left the post office without mailing my package because I simply didn't have time to wait in line.
  • I made cake pops for Lexi's best friend's birthday tomorrow.
Yet, for as much as I accomplished, my to-do list is still gigantic.

Some of it is important: I really do need to get my hair colored tomorrow (Lexi gently pointed out my gray hair yesterday) and I also really need to get that package in the mail.

Some of it is stuff I'd like to do if I get time (make a batch of popcorn to take to the farm, clean my craft room, blog).

Some of it is stuff I write on my list every single day, but rarely actually get done (like go to the gym.. although I've been pretty good lately.. must be procrastinating other stuff!).

But for as detailed as my lists are, there are a few things I don't write on my list, thus I don't make time to do. Things like read to the little girls (I do this, but not nearly enough), play a board game with the big kids, watch a movie with my husband.

There are just so many other "important" things that need to be done. Yet, I never seem to get them done.

If only a had a little more time....

Or... even better... what if I changed my priorities?

Who really cares if there's popcorn at the farm? I'd rather play Barbies with Lizzy and Morgan.

And my craft room is a mess. Oh well. It's a sign of genius. Anyone up for a game of Monopoly?

Yes, I think this could solve all my problems..... and change my attitude too. Instead of thinking of all the things I should be doing, I vow to simply enjoy the little things. The other stuff will always be there. My kids won't be - they'll be headed to college before I know it. I need to enjoy them now.. even if that means the dirty dishes sit in the sink overnight....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Morgan!

My baby is 2!
It is a sad, but exciting day.
She's growing up so fast.
Looking back at pictures from the past two years, I realized a few things:
  1. Morgan loves nookies.
  2. Morgan also loves naps.
  3. Morgan has taken many of those naps in bleachers.
  4. Morgan is a very happy girl. She also makes many people very happy every single day.
Happy birthday, baby Morgan.
We love you.
Click below for a look back at how Morgan has grown and changed.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of those women

I vowed I would never become one of those women.

You know, the women who let themselves go.

The women who spend every waking moment taking care of their kids, and never have time for themselves.

The women who are exhausted, and it shows.

Turns out, I am one of those women.

In fact, because I never do anything half-assed, I think I've actually raised the bar when it comes to being one of those women.

Obviously, this is not something I'm proud of.

It makes me want to puke, actually.

What happened to the Jody that went out with friends for a drink?

I remember a Jody who played city league sports - both basketball and volleyball.

Once upon a time, this Jody even went out for occassional lunches with friends.

Unfortunately, that Jody is gone.

I sure hope she comes back someday because I really don't like the woman who has taken her place.

Oh wait, that's me.


I haven't played sports for five years. I think I went out for a beer with a friend about three weeks ago (and got texts from my babysitter the whole two hours I was gone... "Mom..when are you coming home?". Pretty much ruined the evening for me.) And lunch... hell, I don't even eat lunch most days. There's no time. I should be skinny, for a little as I eat. Unfortunately, skinny Jody has left the building too. And my hair - don't even go there. It looks like shit.

How did this happen?

I swore it wouldn't happen to me.

But, as I look at the schedule for next week, it dawns on me why it happened.

There are simply not enough hours in a day.

I would love, love, love to spend an hour at the gym every day. I would feel so much better about myself, about the way I look, and about my life. But when am I supposed to get there? Between work, the little girls, and the taxi service I run for the big kids, there just isn't enough time. And, just like those women, I wouldn't dream of spending an hour on myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I would be a much better mother if I did things I want to do once in awhile. If I could do them without the overwhelming sense of guilt I get now, that would be even better. It's not just the gym. I have closets full of "projects" I want to do.. Projects that I enjoy. Projects that are relaxing to me. I haven't touched them in months.

So what is the answer?

Damned if I know.

All I know is I'm tired of being one of those women.

I love my kids, like my job, and don't even mind running a taxi service.

I'd just really, really like the old Jody back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Five years ago, Brad and I sat the kids down at the kitchen table and asked them to help us make a very important decision:

Should we get a second dog, or have another baby?

We voted, and decided to get a puppy.

A few weeks later, Windsor joined our family (two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with Lizzy, but that's a story for another day).

