Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Making Order out of Chaos

I really like to iron.  There are certain household tasks that I love to do.  That I actually may choose as a leisure activity sometimes.  Ironing is one of them.  Hubby says it's because I like to make order out of chaos, and when you iron you can actually watch the wrinkles smooth out of the shirt.  Ahhhh.  That is so true.

My closet is done, people!  The lovely hubby finished the ceiling and I moved stuff back in last night.
Look at that lovely cedar ceiling!  It smells so good.
Oh, the beautiful order of it all.  Now I'm actually looking forward to getting the rest of the house cleaned up.  

It's the satisfaction of seeing a project from the time it starts until the time it is finished.  I'm only patient enough for projects that take less than a day, which is why cleaning and scrapbooking are good hobbies for me.  

The giddiness I feel over things like a clean closet is one thing.  Here's another wacky me-fact:  today is really busy for me, and I'm afraid I might forget to do a couple things.  So last night as I was falling asleep I was thinking I better make a list of things I have to do today when I get up.  Then I got a little bit excited--I love making lists!  I actually started thinking about which pen I should use.


Sometimes I think I need professional help.  But just wait until after Halloween--you'll all get to see the real nut job in me come out as I start getting ready for Christmas.  Or as I like to call it (to myself in my head), The Big Show.

Gotta go, people.  I have a list to make.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


A decade or so ago, a small, scrawny, scruffy little gray cat showed up on our doorstep.  He was sort of pathetic.  We live out here in farmland, so seeing the occasional random cat is not surprising.  But this one seemed so needy, and unusually comfortable around us.  Hubby is so horribly allergic to cats that he has been known to say he thinks the world should be heated with cats.  But he for some reason took pity on the little guy, and put out something for him to eat.

And that was that.  He became our cat.  Of course, because of the allergies we couldn't have him inside, and we never wanted a cat, but he didn't give us much choice in the matter.  And for a long time we didn't want to admit any attachment to him.  We called him "Gray Kitty" for years.

The hubby dislikes cats so much that he bought a big bin of cat food to keep inside the back door, and would put out milk for Gray Kitty on cold nights.  The cat would thank us by bringing us dead mice and chipmunks, and occasionally just pieces of his catch (ew) or a coughed up hairball (ew).  We became family.  He was endlessly patient with the boys as they grew up, letting them pull his tail, sit on him, tug his fur, and doing nothing but purring at them and rubbing their legs.  Sometimes we wondered where he came from because he seemed so unusually docile.  People would come over and instantly fall in love with Gray Kitty.
Over the years, we fell in love with him.  The kids renamed him "Item", and it stuck.  Every school morning Item would come down the drive way with us to wait for the bus with the kids.
  And every day he would wait on the back step for us to arrive from wherever we'd been.  Item was always under our feet.  It was irritating much of the time, but also comforting.  It gets VERY dark out here at night, and there's a comfort to him trotting along with you as you walk around the place at night.  He put up with our chickens, he put up with draft horses, he put up with gatherings and small children wanting to hold him all the time.

Occasionally Item goes on what we call "walkabouts".  I can only assume that this is something farm cats do.  He would be gone for several days at a time, and we would have no idea where.  We never worried about it, he always came back.  I like to think he was checking out the other farms and realizing he had it good here.  And sometimes it would be a relief to not have cat food sprinkled all over the back step, or chipmunk parts coughed up on our sidewalk, or a cat to trip on every time you go back and forth to the car to unload groceries.

But people, he's on a walkabout right now.  And he's been gone for over two weeks.  I don't want to admit how much I miss him.  How worried I am that he's gone.  How I hope he's alive and not hurt, but worry that I won't see him again, won't know.  AND I MISS HIM.  We all do.  Now I can barely stand the clean back step.  I look for the glow of his eyes every night when the car drives up the driveway.  I check the porch to see if he's sleeping in the chair.  I walk around and make sure he's not locked in a building.  I call him.  He has never been gone this long, and I know in my heart he was getting older.  And a bit less active lately.  I don't know what to think, but I really want him to come back.
I don't have a good feeling about this, folks.  I want my Item to come home.  I want him to sit on my lap on the porch in the morning and swear at him for digging his claws into my legs.  I want him to stand guard over my family.  His family.  If his walkabout was up to Cat Heaven, I hope it was a painless one. But I want him back.  On the back step.

