Saturday, December 31, 2011

The #1 Most Amazing Thing

that happened to me in 2011..
(And probably will always be in my Top Ten Most Amazing Things to happen in my lifetime... truly.)
This, is how it all played out:

Posted January 7th, 2011

Ok, Oprah. Ser- Rious -Ly.
While browsing (stalking) your website I could not help but notice, you are taping 2 shows on my birthday. Your studio seats, maybe 150 people?
(Fact. I Googled your studio.) Which means close to 300 people will bask in your sunshiny gloriousness on my birthday. I only want Four tix.
(I typed 'Tix' like 4 is so insignificant it's not worthy of hitting the keyboard enough to type "Tickets".)
I Heart You. I more than Heart You.
I Triple Dog, Heart inside 3 more Hearts, You.
I am there for You. I WILL be there for You. These 5 words I swear to You. I will Bon Jovi for you. Whatever, it takes.
Hand to my little-boy-chest-swear, to the Universe (see... I'm using The Secret) to The Oprah Gods... getting these Tix could honestly be the best birthday present of my life.
Sincerely- The Author of Tru Stories
aka Coach's wife, a sorta alright stay-at-home-mother (remember, the hardest job on the planet... 'your words!'), kinda pathetic sickly person (YES. I DiD just play the disabled card! I am not ashamed.) .

Then... Posted January 9th

You are So Very Right, Oprah.
January was not the right month for us.
Historically, January shows are dedicated to
"Making a Better You"... "Weight Loss is Your Friend"..
February will be our month.
There are numerous, valid reasons for why my Birthday was not Berry Perfect.
A Epic Day After Tomorrow Blizzard has always swept our state the week of my birthday.
It would have been beyond devastating, if I had dressed in my new outfit, brushed my newly highlighted hair and placed my perfectly manicured nails into gloves.... only to realize the Highway had been declared unsafe for travel.
I have barely recovered from several weather-related childhood Birthday cancellations.
Obviously, Your wisdom would include a Farmer's Almanac-like knowledge of such things.

Then on March 29th I posted:

I submitted the following last minute request to the Oprah Show:
I've never been to the show. I Triple Dog Heart Oprah, I will leave my kids in a Road Runner dust cloud. I had an 'oprahiphany' while watching the Australian Adventure with my son. (we pretend it's the Reading Rainbow of his generation.) He apologized because I was not on the Ultimate Vacation and asked if I was going to cry. Insert 'Oprahany'. Australia, was not my Dream. My Celebrity Dreams would include:
A. Attending The Oprah Show.
B. Hangin with Julia Roberts, while I am on my A-Game Funny, making her laugh that giant awesome laugh, of hers.
The Ultimate Viewers had Their Moment. My Moment is in the Audience. Maybe I hug Oprah. (not like a stalker) Maybe this is her final show, with Julia. Maybe, I crack one of my best jokes. They decide I am Totally Awesome and invite me to Oprah's office for Post Show drinks with the OWN cameras. Maybe, me, Oppie and Jules exchange emails and become Besties spending weekends in New Mexico. I will do my best, not to randomly shout "Oprah, Be my mom, I love you!" Because, if I ran to Chicago, in a frenzy of excited screams and forgot one ticket for the woman who gave me life, she may never forgive me. Except, to ask how pretty Oprah looked in person. Please choose us as audience members. My fingers are crossed. I'm considering, launching an all-out campaign to realize my 'oprahany'. I'm not sure, my husband can stomach the small-town humiliation, when neighbors realize I am Coco for Oprah-Puffs! If my husband, has hand-written Oprah an eye-watering letter and her Cameras will Surprise! arrive at my door to whisk me away. I would appreciate a Head's Up, so I may shower and try to get my 3 children out of their jammies."

So then I posted on April 29th

Today, is the last day to submit a request for Oprah Winfrey Tickets. My very last chance to scratch good ol' #16 off of my Bucket List.
Dear Oprah: (and the lovely women on her team)
Maybe, I had not clearly expressed my sincere desire (near obsession) to be a (first-time) member of your studio audience. So, here goes....
(Men to which I am related: this may be the portion of the post, where you should stop reading, to retain just a wee-bit of respect for me.)
You were my after-school snack. My phone conversation with mom. My reason to beckon my husband, 'just to watch this one part'. I have hushed my children, to better hear your wisdom.
I've repeatedly began sentences "Oprah told me..." to which my Father-in-law has replied "She told YOU, or she said that on the television to millions of people??"
My reply, was a blank and confused stare.
I do not need Favorite Things, just a seat in your audience. I would even squeeze up, with another patron and go half-sies.
I have demeaned myself on this blog, declaring my adoration and I do not regret one word typed in angst. Maybe, I have held back. Not Today. Today... I have reached my Pathetically Desperate Hour.
What's it gonna take?
Should I sell you one of my children? Deal. Take your pick. They are equally as cute and troublesome.
Tattoo your name on my wrist? Cool. Right or left?
Lie and pretend my mother is dying of a rare disease and her last wish is to sit in your audience, therefore committing myself to an eternity burning in hell?? Done. I like warmer temps anyway.
Admit you are a better friend, than my husband?
Humiliate myself via the Internet?
Done, Done and Done.
I am begging, pleading and fingers-crossing... for just a couple, itsy-bitsy tickets. Name your price.
Pretty, pretty please. With cherries, whipped-cream and sprinkles on-top! Can I have tickets to your show? Just a couple. I promise to smile brightly and Never forget a glorious moment of it.
PS- I live nearby. Just a skip. A mini-jump, really. A drive so short, I could bike it, if you'd like. I am available to dash away from my lonely house-wife life, in obscenely short notice.

