Monday, February 28, 2011

Snowing Inside My House

What do you do when it's really cold outside but there is a fresh snow fall of 14 inches?

You bring the snow inside, of course!

A great friend posted on her blog that she had brought buckets of snow inside for her children to play with. I thought it was a FABULOUS idea, so I followed suit and to color or bling things up a bit, I gave the children several bottles of cookie sprinkles. It was so fun!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why Parenting is Like...

I found this post from Let Me Start By Saying... so amusing that I had to share it with you.  Have you ever felt like you could commiserate with parenting feeling similar to clubbing?  Hee hee!

1. When you walk into a bathroom you find someone squatting over the toilet, peeing on the seat.

2. The dress code appears to be Clothing Optional.

3. Everyone around you is using only their Outdoor Voice.

4. It always ends up being way more expensive an experience than you thought.

5. You arrive well-dressed and optimistic.  You end up a weary disheveled mess with unidentifiable scraps of paper in your pockets.

6. There’s a girl wearing smeared glittery eye shadow spilling drink down the front of her shirt each time she takes a sip.

7. You regret wearing a nice shirt the moment that wobbly glittery girl ends up spilling her drink on you, too.

8. Due to the overall noise level, you spend most of your time repeating yourself.

9. Your shoes stick to the floor.

10. You’re surrounded by sweaty, confused people who never stop moving.

11. People keep getting yelled at for dancing on the tables.

12. When someone corners you and won’t stop talking, you just nod and smile politely hoping he’ll eventually give up and go away.

13. By the end of the night you reek of booze and desperation.

14. You recall getting the stamp on your right hand, but not the other three on your left.

15. When paying for coffee, you accidentally pull yesterday’s underwear out of your bag, instead of the wad of cash you meant to grab.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Am Hard to Handle

Marilyn Monroe has the best quotes!!!

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."
"Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?"
"We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets."
"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Courage, Character, Confidence!

How do you sell Girl Scout cookies if you're stuck with 20-24 INCHES of snow?  You simply put the cookies on a sled and pull it around the neighborhood.  Go Girl Scouts!!!  Our motto is Courage, Character, Confidence! And we intend to deliver...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Are Perfect to Me

Lyrics are clean (with offensive words removed).

I am not a fan of obscenities and I try not to use them on my blog, because Hey! Ya just never know who is reading it and if it happened to be a mommy with a child near them... I'm not going to responsible for offending our precious wee ones.  However, I adore the message in this Pink song, "Fu*kin' Perfect".

Haven't we ALL struggled, at one point or another, with feeling less than stellar? Not up to par with everyone else's expectations -- or worse yet, not up to our OWN expectations of ourself?

Fu*kin' Perfect
~ Pink

Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that's alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss 'No way, it's all good', it didn't slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated
Look, I'm still around

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me!

You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you'll make it!
Filled with so much hatred...such a tired game
It's enough! I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same

Oh, pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me

The whole world's scared so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line, and we try try try, but we try too hard and it's a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhere
They dont like my jeans, they don't get my hair
Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Why do I do that..?

Yeah, oh, oh baby, pretty baby..!
Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're f*cking perfect to me
You're perfect, you're perfect!
Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty please, if you ever feel like you're nothing
You are perfect to me....

Remember -- you are ALWAYS perfect to someone. You may not even know that special other person thinks the world of you, but you are PERFECT!

Monday, February 21, 2011


On Saturday evening, Husband flew out of town for a 7-8 day business trip.  After the wee ones were in bed, I fell asleep on the couch while watching a movie. 

Act One: At 6:30am the next morning I was awakened by the sound (and sight!) of a man rummaging around on my front porch.  As I have experienced this before, I pounded on the front window and yelled at the intruder, "GO AWAY!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!

I was acting on impulse.  I was angry and not yet fully awake.  To my absolute surprise and terror, the intruder totally ignored me.  He didn't flinch or glance my direction or even acknowledge that I'd just pounded very hard on the picture window and screamed at him. He just kept digging through the storage closet.  I was officially freaked out.  What was he on that he was so zoned out?

I ran across the living room and grabbed the cordless telephone.  I started shaking so hard it took me three attempts to properly dial 9-1-1.  The operator asked all sorts of questions as I cowered behind the front door, out of the line of sight of the front picture window that I had "bravely" pounded on a few minutes earlier and PRAYED OUT LOUD that my three wee ones would not wake up.  Suddenly, the intruder began fiddling with the front door.  The bottom door handle turned...