Lexi and Windsor - July 2006

Lexi, Jake and Windsor - July 2006

Brad and baby Windsor - July 2006
Windsor was the cutest, sweetest, fattest puppy ever. We loved him immediately. Bob, on the other hand, wasn't so sure about sharing his kennel, and his family. Eventually, Uncle Bob accepted (or at least tolerated) his nephew, Windsor.

Windsor never mastered the art of pheasant hunting like hs uncle, much to Brad's disappointment.  But, we loved him anyway, overbite and all. Unfortunately, city life wasn't for Windsor. He barked a lot. He dug holes in the yard. We yelled a lot. This was not the life we wanted for our sweet puppy.
John and Windsor - August 2011
About  year ago, we sent him to the farm. It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement. We planned to take him back once our lives settled down and once he settled down a little. But, Windsor quickly won the hearts of my dad and brother. While they often joked about bringing him home, we knew Windsor would never come home. He loved the farm. He was a different, calmer, happier dog there.

The kids talked about him a lot. Lizzy often mentioned how much she missed Windsor.

Little did we know when we last visited the farm in August, we'd never see him again.
Duke and Windsor - the royal dogs of the Shea farm

Windsor died today.

I knew as soon as I heard my dad's voice on the phone.

Dad called to tell us that Windsor got run over this afternoon. Dad carried him to the shop, to inspect his wounds and make him comfortable. Windsor was having a hard time breathing, but his tail never stopped wagging. Even in pain, he was a happy dog.

John got to say goodbye to him, and for that I am grateful. I only wish my kids could have hugged him one last time, and I could have yelled at him to be quiet one final time. I feel terrible that my dad had to deal with all of this. But, I am so glad Windsor got to spend the past year at the farm. It was the best year of his life.

Between the tears and the sadness, Lexi, Jake and I talked about how happy we were for Windsor. He died while running at the farm - his very favorite thing to do.

He may have also helped Lexi through a very difficult time. She and her best friend have been having a tough couple of weeks, and haven't talked for a long time. It's been really hard on Lexi, but when she heard the news about Windsor, her first instinct was to text her best friend. They texted back and forth a bit, and her BFF told her "I'm here if you need to talk". Lexi said that text brought tears to her eyes because the BFF fight is now over.

Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy, but for Lexi, saying goodbye to Windsor helped her get her best friend back. And that's proof that dogs really are a man's (and a 12 year old girl's) best friend.
John and Windsor
Windsor the farm dog
Jake, Lizzy, John and Windsor

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Bad Mom Day

Most days, I think I'm a pretty good mom.

Then, there are days like today.

Today, I'm pretty sure I'm the world's worst mom.

I can't but wonder what happened to all the good things I've taught my kids.

Today, I saw none of the good.

But I saw lots of bad.




Terrible behaviors. The kicker - it was the big kids acting so awful. I kind of expect it from the toddler and the preschooler. Not from the 10 year old and the 12 year old. Not from my "easy" first born.

But that's the thing about motherhood.

It's a tough job.

The toughest there is, if you ask me.

And just when you think you've got it mastered, bam. They hit you when you're least expecting it, with the most unexpected behaviors.

I lost my cool.

For that, I am sorry.

No mother should yell at her children, but sometimes it just happens.

And on this day, it may just have been for the best.

After my meltdown, everyone was suddenly very sorry for how they had acted, for what they had said, and how they had treated each other.

A miracle.

I'm just sorry that so much of our day was wasted with fighting.

I know it's just one day.

But that's kind of the point - everyday should count.

We should live everyday like it's our last.

Everyday should have a "good part".

Today, there were very few good parts.

But, as I write this, I realize there may have been more good than I originally thought: we're all healthy, the cupboards are full, the bills are paid, and we have each other.

Life is good.
Tomorrow is a new day - and I am confident it will be a good day.

Because no one deserves two "bad mom days" in a row....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quality Family Time

I'm kind of a nerd about eating supper together as a family.

It's how I was raised, and while I hated it at the time, now as a mom myself, I see the value. So we make it a point to eat together as much as possible. It's difficult in the summer, because of Brad's work schedule and it's proving to be even tougher now that the big kids are busy with football and volleyball practice.

Still, I cook and when the majority of the family is home, we eat together. The rest eat as they get home, and usually we all end up at the kitchen table again while they eat.

It' just a great time to catch up with each other - it's when I find out what was for lunch at school, what happened in science class, and what the kids have for homework.