I still can NOT believe it....
But on May 3, 2011 I posted this:

Dear Mom-
If you are not too busy....
The Oprah Winfrey Show just called me.
They have awarded me TWO tickets for tomorrow's show, after reading my letter.
The Show is starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.
We can leave tonight, to privately view their brand new movie and then we need to be at the Harpo Studio by 7:00am tomorrow morning, for the taping.
Soooo... Wanna go???

Obviously, she accepted the ticket.
Later: I posted this recap:

1:59pm Tuesday, May 3rd:
I'm in sweats, preparing to take a short nap. The phone rings. I'm annoyed. I grab the phone and check Caller ID. It reads 'Harpo Inc.' Immediately, my hands begin to shake and I answer the phone, as calmly as possible.

Me: Hello?

Harpo: Hi, this is 'someone' at The Oprah Winfrey Show. Is this 'insert my name'?

Me (calm): Umm, yeeessss.

Harpo: Hi. How are you this afternoon?

Me: I think, I am about to throw up.

Harpo: No! Don't throw up! I am calling because I read your link, how Julia Roberts would be your Dream Guest for Oprah. It just so happens, we are having Julia on our show tomorrow and would like to offer you a last minute ticket.
Are you available?

Me: Yes. Absolutely!

Harpo: Great! I have sent you an email with the details. We are also holding a private screening this evening, for her new movie with Tom Hanks called 'Larry Crowne' and Tom Hanks will be on the show as well, tomorrow. I know this is last minute but can you make it for the screening this evening?

Me: I can't breathe.

Harpo (laughing at what a ridiculous idiot I am):
You have to breathe!

Me: Yes. I can make that.

Harpo: And.... would you like to bring a guest?

Me: Yes. My mom.....

Then it began. We spoke for another 5 minutes, though I couldn't tell you what was said. When we hung up, I checked the detailed notes I had taken, while she was giving me the life-changing information....

(Seriously. That's all I wrote down.)

I check my email. Re-check my caller ID. Confirm, I had not been dreaming and quickly type up the previous blog entry. I dial mom at work. Tell her to check the blog because 'I had just posted the CUTEST pics of the girls" I wait, until she quietly said "Are you serious?" and at that moment:
I totally lost my $hit.

The next 17 hours, were a blur.
I call people. I walk in confused circles. I need a shower but can't find my bathroom. I think, Gramma stopped by. Flag girl was there. Someone took my kids, I really have no idea. I cry. I curse my closet (WHY didn't I shop, JUST IN CASE!) I yanked a suitcase and randomly throw mismatched clothes inside. I grab phone chargers, earrings, camera, my kids' ultrasound pics, maybe baseballs... I don't KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING!! My limbs feel disconnected from my body. I'm dizzy. Coach called. I cry again.

4:20pm: Grammy and I jump into the car.

We are compulsively talking. I screeched "This is UNBELIEVABLE" a minimum 374 times. I called the Mrs and left the following on her voicemail:
"Hi. I just wanted to let you know, this is what my voice sounds like as I am driving to the Oprah Show." We realized we had nowhere to sleep. I text Chili, he traveling-agents it, like a pro. Grammy almost runs a car off the highway. We get to Chicago. We are lost, as we look for the theatre (you know... for the PRIVATE screening, of a movie NOT yet released nationwide) Grammy may have driven the wrong way, down a MAJOR one way street.
Snotty people waiting in our movie line, are bored with the Regularness of attending Oprah. I am shaking and smiling like a stoned-lunatic. The Oprah Show provides free Soda and Popcorn. The movie is cute.
Oprah, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts?.. "My Australia".
Honestly, one of the VERY best days of my life.
Dear Bucket List-
You are officially, one HUGE spot EMPTY!!

Four Days later, I finished by Posting:

The time, spent within the Studio, was beyond explanation. I tried to calmly absorb everything... mentally locking the moment in my mind, with video-like detail. Except... I was smiling and smiling and more smiling. I tried to behave calmly but imagined my appearance resembling a teenage girl.

Final Assessment, Scale of One to Ten:

* Going to the Oprah Show: A Ten (right out the gate)
* Being invited to the Private Night-Before Screening (which I have ALWAYS been envious of...): A Fourteen
* Having Julia Roberts as the Guest: A Twenty-Four
* ALSO having Tom Hanks: A Thirty-Two
* Having Julia gift her Favorite Things: A Thirty-Nine
* Having the taping, be one of the last six shows, ever taped in the Harpo Studio: A Forty-Three

Conclusion: Attending this show, with all of it's perks and fireworks, was easily a 43 out of 10. An even better experience, than I could have imagined.

"God can dream a bigger dream for you, then you could ever dream for yourself." -An Oprah Quote

Easily, the very best moment of my year.
Seriously! Did that REALLY happen??!!

