Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The blessings of 6 weeks...

Tiny twister is the name of this blog and tiny twister is the perfect analogy for the last 6 weeks at the Hepler house. We have been lucky enough to have a special visitor this year. My mom has been with us for about 6 weeks. I think there are times when she wishes she could escape, but times that she wishes she could stay forever. We have had some hilarious moments and some frustrating moments. Luckily, I think we have had more funny moments. She plans on leaving next Saturday. I think we have agreed that she will have to leave in stealth mode in the middle of the night and leave the reckage for me to address in the morning. Joshua is not going to take her leaving lightly. The mere mention of the thought threw him into tears last week. He has come to depend on his Grandma Mac being there in the morning, allowing him to manipulate "1 more episode of Diego" out of her before he gets dressed, laughing at his funny bodily movements (I'm not kidding, that boy can shake his booty), and making her smile just before he drifts off to sleep in her arms. Megan will miss her grandma too, but realizes it is only temporary and she will be back soon. She considers grandma her friend and only a few times got scoulded by yours truly for talking to grandma too much like a buddy.... with the tone, eyes and all. "grandma is your grandmother and deserves your respect...." Dutch will miss my mom for his own selfish reasons....his laundry lady is leaving, his backup day care transporter is heading out, and his home cooked meal maker is gone after Saturday. It will be back to smelly clothes, taxi driving the kids, and bad dinners.
I will miss my mom for completely different reasons. This 6 weeks has been special because she did not just see a snap shot of my life, she saw my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. We created new traditions with her in town and let her mould into some of the Hepler's long standing traditions. We had tea time in the evening. I had an extra person to talk to. As much as she wants to THINK she has overstayed her welcome, she knows in her heart that is not true. That could never be. I can honestly say that neither Dutch or I have complained about her being with us for this long of a time. What a blessing that is. So now as she packs her stuff to "move out" of Megan's room, I hope she has as fond memories of the 6 weeks as we do.
Now... the last 2 I have to break the news to is Lucy and the cat, Brandi. That will be a WHOLE other story!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What a weekend!

This weekend we had a busy, but wonderful weekend of fun and work. Saturday, leaving the house at 9:00 and not coming home until 8:30 was tiresome, but the amount we got done in that time frame was astounding.

Mom, Megan, Joshua, and I left at 9:00 to get the kids to swim lessons. Megan is getting so much more confident and was trying to learn to dive. I feel bad that she has the same "bottom" that her mom has... you know, the one filled with Lead. She just sinks to the floor of the pool when she dives in. She sure tries her best though. Joshua was assigned 2 boys as his swim teacher yesterday. One boy had no interest in teaching. He was much more interested in talking with the passers by. The other boy, John, was so sweet. Him and Josh got along great and he really enabled Josh to trust him. I don't think Joshua stopped smiling for 2 straight hours.

Next we went to an appt for my mom. She was pricing out some home materials to get a better idea of her budget. (boring).

Then we headed to PETSMART, KOHLS, and LINEN's and THINGS. Sales, sales, sales!! WOO HOO! Petsmart had Santa there to take pictures with people's pets. We sure wished we had Lucy, but we really enjoyed watching the other dogs "sit" with Santa. We picked out presents for Lucy (our dog) and Brandi (our cat). What fun.

Finally, on the way home to West Sunbury, we decided to stop at a Live, Drive-thru, Nativity. We had an hour to kill before it started, but I was not driving all the way home and all the way back. It was our final decision to sit it out in a parking lot and wait the hour. Luckily we had a portable DVD player with us and we sat in front of a small airport where we could watch helicopters and airplanes come in and out. The Nativity was beautiful and done very nicely by the children of that church.

After we made it home and got dinner in the oven, we went BACK out to see Santa at the local firehall. So, needless to say, we really ran all day.

Some precious statements the kids said this weekend:
Sitting at the kitchen table discussing how Megan can tease grandma, but when grandma teases back Megan gets "heartburn".... Megan states... "Well, grandma, you are my BEST FRIEND. When you have a best friend, you like to tease them". That

Joshua sitting on Santa's lap. He finished telling Santa everything HE wanted so decided to add...
"and something sparkly with penguins on it for my grandma, some toys for Megan, some bullets for my dad..." Isn't that adorable??? I know he forgot me, but that was the greatest gift I could ask for anyway. My son thinking of others.