The door was bolted, but apparently I had not locked the bottom door handle.  I became slightly crazed.

Me (whispered screeching): "He's trying to come in the front door!  He's trying to get in to my house! I am home alone with 3 small children!!!" 

9-1-1: Is the door locked?

Me: Yes! No! I mean it's bolted but the bottom lock isn't... (pause, silence... CRASH!)

Me: Oh my God. Help us! He's slamming his body against my door.  Where are the police? How far away?!  I'm home alone. I need help!!! (commence semi-hysterical crying)

9-1-1: Stay with me.  It's okay.  The door is locked.  The police are on the way. Take a deep breath.

Me: What?!  Okay, okay... OKAY!  I'm calm!!!

9-1-1: What is he doing now? You're my eyes and ears.  Can you see or hear anything?

Me: I don't want to go to the window to look.  I can hear him but I can't see him.  I'm still behind the front door. 

9-1-1: That's okay. I'm here.  The responding officer is almost there.  Let me know when you see the squad pull up.  I will stay on the phone until they arrive.

Me: Okay. (rapid breathing, pause for a few tense, eternally long minutes)

9-1-1: The officer should be pulling up right now. Check the window. Do not open the door. (Seriously?! You don't need to remind of what is on my porch.  Cautiously creeping out from behind the front door towards the picture window)

Me: Okay. Wait!  The idiot is curled up on the chest freezer in my porch. He's twitching... I see the officer getting out their car. Thank you! Thank you so much.

9-1-1: You're welcome.  I'll hang up now.

As the office approaches my porch door, my face is anxiously peering at him as I wildly point to the intruder twitching on the chest freezer next to my front door. 

A few dreadfully long minutes later, the officer came up to the door to talk to me.  Apparently the intruder is a 19 years old man-boy who was drunker than a skunk.  He thought he was “crashing at his cousin’s crib”.  Oh!  And it gets better... the officer informed me, before they arrived, the freak managed to vomit all over my porch. 

The joy of it all!  I had the honor of being terrified by a man trying to break into my house AND I have the privilege of cleaning up the scoundrel’s puke.

But wait!  The best part is yet to come...

Act Two: Same morning.  It's now about 8am when I hear a neighbor pounding on my front porch door and advising that I need to come out to see Husband's car.  As if I needed more excitement, my neighbor shares with me what she and her husband just witnessed.

At about 8am, three young thugs drove up and parked in front of my house.  Two passengers walked up to my porch (which was now locked) and pounded on the door.  When they could not get on to the porch, they began walking around the outside of the house and tried to look into some windows. (I’m assuming the thugs were looking for the drunk because they possibly thought he lived here?)

When my second set of visitors could not get into the house, they took a sledge hammer to two of my husband's car windows before they peeled off. The neighbors who witnessed the events had been enjoying a morning cup of joe, when the car pulled up.  The husband immediately went to get dressed and grab a coat to see if he could "assist" my visitors.  Unfortunately, he didn't catch the thugs license plate before they broke the car windows.

The police think the two events are related to each other but not to my house.  It all seems so random and ridiculously difficult to comprehend.  We have lived in our house for just over 7 years.

I have no idea how we’re going to pay for the car windows. I wish the freaks would have broken my mini-vans windows – at least we have glass coverage on that vehicle, but no such luck with Husband's vehicle.  ARGGHHH!

A very MASSIVE THANK YOU to my bestest friend and neighbor, CP, who graciously came over to the house after Act One and fed the children breakfast while I dealt with lots different visiting police officers. Another MASSIVE THANK YOU to neighbors M & S who came to my rescue by providing important info to the police about the thugs car and helped me clean up all of the broken car glass.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  I really appreciate all of the awesome neighbors who make my neighborhood worth it!

Life is full of blessings.  Thankfully the wee ones slept through Act One and were upstairs during Act Two so they were completely oblivious about the entire horrific events.  As a reminder, it doesn't matter where you live, keep your doors locked and outside lights on.

P.S. After all the glass was cleaned up and all the police interviews finished, we promptly received over 14 inches of snow in under 24 hours, which left us with THIS!

Yes, I had to shovel most of it myself since Husband is traveling on business travel in sunny, gorgeously 70+ degree weather.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some Day...

Little Princess' tired brown eyes stare at me from my bedroom doorway. I heard her little feet patter up the stairs to my bedroom. She’s been put to bed thrice already, but there she is again. “Mom-ma, will you cuddle with me?”