Where he belongs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Dark Side

Folks, I've been avoiding posting about this since I started doing this little blog, mostly because I didn't know if it was something I wanted to get into or not.  But I almost feel like I'm hiding it from myself, so today I'm going to go there.  Bear with me.

My dad is dying of cancer.  Two and a half years ago, he was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.  At the time they said the prognosis was not good--it never is--but that in most cases like his, the patient does not survive more than six months.  He has made it two and a half years, which is in most ways a blessing.  But now he is in hospice, at home with my mom, and he is declining.  He will be gone soon.

This feels like an impossible thing for me to write about, because I will never be able to explain how I feel about it.  Four years ago I lost my mother-in-law to cancer.  I loved her so very much, she was an amazing, loving, giving woman.  So not only was it a horrible loss to bear for myself, but it almost destroyed me to watch how much it hurt my husband.   He won't ever stop feeling her loss.  We have found our way to our new normal, but it has been a long road.

It's somehow different with my dad.  For one thing, we've had a much longer time to process this.  From diagnosis to the time she was gone, we had less than six months with my mom-in-law.  With my dad, it's been two and a half years.  And my relationship with my dad is extremely complicated.  He did the best he could with what he had as a father, but we had some terrible times, and as I was growing up he made some choices that I will never make peace with.  I have never (that I can remember) been able to show affection to him or express love to him.  It's not that I don't love him, it's just, well, complicated.  If I really had to explain it I would have to write a book.

So for two and a half years we have been thinking about his health, trying to help him and my mom, talking about his condition, going to appointments and scans.  It has been a part of every day life for so long now, that we've almost just reached an acceptance about the whole thing, and sometimes it must seem so calloused.  I think it's more numb.

I am so worried about my mom.  Through thick and thin (and there's been a lot of thin), she's been by his side.  They are so dependent on one another, and it's taken such a toll on her to watch his decline.  I know she's afraid of being alone, being without him.  I know that she feels like her life is so small right now.  She's practically a prisoner in her apartment, unable to leave unless someone is there to watch over my dad.  This has been so difficult for her.  She's a diabetic and I worry that she's not taking enough care of herself.

But sometimes I am amazed by her.  She's had to deal with so much in her life.  In some ways it has made her scarred and insecure, but in many ways she is tough as nails.  She is a survivor.  I call her every day.  I ask about my dad, and there is slow decline.  I try to get over there a couple times a week so she can get out and feel normal for a little while.  The whole family is doing a good job of pulling together for her, and I know that's helping.  She's going to be all right.

Hospice literature says that sometimes watching a person declining slowly, and the pain that goes with it, can be a way of giving the survivors peace as they let their loved one go.  The suffering will be over.  I really do believe that, it is so awful to watch people suffer this way.  Both the person that is dying and the people that care for them.  Death is a part of life.  My family has been touched by it too much in recent years, and I hope we're due for a break from it soon.

There is always this gnawing feeling in my gut.  A guilty conscience.  I feel ashamed that I am not crying for him the same way that I have cried for my mom-in-law.  I feel like I don't do enough for my mom.  I feel horrible as I go do normal things, grocery shopping, going to the Fair, football helmet shopping.  I feel worried that I will feel some relief when he passes.  I think I'm a good person, but does that not make me evil?  I feel ashamed that I look forward to normal life after he passes.  I hate how he is suffering.  He does not deserve this.  But I feel sick that he continues to make his way out to the porch to smoke, when it is so difficult for him to even get himself from the bed to the chair.  He's dying.  Why should I care if he still smokes?  How can I feel any anger toward him now?  I think I am a horrible person for the way I feel sometimes.

I pray for my parents, that their days will be as peaceful as possible.  That my dad's passing will be peaceful and happen before his suffering gets much worse.  That my mom will find her new normal and find joy in her life again.  And I pray for myself, that I will find peace with my relationship with my dad. And that I will have the strength to be there for my mom.

Thanks for bearing with me, folks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Our house is still in chaos, especially the upstairs that still looks like an episode of Hoarders.  The closet job is still looming.  Of course I should have expected that.  Yesterday was the big Fair day.  As planned, the hubby arrived home with the sunrise and woke us up to go.  In the stumbling around to get ready, I dropped a stepladder.  On my toe.  Don't ask how, I'm sure it was an incredibly stupid move of some kind on my part, but it landed DIRECTLY on my toe.  A little one.  Not the littlest, but the next one.  It hurt.  SO.  BAD.  Holy cow.  Nothing but death was going to keep me from my Fair, though, so I had to very quietly use lots and lots of swear words, put a sock on and move on.