And at times, like tonight, it gets a little silly.

Check out the videos from tonight's "quality family time" around the supper table:

Still, as crude, disgusting, goofy and just plain weird as things can get I wouldn't trade this time together for anything.

Except for maybe a cleaning lady.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

End of Summer

Summer is, for all practical purposes, over.

I realize that the calendar says summer lasts until September 23.

And yes, we may sneak in one more quick camping trip, an afternoon at the lake, and a Friday night campfire.

But, in reality, summer is over.

School starts tomorrow.

Football started on Sunday.

Volleyball started on Monday.

I've spent much of this week driving.

And waiting.

And we haven't even left Bismarck.

But there's a bright side to all this driving and waiting.

I've finally had time catch up on some reading (even finished one book already!). I've also had time to think about what a great summer we had, despite a rocky start.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Cousin Time - Jake, Lizzy and Morgan spent ten days with the Brist cousins. Ok, it was because of the flooding in Bismarck and my crazy work hours, but on the bright side, they got away from the sandbagging and got to spend time with their cousins. Jenn spoiled them with trips to the pool, Storybook Land, and the zoo.
  • Fast Pitch Softball - This was Lexi's first season of fast pitch. It was a difficult season - the weather did not cooperate, which meant most games were cancelled. But she still had fun and learned she likes more sports than just basketball. She even promised to play again next year, in exchange for a pair of cleats!
  • Minnesota - We made several trips to Minnesota throughout the summer. The kids and I headed east in June to escape the flood for a weekend. We spent a night with Kileigh in Fargo (we visited Fargo's zoo for the first time ever and the big kids got to go to a Redhawks game) then a night with Chrissy in Minnesota. We played in the lake, built sand castles, road four wheeler and fell in love with their puppies (but did NOT bring one home!). Lizzy went back a few weeks later for another fun day with Chrissy and Shane and Lexi spent a few days with the "fun" cousin in August. We love spending time with Chrissy and Shane, and wish they lived closer, but we would definitely miss their lake if they moved!
  • The Black Hills - Some people called me crazy. They may be right. But sometimes it's good to be crazy. I took all four kids to the Black Hills for four days and three nights of camping. In a tent.  We had a blast. Really. I think it was the best part of the summer for all of us. We did the tourist thing - visited Bear Country, Mt. Marshmallow (aka Mt. Rushmore), Dinosaur Park, Storybook Island, spent a day at the waterslides and drove on a windy road through the Hills for a picnic. We swam every night at the campground, cooked supper over the campfire, and enjoyed each other's company in the great outdoors. We got sunburned. We lost our shampoo and conditioner (all five of us had to use Morgan's baby shampoo after the first day). We packed only bubblegum toothpaste (which actually isn't that bad.. I might even prefer it to mint flavor). We also made some amazing memories. I truly believe this will be one of those experiences my kids talk about well into their old age.
  • Garrison Dam - We had to do it. We had to witness history. Brad and I went with friends (on the Harley!) on July 4th. When I realized how impressive it really was to see the spillway completely open, I knew I had to take the kids. They were totally unimpressed, except for the restaurant in Riverdale - THAT impressed them. Still, someday, they'll be glad I took them. And they've got the pictures to prove they were there, witnessing history.
  • Kerzman Mini-Reunion - The kids make fun of how small my family is, especially after a Kerzman family event. This summer we attended a "mini" reunion of the Kerzmans - just the 15 brothers and sisters and their families. Not everyone was there, but the farm was still hoppin'. We had a blast spending time with relatives we don't see very often, and those we see everyday too!
  • McDowell Dam - With the river off limits, we decided to check out McDowell Dam, just east of Bismarck. It had been years since I had been there. But we were pleasantly surprised. The kids, Tess and cousin Madi and I spent a beautiful July day in the water. Ducky Mo-Mo and Ducky Stupid were born... and those floaties (and that joke) carried us through the rest of the summer.
  • Harmon Lake - We also decided to explore Harmon Lake, north of Mandan. The kids and I, and Lexi's friend Taylor, camped one night, and despite not being able to get the campfire started, locking the keys in the van, Morgan not going to sleep, and the tent pole breaking in the middle of the night, it was a great night. We spent the next day at the beach. Taylor left, but Tess joined us and the kids made an amazing sand castle. Bad weather forced us to pack up camp that nigh, but we returned the next day, with Tess' parents and the Kaludts and spent one more night in our tent. There's nothing better than cooking over a campfire, visiting with good friends and sleeping on an air mattress. Seriously. I love camping.
There are so many other things we did this summer that made it so special. I wish I would have kept track of the miles I put on.... we were constantly driving somewhere. And when we were home, we had backyard campfires, lots of smores and laughs. Lexi discovered duct tape, and started her own duct tape business. She played basketball all summer long too. She also got a little addicted to daytime television. Jake, meantime, got a little addicted to staying up late and sleeping in until 10:00. He spent ten days at my parent's farm, and even learned to drive! The little girls were good about tagging along and keeping up with the big kids. 