The Best of 2011 #2-4

2. Married Life:
Admittedly, 2011 presented us with challenges.
Poo in the crawlspace, the death of a family pet, a few days here and there when Coach totally annoyed me, busy schedules, crashing our vehicles together... What?!! Who did that?!!
Still... after review, we've had more Ups than Downs. Two great Cubs games with friends, hangin with celebs, wedding crashing, country road snake wrangling, becoming Warriors, True Blood Marathons, one sweet Mansion anniversary date.
AND our beautiful kids?? Too much goodness.
We are entering a New Year, extra pukey In-Like with each other (please don't let that be a jinx!!) and I am eager to see the smiles next year will bring us.

3. Na'orlens Baby.

Honestly, I will repeatedly write/exclaim
"I Love the Heck out of New Orleans!!"
Traveling to Louisiana for the second trip in two years?? Amazingly lucky! Traveling with a few of my favorite people??? Indescribably lucky.

Seriously guys, when are we going back?
Give me a date.... I'm ready.

4. Coach's Birthday Party:
Words are unnecessary. We have the best friends.

What is my Number One moment??

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Very Best of 2011 #5-10.

This has been a pretty great year.
As I spent yesterday browsing the blog, I was left feeling full and amazed by how much I love my life. (Sure... I could use a new kitchen and a better pair of jeans) Still, I'm just plain Happy. (not the smiling, super friendly cheerleader-kinda 'Happy' ... more the totally content, Heart-Full kinda 'Happy')

Here are Ten of the MANY reasons Why:

5. My Tinkerbell.
This picture captures everything I love about my daughter. Her beautiful eyes, tiny perfect face, curls and mostly.. her touch of attitude. This year, Tink became a big-little girl. Running in her first race, attending school, losing TWO teeth! Talking and learning, loving her friends and cousins. It has been a gift, to love her for 5 whole years.

6. Having my Brother home for Christmas:

After a very difficult plight for my family, Uncle came home. Thus far, he seems much better. And more prepared for the future. Christmas Eve, we shared a very wonderful evening with him.... pink Barbies and all!! I am proud of him.

7. Summer with The Kid:
There is no child alive, who loves Summer more than The Kid. He loves being outside, playing in the dirt, swimming, spending Shelbyville weekend with his cousins. He eagerly anticipated our Summer Family Mondays and even managed a few impressive plays during an otherwise rough baseball season. The Kid, keeps us Summer young.

8. Me and The Warrior Dash:
Honestly, this race scared the heck out of me! But completing this race, gave me a pretty impressive confidence boost. Climbing up and over That One obstacle... felt amazing. Even though it took The General months to sorta forgive me, our story was easily one of my favorite memories of the year. And if he'll have me: I would love to hold his hand again, over a path of beaten down junk cars.

9. Coco and The Galway Girl's Show N Tell:
It's no secret our Coco is just a wee bit, uhhh... interesting, to say the least. She is full of sugar, spice and everything sometimes not so nice. But having her older cousin take her to Show N Tell, just to tell her class her baby cousin eats deodorant??? Priceless.

10. Our Relay Dance Performance:

Even though Coach TOTALLY threw my bouquet crazily in an obvious attempt to make himself look EVEN cooler... I love this video and could watch it a thousand times (and I nearly have). I love this family too much! I can not believe the crazy things they are willing to do. I appreciate their part in making my year, so amazing!

The Countdown continues, tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ending the year.

Starting tomorrow, I am posting my Top Ten favorite moments for 2011. In preparation, I have spent the afternoon reviewing old Blog Posts, from the year.

And seriously, I gotta tell you:
Me and Coach are pretty funny.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Barbie Christmas

I took a mini-Christmas vacation. I did not blog, we attended less functions, purchased fewer presents, baked more cookies, opened smaller stockings, stayed home more... I even READ A BOOK! What?! With only 1 week left in 2011: I finally read The Help.

The weekend was full of family, snuggles, cookies and cute little smiles. My favorite part??

Tink repeatedly exclaiming Christmas morning:
"It happened! I rweally was on the Nice List! See... I'n not Naughty! Santa rweally did bring me and Coco presents! Can you beweive it?!"

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.
I know we did...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

She's funny.

My mom, sent me an email, this morning.
This is that email, in it's entirety:

Greatest joke on Bob & Tom this morning. A guy was talking about his family being from TN and how they are practically inbred. He said "I have a cousin who married her ex step-father.... I had a cousin that married someone, who was not her blood cousin but a cousin by marriage." Then he said
"We are not inbreds but we are buzzing the tower."

I don't get it...
Why would she send that to me??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sugar High, Much??

Following my very popular Chocolate Covered Oreo recipe post (I'm not on Paininmytrist but if I were, I'm sure that particular post circulated with all of the best mom craft ideas)... riding the sugar wave, I decided to really bake cookies (with the help of my girls) and then invite extra girlies over to decorate.
I was unprepared for the beating to my mom ego. (get it.. 'beating'... like beating the cookie batter??)
Coco was the first to cross lines. Taking a giant spoonful of the powdered ingredients and quickly shoving into her mouth. Then coughing and gagging out floured dust, as she exclaimed "Dem cookies don't taste berry good Mommy. Dos not good cookies!"
No duh, Coco... no duh.

I pulled out the electric mixer. Tink appeared puzzled "What is dat thing? I'b neber seen dat before?!" She sorta glanced towards the fridge, as if wondering where her mother's typical Christmas cookie preparation of break-off Tollhouse were hiding.

