Thursday, March 31, 2016

Picture of the Week - 3/31/2016

It's spring cleaning time - for the POTW recipient list.

I do this every once in a while, and it's time again.  I think many of you would be surprised to know how VERY FEW people ever respond to these weekly emails.  I hope those of you who regularly hit "reply" know how much I TRULY appreciate it!!!

This is, by no means, meant to be a guilt trip of any kind.  I know we are all busy.  I get it!  But when weeks (YEARS...) go by without hearing from the folks on this TO list, it makes me wonder if anyone is still reading and still interested.  

Now that I've got the blog up and running - and have a decent number of consistent "views" - it makes me question if this weekly email has turned into email spam.

So here's what I need you to do.  If you like these weekly ramblings, let me know.  If you want to stay on the email list, please respond.  You don't have to overshare (like I do) about what's going on in your life, but let me know that you are still out there in my cyber-circle.  I'll be trimming up the recipient list in the next few weeks.


I just got back from a quick trip to St. Paul, MN.  I was off doing product demos with one of our sales guys.  This was my first demo road trip with this company.  I was super nervous, actually!  I love public speaking and getting in front of clients, but doing something for the first time SHOULD come with a good dose of nervous energy.  It was a good trip.  I'm glad to have that first time behind me - and get to do another trip (to Pinehurst, NC) for more demos next week.  

In between business trips, we are squeezing in a spring break trip up to visit Ohio.  I sure wish I hadn't packed up 95% of Beckett's winter stuff, because the forecast is - brrrrr!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone!

Have a great week - and SEND ME A RESPONSE!!!

Here are 2 fun pictures.  One is from Easter of my sweet boys and the other is a quick picture I took of the LBs (and then forgot to share) a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Picture of the Week - 3/24/2016

This week's Little Shooter's practice was a scrimmage/joint practice with one of the other lacrosse leagues in the area.  It was adorable.  It was also hilarious!  There were around 40 teeny little kids running around, most of whom really didn't have much of a clue what was going on.  Very funny stuff! 

And watching them have fun - while learning - got me to thinking.  It got me to thinking about all the stuff that we, as humans, know how to do.  And that lead to some thinking about how we gathered up all of these skills we have now. 

At some point, we were all just running around having fun while we were trying to learn something new.  Right?

Watching the boys learn stuff is really one of the joys of being a parent.  It's very cool to watch them work hard and then master some skill.  They have to learn everything!  How to roll over, eat, sit, walk.  How to talk, read, write.  How to think and reason.  How to succeed in school and master new material.  They have learned how to make friends. 

My boys have learned sports - and in the process they have learned countless lessons about how to work together, what it means to fail, how hard work pays off.  They have learned how to fire off a defensive line.  They've learned how to poke check.  They know how to catch and throw and pass. 

And they have learned how to have fun!

So learning kind of comes natural to kids.  What about adults?

When was the last time you learned something new?  Do you try to challenge yourself?  Do you look for opportunities to stretch and grow?  And when you do, isn't it fun!

I try to keep learning new stuff.  It's much more interesting than the same old, same old.  I think I have a pretty well-rounded set of skills. 

I have work skills - and they grow just about every day.  Just this year, I've learned a TON about traveling for work.  Might not seem like a difficult thing, but it's knowledge and experience that not everyone has.  I have learned new products, gotten to know new people, gotten back up in front of a crowd of strangers to do a presentation.  These are skills.  This is learning.  (I'd be lying if I said it always seemed fun at the time, but looking back...  things could be much much worse!) 

I have hobby skills.  I quilt.  I crochet.  I can photoshop and make collages.  I am not content to just stick with the skills I have.  I'm currently attempting to machine quilt a decent sized quilt - which I've never done before.  (I'm terrified, by the way, that I'm messing it up!!  But I'm doing it, because I want to be able to say that I can.)

I also have family skills.  I know how to keep newborns alive.  I have determined the best way to get stink out of smelly laundry.  I know how to cook well enough to keep my family fed and happy.  I don't do everything right, but I know a LOT of things now that I didn't know 13 and a half years ago when I first became a mom.  Or (nearly) 19 years ago when I became a wife. 

Life and learning - they kind of go together, am I right?

This is my favorite picture from the Little Shooters practice.  It's Beckett running down the field during the scrimmage between the littlest of the Little Shooters.  I could not have been more proud of that boy.  He was not intimidated - at all.  He was fast and just aggressive enough to tell me that he's likely to spend his fair share of time in a penalty box over his career.  He, the youngest one on the team by a full 12 months, was very impressive.  He knew how to snag ground balls and how to knock the stick of his opponent to jar loose the ball.  He has been watching (while growing up at a ball field) and he's been learning all along. 

So what are you doing to learn new stuff?  Here's a tip that I like.  I listen to books on CD while driving to/from work.  My commute is long.  I treat myself to listen to some mindless fiction, which helps pass the time.  But I've promised myself to also listen to something that will teach me.  I check out something non-fiction every other time I visit the library.  Right now I'm listening to a book about ISIS.  Why?  Because I want to know more and understand more.  And it's pretty darn hard to follow, but I know more about ISIS today than I did yesterday.  It's an easy way to grab some new information during a time that would otherwise be "wasted".  What are your tips for gaining new knowledge or skills?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Picture of the Week - 3/17/2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This has been a relatively calm week.  No disruptive home renovations.  No business trips.  Nothing other than the normal routine.  Turns out I kind of like the normal routine!