The pictures really do tell the story, and to me, the pictures from this summer are worth more than any words.
Vacation in the Black Hills with my favorite kids

Our first visit to Fargo's zoo

Fast Pitch

Jake and Morgan at Harmon Lake
One of the hundreds of smores we made this summer
Lizzy and Ducky Mo-Mo
The most amazing sand castle ever
Jake and Ducky Stupid
Soaking up the sun at Chrissy's
Garrison Dam - This is history, kids

But there are so many other things we didn't do.

We didn't go to the Y very much.

We didn't go on a single family bike ride.

We only went to the libray twice.

I kinda want a couple more weeks of summer vacation, just to squeeze it all in.

But it doesn't matter what I want. School starts tomorrow, whether I'm ready or not. 

And the more I think about that, the more I'm ok with it. In fact, I'm kinda excited about it.

Because while Jake and Lexi are at school, the little girls and I will play.

We'll go to the park, the library, the Y.

We'll have at least two hours everyday, after I'm done with work and before the big kids are done with school, to do whatever we want.

So while summer may be over, the fun is far from over for the little girls and me.

And so I say, bring on fall!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birth Order of Children

A co-worker of mine gave this to me. It's hilarious, and so true.... but I can't help but wonder... what about baby number four?? Forgotten, again? Poor Morgan :(
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?

1st baby: At the first sign of distress -- a whimper, a frown -- you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

1st baby: You change your baby's diaper every hour, whether she needs it or not.
2nd baby: You change your baby's diaper every two or three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change her diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to her knees.

1st baby: You take your baby to baby gymnastics, baby swing and baby story hour.
2nd baby: You take your baby to bab gymnastic.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarkert and the dry cleaner.

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby:  You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

1st baby:  You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

1st baby: When first child swallows a coin, you rush her to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd baby: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd baby: When the third child swallows a coin, you deduct it from her allowance.
***It is worth noting that none of my first three children swallowed a coin... Morgan holds that claim to fame. And I have to admit, I kind wished the penny she swallowed would have come out a quarter! Paying for four kids gets expensive! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Helping Others

Every once in awhile my kids do something worth bragging about.

Today, we had two "bragg-able" moments.

The first happened while standing in line at Wal-Mart. There was a sweet old lady ahead of us in line. She was sitting on one of those riding-cart things. The basket was full, plus she had two hanging baskets of flowers on the front. I heard the cashier ask her how she was going to get everything outside. I gave Jake a "look", and my sweet son walked up to the lady and said "I can help you carry your stuff out."

The lady seemed shocked, but took him up on his offer. He came back inside just as I was paying. He had a big smile on his face, a dollar in his hand, and a story to tell:

Jake: "She paid me a dollar!"
Me: "Did you tell her she didn't have to pay you?"
Jake "Yes! I told her that wasn't necessary.. I think I'm turning into Dad. But she insisted."

He's right. Brad is always doing things for others, just because. He never expects to be paid. That's one of the things I love about him the most... that he is just a really nice guy. I'm so proud that Jake is following in his footsteps.

Jake and the lady had quite a conversation while walking to her car. She told him she lives on a farm, and Jake told her how much he'd love to live on a farm, but his sister won't let us move. I would have loved to hear their conversation. By the way, the dollar didn't last long... Jake splurged on a bag of M&M's, which were gone before we even got out of the parking lot. That's my "not-so-proud" moment!

But back to my proud mom moments...

Proud Mom Moment #2: As we were leaving Wal-Mart, we noticed a couple sitting at the edge of the parking lot. They were holding a sign saying they are disabled, and begging for cash. It caught Lexi's eye (even though we see them all the time, for some reason today, she noticed them).