I gingerly (get it?? Like the ingredient??) located my grandmother's rolling pin. Excited to use this moment as an emotional history lesson for my daughters.
Me: This was my grandma's rolling pin. She used this to make thousands of cookies, in this very kitchen. Right on this same (unfortunately yellow) counter. With her daughters and then me.. and now we are making cookies, just like her.

Tink sorta deep sighed/eye rolled with boredom: Yeah... but now your grandmother is dead. She died. Jus like her husband. Now she is dead. And she doesn't make cookies cuz she's dead now. Jus like Grammy's mom and jus like my cat Rigby... right?

Me: ummmmm... yes, she died. But maybe she makes cookies in Heaven?!

Tink (Direct stare. Deep sigh.): Mom... she's jus dead. Jus like her husband.

So with that, I just finished making cookies. Quietly hoping, I wasn't such a Giant B when my mom and grandma tried to create happy Christmas cookie memories, with me as a child.

Decorating and cookie eating, went exceptionally well.

A close look at Joy's marsh mellow cookie snowman. Lil bit of sugar on top of sugar? Don't mind if I do...

So...This was a Semi-sweet holiday experience.
(get it? 'semi-sweet' chocolate chips??)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

While visions of sugar plums.

I understand, she is pretty gross.
Yes, she licks tables, toys, people...
sometimes church pews or even the dog.
Maybe, I have caught her eating rocks
and/or dirt.

I suppose, you could say she HATES washing her face
or brushing her teeth.
Pony tails?? Ferget 'bout it.

All of that in consideration:

I still can NOT help but want to chew on her mouth.
Seriously. How pretty is she??
Especially, fast asleep.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ring a Ling....

"City sidewalks busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air, There's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev'ry street corner you'll hear
Silver bells.... silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring a ling.... hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day"

In this magical, spiritual, beautiful time of year:
filled with joy, sprinkles and glitter,
Tru Stories has officially broke the Comment ceiling.
All in the spirit of Jacking the heck out of
some probably well deserving idiots.
37 Comments... And counting?

Merry Christmas One and all...

Man, do I know some classy people.
And. I. Love. It.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dinner Conversation.

Set scene:
Calmly eating at the dinner table.
Coco is sorta gross (typical).
The Kid is blabbing, blabbing (typical).
I'm exhausted.
Tink is ignoring The Kid and adding her insight.

Suddenly Coach interrupts,
with his happy, smiley Coach voice:
Hey... is it weird that we are a family?

Me (eyeroll)

The Kid: What do you mean?

Coach: Is it weird to anyone that we are just a family? That I'm a Dad. I have a real job. That mom and I are married? That we have 3 kids.

Me: (deep sigh plus eyeroll)

The Kid (nervously): What are you talking about?

Coach: Is it just me then...? It's not weird to anyone else that we are grown with a family? That we are just eating dinner, like a family? No...? Just weird for me?

The Kid: What? Mom, why is he saying that?

Me: Because your Dad thinks he is young and sometimes it STILL surprises him that he is an adult.

Coach: I am still young. Isn't it just weird that we have 3 kids? Just sitting here eating dinner?

Coco (licks ranch dressing off her fingers)

Tink (totally ignores her father)

The Kid: Ohhhh... because Dad still acts 19??

Me: Maybe these are 30th birthday aftershocks.

Coach: Seriously... (he looks around)
It's not weird, we are married with 3 kids??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis The Season....

for Joy and Cheer. For sweet tasting cookies and smile inducing Christmas cards. For time spent with friends and remembering to honor the gift of family, home and love... which God has blessed to you.

Tis ALSO the season, for stress. Empty checking accounts. Fitting your 'sweet cookie tasting' rear-end into holiday clothes. And just feeling annoyed.

Therefore, let's finish the year, with another round of:
"Who would you Jack??" TM- myself.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick a person, for example...
your 5th grade teacher or your sister.

2. Premise:
You march up to this person, pause and then Jack them square in the face. They will retain this information for approximately 9 seconds (long enough to react with an expression of recognition but not actually rise to hit you back) and then their mind goes blank, never to be the wiser. Said person, would be completely unaffected, not even a bruise. You, however, would have a victorious skip in your step and sly smile across your face.
All the while, Karma, God and/or your Grandmother, will look in the other direction.

3. Sooo... Who would you Jack?

Maybe your first reaction may be:
Tru Stories is a seriously terrible person!
Who would invent such an awful game!!?
After you get past all that.... Think on this for a minute or two. Let it soak in.
Is their someone who has offended you?
Made your child cry? Or rubbed you the wrong way?
Flirted with your husband?
Prances about, owning the world, as if they couldn't use a good smacking?
Stole your boyfriend in the 7th grade?
Has a voice, which grates your soul?

Now, make your list.
Safely in your mind, or share with a VERY close friend, not prone to blabber mouth syndrome.
Or post in my Comments!! Even more fun.

My List may possibly include:
1. The teacher's voice on Charlie Brown.
2. Several staff members from Bromenn.
3. Sons of Anarchy finale.
4. Lady Gaga and her clothes.
5. Occasionally my father. (no judgement!)
6. How old is The Kid's sassy mouth??
7. Flag Girl's lack of morning phone time.
8. Adults ignoring their nephew's plight.
9. Joy Behar
10. My total lack of WBCs.
11. Jerry Sandusky etc...etc....

