28 February 2008

Still a teen at heart...

Sunday night I was watching TV, and I saw a promo for Oprah the next day...RICK SPRINGFIELD was in the promo and scheduled to appear!!! For those of you who don't know, but most of you do, Rick was my teen heartthrob. I bought all of his albums in the 80's, and even departed from Guiding Light for a time to watch him on General Hospital. So, imagine my surprise and excitement when I saw the commercial. Of course, I NEVER watch Oprah-at least not in recent years- 4 PM is just too busy around the house. I love the invention of the DVR. It was invented for moments like this!

Well, it took me until this afternoon to watch it. He was only on for 20 minutes, but it was a fantastic interview (and he performed the classic Jessie's Girl)! He also went to Milwaukee to surprise one of his "biggest fans" with tickets to the show on Oprah. Come on! Doesn't he know that, to this day, I am still one of his biggest fans? I still remember seeing him on the old main stage at Summerfest when I was 13. My oldest brother, who was 23 at the time, took me, his baby sister to see Rick. It actually is something my family still teases me about. I have bought pretty much every album or CD including his more recent stuff (The Day After Yesterday is fabulous by the way!). It actually is kind of embarrassing. I am 37, and he is, well, almost 60 (we can all hope to look that good at 60!), and I still LOVE his music!

26 February 2008

A New Phase

On Sunday, we were in Jefferson to visit my in-laws. It was a really great day! I went shopping with my mother-in-law, and the kids had fun with Grandma and Grandpa. We haven't been out there since Christmas because of all the snow we've been getting.

After dinner, I decided to give the boys a bath before we went home. I always pack their PJ's in case they fall asleep on the way home. They love taking a bath at Grandma's because the have a huge tub, and they can lay back and soak or play and have a TON of room.

So, I am filling the tub and Drew runs to jump in. On a whim, I asked Michael if he wants to go potty. He hasn't shown any interest yet, but he hates being wet or soiled. He enthusiastically said yes, and hopped on the toilet. Guess what? HE WENT!!! And since then I've created a monster.

Since yesterday, he has spent his day in and out of the bathroom. He pulls his pants and pull-up (left over from when Drew was training a couple of years ago) down by himself and does his thing. Mind you, he is not dry all day, but he is really excited about this. I know that this could take months (Michael is not quite 2 1/2, and the other two boys trained closer to 3), but I see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It is VERY faint, but it is definitely there!

22 February 2008

I didn't mean to sound judgmental...

I have been struggling lately over something with a few of my friends. I had sent out a blog posting that was sent to me entitled,"Is this all there is?" It was written by Max Lucado, whom I only know by name, not by his work. I thought the piece was uplifting, and I have some friends who have been dealing with life changes and/or challenges. I was trying to help. I know that I am more committed to my Church and to my practice of the Catholic faith than some others and I was not trying to be or sound judgmental. I am only trying to help.

Let me explain it this way. I am sort of legalistic when it comes to my faith. If the Church says no meat on Fridays during Lent, I do it. If the Church says August 15th is a Holy Day of Obligation, I go to Mass without question. For me, I do believe what the Church teaches about Heaven and Hell, and I am not willing to chance where I go when my time is done in this world. I have had bouts feeling apathetic about my faith life, who hasn't? But I never would stop attending Mass because of it. All that would do is pull me further away from God. A couple of months ago when I was at Confession, I said to Fr. Jack that I was feeling like I was just going through the motions. Mind you, I was also going through a really tough time with my two year-old during Mass. What I loved about that moment in the Confessional was that Fr. Jack said I needed to let Jesus do some of the work. That it was OK to feel the way I feel. (By the way, my Michael is behaving much better in Mass, and I actually can pray during Mass!).

So, last week, I was not being judgmental about the way people are choosing to live their lives when I forwarded that blog. It was out of love and concern. One of my greatest responsibilities as a parent is to make sure that my children learn to love their faith, and to make sure they understand the Church's teachings so that they can attain Heaven someday. I love my friends, and want the same thing for them. I was in no way trying to say that if they continue to live their lives the way they are, they will have a horrible life or they will go to Hell. That is not my place to decide. I am just trying to say, why take a chance?