I am sure I will be able to tell you more stories as we get closer to Christmas. It is VERY hard for them to be "good" all the time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Today is Halloween. I don't think this holiday was ever designed to be as much work as it is. The founders of Halloween must not have had kids in day care and in school. The whole week is in preparation of the actual day. Making sure costumes are ready to go, doing make up run throughs, buying candy, carving pumpkins for home, buying treats for daycare and school, creating contest winning pumkins for school, packaging goodie bags, packing clothes, packing costumes, ......Was it really meant to be so hard?

This year I had the brilliant (I mean stupid) idea of making the kids costume myself. 1 it would be cheaper…. # 2 it would be more original. Just for the record, I don’t sew and I am NOT crafty. So off we go to Joanne’s fabrics to see what we can find. Megan sees this awesome red silky fabric with black skulls. So we decide it would make a very different devil cape…. We get it measured and cut. Joshua sees this really cool silky material with flames on it. It would make a great vampire cape. Sort of a ghost rider/vampire look. We get it cut. As we head to the check out we pick up a few more items. Well the fabric came to $27. As I am checking out, I see a complete ready to wear vampire outfit for $9. UGH!! Well then the fabric kept sticking in my MIL’s sewing machine when I tried to hem it. It was very difficult. BUT…. Determination prevailed. We tested their outfits last night and they look great. I will do their make up pale with heavy black eyes. I got red spray and will stripe Megan’s hair and I got black gel to spike Josh’s hair with black. He also has a matching flame material doo rag for the Ghost Rider look. They will definitely be original. But next year, we are buying the plastic costume at walmart.

PICS of Halloween to appear next....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

2nd half of the week

So.. that PEE story was the first half of the week... The second half of the week involves Megan. This is not a story of her "awfulness" but of her ingenuity. One day on our way to pick up Joshua, (probably the PEE day) Megan tells me this story of a conversation she had with a friend. Megan was trying to convince Ellie that Megan is a tomboy. Ellie says... No you are not Megan, you like pretty things too. You are either a Tomboy or you are not. There is no... 1/2 way. Megan then breaks out of her story to tell me...
Mom.. I am a tomboy some of the time, and a girly girl some of the time. I can do that you know. I concur. Yes. You can be both, depending on your mood. Then Megan replies: (now brace yourself any Republicans out there. This is awesome)
I like to hunt and fish with my dad.
I like to dress up, wear make up and use purses.
I like to do it all.
I am just like SARAH PALIN!!!!!

Don't you LOVE IT!!! WAHOO!!! Finally a role model for my girl! (by the way... Megan is only 8!!!)

Have a great weekend everyone! (GO MCCAIN/PALIN)

What a month (or 2 or 3) it has been!

I have taken another unwanted hiatus from writing in my blog. I started this with the intention of writing every day, that turned to once a week, then once a month... now, I'll be happy if I write on every leap year. UGH!

This week warrants a writing. My kids are hilariously awful. Joshua leads the week with his attempt of being a Knight in "rusted" Armour with his sword fights. Several events led up to "the phone call". Earlier in the week, Joshua came home and mentioned to me that he had to nap at Connie's in his underwear. I asked him why he had to do that and he said he got pee on his pants (do you know where this is headed yet?). I asked him why he got pee on his pants. He mumbled something about Tony and swords and because I was called off to force (I mean encourage) Megan to do her homework, I let it go. Yea Josh, great, swords....wonderful. Well then I hear later in the week that Joshua got pee on Tony on a completely different day, "by accident". How do you get Pee on somebody....by accident??? Anybody....Anybody....Bueller??? Well then finally "the call" came to me at work. I answer to an ever pleasant and kind Connie. She said that she wanted to call and let me know that Joshua had a REALLY bad day. (Not as bad as his buddy Saxon, after you hear this) Apparently, when the kids are outside at daycare, the boys are permitted to pee on a tree. This is actually done for safety sake. She doesn't want kids running in and out of the house without supervision. Makes sense to me and hey... this is Western Pennsylvania. So anyway... Joshua and Saxon had to pee at the same time and so there they go to the nearest tree. All of a sudden, Connie hears Saxon screaming.. "NO JOSHUA... STOP IT, STOP IT JOSHUA!!" So Connie goes to check out the commotion and finds that Joshua is PEEING on SAXON's FOOT!! He is playing SWORDS. And his weapon is his ... MMmmm Hmmmm. UNBELIEVABLE. So as calmly as possibile, I listen to this story at work. All I can think of is "where did he come up with this???" Much to Dutch's frustration... I blamed him. Dutch informed me that he DOES NOT play swords with Josh and it is probably just a phase Josh is in. I am relieved to know that my 40 something husband does not view his unit as a SWORD. I beg of you other mothers of boys.... IS THIS NORMAL? Josh has since been corrected and punished and will no longer be seen peeing on his friends. That does NOT make for a good friendship.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time Off