Therefore... Who would YOU Jack?

1. I have NEVER punched someone. And do not plan on it in my lifetime. Please, do not stop reading my blog, out of moral protest.

2. You are not allowed anyone under the age of 17 on your list. Unless you are a parent of a teenager...then do what you need to do. No judgement.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas to Me!!

Coach and Grammy, gifted me with an early Christmas present. A brand new laptop!! Officially pulling me out of the dark ages (sure, it's not an Iphone or an Ipad... but it's WAY more modern for my world.)

Now, I can blog more efficiently and easily than before. Thankfully, because how else would I be able to get my pertinent information to the world, like:

"Should I be embarrassed, I secretly Heart Selena Gomez's new song? I mean, it's not like I know 95% of the words... and I only sing it in the van with the girls... and occasionally totally by myself in the van, loudly and with teen spirit. That's nothing to be ashamed of... is it?? Scale of 1-10...."

Thanks Grammy and Coach!
For helping the world climb just a little deeper,
into my pathetically lame mind.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

He is home....

Thursday evening, my brother returned home. After seven weeks in hospitals and institutions. If you have followed our story, you understand the last few months have been extremely difficult. There were several gut-wrenching visits. Painful conversations with my children. Nights without sleep. Sobbing phone calls from my understandably heart-broken mother.
I have endured awkward silences from those I had once depended on for friendship and compassion. I have also been gratefully surprised by kind words and moments of genuine concern from others.
I received an email, including the following:

"....your blogs have generated numerous conversations between XXXX and I about mental health - about the state's lack of resources, tidbits that surprised or inspired us about your family's situation - it's really opened our eyes.
I didn't know your brother had a mental illness. At most, I thought he was a little different. So when your mother was telling me about his situation, even then I couldn't really understand it. She mentioned, he had been manic and that he would likely need to go back into the hospital and they'd use lots of drugs to mellow him out. I remember thinking 'oh, that will be a nice little quick-fix'. Just take a bunch of pills and back to normal... Of course it isn't as simple as that. Even though it hurt my heart to read, I'm glad you described the effects of the medicines. I've seen many people with mental illness and just offhandedly been like 'that guy was crazy.' And I've never once thought about how his mental health affects his family, his loved ones - his mother who gave him life and had so many hopes and dreams for him. Thanks for sharing for giving us something to think about."

The decision to post about my brother's disability, was an inner debate of great magnitude. I have inherited a personality combination from my parents, which includes my father's instinct to keep emotions private and guarded... mixed with my mother's coping mechanism to joke during a time of stress.
I write a blog, which many would eye-rollingly describe as 'putting my life out there...' My posts are typically a sarcastic and amusing fuzzy snapshot of our world. With the exception of the birthday posts, I rarely blog true emotion or the ugly reality of life.
By posting about my brother's schizophrenia, I have certainly blogged 'the ugly'. My fingers shook with each post and His Video dedication, ripped at my heart. After reading the above email, specific texts from my brother-in-law and numerous kind comments or notes sent to Facebook... I have probably never been more proud, of anything posted.
To hide my brother's struggle, would have been a grave disservice to him and every person who has suffered or will suffer from this illness. Quietly enduring the last months, would have shamed my family, specifically my little brother.
And so... What have we accomplished?
What has Joel gained?
What lesson, have we learned?

If I have helped, to make Joel's continuing battle, just a little more comfortable: then I have helped my parents, to give him a life. To give him a voice, when he is too scared and nervous, to use his own.
I hope my posts, have given the mentally ill, one tiny step forward. If I have changed the views of only my 44 Followers: Well then, 44 people will raise more tolerant and understanding children. 44 people, who will smile softly at 'someone different' rather than avoiding eye-contact. Maybe, there are 44 people, who will second guess themselves next time a group is making jokes about 'the guy who lives by the ballfield' or 'the lottery ticket lady'. Even better, 44 people who will feel enlightened to vote, campaign or fight for the rights of our nation's mentally ill... with the passion, many rally for the impoverished in other countries.

Last night, we shared a boring ol' Friday pizza dinner, at my parents. Joel appeared happy. He smiled. He hugged The Kid and joked with his nieces. My brother is still schizophrenic. His Tru Story, is still painfully unfair. We are still sad for him and worry about his future. But last night, he was home. He is safe.
And I am glad. I am proud of Joel. He continues to bravely fight a battle, we can not imagine. Joel's determination to 'put one foot forward' will serve as an inspiration, to my children. Even his sister, has learned to see him, through new eyes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It really is so Exhausting,

being a little Tinkerbell.

Photo not posed or doctored.
Her life is so tough, she honestly doesn't have the strength (or long enough legs) to completely climb up onto the couch. Poor girl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another KaRazy Tru Stories Game:

With our current DVR list including: American Horror Story, Once Upon a Time, Grimm and SVU... it's safe to admit, my TV viewing is starting to creep me out. None more than The Walking Dead.

I am honestly waking with nightmares. Specifically, the kind which play out like 'my neighborhood is being over-run with the infected walking dead, what items do I save from my house, which children can I carry... and can I keep up with my SuPer Fast Husband.'
A few nights ago, my nightmare literally contained all of the above fears, plus a new one. The premise:
We have safely escaped from our neighborhood.
We have called various friends/family.
We have met at a secure location with a bus.
We are set to drive south, to a large estate on a hill, currently untouched by zombies. Unfortunately, only 50 people will fit on the bus. In a frantic moment, I have to decide who can board the bus.