Lexi: "What are they doing?"
Me: "Their sign says they're disabled. I suppose they're hoping people give them money."

Lexi: "Oh, that's sad."
Me: "Yes, it is. I don't have any cash, but we could give them an ice cream cone." (we had just bought a box of drumsticks for a treat and there were two left)
Lexi: "We should do that!"

So I turned around, and my sweet, not-so-shy Lexi hopped out of the van, ran across the street, and asked if they would like an ice cream cone. They smiled at her, took the cones and said "God bless you."

I have no idea if that couple really is disabled, or if they're running a scam. But what I do know, is they made my daughter's day. Lexi had a big smile on her face when she got back from her ice cream delivery.

And that reminded me how good it feels to help others.  tt can be something as simple as visiting with an elderly person, or giving someone an ice cream cone. Sometimes it's nice to do things just to be nice, not because you want recognition or money. We adults tend to forget that.

Thanks to my big kids for reminding me of the importance of being nice, and of helping others. And thanks to my big kids for giving me two "bragg-able" moments today!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This flood sucks.

It has affected each one of us in some way or another.

Some have left their homes. Many will never get to go home again.

Some have moved their belongings to higher ground, just in case.

Some haven't slept in weeks, because it's their job to figure out how to save our city.

All of us are praying. And hoping. And watching the radar as if we are meteorologists. We all now know "cfs" is short for "cubic feet per second", and it's directly related to how much water could flood our city.

If you think about it too much, it will bring you to tears. It's all so overwhelming. Who would have ever guessed we would live to see the 500 year flood?

Yet, I can't help but think it's all about perspective. And that is what keeps me from complaining.

Yes, it sucks havng the entire contents of my basement squeezed into the main floor of my house. I'm not too keen on the volleyball that has found a new home on my living room shelf either, or the fact that my oldest child's bed has been crammed into my bedroom. 

But just when I want to complain, I read something, or see pictures, or talk to someone else who has it so much worse.

My inconveniences are just that: inconveniences.

In reality, my south Bismarck home should be just fine. There are no sandbags surrounding our house -  the dikes are supposed to protect us. We've moved things out of the basement, because there is a chance we may have some groundwater (although so far, so good). At any rate, that's minor. I can deal with that.

What I'm not sure I can deal with is the destruction this flood has already caused for so many, and the destruction that is still coming.

My heart breaks for those who have moved out of their homes, for those who have lost their homes.. in Bismarck and in Minot.

This flood just plain sucks.

But, remember, it's all about perspective.

As hard as it is to imagine, it could be worse. Right?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Back on TV

It must have been a slow news day.

But for those of you who wondered what exactly I was doing for 14 hours a day the past few weeks:

Dorothy Moses Kids

Lexi was so sad about leaving Dorothy Moses elementary.

It is the only school she's ever attended.

Middle school is exciting, but scary at the same time. Her friends, and her life, have revolved around Dorothy Moses for the past seven years. She had a little melt down the night before the last day of school (it probably didn't help that I was working 14 hour days and the flood had everyone totally stressed out).

Lexi leaves Moses with memories she will treasure forever. And as she reminded me, she'll be back... in fact, she'll be attending events at Moses until she's in college (Lexi will be a junior in high school when Morgan starts kindergarten!)

One of the most treasured memories, is this video. Lexi, Tess and Taylor wrote the lyrics at a sleepover last fall. Their plan was to perform it for the sixth grade talent show, but they chickened out. So we came up with the video idea. Thanks to Dwayne Walker, the sixth grade teachers, and all the sixth grade students who stayed late to be in the video.. it turned out great and will be an awesome reminder of how much fun they had in sixth grade.

It will also be an awesome video to show at their graduations and weddings :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Best. Pictures. Ever.

There are no words to explain how  much I love these pictures. Jen and Jessi did an amazing job of capturing my childrens' personalities, each of them so different and special.

Love them all.. the pictures and the kids!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

As much as I love making a big deal out of other people's special days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) I really don't enjoy being the center of attention myself. So when days like Mother's Day roll around, I'm perfectly happy to ignore it and have just a regular day.

That's sort of what I did today.