Big E is cool in front of her friends, answering questions with a nod and inside jokes and noises, funny only to 10 or 11 year old girls. But she writes me a beautiful Valentine that is so full of love, it takes my breath away. She is half grown. As tall as me, hands the same size, but with much bigger feet. We share the same temper. And yet, she still stumbles into my room late at night, only two of us awake in the quiet, wanting me to hug her and be with her.

Little Man still tells me that I am his favorite "grill" (aka: girl!). He melts my heart with his dimpled smile and intense questions about why he is not allowed to marry his sister, Little Princess, when he grows up...

One day she may not ask to cuddle.
One day she may not write me a sweet valentine.
One day he may not want to marry his sister. (Which would actually be okay...)

Some day…

I will apologize for my sharp words.
I will chase my larger-than-life dreams.
I will be present mentally while my children jabber non-stop.

...May never come.

There will never be another TODAY!

This is it.

What will you do with it?

What will I do with it?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Blessings

Last night at 4:55pm my frantic plea for help:

Hello Dear Friends and Neighbors,

While I was out of town last night, it appears our cat, Olee, escaped from his beloved perch on our porch.  Our family is absolutely heart sick with worry and miss him horribly.  We haven’t seen him since early yesterday evening, at about 6pm on Saturday, February 12th.  Attached is a picture of our sweet boy.  He is a black and white, tuxedo cat.  He is super sweet, but weary of new people.  He has front and back claws and thankfully is micro-chipped if he is picked up.  He isn’t used to be outside and he doesn’t have a collar.  If you see him, please call or email me immediately.  If you know any neighbors, who I have missed sending this message to, please forward it to them.

My thankful second message at 8:39pm, a few hours later:

Crisis adverted.  Carol Ann came to the rescue and found our soaking wet and sorrowful Olee this evening.  Thank you, friends. 

Ugh!  I don't ever want to feel that sinking feeling in my stomach again when my wee ones are upset and missing their precious fur ball.  Who frequently sleeps with me and I am utterly addicted to...  UGH!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lost & Found

Anyone who knows me will acknowledge that I am prone to frequent bouts of forgetfulness and I will graciously admit that they are correct.  I wish I wasn’t so forgetful, but alas I am.  What is that famous prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”  Well, trying to remember all of life’s chaotic details is a hopeless, lost cause with me so I will not fret about them.  However, in my defense -- it appears I have help being forgetful when it comes to misplacing items around my house.

I can often be heard exclaiming in awestruck wonderment (or absolute frustration), “Aha! So that’s where that went…”  My journey through parenthood has been filled with enumerable “Aha! Lost & Found” moments.  Now, I can’t blame all of my “Aha! Lost and Found” experiences on my wee ones, but I usually try to.  To prove to you, my dear blogosphere friends, how much “help” I have misplacing items, here is a sampler of the items that have been found after being MIA.  The Lost and Found List is extensive, and includes (but is not limited to):

* eye glasses - found on my face – yes, I was actually looking for my glasses while wearing them;
* cell phone - found in the vegetable crisper inside the refrigerator;
* chapstick – found in my then 18-month old daughters diaper (Eewww! She used to hide tons of stuff in her diaper. Don’t ask…);
* funky, gooey cat hairball – found in my sneaker, all warm & fresh, after I put it on;
* car keys – found in the ignition of my still running, yet very much locked, vehicle on Christmas Eve outside Walgreens with 3 small children in tow;
* static clung nylon on the back of my sweater – found hanging out on my back by an out-of-control, giggling co-worker;
* dead mouse dangling an inch above my nose – found as I woke up to my then 5-year old daughters excited squeals about her surprise for me… More about that story coming in a future post.

Good times! 

Please share with me some of your Lost and Found moments, so I don’t feel like the only scatter-brained ninny out there…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trivial Thursday

The fabulous-ness of answering a few (usually five) random questions each week is making a come-back. Feel free to grab the 5 questions and link back to me.

If you could have any meal brought to you right now, what would it be? I'm craving some chicken fajitas with lots of red & yellow peppers, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, guac and some delish spanish rice.  Or I would adore sauteed hibachi shrimp with ginger dipping sauce and onion soup and yummy fried rice from Benihana's.  Ooooo!  I'm starving now!