So here's the thought provoking Debate:
Out of EVERYONE you know, which 50 people would you choose to ride out the Great Zombie Plague on a beautiful southern estate. Please keep in mind:
You really HAVE to take your children and the children of your adult friends. (it would be tacky not too...)
It wouldn't hurt for your choices to be useful:

* Sure, Munchkin hates physical exertion. She can be kinda negative and she may refuse to board the bus when you decline a ticket to her dog: but the girl really is a doctor! Seriously. And having someone who can help with medication, might not be a bad idea.
* Doc. She's a nurse. She's in.
* Warhol? Uh... he can paint us out of a corner?
* Sure, EVERYONE would pick Coach. He's quick. Full of energy. Positive and annoyingly helpful. Duh, obvious choice. Then, you have to take our children.
* Me?? Well, I can garden. And um... I can write a blog?? Ok. Maybe, I'm not an obvious first choice.

Game On:
World is taken over by zombies.
You can save 50 people. Who's in.....?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Family Holiday Recipe

Step 1:
Take Oreos. Covered in white chocolate.

Step 2:
Purchase them at Wal-Mart.

Step 3: Eat them.

Step 4:
Congratulate yourself for buying said package of holiday favorites, pre-made and sold seasonally... rather than wasting valuable TV time, actually warming white chocolate and drizzling on oreos.

Step 5:
Hate yourself. For purchasing said holiday favorite and eating some (majority) of your children's share.

*Posting recipes, makes me like one of those cutsie blogs with crafts, DYI aprons and super-mom advice on sponging decals on your child's back-pack! Please feel comfortable to print my recipe, for yourself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Birthday Challenge.

Today The Mrs turns 34. She wrote a super lame post, about how pathetic her life is now. (seriously, just be glad she even still posts...) It read, like this:
"I'm old and boring.. (yada)... I'm celebrating with my amazing children!... (who cares)... Wouldn't have it any other way... (pukes).. I'm going to Home Depot. (super lame)." .... Honestly, almost verbatim.

We owe Tru Stories, to the constant supportive encouragement (annoying pushing nagging) from Mrs, who believed Tink stories needed to 'get out there'.
As a result, I feel Mrs deserves to face the ugly truth, on her 34th birthday.

1. She claims she is boring:
I've seen her on a pole.

2. She claims she is so quiet, she only enjoys Holiday crafting and strolling Hobby Lobby:
She is a Warrior. Who runs for fun. And plays games like an ultra-competitive witch, able to curse your future grandchildren, with a quick sharp glare.

3. She claims to love the company of her children:
One time. We were invited on a Boat Trip (Just once. Only once. Eh.. Sweetbreads??) On the Trip, I heard Mrs shout: "I hate my children and am absolutely flourishing in a week-end away from those brats!"
Nearly a direct quote, though it was difficult to hear with Coach and I, spaztically and illegally jumping off the top deck. (I still jus aint eva gonna figure out why we's wasn't invited back...)

4. She claims she's a perfectly polite mother:
She wore stripper heels, to a family wedding.

5. She claims she'll fall asleep early:
Coach and I literally eye-rolled over The Mrs head, because she wouldn't get the bleep out of our home at like 2:35am...

6. Last, Mrs claims her and General have become an old, boring married couple:
I defy anyone, to witness a more romantic renewal of vows, than theirs as Mr and Mrs Frankenstein.

Therefore, Happy Birthday to a lady with some amazingly shiny, skinny and tan legs.
(FYI- I hate those a lil bit.)
My only birthday wish for you:

* You may remember, Coach celebrated my Birthday, by guest blogging a birthday post. Still unbeaten in Comments. Officially sparking a world-wide campaign (it COULD BE world-wide Haters!!) for him to guest blog on each of my birthdays. (Only 6 weeks away... Coach is already, randomly breaking into cold sweats and increasingly more intense panic attacks).

Soooo I was thinking. Wouldn't it be too sweet,
if General Guest Blogged for Mrs?
I DARE you. Actually, I double dog DARE you.

Yep. I JUST went there. BAM!
(The 'Bam' was obviously the sound of my defiantly awesome dare, exploding like an atom bomb of coolness, in General's face.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Coco 'Ch'ristmas...

Because I have become completely over the top,
I purchased a white artificial tree with pink lights, pink ornaments and pink beads, for 75% off, following Christmas last year. Perfect for two, spoiled girls.
This afternoon, the idea was to let the girls 'mostly' decorate their tree, so they would 'mostly' leave me to neurotically color coordinate my decorating.
I tried my best, to ignore the bulb grouping... but let's get real, I have already been in their room twice, to move them around.

I had purchased the most adorable, pink glitter 'Merry' and 'Christmas' to place near the top. The tree looked super, Pepto Bismol cute. Except later....

Upon further review...
The 'Christmas' appears to be missing something.
Though it was returned exactly to the previous spot.

After MUCH questioning, we are certain, Coco is the culprit. Unfortunately, we have not recovered the 'Ch'.
What the heck did she do with the 'Ch'???

This is What I'm doing Today:

Tis the Season... and all that Jazz.

PS: When exactly, did I turn into the 47 yr old,
Crazy Christmas Tree Lady??
It's possible, I could scale back a touch.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Medieval Times.