So off we go to the Fair.  My cute little family.  Hubby has not slept, and I'm not sure how I'll walk, but that's neither here nor there.  It was a perfect day for the Fair, and the crowd was HUGE.  I got my coffee, we got Pronto Pups, saw the horses--it was Draft day for the horses, so that's always cool--rode the trolley, and walked.  And walked.  And walked.  I was impressed with my commitment to ignore the pain.  But at one point I simply had to assess the damage.  Here's the poor toe.

And it hurts even more this morning.  Maybe because I'm not looking forward to going to the Fair.  Oh well.  Poor, poor, pitiful me.  And my poor baby J is so worried about his old mom.  Kids are so sweet.

Besides the stupid toe, the Fair was still great, and now I think I need to go again this year.  We just were  too beat down to do (eat) everything we wanted to.  Maybe next weekend...

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together 2011

I have to write this tonight because I'm leaving too early tomorrow morning to write my post then.  We are going to the fair.  The Minnesota.  State.  Fair.  I love it so much!!!!  If you, my precious reader (or readers, if there are actually more than one) are from Minnesota, you know what I'm talking about!  It's a big part of why I love this state so much.
We love it so much that we are leaving right when my hubby gets home from work, at 6:00.  In the morning, people.  Yes, that's right.  We do love it that much.  We will walk in the entrance by the Miracle of Birth Center.  Hubby will probably have a Turkey To Go sandwich for breakfast.  A and J will probably have Tiny Tim Donuts, washed down with some all you can drink Milk.  I will go on my annual trip to the bathroom and then to find coffee.  It will be cool, the people will be just starting to filter in, but live music will already be starting.
Lefse might be a good breakfast.  That's in the Food Building.  Then we'll probably just start wandering over to the animal barns to check them out before it gets too hot and smelly.

The Fair holds precious memories for us.  We have had good times there with friends and family for 18 years now, and the hubby has been going there his entire life.  It means so much to so many people.  It's tradition.  It's pride in your state and in the Midwest.  It's silly.  It's relaxed.  People are in a good mood.

And there are cheese curds.  And beer.

We'll stop by the band shell and see a band.  We'll go on a couple rides.  Hubby will hang out on machinery hill looking longingly at machines that I don't have much interest in normally, but tomorrow they will seem interesting to me.  Maybe because of the cheerful surroundings, who knows?  A and J will eat.  And eat.  And eat.
And maybe watch chainsaw log carving.  Or make something at the Home Depot booth.  Definitely ride the big slide.
I CAN'T WAIT!  I'll let you know how it goes.  If you've never been, go.  If you weren't planning on going, go.  And if you were planning to go, go more than once.  Maybe I'll see you there!

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Once in a while I'm struck by the realization that I'm an adult.  Usually I just float through life feeling like, well, me.  Like I've always felt.  But here I am, 40.  That seems old.  I remember being a kid, thinking 40 was SUPER old, and that doesn't seem so long ago.....  Sometimes it's a moment when I realize my parents are just people.  My father-in-law is just another guy.  Once you get to a certain age, we're all just peers, really.  I don't have an authority figure right now, other than God.  That seems sort of strange to me.  One thing that always weirds me out is when I think of my mom at my age.  When my mom was 40, I was 16.  I not only remember being 16 (well), but I remember her at that age.  In many ways she seems no older to me now than she did then.  So then I realize I seem as old to my kids as she did to me.  Ugh.  I look at myself in the mirror.  See the reddish face, the puffy-ish shape, the crow's feet.  I know there's some gray hairs in there--you can't see them because I color my hair (mwa-ha-ha-ha), but I know they're there.  But in my head I feel like that same 16-year old girl.  Only now I can't think of any 16-year old boys that I would be terrified to talk to.