21 February 2008


A couple of months ago, my friend Sydney invited me to join Goodreads. I accepted not knowing what I was getting into. This website has truly become an addiction!

I am a voracious reader, always have been. My Dad always used to comment on how I was just like my Mom-always reading, and usually reading more than one book at the same time. When Syd introduced me to the site, I thought of it as a way to organize what I am reading, and what I have read. First, I added my book club books. Next, came books I used to read just for fun. Then, I thought, why not add what I read in college, in high school, what I've read to my kids. The problem I am having is that I also have a shelf of "to-read" books. There's my problem-it has reached around 140 books! I can't help myself! I just want to READ, READ, READ!

There has also been another really good outcome of this addiction-my relationship with my nieces. It started out that I introduced Meghan to Goodreads-she loves to organize, so I thought she'd love this. Well, then she invited my nieces Clare and Anne (her cousins). I look forward to almost every afternoon logging on and getting another email from any or all of them. And, we aren't just talking about books. We talk about travel, theatre, and what is going on in their lives. I am really enjoying this connection to them.

So, I am off to log back onto Goodreads. I suppose it's not so bad as far as addictions go-check it out-you'll love it! Once again, thanks Syd! I love this site and your friendship as well!

The Lion King

Roughly 10 years ago, my husband, Andy, had heard about Disney putting together a musical version of the movie The Lion King. He was really pumped up about it! There was a coffee table book published about the making of the musical. I bought it for him for Christmas, and he was very excited to have it knowing that it would be a while, if ever, that we got to see the musical. I flipped through the book, and thought, well, to be honest, that the sets and costumes just looked kind of odd. Because we have never been to New York City, Lion King never really came up after that.
Then, last year, it was announce that the show was coming to Milwaukee for a month long run. We talked about it, and it didn't seem likely we'd go. We were trying to pay off some stuff, and trying to save up for the eventual mini-van purchase. Then, I made the decision. I would get the tickets for Andy for our anniversary. I hid the tickets in the coat sleeve of the coat I had given him for Christmas. Boy, was he surprised!!! As February 19th approached, we both were getting really excited!
Tuesday night was the big night! I truly had no idea what we were in for (makes me wish I had looked at the book more closely before we went). I have been to 3 other Broadway shows in my life (Lisa, thanks for Chicago and Les Mis!), and love seeing musicals. By far, The Lion King is the most amazing show I have ever seen. The sets and costumes finally made sense. The music was absolutely incredible. I became teary eyed many times throughout the show, even struggling not to sob during He Lives in You. Trust me, this was not an experience that Andy and I will ever forget.
So, if Lion King comes to town again, we will for sure go and see it again. If you ever have the chance to see it, make every effort to. It is an experience of a lifetime!

16 February 2008

I'm a PAID freelance writer!

OK, I have never considered myself a writer, but it is something that I have just fallen into. I got the bug to blog, and have been enjoying pouring my thoughts out, regardless of whether someone reads it or not. It has been therapeutic in a way for me. I have had less stress, and it has helped me to figure out how I am feeling about some things. It has also gotten me to journal, something I have never really been into. As of today, though, I have entered a new realm-I am actually being paid to write!

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my guilty pleasure, Guiding Light, and I admitted that I am now writing the weekly recaps for a website. Well, as of this week, those of us who do this will be compensated! Now, it is nothing that I will put on my resume, nor is it going to make my family rich, not even close, but it does make me feel like I have accomplished something. So, I can now say that I get to write about something I love, and I get some pocket cash for doing it! Yeah!

13 February 2008

I'm a winner, and my sister is too!

Yesterday, I sat down to check my email. I was surprised to find that my sister, Mary has nominated me for "Milwaukee Woman of the Year". For those of you curious enough, you can read what she wrote here:


While I am truly honored, I couldn't help but think, why me? I don't do anything special. I'm a mom who works like many others. Then the thought came to me that my sister is the one who truly deserves the award (so, nominate her, right? Well, my niece, her daughter beat me to it!). I don't think, ok, I know, that what she doesn't see is what a strong, powerful woman she is.