I have taken some unexpected time off from blogging. I really intend on updating this more than I do, but I have limited time. I had the opportunity to spend a week and half with my mom. She came out to help me and Dutch out with transportation for Megan's cheer camp. We just love having her out here. The kids really enjoy having both grandma's accessible to them. I think my mom really enjoyed her time with us, despite the fact that we couldn't convince her to stay and watch Megan cheer at the Rodeo next week. Grandma's are fun!! We had a hysterical grandma moment at the Regatta last Saturday.

Every year we attend our local lake's Regatta. It is a small affair, but perfect for us with our pontoon boat. We get there around lunch time, enjoy buying carnival type food and walking around a craft fair, we boat around and then stay for fireworks at dark. Fireworks from the boat is one awesome sight. When we docked for the craft fair, there was not actual docks available. We had to pull to shore and tie off. This means we had a moderat size step off the boat to the shore. This was no trouble for the kids as they flew off the boat into the water, but for the 3 other adults I was with... a bit challenging. My mom had arthritis in her knees, ankles and feet, Dutch's mom had a knee injury last year and still fosters some fear, and Dutch recently had a knee injury that has left him with weakness and pain. Hmmmmm Dutch gets off first with little or no problem, Mom in law 2nd with some assist from Dutch. Then it was time for my mom. I tried convincing her that she could trust herself. She is capable of more than she thinks. She wasn't buying it. Mom in law suggested that she sit first and then get off. So... down to one knee she goes, then to 2. Now she is tall kneeling... what to do, what to do. She gets down to her bum somehow, but facing the wrong direction. So she give a roll the side only to hit her head on the boat's wall and roll turtle like to her back. At this point, I am giggling a bit, Dutch is smirking (afraid to laugh at my mom) and Norma has a smile on her face. Shortly after the roll, you hear Megan comment.... "Oh gosh, here we go with the Sit, Tuck and Roll" perfectly summing up the appearance. Well that does it.... we all busted up laughing with a bit of control in the bunch of us.

So for the next day and a half we talked about how great grandma is doing the Sit, Tuck and Roll for all of us.

We love her "sit, tuck and roll" or not!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Megan is in NY

I know I have been negligent with my blog.... I am only cheating myself. We were on vacation and I have been trying to get my kitchen cleaned out to prepare for my new one (woo hoo). After our trip to Michigan, Megan left for NY with my mom. She is currently on day 4 of 13...but who is counting??? I miss her!! She is doing great. My mom seems to love having her and my sister is really spending a lot of time with her too. She is in the spotlight and sure is sucking it up while she can. I can't believe she is so confident and strong to do this at 8. I NEVER, NEVER would have went somewhere without my parents when I was 8. I think I cried every day of my entire school year when I was 8....or was that 7. Honestly, Dutch and I don't know where her strength comes from. Joshua is missing her. He does well with most things, but talking to her on the phone is really tough. Megan's agenda is chock full with trips to the mall, swimming pool, bike riding, she even has a trip to the American Girl store in NY city for Tea! I am so jealous!
I can not tell you how proud I am of her. She is such a big girl. She calls me every day about 3 times a day... and I LOVE it. I love her voice on the phone and I miss her.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Meeting Dutch