For The Kid's Birthday celebration, we gathered Quincy and the grandparents for our first evening at Medieval Times. Even with reservations, we were arrived to a VERY full lobby. Prompting the extremely kind Grandmothers to upgrade our tickets to the Front Row. Gifting us royal treatment for the show.

This picture, of the men in paper crowns, is maybe the best part of the night. How much, must these Grandpas love their grandchildren??? Typically... they are not exactly paper crowns kind of guys.

I was nervous about the 'no utensil' dining experience but the food was actually very good.

Gramma and her knight in shining armour.

We were cheering for the Red Knight. Whom Tink developed a teeny crush on. Both cute and scary.

Coco cheering for Red!

Grammy and Pop-pop sprang for The Kid to officially be knighted, as a present. Because what The Kid needed was to feel even more entitled than usual...

Overall, the evening was nice and entertaining.
The boys loved the show. My final assessment: Sorta like Build-a-Bear workshop... fun, cute, something neat to do with your kids but just a bit pricey and probably we won't need to go back any time soon.
Still, I would definitely recommend it to others.
Happy Birthday, Kid! We love you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011.

As always, I am most Thankful for my beautiful and healthy Five Family. Very blessed, to have been given the opportunity, to hold their hands.

I am also grateful to own a home, to host our large and amazing family, on this holiday. We'll especially be thinking of and missing, one special guest, at our table. I hope he can feel our prayers and love.

Happy Thanksgiving Blog World.

Ending Credits:
Photographs by: Amber Brown Photography

Film Creation, Editing and Arrangement by: Me!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One full decade ago:

I became a mother, to a son.
The first words the Doctor spoke upon your arrival, "He's here! He is so long and skinny!!" You were, still are and always will be... so long and skinny! And... you were most definitely Here. My first child.
Hours later, we were alone. Sharing our first of many, snuggle mornings. I repeatedly whispered, "I love you. I'm so happy to meet you... I'm your mom." I am sure you did not require my introduction but I needed to hear the words, "I'm your mom."
This morning, I've officially been a mother for ten years. TEN YEARS?!! When did that happened? Wasn't I just holding you? Were we not just snuggled tight, pressed heart to heart? I swear, I was just touching your baby soft hair, to my cheek.

It is remarkable, how people think they understand 'love'. Believe they've experienced 'love'. They love their parents, friends, they have been coupled and even married. A person will throw around an "I love you" without abandon. Then, that person becomes a parent. And their heart, literally blooms.
It grows. It physically aches, from the immediate bloat of new Heart Departments... labeled: Protection, Complete Preservation, Devotion and Hug-ation. A new parent, creates a mental list, Thousands of Things 'they' will do better, than any parent before. Insuring their baby, will flourish without complication.
After ten years, I am already over whelmed with regrets and 'I shouldas'. He was the 'first' for all of us. I'm sure we tripped a few times. I coulda done more.
I shoulda hugged more. I shoulda given more vitamins.
I shoulda held my cool. I shoulda taken more pictures.
I shoulda just really watched him more. Just sat in the yard and soaked up every detail of his chubby cheeks and toddler waddle. Somebody, shoulda told me it would go by SO DARN FAST! Ten years?
Are you kidding me?!

I suppose, I've done something right because The Kid is literally Amazing. His brain is a labyrinth of information. Details, intertwined with facts, sprinkled with interesting quotations and anomalies. While there is certainly occasion the well of intelligence feels plenty deep enough, I... eyes-squeezed-shut pray, his mind will only continue to impress.

The Kid is fiercely loyal. A devoted and sensitive friend. He desires the acceptance of his peers, as well as his adult companions. Often, his intelligence mistakenly convinces others, he is more mature than children his age and yet... he is sweetly and naively innocent. Possibly because of an overly protective and hovering mother, though I suspect he is an inviting soul, desperately wanting to believe people are inherently good. An admirable trait, which unfortunately scares the heck out of me.

The Kid is a most frustrating closet athlete. The raw ability, lays nearly completely dormant. Preferring a good book, to a dribbling drill or an afternoon at the batting cages. Encouraging his father to frequently deep sigh, followed by an exasperated forehead rub.

The Kid is the quintessential Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, of big brothers. Igniting from me, a firestorm of "Get away from your little sisters!!" or a smile, as he reads their favorite books. He secretly (no secret, he says it all the time) prefers a little Coco. Though, I wonder if him and Tink will eventually have more in common.

Above all: The Kid is an affectionate and devoted grandchild. An excitable and easily impressed nephew. A grateful and smiley cousin. And The Very Best Son we Have (as long as you don't wake him too early, tell him to put away his clothes, ask him to pick up his room or generally forget he Runs The Show...)

To my son:
As always, on Thanksgiving I am most Thankful for your arrival. Thank-you, for changing my entire world. Your birthday, is the date which defines the first and second halves of my life. Your deep, thinking brown eyes are the mirror to myself. Ten years ago, you gifted me the most important role of my lifetime. I pray, I have given you, even a fraction of the knowledge, strength and meaning you have given to my growth as a person. You were my 'starter kid'.
My first ten little fingers and ten little toes.
I could never express my gratitude, that you chose to love me. You will forever be, my favorite dance partner. Words simply can not describe.
Happy Birthday 10th, son.
Despite my pleas, you continue to have birthdays... and you just may age too big for my lap, too heavy to dance sleepily within my arms and too tall to hide safely in my shadow... but you will never, become too old for me to hold you tightly inside my heart.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Rules of Potty Training:

While on the phone with my mother, I became frustrated, as I realized Coco had once again removed her own diaper.