Did you have a favorite blanket or toy as a child? If so, do you still have it? When I was a wee one, I was attached to a pillow case.  I would carry the pillow case (empty) around with me AND I was a thumb sucker.  The pillow case and thumb sucking were inseparable.  I loved my sacred pillow case so much that I wore it out so there were just tattered strips of fabric let -- and YES! I do still have a tiny scrap of pillowcase hidden in my house.

Do you dream in color? I don't usually remember my dreams, but when I do, I often dream in color.  I once heard that if you dream in color you have a higher IQ.  I have no idea is this is true, but I guess I'd like to lie to myself and think it's true (which apparently, The International Association for the Study of Dreams is ready to burst my bubble)...

How tall are you? Do you wish you were shorter or taller? SIGH!  I'm only 5 foot 1 AND A HALF inches tall. (Notice the extra HALF INCH that is important for me to throw in there.)  If I was much shorter, I could qualify for "little people" status.  I've always dreamed of being r-e-a-l-l-y tall... like 5 foot 5 inches!

If you could have anyone’s (celeb or other) voice as the guide on your GPS, who would it be? Personally, I don't have GPS and the entire thing of listening to directions while driving is so very confusing for those of us with the affliction "Eternally Directionally Challenged".  However, I could swoon at James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stay... PLEASE!

Back to Tuesday's Tunes...

I'm loving Sugarland's song "Stay".  It's totally crazy emotional!!!  It's so SAD when you read the lyrics and piece it all together...

~ Sugarland

I've been sitting here staring at the clock on the wall
And I've been laying here praying, praying she won't call
It's just another call from home
And you'll get it and be gone
And I'll be crying

And I'll be begging you, baby
Beg you not to leave
But I'll be left here waiting
With my Heart on my sleeve
Oh, for the next time we'll be here
Seems like a million years
And I think I'm dying

What do I have to do to make you see
She can't love you like me?

Why don't you stay
I'm down on my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
Don't I give you what you need
When she calls you to go
There is one thing you should know
We don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay

You keep telling me, baby
There will come a time
When you will leave her arms
And forever be in mine
But I don't think that's the truth
And I don't like being used and I'm tired of waiting
It's too much pain to have to bear
To love a man you have to share

Why don't you stay
I'm down on my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
Don't I give you what you need
When she calls you to go
There is one thing you should know
We don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay

I can't take it any longer
But my will is getting stronger
And I think I know just what I have to do
I can't waste another minute
After all that I've put in it
I've given you my best
Why does she get the best of you
So next time you find you wanna leave her bed for mine

Why don't you stay
I'm up off my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
You can't give me what I need
When she begs you not to go
There is one thing you should know
I don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay, yeah 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Exit Interview

Recently I've been sharing posts from other bloggers quite a bit.  I just can't help myself.  Sometimes I find something so outrageous, or hilarious, or in this case... a post that absolutely speaks to my core, and it's mandatory to share it.  Sigh!

As Sherri from Old Tweener writes: "This career is what you make of it. There are no right and no wrong answers. What you do with it is your choice. Once you are promoted to the next level, there is no going back. The hours can be pretty crappy, the pay is lousy, and your insubordinates can be, well, insubordinate. But don't get me wrong; this is a lifetime career. The positions may change along the way, but you will always be employed."

Exit Interview

I sit waiting in the small room, my portfolio lying on the desk in front of me. It seems decent enough, filled with pictures and art work, certificates and ribbons. I wonder if there was anything else I should have included that would make a difference. I guess it's too late now. Maybe some sort of bribe would help. I wonder if there's an ATM nearby.

I feel awkward in my fancy skirt, blouse, and pumps; they look like a Catholic school uniform all grown up. I should have worn the same clothes I've worn on the job site all these years. There was never a complaint, unless you count that unfortunate clogs-with-skinny jeans incident. At least nobody took pictures.

The door swings open and the interviewer glides into the room, taking the seat across from me. She wears beautiful clothes, flashy jewelry, and not a hair is out of place. Her nails are impeccably manicured without a chip in sight. Her shoes match, she looks rested, and she has no spit/mud/coffee/rice cereal/zit cream stains on her clothes. Why did I have to get the one interviewer who can't possibly relate to my job?

"Good morning, my name is Miss Dopportunity, and I will be interviewing you today." She looks down at the stack of papers she has taken out of my file.

"So, I see here that you are nearing the end of your current position as Mother to a High Schooler. My paperwork states that you were on the fast-track, climbing rather quickly through the ranks of Mother of an Infant to Preschool Mother and PTA Mom."