It's the moments when I find myself acting adult-ish that catch me off guard.  I'm not just talking about parenting.  Clearly parenting brings out the adult in all of us, that's just how it goes.  If you're a decent parent, you can't help it.  I mean in situations outside of parenting.  Yesterday I had to have a tricky conversation with my father-in-law.  There has been a ridiculous amount of drama swimming around that side of my family lately, and the eye of the storm is him.  He is a difficult man to communicate with, and during the last, well, year or so, he had been dishonest and manipulative, and the family was really starting to splinter.  He had behaved horribly to me, and had taken advantage of my family, and yesterday something in me broke.  I'll spare you the details of the story, but I finally had to call him myself.  I am usually uncomfortable speaking my mind with him, as he is my father-in-law.  Not my dad.  I tend to defer to my hubby to "deal" with him and try to maintain a politeness in our relationship, but this time it was more personal. So I called him (after a very deep breath).  And I was honest.  And firm.  I spoke to him firmly, treated him like he was just another guy, not somebody with any sort of say over my life.  I was pacing madly in my upstairs hallway the entire time, but he doesn't have to know that.  And I was shaky from a huge dose of migraine medicine I had taken earlier, but I held my own.  I got my point across.  I said everything I wanted to say.  And I must have done a decent job, because he listened to me.  I actually think he really did hear what I said, and he was clearly sheepish.  I doubt the situation will change that much because of my call.  But I felt better.  I felt a little bit empowered, a little bit like a grown-up.

After that phone call, I decompressed by COMPLETELY emptying out my big closet to rearrange it and clean it, which resulted in the hubby deciding now would be a good time to put the new aromatic cedar ceiling in it before we put stuff back in.  (I should have known--a small project in our house NEVER stays small.)  So then we ended up with an ocean of clothing and hangers and shoes that we had to get off our bed so we could sleep last night and now the upstairs looks like an episode of Hoarders.  But while we were at the home improvement store my boys were being super goofy.  I was standing by the registers waiting for the hubby, and the two of them were dancing like idiots.  Shaking their butts and doing these odd-robot like movements and giggling like crazy people with no regard for the people around them.  The grown-up in me wanted to tell them to settle down.  But thankfully, the 12-year old me is still buried in there somewhere, and instead I just giggled right along with them.  I'd had enough being grown up for one day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lofty Goals

Every year around this time I get this idea planted in my head that by the time I put the kids on the bus that first morning of the year, I will have my life perfectly organized.  I will start the year with a clean house.  With my closets all organized and thinned out.  The Vets (or Courage Center or Lupus) will have already been by and picked up a bunch of stuff I don't need anymore.  I will have been putting the kids to bed earlier and earlier until magically by the last night of the summer I will have them happy to climb in bed, freshly showered and excited for the next day, and on fresh sheets of course, by 8:30.  They will, of course, eagerly read until lights out at 9:00.  I will have a meal plan set up, and I will be visiting the grocery store a couple times a week to buy the nutritious ingredients to make all the delicious new recipes I've been meaning to try, that my family is sure to love.  My lawn will be mowed, and I will be ready to dive into those household projects that have been escaping me because of the busy and hot summer days.

Rest assured, this has never ever become my reality.  The closest I usually get is being able to make chore charts (at least I printed them out, people) and sort of getting the kitchen cleaned up.  I am always able to get the supplies (as you all know) purchased, and to get the necessary clothes shopping done, but that's a different story.  Hello, it's shopping.  So it's just another goal I set up, that I inevitably fail at achieving.  Why do I do that to myself?  I did have a small success yesterday--in my recently mentioned panic to fulfill summer promises, I did get the kids to the zoo for the day yesterday.
And they have fun!  We have a membership to the zoo, and there isn't much of an excuse for not going more often--we have a great time there every time, and it's an easy way to wear them out... but oh well.  So I have adjusted my goal for this season.  My goal is that the kids well be sent to the school on the first morning awake, clean, and fed.  Then once they're in school I'll start worrying about everything else.  Doesn't that sound easier?  Ahh.  I'm already starting to feel better.

Let me focus on the positive--today is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair.  For those of you who are Minnesotans, most of you know what I mean.  There are people who LOVE the fair and people don't "get it".  I am absolutely one that loves it.  LOVES it.  I start planning for it long before it starts.  We usually get to a concert or two during the 10 days of the fair.  We go at LEAST once, but usually a couple times.  And I love everything about it.  The food.  The music.  The people watching.  The animals.  The art and cooking contests.  The smells.  The wandering.  Everything.  I think we're going to go Saturday this year, which is sort of insane since it will be the busiest day we could have chosen.  That's ONE of the great things about this time of year.

Football.  My kids are playing with the "Raiders."  Then there's the Gophers.  And the Vikings.  I have said before that I believe football has a smell.  I don't mean a nasty locker room kind of smell.  I mean a great smell.  It smells like fall, like hot dogs and beer, like fresh air.  And the sounds of whistles, cheering, and marching bands.  I like even having random football games on the TV while I'm hanging out at home, just for the background noise.  Ahhhh.