We went to church, then out for lunch, which is a normal Sunday for us (now that basketball season is finally over). Today we waited a really, really long time for our food. We were all getting a bit ancy, but Morgan just gave up. I couldn't resist getting some video of her falling asleep in her high chair, in the middle of a very loud restaurant!

Once we finally got our food, Morgan got a good nap, and we got home, Brad gave me the best Mother's Day gift ever - he took Jake, Lizzy and Morgan over to Sheena and Jesse's to do yard work. Lexi stayed home to do homework. I got to work cleaning and redecorating the little girls' room.

I know this sounds terrible, but having a few hours to myself really was the best gift my husband and kids could give me.

Moms, you know what I mean.

It's not that I don't love my family, it's just that once in awhile, I really, really, really need a break from them.

I've been working on redecorating the little girls' room for weeks. I also wanted to go through their dressers and toys, and get the room somewhat organized. There's no way I can do those things when they're around.

Finally having time to do that project was totally gratifying. Their room looks great. And those few hours of cleaning helped me regroup, and recharge.

Good thing, because later, the big kids begged me to take them to Target to spend the rest of their birthday money. I usually hate shopping with my kids, but this shopping trip was actually really fun. Lexi and Jake were hyper and funny and sweet and I loved every minute with them.

When we got home, I rocked both little girls to sleep and had another hour to myself to finish up some projects.

So while it wasn't the most glamorous Mother's Day ever, it was exactly what this mom needed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I went to the grocery store tonight. Alone.

This is significant for two reasons: the fact that I went to the grocery store is pretty amazing. The kids are going to be so excited when they look in the fridge tomorrow. The cupboards and fridge have been pretty bare lately. I've been too busy to shop, so I've just been buying a few things here and there. Tonight, my grocery cart was overflowing. I should probably wake them up a little early so they have time to soak it all in and make a good breakfast choice.

This is also significant because I went alone.

I don't go anywhere alone. I've always got at least one "helper".

But not tonight. I waited until all the "helpers" were in bed, then I went to the store.

It was awesome.

The fact that I think a trip to the grocery store at 10:00 at night is awesome is pretty sad. I should probably get out more.

Still, I can't deny it. Pushing my cart up and down the nearly empty aisles, with no one whining or begging for treats, was pretty amazing. I didn't utter a word the whole hour I was shopping. It was fabulous (and I like to talk).

I smiled the whole drive home, and even while I put $218 worth of groceries away.

I smiled because I can finally cook some decent meals.

I smiled because the house was quiet.

I even smiled as I made sandwiches for Jake's and Brad's lunches tomorrow.

Then it hit me.

I was smiling because I finally had some "Jody time". It was exactly what I needed. And as I finished packing the boys' lunches I realized "Jody time" doesn't have to be a whole afternoon to myself. It can be an hour at the grocery store, 30 minutes on the treadmill, an hour to watch what I want to watch on tv.

So while it cost me $218 in groceries, I learned a very important lesson on my late night grocery run.

The lesson: make time for yourself. You're not a bad mom if you need a break from your kids. You're simply human. Taking a break is as good for your kids as it is for you.

And, as an added bonus, this time my kids will have some seriously good breakfasts the next few days. Which means, I might get a little extra "me time" . They'll be too busy enjoying the new cereal to bug me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Presence vs. Presents

Isn't it weird how sometimes you see something, and it's exactly what you needed?

That happened to me today.

This quote literally made me stop and think when I saw it:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

How true.

And how appropriate for my life at this moment.

We are at the tail end of "birthday madness" at our house. Jake's birthday is Friday, and wraps up three weeks of birthdays. Lizzy and Lexi had great days, and I intend to make Jake's birthday equally special.

But to be honest, I'm birthday-ed out. And so is my checkbook. Throw in an emergency van repair, a couple of home improvement projects, and  a trip to Hawaii, and we are broke.

Still, for Jake's sake, I am doing my very best to get excited about his birthday, and to spend just as much money on him as I did on the girls.  Birthdays are a big deal. It's the one day a year they get to be the center of attention, and I feel they need to be spoiled a little bit.

But my new favorite quote has me rethinking that.

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

It is exactly why, nearly two years ago, I cut back from full-time to part-time at work. Even in my new job, I'm still working just 20 hours a week. The time I have had with my kids since cutting back has been amazing. The trips to the park, the afternoon snuggles, even the driving to and from practice have given me the "mom" moments I will treasure forever.

