Thick Skin

Nobody told me that having “thick skin” is a pre-requisite to become a mother. Let me tell you of a few instances where having thick skin has come in handy.

The last time we went to our cabin, we decided to run into town and go to the Pizza Den. We were meeting Dan’s brother’s family and some other friends. I seldom go out because Kai is a lot of work and he passes out easily and it is just easier to stay home. But that night I was excited to be going and put on some nice clothes, did my hair and make-up and was soon ready to go. We were at the Pizza Den a short time when the guy who plows our cabin driveway and mows our lawn for the past 2.5 years walked by and I said hello to him. He looked at me and kept walking without saying hello. No big deal, maybe he didn’t hear me. Dan who was sitting at the bar talking to his brother called me over and asked me to go pay Joel for the last time he plowed us out. I approached his table and Joel finally recognized me and said “oh Liz, I didn’t realize it was you when you first said hello. Wow, you have lost a lot of weight!” (Nope! It is amazing what baggy sweatshirts and sweat pants can do to your figure.) He went on to say “Did you change your hair? Oh…I see you got yourself some contacts. You look really good!” Basically, the only thing that he didn’t ask me is if I got a breast augmentation! Now this is from a guy from Northern Wisconsin who gets his Sunday best from Farm and Fleet! I realized immediately that I’ve had 2.5 years of a bad case of the “frumps” and I didn’t even realize it! Poor Dan! It was a wake-up call and I am really trying to pull myself together these days.

Which leads me to my next case of thick skin; so now that I am putting effort back into it, I’ll feel like I look good and then WHAM somebody posts a picture on facebook. And I wonder who is that tired old lady at that party carrying Kai, I don’t remember meeting her and then I realize it is ME!! UNTAG IMMEDIATELY in the facebook world! I just want to say I don’t wear tired well, so no posting pictures on facebook of me unless you put my face through that de-wrinkle photoshop thingy ma jig!

Last summer I was in survival mode with Kai, therefore, no pedicures or TLC for me at all.  We were up at the lake and my nephew said to me “Wow Aunt Liz what happened to your toe” Now I look down at all 10 of my toes and wonder which toe he is referring to because nothing has happened recently to my toes? I realize in an instant to a young kid they are disgusting looking, they are dry and chapped but I still can’t identify the toe that he is referring to. I am too embarrassed to say, “well kid it is 40 plus years of living.” Instead, I lie and say I stubbed it and the kid said “Wow, that must of hurt a lot, it looks really nasty."

I still wonder to this day which toe he was referring to…

Most recently for Mother’s day, Bei’s preschool did a nice Mother’s day card.  Inside the card had questions about me that Bei had to fill out with his teacher.

What is your mom’s favorite color?   Pink...It is!

What is your mom’s favorite food?   Eggs ...NOT!

How old is your mom?                     99 years old...Ah…thanks Bei!

I mean this all in fun and I am hoping that once Kai starts sleeping through the night and I can get some uninterrupted sleep so that the bags under my eyes will disappear and I won’t be so doggone tired looking.   BUT, Kai is worth every sleepless night, I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.   I really wish the stinker would figure out how to sleep through the night...for my vanity alone!

I wish I had a decent camera because the gardens at our new house are incredibly beautiful.
These pictures don't do them justice.

BTW, Kai is recovering very well from his surgeries. It is amazing to see him with a set of such beautiful teeth. It changes his entire look. We call him the "movie star" now. I will try to get some pictures of him smiling with his new teeth.


We have a Tattler

We spent the day at Como Zoo last week with Bei's Preschool Class


You would think that the one that can talk and communicate would be the tattle tale, but not with my boys.  I will hear the boys fuss in the other room and then sure enough here comes Kai Kai Sweetie Pie toddling into the kitchen, his eyes will be all watery and red and his lower lip is way out and his chin is up in the air.   I can't help but to burst out laughing.   It is so cute! 

Please keep Kai Kai Sweetie Pie in your prayers this Friday.   He is having outpatient surgery to get his teeth fixed.   Poor little guy doesn't have any enamel on his front teeth and the two on either side are what I deem snaggle teeth. 


Soft Place to Land

Here is a picture of my mom holding Kai during Christmas of this year

My mom has been one of our biggest supporters of our children

Being a mother of two boys I now have a greater appreciation for my mom, Sandy, who had 4 kids in 3.5 years. Let me describe my mom to you all, she is non-traditional, funny, outrageous, and irreverent. She loves to laugh. She is also very loyal and kind and loving beyond belief.

I will start out with the fun side of my mom. She is such a good story teller that she could go on the road with her life stories and have a sellout crowd every night. She has had very interesting lives and I mean like 9 lives like a cat. She will say outrageous things at time and I will look over to the person she is talking with and they are thoroughly engaged because she is as authentic as they come. You have just got to love her! Usually when people are great story tellers they have loud and larger than life personalities, but my mom doesn’t, which makes her unique. If she is telling you something you know it is the truth, I call her a “truth sayer”. Anyway, she is fun, fun, fun!