The goofy Renaissance Festival.  My kids love to go, and there is NO finer people watching.  Again, I love the food there.  Popovers, Bangers and Mash, Guiness and cheap wine.  Fake accents and people wearing chain mail with New Balance tennis shoes.  People not able to figure out if they should dress like a pirate or Gandalf.  People that dress up in costumes to go there, when they are not paid to.  I love it.

NEW TELEVISION!  I have to figure out my new DVR schedule.  Some great new shows getting ready to premiere, as well as the return of some old favorites.  I just got caught up on Modern Family, can't wait for the new season!  I love TV.  Seriously.  It's kind of a problem.  Glee.  Hawaii 5-0.  Blue Bloods.  30 Rock.  Hoarders.  Bizarre Foods.  Ohhhhhhhh.........

Opening my windows.  Very soon I will be able to open my windows one evening to enjoy the cool night air, and they will stay open.  My house will air out.  We'll be able to hear the crickets and the frogs.  Feel the breeze all day.

Oh, I have to stop.  I could write about this stuff all day.  See, folks?  I started this rambling post in kind of a funk.  Irritating night last night.  Feeling pressure of everything I feel I need to get done.  That's why I started this blog.  Self-therapy.  I am now in a great mood!  Fall is coming!  I worked it out!  Now I feel like I can conquer.  I think I'll start cleaning my house and organizing the closests.......  just kidding.  Maybe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Parenting is Terrifying

My 9-year old (A) is an exceptional child.  I know, we all think all our children are exceptional, but he's exceptional in a completely different way.  From the time he was a baby I knew he was a unique child, but as he's growing up we can really see it.  He's a thoroughly honest child, which can really be off-putting.  Especially if you don't know him.  He will notice every expression on your face and internalize it, as if he's the reason behind your expression.  He will notice if you're wearing the same shirt you wore the day before.  He can tell you which type of shoes each child in his class wore to school today.  He notices every single physical detail of the room he is in.  Which is handy when we can't find things--hubby's wallet, a flashlight, my camera.  He is funny.  He is absolutely kind.  He is a talented artist.  He worships his Dad.  He has complete and total belief in Santa Claus.  He was devastated when the hubby hinted that Leprechauns might not be real.  He has a photographic memory.  He loves to wrestle.  He adores football, both watching and playing.  He collects football cards.  He loves his family.  He loves to play outside and climb trees.  He has a passion for old and vintage things like bikes and cars and even clothing.  He seems that he was born at least 50 years later than he belongs.

The reason I wanted to say all that is because my heart breaks for him every day.  He is amazing, wonderful, loving, adorable.  And yet he struggles in so many ways.  Last year during the school year he was tested for just about every disorder they can test for there, from learning disabilities to ADHD and Autism Spectrum.  He came out pretty normal on all the testing, which was difficult to accept since he struggles terribly at school.  He tends to be socially awkward, getting almost starstruck by his friends at school.  He is slow to make close friendships with schoolmates, and has never been invited to a birthday party.  Even when we have had several at our house and he has had kids over.  I am at the school pretty regularly and have observed the way kids interact around him and with him, and I see no sign that kids dislike him--in fact they are very friendly with him.  However, he just doesn't seem to bond with them.  He's a bit shy when it comes to interacting with the kids, as if he thinks he's not worthy.  It's so sad to see.  He thinks he doesn't have friends.  School is a challenge every year because each year his new teacher takes the first third of the year trying to figure him out, the second third of the year trying to find a way to help him succeed, and the end of the year convinced he'll be okay, even though we know we'll face the same thing the next year.  But every teacher falls in love with him.  Every adult that gets to know him falls in love with him.  When they get to know him.  And that's a special thing because he only lets certain people really get to know him.  We call them his "people."  But we have to spend quite a bit of time each year with his teachers, trying to help them understand him.  He has had some remarkable teachers.  One of them (who ended up being one of our favorites) actually said to us, kindly, that in 17 years of teaching she had never come across a child like A.  Yikes.  It's a testament to how great his school is that so far he still enjoys school, and has never been upset about having to be there.  He has big time school pride.

I don't know why I am writing all this.  I think I'm reaching out to people.  I know that there are a few people that are stopping by here to read the random things I'm posting (and thank you for your time, people!  Keep coming!).  I know many of you are parents and your heart hurts for your kids sometimes.  I'm thinking maybe it's just the scariness of the beginning of a new school year, a new cycle with A.  Our 8-year old is a classic overachiever, entering the third grade at full speed, in the gifted program with a posse of friends and love letters coming home in his backpack.  J has no issues at school other than whether he wants to spike up his bangs or not, and what to bring for sharing time.  I'm sure I'm not the only parent who is awestruck by how different my kids are from one another.