And even though my paycheck and the "presents" are smaller, I like to think my "presence" has made a difference in my kids lives.

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

And today, the message came through, loud and clear:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

With that in mind, the little girls and I have a date with the sandbox tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day Off

It's 11:36 pm and everyone is finally asleep.

The silence is golden.

It's been a day.

There was no school today and Jake had a dentist appointment too, so it seemed like a good idea to take the whole day off.

As I think about today, I'm thinking I should have just gone to work.

It would have been easier.

The day began with tears and angry words between Lexi and me. That was strange, because she is usually so easy to get along with. She didn't want to babysit the little girls while I took Jake to the dentist. I didn't want to take the little girls to the dentist and try to make them behave for an hour. Lexi was so adamant about not watching them, I angrily put them into the van and left without even saying good bye. They must have sensed my anger, because they were suprisingly well-behaved at the dentist. And so was Jake. Lexi and I both calmed down, and were back to normal by the time I got home.

The thing is, I know exactly where she's coming from. She's like the second mom to the little girls. It's exhausting and it's not fair. None of her friends have to babysit their little brothers or sisters. I probably take advantage of her. I promised her I would work on that, and she promised me she wouldn't act like a spoiled brat ever again.

Onto the next frustration of the day. While we were waiting in the dentist's office, I noticed something in the hood of Jake's new Duke sweatshirt. Upon closer examination, I realized he had written his name in the hood of his sweatshirt. Where it could be seen. In permament marker. I was so mad. He did the same thing to his new Duke t-shirt yesterday... wrote his name in permament marker on the back of his shirt. He explained that he didn't want to lose either, and the tags weren't big enough to write on. To him, it made perfect sense. To me, he ruined two brand new pieces of clothing. But, after he promised never to do that again, I am over it. As a friend pointed out, at least it's not a tattoo. Although I'm sure that's coming.

Frustration number three..... Morgan. She is just at a really tough age. Her naps are getting shorter, which leaves more time for mischief. Today, she swallowed a penny. Lexi, Tess and Jake all noticed she put a penny in her mouth at the same time. We all scrambled to get the penny out of her mouth, but during that chaos, she swallowed it. I immediately called our doctor and texted my two best nurse friends. They all assured me it will pass. Gross. But if it doesn't pass in a few days, we should probably go in. I can't believe this has never happened before. She is fine, but I was totally freaked out. Now I'm just hoping it comes out a nickel, or even a quarter. I could use some extra money.

And then there is Lizzy. Poor, poor Lizzy who obviously doesn't get enough attention. For the past several weeks Brad and I have thought her room smelled like urine. I washed her bedding, Morgan's bedding, put an air freshener in there, and searched for dirty laundry. It still smelled. Tonight, Brad discovered why. He caught Lizzy squatting between her bed and her book shelf, naked, peeing. She ruined a board game, a magic wand, and a stuffed animal. We had to move her bed out of her room so I could scrub the carpet. The good news is we know we weren't losing it... her room really did smell like pee. The bad news is, this is totally not acceptable behavior.

Just so you know, these events are just the highlights, a few of the reasons I wished I was at work today. I could complain for hours, but I read once that constant complaining shortens your life expectancy. I don't want to risk it. You see, I need to live long enough to see my children become parents.... because paybacks are a bitch. That said, I'm sorry Mom and Dad!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday Madness

April means one thing in our house: let the birthday madness begin!

  • Lizzy turns four on April 15.
  • Lexi turns 12 on April 19.
  • Jake turns 10 on May 6.
It's enough to drive a mom crazy. Every year, I wonder how I'll make each day special, when there are so many "special" days so close together. I am already tired of cake, and we haven't even begun.

But then, every year, just as I start worrying about the financial effects of this birthday madness, my kids surprise me. This year it was Jake. He sat down to write his birthday wish list last night. A sign of the times, he emailed it to everyone in his contact list. I giggled at the first few items, but the last one nearly made me cry, because as much "stuff" as he wants, I'm so proud that he also already realizes that there are some things that are more important than any thing money can buy:

Hi everyone, it's me Jake I'm just gonna tell you my birthday list(not in order of importance).

1. LEGOs!
2. video games
3. inside basketball
4. viking stuff(NOT bronco colors grandpa)
5. money