"Well...," I stammer, "if you can correct that in the paperwork please, I never requested to be on the fast-track. I really wanted to master each position before being promoted to the next."

She chuckles quietly, glancing up at me for a moment before regaining her perfect composure.

"There really is no "other" track for this career. True, some of those early days may have actually seemed longer than 24 hours, but in reality the whole career path moves at lightning speed."

She rifles through the papers a bit more and makes a few notes on them, then fixes her gaze on my portfolio.

"Let's have a look at what you've brought here today."

I quickly open the large folder, anxious to show her the fruits of my labor (and delivery).

There are baby footprints inked at the hospital, a lock of newborn hair too fragile to handle. Lost teeth, certificates for library summer programs, report cards, and class pictures. Paintings, crayon drawings, necklaces made of dried pasta. Letters from grandparents loved and lost, newspaper clippings, baseball team pictures, autographs of famous people, and movie ticket stubs. Random reminders of a childhood that slipped through my fingers.

Junk, really. To any other human being who isn't a mother.

I wonder what she'll think of the job I did as she sifts through the things with efficiency and tact. I want her to be careful with them, but I hesitate to say anything for fear of sounding rude. Then again, with those fancy fingernails, she might damage something.

Or break a nail.

She stops thumbing through my things and pulls out her notes.

"Now then, I have a few questions to ask you. These are standard questions at this point in your career, but your answers might determine your exit strategy so please think carefully before you answer."

A tiny sound somewhere between a gasp and a squeak leaves my lips. I hope she didn't hear it.

"Did you let him play in the rain? Catch tadpoles at the creek? Did he see museums and movies, plays and magic shows? Was he allowed to get dirty, taste the snow, wade into the freezing cold surf, bury his sister in the sand?"

"Was he taught to be kind, to think of others?  Does he have a pet? Did you make his home a soft place for him to land when he falls? To read? To relax? Chase a dream, develop a passion?"

"Were there scraped knees, bloody noses, toothless grins in Christmas card pictures? Did you tell him about the Great Turkey, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, only to have to come clean later? Did you help him dig to China in the sandbox? Make a dinosaur skeleton out of chicken bones? Finger-paint in the house?"

"Did you ever just sit and watch a field of cows graze, hang out in the backyard hoping to see a shooting star, look for owls, go fishing at dusk, or hike an incredible hike? Was he ever allowed to spend the day in his jammies, eat ice cream for dinner, or just sleep until noon?"

"Did you enforce the rules, dole out punishments, make him apologize, send him to his room? Did he have to make amends, write thank-you notes, remember to say "please", and be nice to teachers?"

"Can he tie his own shoes, pack a suitcase, use a payphone, schedule an appointment, brush his teeth, make his bed, keep track of his own money, build a campfire, open a small carton of milk, mow the lawn, pump himself on the swing, ride a bike?"

She pauses here, giving me a chance to take it all in. I am so nervous, feeling that there must have been something that I overlooked, one or two major steps along the way that I neglected to take. I nod my head, maybe a bit too tentatively, and wait for her to pepper me with more questions.

"Well then, it seems that everything is in order. You still have some time remaining in your current position, but I am recommending that you be considered a candidate for the next level, Mother to a Young Adult. I will forward the paperwork sometime in the next few months."

I am stunned. Shouldn't there be more questions to ask? Maybe a lie-detector test?

"That's it, that's all you need from me? Are you sure? How can you really know that I've done my job well enough to move on? How will I really ever know? Is there a salary increase with this new level? What about vacation pay? Does this skirt make my butt look big? How do we really know that Humpty Dumpty was an egg?"

She stands up and smoothes out her skirt, pushing her chair back in as she heads for the door. As she reaches the door she stops, turns, and looks me in the eye.

"This career is what you make of it. There are no right and no wrong answers. What you do with it is your choice. Once you are promoted to the next level, there is no going back. The hours can be pretty crappy, the pay is lousy, and your insubordinates can be, well, insubordinate. But don't get me wrong; this is a lifetime career. The positions may change along the way, but you will always be employed."

She walks out the door, shutting it quietly behind her.

I slowly gather my treasures and put them back into the file folders, ready to return them to the drawer at home. No ribbons or certificates for me here today, not even a candy bar or a pat on the back.

But I do a little happy-dance, just because I can.

The rewards of motherhood are immeasurable, and can't be compensated with cash, prizes, or chocolate.