We HAVE been missing my parents this week.  Turns out it's pretty handy to have an extra driver willing to do emergency drop off/pick ups.  We had to skip a practice this week as we had 3 places to be and only 2 drivers.  Probably the first of many logistically impossible evenings.  

We have also been having ridiculously beautiful weather this week.  Warmer than normal and sunny.  Lovely!  The warm weather is particularly nice because it hit before pollen season.  Our pollen counts are just starting to jump up, so the days of open windows are likely over for a while.  

Last night we were out in the backyard just playing.  It's been a long time since we just chilled in the backyard.  I guess that's ONE advantage of the big boys having lacrosse practice that doesn't start until 7 and time change daylight.  I took a few pictures of the little guys - who have seemed to grow up SO fast recently.  As in, they have grown UP!  They are all tall and leggy and it's SO obvious now that they are in shorts.  Here's a couple of pictures of the little guys from last night and one of all my boys from over the weekend in case there's anyone here who didn't already see it on Facebook.  Maybe one of my favorite pictures ever - not because it's high quality, but because they are all together doing something they love.

Big shout out to my cousin who's getting married this weekend.  Bob and I are planning to leave the big guys in charge of the little dudes for a DATE NIGHT in your honor this weekend.  Congrats!

Have a great weekend everyone!

PS - Our house is all back to normal now too!  Hooray!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Picture of the Week - 3/10/2016

So what's making you happy today?

We got the dogs back from the kennel today and Ozzie was SO happy to see me.  LOVE that!  Doesn't he look like he's smiling???

I got home last night from a pretty tough business trip.  The schedule wasn't nearly as demanding as some, but the environment was rough.  Rude, difficult clients are the worst.  Also, I've added Syracuse, NY to the places I don't think I'd like to live.

But it's over - and that makes me happy!

And while I was gone many good things happened!  Our floors were finished and the painters did their thing.  We have a bunch of pictures to hang back on the walls and rugs/furniture/stuff to move around, but the worst of it is definitely over.  Phew!  Here are a couple of pictures, but I can't get the color right.  There's more grey in the floor than I can get in a picture.  You will just have to come visit to see it in person.

And then there are the little boys.  They got their lacrosse uniforms on Tuesday night.  I'm so bummed that I missed that because they are SO excited.  Giddy even.  How can you not be happy when they are SO happy???

And the weather has been so awesome!  Yay for spring!

Tell me, what's making you happy today?!?

PS - Another shout out to my mom and dad for letting Bob move in with the chaos (aka my boys) while our floors were getting destroyed and I was in NY.  They are awesome!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Picture of the Week - 3/3/2016

So...  it's 8:37 and I haven't done the POTW yet.  Some weeks this feels more like a chore than others.  It's feeling very chore-like today.

So I shall keep this newsy...

We are still dealing with a wrecked house.  For a while it didn't really bother me.  I don't normally mind a little clutter and mess.  I'm not one of those people who can't relax with dirty dishes on the counter or toys on the floor.  But this has even gotten to me.  

The ripped up floor leaves bits of subfloor and pieces of torn up hard woods all over the place.  The boys and dogs track this stuff all over the place.  The dogs eat it.  The boys refuse to leave shoes on and I worry about splinters.  It's yuck.

And it's SO dusty.  I can't get things clean and don't really want to put too much effort into it because it's just going to get trashed again.

We had picked out new floor before we went on our trip.  We thought when we got home they would be about ready to start.  Well...  to make a long story a less long, the original replacement we picked is back-ordered and we have had MUCH DRAMA trying to find another one.  So we finally picked a new one this week and we're hoping they can start on the floor next week.  I sure hope I like it.  The new is really different than the current.  

Tuesday night we were surprised when the restoration company told us there would be painters showing up on Wednesday to fix the drywall and do the painting.  Not much notice...  So we have had painters in and out for the last 2 days.  They finished the walls, but the trim/baseboards/quarter-round will have to wait until after the floor is done.  So now we have nicely painted grey walls, but DUST everywhere.  And nothing on the walls.  And most of the furniture is moved and none of the rugs are down.  It's like worse than when we first moved in because it's dirty and we are trying to live in it.  Yuck!

I gripe and complain, but really it could be much worse.  The insurance company isn't fighting about any of this.  So when it's over, it will be awesome.  It's just getting to that point.

Next week we will move out - and invade my parents house for a few days.  Thank goodness they are willing to put up with us!  I will be traveling (again) for work, so Bob and my parents will have all the normal duties for a bit - with the added bonus of having to figure out how to get the boys all to school and back.  Good times...  We are hoping that by the end of next week things will start getting back to normal.  Depends a little bit on how the post-work clean up goes.  Also - I'm nervous about the floor.  I sure hope I like it!!!

Here are a few pictures of the process.  One of the painting process yesterday.  Another of the dining room packed with almost all of the contents of the rest of the first floor.  

And finally a picture of Willow looking a little fore lorn in the middle of our mostly empty living room.  

And the last picture...  well it's hard to believe that it was just a week ago when we wrapped up our cruise trip.  I miss it already!  Can't wait for next year.  Happy early birthdays Drs Big.  :)

In non-depressing house news...  Spring lacrosse season gets underway in earnest this weekend.  Quinn and Spence both have games on Saturday and Spence has another on Sunday.  After some weird weather - which seriously included SNOW and pouring rain at the SAME time today - it is supposed to be a pretty nice weekend.  I'm excited about watching some good lacrosse action!!