First and foremost, she is in the middle of raising seven (that's right seven) children who right now run from age 20 down to 7. This is no small feat. I often think to myself when I am trying to decide how to handle something new with my own kids, How would Mary handle this?

She is such an example of motherhood to me. The fact that she is raising her children (along with her husband-he deserves credit, too!) to become people of faith is amazing to me. Her family goes against a lot of the norms of society. They have curfews. They have consequences when things go wrong. They tell their children no, they can't have everything. This fact alone is important to me because I do see a lot of the problems with today's youth actually stems from parents inability to say no. I have seen and heard parents who are more concerned with being their child's friend than being their parent. Trust me, my Mom was my parent, not my friend. There was plenty of time for that once I was well into adulthood. With my Mom gone, I do often turn to my sister as that example of how to parent the tough stuff.

My sister has also had to deal with many things that would make people give up. She has a son with Juvenile Diabetes. Last year, one of her daughters had to go into treatment for an eating disorder. She also has another daughter with a Nonverbal Learning Disability. She handles each of these situations with such strong faith and conviction. That is what I love most about my sister, her faith. When things seem darkest, she remembers that if she prays and trusts, she can handle anything.

I guess I just wanted to write about what an inspiration my sister is to me. I am flattered and honored that she nominated me, but I hope that she wins. Even if neither of us do, we are both winners because we have each other!

10 February 2008


In 2004 and 2006, I had the unfortunate experience of my parents deaths. They were both ill, and I know it was a blessing, but it still hurts. I never thought and the ages of 33 and 35 that I would have to say good-bye to my parents. It was, and at times, still is unfathomable that I have to live the rest of my life without them, and that my sons will know them only through pictures and stories. In a lot of ways, I feel like lately I am coming out of a fog that I have lived in for years. I was starting to feel like my friends would say, "Oh no, here we go again! What else could possibly happen to her?" It is now that I realize how blessed I am, and I would like to say thank you to a few people who have helped me through these past few years.

First and foremost, I need to thank my husband, Andy. I know we promised for better or worse, but sometimes I think, wow, never thought that worse could be quite so bad! Andy, you are my best friend, and I don't know how I would have gotten through the past few years without you by my side. You were there for me not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually. You were the main reason why I was able to be with my parents at the end. You are also why my parents knew it was OK to leave me-because I had found my soulmate who would take care of me and love me no matter what. I am so blessed to have found love in you.

Next, I need to thank my sister Mary. I know you think that you don't help me as much as I you. You need to know that you lift me up in a way that is unimaginable. You are not only my sister, but my friend. You are also a shining example to me as a woman of faith, as well as a wife and mother. If someone is looking for an example of a strong woman, all they need to do is look at you. Thank you for being my sister, and I love you!

I also need to think of the women who stand by me through thick and thin-Lisa, Sydney and Michelle. It was such a blessing to have you brought back into my life, Lisa. We have lived through the best and worst times of our lives-our teenage years as well as our adult lives as we face the challenges of motherhood. Syd and Michelle, I feel so fortunate to have you two in my life. You met me when I was going through some of the roughest times in my life, and you never for a minute made me feel like it was a burden to let me talk about what was going on. I love that the four of us have bonded. It is so wonderful to have women in my life that that support me, as well as feel the same way about the important things in life. I love the three of you so much, and consider you a great blessing.

Finally, I want to say something about my husband's aunt, Peg. Peg you are such a great caring friend. As I said to you last night on the phone, no one will take the place of my Mom, but thank you for being a sounding board when I need it most. Thank you also for sharing your stories of being a Nana. It reminds me so much of when Peter was little and he spent time with my parents. Peter had a very special relationship with his Nonni, and whether he remembers it or not, it has contributed to the loving boy he is today.

I am so grateful to all of the people who have touched my life including those not mentioned here. I just wanted to name a few and say I am grateful you are in my life and I love you.

08 February 2008

My Guilty Pleasure

It is time I fess up...I did to my husband last night, and I am about to do it here...