I will never know for sure if I did a good job, but I do know that I did my best.

And I'm pretty sure I've earned that promotion.

Source: Old Tweener

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jumping in Hoops - By Big E

So, today my eldest daughter (now 10 and in 5th grade) wanted to play on my laptop.  I told her to have a go at it.  She played games for a little bit and then I saw her typing a document, but that's nothing out of the ordinary.  She likes to type poems or journal.  After Big E abandoned my laptop, I picked it up and found THIS:

My life, Jumping  in Hoops

 My life has always been shunted aside by the little children. I don’t like it at all. For example when I win a baseball or a soccer game the little kids always will come first I say, “can we go out for ice cream” my parents say, “sorry the little ones are to tired.”

 Second example my dad and I finally want some alone time and the little ones want to be with us also, so I say, “but Daddy it’s just us right ?”. But my Dad says “sorry maybe next time sweetheart”. That night I had a broken heart. And I was not a sweetheart.    

  Now you understand my pain and I thank you for listening if you did. I should go now. 

I'm trying not to over-react or read too much into it or just plain ol' freak out.  But...

OH!!! THE GUILT!!!!!!

What have I done to my first born?  Have I really neglected her while taking care of her three younger siblings? Have I caused her trauma,which will require several years of therapy?!

I need to ponder this for a while.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The fabulous-ness of answering a few (usually five) random questions each week is making a come-back. Feel free to grab the 5 questions and link back to me.

What Disney character do you most resemble? Odd question since at a measly five foot nothing and being slightly wider than I am tall (just kidding... kind of), I don't think I could pull off any of the Disney princesses.  However, since I don't want to be Minnie Mouse or Daisy Duck and I definitely don't want ot be compared to Goofy or Clarabelle Cow, I will go with Arielle from The Little Mermaid.  The only similarities are my (once upon a time) red hair and blue eyes.  Denial is a plausible excuse here...

What were your high school colors? Maroon and Gold -- just like the University of Minnesota's college colors.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? "I love you" from y'all know who you are.

Do you buy cheap or expensive TP? I'm a middle of the road kind of gal when it comes to TP.  I am frugal and poor (try raising 4 kids!) but I refuse to buy the super thin, one layer junk.  It's awful.  However, I also don't buy the most expensive stuff. I tend to buy a well known big box stores off brand that compares to more expensive brands.

Name three celebs you find attractive? Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is impossible to resist. I love Julia Roberts gorgeous hair in My Best Friend's Wedding or in Run Away Bride. Matt Damon in the Bourne movies rocks and I'll add a bonus, I'm in love with anything Ben Affleck and I don't know why...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life in a Jar - Irena Sendler

I am always amazed at awesome stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things.  Within the last week I learned about Irena Sendler.  An enduring, brave, tender-hearted hero who helped to save 2,500 babies and children during the Holocaust.  It's mind blowing that her bravery and heroic actions went basically completely unnoticed and out-right denied until 1999.  This is sad and important reminder of the dangers of allowing politicians or extremists attempt to re-write history, or out right lie about the actual event...


Irena Sendler, born in 1910, was raised by her Catholic parents to respect and love people regardless of their ethnicity or social status. Her father, a physician, died from typhus that he contracted during an epidemic in 1917. He was the only doctor in his town near Warsaw who would treat the poor, mostly Jewish victims of this tragic disease. As he was dying, he told 7-year-old Irena, “If you see someone drowning you must try to rescue them, even if you cannot swim.” 

In 1939 the Nazis swept through Poland and imprisoned the Jews in ghettos where they were first starved to death and then systematically murdered in killing camps. Irena, by than a social worker in Warsaw, saw the Jewish people drowning and resolved to do what she could to rescue as many as possible, especially the children. The Warsaw Ghetto was an area the size of New York's Central Park and 450,000 Jewish people were forced into this area. Working with a network of other social workers and brave Poles, mostly women, she smuggled 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto and hid them safely until the end of the war. Sendler took great risks – obtaining forged papers for the children, disguising herself as an infection control nurse, diverting German occupation funds for the support of children in hiding. She entered the Warsaw ghetto, sometimes two and three times a day, and talked Jewish parents into giving up their children. Sendler drugged the babies with sedatives and smuggled them past Nazi guards in gunny sacks, boxes and coffins. She helped the older ones escape through the sewers, through secret openings in the wall, through the courthouse, through churches, any clever way she and her network could evade the Nazis. Once outside the ghetto walls, Sendler gave the children false names and documents and placed them in convents, orphanages and with Polish families. 