Me: Ugh! Coco took off her diaper again. She really thinks she wants to be potty trained.

Grammy: Then train her! You are the only mother I know, who doesn't want to potty train her kids.

Me: I like to wait til they are totally ready. I hate cleaning accidents. It's better when they are really old enough to actually take themselves to the bathroom.

Grammy: Well Coco wants to be ready like her sista.

Me: She's not. The last thing I want to do, is take gross Coco, into a thousand public bathrooms.

Grammy: You're just gonna have to start training her. She's ready.

Me: She's sooo not... If you're not old enough, to figure out you can't LICK toilets, then you are definitely not old enough, to USE a toilet.

Grammy (hysterical laughter... because it's true.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tink is Thankful for:

At Tink's preschool Thanksgiving dinner, our table marker was created by our daughter. Each child designed signs, listing what they were most Thankful for, in their life. Tink's read:

First: Yes, that is a picture of her Grammy, Pop-pop and her old dog Desmond (which you'll remember was banished for not playing well with others.)

Second: No. The mother, whom is with her nearly every hour of every day... was not listed.

Third: You'll note Grammy is obviously wearing a sheer shirt... as you are still able to see her belly button.

And Last: Yes... my dad has pony tails. Ugh!

I would almost hate this sign.
If Tink wasn't so adorable later:
When she lost her first tooth!!

Tink was incredibly excited the next morning, after a REAL LIFE fairy had been in her bedroom! Leaving pixie dust under her pillow and on the money!!

The Convo Between Husband and Wife later:

Me: Welp... that's it. Now she is all grown up. Teeth are just falling out of her mouth.

Coach: I know.

Me: Why??? She was JUST our tiny little baby, days ago. Too tiny to grow up and lose teeth!

Coach: I know.

Me: Next she'll be in high-school. Driving the car and having a boyfriend.

Coach: No. That's dumb.

Me: We're just gonna have to get another baby. Let's adopt one this weekend.

Coach: As soon as we get rid of the dog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Official Re-introduction:

Gramma and Grandpa have 14 grandchildren.
For two years, I have used their birth order, as their blog nick-names. I thought this would be easy for
(at least the family!) to remember. It most definitely WAS NOT easy, for even their parents.
Sooo... today EVERYONE gets a nickname!!
Every name, originates from a portion of their actual given name. Therefore, if their parents do not like the new nicknames... well.... I guess, you should have considered future blog monikers when you filled out that birth certificate. Not my fault!
Side Note:
Nearly every name, has an Irish/Catholic background.
(FYI- My children will remain the same.)

Former Blog Name: One
New Blog Name: One or First
One's name will remain. If there was anyone, convinced that he is Number One.. it's this kid.

Former Blog Name: Two
New Blog Name: Decimus
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next." Coach's favorite movie line. Ever.

Former Blog Name: Three
New Blog Name: Joseph (Jumbo Joe) Stydahar
Born March 17, 1912. American football offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears from 1936-1946 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former Blog Name: Four
New Blog Name: GlenAllen Hill
May 11, 2000: Hill became the 1st and thus far only, Chicago Cub to hit a ball onto the roof of a five-story residential building across the street from the left field wall of Wrigley Field. Hill wore the #4 Jersey.

Former Blog Name: Five
New Blog Name: Princess Grace of Monaco.
Monaco, Moni or Mona for short. Her choice.

Former Blog Name: Six
New Blog Name: John Quincy Adams "Quincy"
Our 6th president and a lifelong Republican.
Revered for fighting the good fight!
Also, I have many happy childhood memories in Quincy and now, my children have many happy memories with Six aka Quincy.

Former Blog Name: The Kid
New Blog Name: The Kid
I nicknamed The Kid when he was maybe 2 mos old: and it's never gonna change.

Former Blog Name: Eight
New Blog Name: Bondie Beach "Bondie"
Bondie Beach is a beautiful white sand beach in Sydney, Australia. No one makes me think about suntanning... more than this girl.

Former Blog Name: Nine
New Blog Name: The Galway Girl.
Galway is a city located in Ireland.
Plus she really is some kinda Gal.

Former Blog Name: Tink
New Blog Name: Always my 'Tink'erbell

Former Blog Name: Eleven
New Blog Name: Owl
The exclusive Bryn Mawr women's college is a highly respected and serious institution. Educating accomplished women. Their mascot is an "Owl".
A seriously beautiful animal, with captivating eyes.

Former Blog Name: Twelve
New Blog Name: Joy
This 'middle' child, radiates pure Joy.

Former Blog Name: Coco
New Blog Name: Coco
She still envelopes warm coco happiness.
Plus she's sorta messy, like melting chocolate.

Former Blog Name: Fourteen
New Blog Name: Gipper
Warhol's fav president, Ronald Reagan.
I plan on referring to her as Baby Gipper.

At least until Number 15 is born...
keep me informed gang,
whenever it is time for me to post a new name.

And there you have it,
Fourteen nicknames, officially assigned.
Whew! Exhausting.