I have a guilty pleasure, and it is one that I have had for over 30 years-yes, since I was about 6. I am hopelessly addicted to the show, Guiding Light. My mom and sisters were the ones who got me hooked. I can remember going on trips to Dallas to see my siblings, and if we were in the hotel at the right time, Guiding was on. I watched during vacations and holidays. In college, I would watch if I didn't have class. I remember when my parents got their first VCR-GL was taped every day, and Mom and I would watch it in the evening. If Mom and Dad went on vacation, it was my job to make sure that "the story" was taped. After I became a stay-at-home Mom, I would either watch while my kids napped or tape it myself and watch it later.

The technology of today, though, has made my guilty pleasure impossible to do without. Going to miss it? I can DVR it. If something is recording for the kids-no problem! I can rewatch the episode at www.cbs.com . The big thing for me now, though is SPOILERS! I have a favorite site, and I go on the message boards in the morning to read the recap for the day. Think it might spoil the fun? NO WAY! It sets me up for whether or not my favorite characters are on.

So, last night, I fessed up to my husband. No, not about watching "my story". Nope, not about reading spoilers. It is about my new "job". Blogging has given me a bit of confidence in myself and my writing, so the next natural progression? Writing, but not just any old thing. I am writing the weekly recap of Guiding Light for one of the websites I like to read about GL on. I've been doing it for about 3 weeks, and am really enjoying it. It's not a big deal, really, but I decided to finally tell Andy. He had a little laugh about it which I knew he would, but then the important question, "Are they paying you?" Well, no, they're not, but I am writing for someone about something that I love.

So, my guilty pleasure continues, and my secret is out!

02 February 2008

A Big Moment

Well, this week was the moment we have been working on for the past several months. My son, Peter, made his First Confession on Thursday. Second grade has been an interesting year so far. There have been lots of new milestones in school. Lots of homework, lots of reading, double digit addition and subtraction, even cursive. The most important moments this year, though, have been his preparation to receive two sacraments: Confession and First Eucharist (which will be coming in May).

We started in October. I went to the parent's meeting. I think that is when it hit me-the awesome responsibility that Andy and I agreed to when our sons were baptized: to raise our sons in the Catholic faith. I don't mean to make it sound like they were baptized and we haven't done anything since. We take them to Church every Sunday and on Holy Days, we pray several times a day with them, we talk about right and wrong, but this was different, like big different. I finally understood what my sister was saying all these years. My job isn't to make sure I'm the coolest Mom or that I am best friends with my kids (my Mom wasn't either until I was an adult). My job, along with my husband, is to help my sons become good, strong men who understand and love their Catholic Faith. Ultimately, my responsibility is to help them learn how to live a good life so that they will someday attain Heaven. This year I really understood that, and how vitally important these formative years are.

So, we (Andy and I) worked with Peter. He had new prayers to learn, he had new concepts to learn. It is no longer just about good and bad choices, it is about whether or not the choice we make intentionally hurts others, ourselves, or most importantly, God. There were bumps in the road-like the time Peter told me that he punched his cousin by accident. The closer we came to last Thursday, the more nervous I was. Would he be ready? Had we done enough with him? His teacher recommended to all the parents that we "practice" Confession. This worried me because we were told to let our kids make up their sins for practice. After all, we wouldn't be privy to what they told the priest, would we?

A couple of weeks ago, I let Peter go in the confessional with me to ease his fears. He met Fr. Jack, a visiting priest who wished him well on his upcoming First Confession, and told him that it would be like getting the biggest hug from Jesus. As Peter sat in the pew, I could hear him say That was AWESOME! It did my heart good to know that he was starting to get excited for the big moment.

Last week, I wanted to make sure that Peter understood the difference between our "practice" and the real thing. I was really impressed. He had really given thought to what he would tell the priest. After that conversation, our practice time changed. At the part where he should confess his sins, he would simple tell me that this was the part that was private.

So, Thursday came. We went to Church, and Peter sat between Andy and I during the prayer service. He kept saying he was nervous, and Andy and I reassured him that it would be OK. Then we got in line, and as we were instructed, I went to Confession, Peter went, and then my husband went. When Peter walked out of the confessional, he had a look of pure joy on his face! What he said to me says it all: Mom, do you know what the best part is? Jesus' love! I am so proud of our oldest son!