Then there is the other side of my mom that loves her kids so very unconditionally! I can honestly say that she has never favored any of us kids. We all feel loved by her. My memories of my mom are coming in from school and sitting on the countertop, while she is cooking dinner and she would listen to my drama of what happened with me and my girlfriends. She has always been a fantastic listener. Several events stand out in my mind where my mom gave me wonderful advice as a child or made a lasting impression on me. The first was when a boy wanted to kiss me and I was in elementary school. I told him that I had to go home and ask my mom. She told me that this was my body and nobody else could make choices about it except me. The next day I told my love interest that my mom said I don’t have to kiss anybody I don’t want to and I didn’t want to kiss him. I felt empowered by her words of wisdom. Another time, I was voted out of the” in group” of girls that I was hanging with because I had gossiped about one of the girls and it had gotten back to her. And all the girls had turned on me…I’m sure I deserved it because I probably talked about all of them and they figured it out. Anyway, I was upset and when I told my mom, I thought she would scold me. Instead, she told me it was something she still struggled with and she was 37 years old. She told me that not gossiping is a hard lesson to learn and I would probably end up doing it again because it is human nature to talk about others. Empathy!!! That was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. There was one experience that happened in my childhood with my mom that pre-determined that I would be a stay at home mom for my kids one day. I was about 11 years old, and I had an altercation on the school bus on the way home. A girl repeatedly hit me with a baton and I was trying to take the baton away from the girl so she would stop hitting me. The school bus driver was a good friend of my mom’s and she immediately stopped the bus and made ME sit up front. She didn’t care about justice or who the hitter was versus the person getting hit. She lectured me all the way home about how disappointed my mom would be in me. The other little girl came from a dirt poor family that lived without electricity and water in the home and they had a really hard life. At that point, I didn’t care if the girl was from Mars, all I knew was I was physically and emotionally upset and was sobbing. I couldn’t wait until I got home because my mom always made everything better. She was always home and she was my soft place to land. But, when I got home that day, my mom wasn’t there…I was devastated… That was the day that I appreciated all the times that my mom was home and decided that if I ever had kids, that I would be a stay at home mom. Even kids have bad days and they need their mom to be there after the harsh world has kicked them around a bit. Anyway, my mom got home 5 minutes later and gave me the unconditional love and acceptance that I needed.

Another thing that stands out to me about my mom from other moms of that generation is that my mom hugged and kissed us daily. We openly showed affection within our family, including my parents to one another. When I look back at my friends growing up, I don’t think any of them had that type of home environment where they were told by at least one parent that they were loved and then hugged and kissed on top of it. I always knew that my mom loved me and that alone got me through some dark days in my childhood.

My mom still is the person I turn to when I need a sympathetic ear or great advice. She could give Dr. Phil a run for his money with her straight talk, great listening, yet empathetic personality. Thank you for being a wonderful friend, role model, and most of all thank you for being that soft place for me to land. I love you very much and Happy Mother’s Day!


Bei's Gotcha Day - May 5

Tomorrow is the day that we got Bei, May 5, 2008. When I look back at the past 3 years I chuckle because I realize it took me some time to actually start parenting him. I was just so in love and in total awe of that little boy from day one. I was amazed that God chose me to be his mother because it was a perfect fit! Around 4 months after Bei came home, I finally asked my sister Jeannine a question that had been nagging me since we got Bei. I asked her if Bei was special? She asked me to clarify the question. I said,” I just can’t fathom the depths of my love for Bei; I must be feeling this way because he is extraordinary.” She assured me that Bei was special to me, to our extended family, but that mothers have loved their children this way since the beginning of time. Honestly, feeling that type of love and realizing the limitless boundaries of a mothers love has changed the way that I look at every other woman in my life. One of the best parts of being a mother to both my boys is that they have opened up a whole new world of love that I had never experienced before we had them.

To describe Bei is try to describe what Sunshine looks like;  joyful, joyful and more joyful. He is one of the happiest people that I have ever met in my life. One of his best attributes is that he has a great sense of humor. He gets humor and he LOVES to laugh. He can also be mischievous at time, he is a little boy. I know I am a biased mom, but that kid is very special in my eyes. This past year, I have seen his confidence grow exponentially. God has been so good to us in finding him exactly the right preschool with the right teacher. He only has 7 to 10 kids in his class depending on the day. He has gotten the attention that he needed to help him with his separation anxiety and received a lot of love and care from his teacher, Miss Rachel. He is signed up for Kindergarten for next year and I think it will be an exciting time because he is a curious kid and enthusiastic about everything!

I will end on one funny story about Bei. We recently moved and our new neighbor showed up at the door with her three kids to welcome us to the neighborhood. The kids were playing and the adults were talking when Bei came up to me and said “Can I ask her something?” At the moment, my neighbor, Kristin was talking to my sister and I said sure as soon as they are done. While we were waiting for them to finish their conversation, I leaned over quietly and said “what are you going to ask her?” He said, “I want them to stay because I am having fun, so I don’t want them to leave.” I am thinking that is nice, it is connection and will make Kristin and her kids feel welcome. I am standing with Bei in front of me with my hands on his shoulders. With that, there is a pause in the conversation with my sister and I said “Kristin, Bei would like to ask you something.” Bei says “when are you guys leaving? We need to go bowling.” WHAT? NO! NO! We aren’t going Bowling!!! Ugh!!! Damage control! We haven’t seen our new neighbors since….great job Bei!