So the couple of you that are kind enough to stick with me through this long, rambling post:  what do you do when your kid is struggling with something like friendships?  Parenting is terrifying.  I am so blessed to have such amazing kids.  I hope I am doing right by them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two Weeks Left! Yikes!

Fourteen days from right this moment, The opening bell will be ringing for the first day of the 2011-2012 school year for my boys.  Usually by this time of year I am SO ready to send them back.  The squabbling, the crazy (lack of) schedule, the almost constant togetherness has normally brought me to the point of camping out the night before school starts, in front of the school, as if I was trying to get tickets for a rock concert.

We haven't had as active a summer as we have in years past, so I'm not quite as exhausted as I usually am by now.  I do feel a small amount of panic, however, that I need to pack in a few promised summer activities in during the next week and a half (zoo, Science Museum, amusement park). But it should work out.  And football starts on the 29th, which should force us into some kind of routine again.

But school is starting soon!  So now it's time to share the first hint of my inner nerd-self:  This time of year makes me long to be a kid again.  I was a kid who counted the days down to the first day of school.  Supplies all ready and lined up.  Clothes picked out, and laid out sooner than I care to admit.  I LOVED school.  I still love the whole idea of the first day.  I'm one of the people who love the fact that school supplies start to line the shelves at Target right after the fourth of July.  Bring it on!  I buy the boys' supplies right away (and some for myself), and then hide them in a closet at home like a weirdo until it's closer to the beginning of school and I admit I have them.  And, people, here's evidence of my problem:

Yes, I lay it out so I can admire the collection before it's all opened up and sent to the school.  SO???

People, you should see me when the Christmas stuff starts coming out.  

Oh, I'm starting to feel dizzy with giddiness.  My poor, poor children.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

The New Kid in Town. Again.

I'm new to this blog world.  This is my very first post.  I am not a writer.  I've always wanted to have a blog, but I have been too insecure to start.  I am fighting doubts like "Why would anyone want to read my blog?"  "Aren't there thousands of blogs by moms like me already?"  "How can I believe I write well enough to be interesting?"  "Do I really want to put myself out there like that?"  "Do I really have something to say?"

Yep, I guess I do.  I'm writing this for me.  Hopefully I'll learn some things along the way, and hopefully this will be a good outlet for me to express myself, vent, gain clarity, and maintain sanity in this crazy world we all share.  And if anyone decides to follow me and share the path with me, all the better.

I'm a wife.  I got married 15 years ago, and I truly enjoy being a wife.  Sometimes the hubby and I joke that it's lucky we found each other, because nobody else would put up with us.  We work really well together, and I am blessed to be fortunate enough to stay home with the kids.

I'm a mom.  I have two boys.  They are 13 months apart, and thick as thieves.  I will call them A and J, and currently they are 9 and 8, respectively.  They get along almost all the time, but they are definitely their own little people.  I marvel at how two human beings, both boys, can come from the same parents, be raised in the same house, have pretty much the same experiences, and be COMPLETELY different from one another.

So that's the simple introduction.  The reason I chose the title The New Kid in Town today is that I feel like there's so many wonderful blogs out there.  I subscribe to several, from mom ones to decorating ones to just being-a-girl ones.  I love them.  It's so generous of these women to share themselves with me, and I am so grateful for the humor, the advice, and the ideas I get from them.  But as I start this process, I have the familiar butterflies in my stomach from when I was young and I was new.  Often.  My family moved quite a bit as I grew up.  It shaped who I am.  But I wouldn't choose to put my kids through it.  I moved the summer before I started my senior year in high school.  To a new state, a new school, a new and unfamiliar culture even.  And I was not the most confident kid.  I survived.  I made some lifelong friends at my new schools.  I learned so much about myself.  And that is my goal here!

I will be writing about what I love:  Kids.  Husband.  Home.  Hobbies.  TV.  Movies.  Food.  Holidays.

What I don't love:  Competitive moms.  Mean people.  Insecurity.

And what I am still figuring out:  Extended Family.  Cooking.  Keeping my house clean.  Parenting.

So hopefully some folks will decide to fly with me as I let you all into my crazy life!