In 1942 the Polish underground organization ZEGOTA recruited her to lead their Children’s Division, providing her with money and support. Her hope was that after the war she could reunite the children with surviving relatives, or at least return their Jewish identities. To that end she kept thin tissue paper lists of each child’s Jewish name, their Polish name and address. She hid the precious lists in glass jars buried under an apple tree in the back yard of one of her co-conspirators. 

There was a church next to the ghetto, but the entrance leading to it was "sealed" by the Germans. If a child could speak good Polish and rattle off some Christian prayers it could be smuggled in through the "sealed" entrance and later taken to the Aryan side. This was very dangerous since Germans often used a rouse to trick the Poles and then arrest Jolanta/Irena documented on the strips of paper she had buried, as well as where the child was taken in the first phase of its escape.

Irena (code name Jolanta) was arrested on October 20, 1943. When arrested she felt almost liberated. She was placed in the notorious Piawiak prison, where she was constantly questioned and tortured. During the questioning she had her legs and feet fractured.

The German who interrogated her was young, very stylish and spoke perfect Polish. He wanted the names of the Zegota leaders, their addresses and the names of others involved. Irena fed him the version that she and her collaborators had prepared in the event they were captured. The German held up a folder with information of places, times and persons who had informed on her. She received a death sentence. She was to be shot. Unbeknown to her, Zegota had bribed the German executioner who helped her escape. On the following day the Germans loudly proclaimed her execution. Posters were put up all over the city with the news that she was shot. Irena read the posters herself. She still bears the scars and disability of her torture. 

Almost all the parents of the children Irena saved, died at the Treblinka death camp.

During the remaining years of the war, she lived hidden, just like the children she rescued. Irena was the only one who knew where the children were to be found. When the war was finally over, she dug up the bottles and began the job of finding the children and trying to find a living parent.

After the war, the Communist government suppressed any recognition of the courageous anti-fascist partisans, most of whom were also anti-Communists. Irena’s story and those of other courageous Poles, were buried and forgotten. Her courage and resourcefulness were recognized by Israel in 1965 when she was awarded the Yad Vashem medal given to Righteous Gentiles who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. In 1983 a tree was planted in her honor in Israel. But in general, the world was silent about Irena Sendler. 

Silence until 1999, when three Kansas teens uncovered Irena’s story. Liz Cambers, Megan Stewart, and Sabrina Coons (a fourth, Jessica Shelton, joined later), students at rural Uniontown High School were looking for a National History Day project. Their teacher, Norm Conard gave them a short paragraph about Irena Sendler from a 1994 U.S. News and World Report story entitled “The Other Schindlers” and they decided to research her life. According to the article, Irena Sendler smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto just prior to its liquidation in 1943. (An internet search turned up only one web site that mentioned Irena Sendler. Now there are over 300,000.) With the help and inspiration of their teacher, they began to reconstruct the remarkable achievements of this forgotten hero of the Holocaust. 

The three Kansas girls assumed Irena Sendler must be dead and searched for her burial site. To their surprise and delight, they discovered that she was still alive, 90-years-old, living with relatives in a small apartment in Warsaw. They created a play about her rescue efforts called Life in a Jar, which has since been performed more than 200 times in the U.S., Canada and Poland. 

When Irena first heard about the project in Kansas, "I was stunned and fascinated; very, very suprised; interested." In one of Irena's first letters to the girls, she wrote, "My emotion is being shadowed by the fact that no one from the circle of my faithful coworkers, who constantly risked their lives, could live long enough to enjoy all the honors that now are falling upon me.... I can't find the words to thank you, my dear girls.... Before the day you have written the play "Life in a Jar" -- nobody in my own country and in the whole world cared about my person and my work during the war ..."

In May 2001 they visited Irena in Warsaw and began a friendship that has inspired other Polish Righteous Gentiles to break their silence. The visit also made Irena's story known to the world, through the international press. They have visited Irena and Warsaw on four different occasions. Irena is now a Polish national hero and Poland is coming to terms with the painful legacy of the war and the Holocaust. Irena last visited with the Life in a Jar students on May 3, 2008. She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.

According to the official Life in a Jar website: Be careful about Internet facts concerning Irena. has much incorrect information. The Life in a Jar cast has done over 4,000 pages and thousands of hours of primary research and interviews.