I promised during the creation of this blog to write about how Dutch and I met. Picture it... (any golden girl fans in the audience)... SlipperyRock, April 1995, I was on my way home from a night out at my usual dance joint... Friscos. I was the designated driver. I was going to graduate school full time, working a full time job and living on my own. My friend (honest to God, I can't even remember her name now... blonde curly hair.. soccer player....) wanted to stop at THE SHED on the way home. The Shed was a local hick bar that the "guy of the week" was going to be. She wanted to see him and moreover... let him see her. I was tired. In those days, I could go out 3-4 nights a week, hold a full time job and go to school without passing out... but I was still tired. I told her we would stop, but only for 5 minutes. AGREED. No more than 5 minutes after we walked in... here come 3 local "country" boys. 1 was super shy... 1 was super mad... 1 was outgoing and adorable. (let's see... can you pick which one was Dutch??). There I sat, waiting for my friend to decide if her man was there or not when this guy starts talking to me. I was so DONE with men by this point in my life... The only guys interested in me were either foreign, a different race, or married. I said to him... "you know... I only talk to nice guys... are you a nice guy?" What a STUPID question!!! Yes.. I'm nice... really nice... just ask anyone in here...They will tell you. Why didn't I see the obvious... why does everyone in here know you??? So... I obliged and asked around. Everyone did think he was nice. Even my landlord who happened to be there for his nightly liquid dessert. On my way to the bathroom a few minutes later, I hear him talk to his buddies about me. Something about my legs... I was much cuter and thinner then. When I got back to my seat, he asked me if I would like to borrow his pants. You see it was April... I was in shorts (shorty shorts) and I was cold. He had shorts under his pants. He then asked me to go out sometime... I said, "Sure, call me.". His shy friend then went on about how he would never call because he was too much of a chicken. How he was going away for the weekend (it was Easter) and he would never call on Monday like he said... Balk, Balk Chicken Man. So, there it ended...
I went to NY to see my family for Easter... he went trout fishing. Monday came. NO CALL.
8:30.. NO CALL. Well. I have his number, I called him.
A woman answered. Said she would have him call back. I hung up thinking, GREAT, He's married.
An hour later... I got a call. It was Dutch. We talked for so long. He asked me out on 2 dates right then and there. One for Tuesday (the next day) and one for Wednesday. Gosh... how would I get out of this one.
We saw Pulp Fiction on our first date and then he took me to see some friends fishing on the way home (I KNOW.... Why didn't I realize).
That is how we met...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Joshua's 4th Birthday

How awful of a mom am I?? My son's birthday was 3 days ago and I let it come and go without writing a wonderful, glowing post about him, just like I did for his sister a month ago. I know, I know, second child syndrome. Good think I don't have more kids, because not only would their post be late, but it wouldn't exist at all... what blog...what kid?

My Joshua turned 4 years old on June 17!!! FOUR!!! I can not believe he is already 4 years old. As I sit here writing this, I have a few pictures in front of me that have covered his life span. He was....is so adorable at every stage. He is so different than Megan. He has an equally warm and kind heart, but he is a class clown in the making. He is hilarious and he knows it. He DOES think of his sister no matter where he is. The other day he came home from daycare with a picture he drew. It is a picture of Megan if she were a Ladybug....How cute is that. If we go through a bank drive thu and a Megan is not with us... He asks for a sticker for her too. That is his kind heart. But difficult... YES!! In order to get him to get his jammies on, you have to beg, borrow, steal, threaten...etc. If you ask him to let you help him brush his teeth... he generally replies.. NO.. DADDY Helps me. (UGH!!!) He is the king of manipulation through simple little demands or comands like that. C'mon Josh, I'll buckle your seat belt. no... DADDY does it. You would think this makes my life easy. Daddy can just do it all while I sit back. But it is not that easy. If daddy isn't around...It is a five minute fight to buckle up (believe me I win). If daddy isn't home the tooth brushing can go on and on. I just love him, but he has definately given me LOTS of gray hair. He loves sports of all kinds. He is in baseball. He is the youngest player and just loves the running and batting. He wants to play hockey... he wants to dirt bike, he wants to play football... He is going to be a jock. With his glasses, he has really gained more self confidence and coordination. He is famous for his glasses. Josh has gotten to the point where he asks for them at times of need. That is awesome. His babysitter laughs that he doesn't want them for lesson, but asks for them with legos. Ah, the priorities of a 4 year old. This weekend we are having his buddies over for a fishing birthday party. He is so excited and can hardly wait... except for one thing. He is mad that girls are coming. WHAT? Oh.. it is ok if his "girlfriend" Jenna comes, but doesn't want his girl daycare buddies to come. We had to have the graciousness discussion. I can't wait to see how he interacts with the kids and see if he is as great a host as Megan always is. Here are a few pics to show Josh's progression.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vegas Baby!!

Well... I finally did it. I made it to Las Vegas. You know the place where everybody lets their hair down, where carefree is the ONLY state of mind.. where you do stuff to honor the phrase "whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". Well.... My friends, I don't believe Vegas ever saw someone like me. First of all, I was on travel alone. How much trouble could one get in by themselves?? Second of all, I work REALLY, REALLY hard for every penny I make. I was there for a course and I stayed in a Hotel/casino about 6 miles outside of the strip. It was a cheesy smoke tinted casino with all the bells and whistles. I am currently sitting in the airport in a far off corner by a window enjoying the PEACE and QUIET of....yes, the airport. That ought to give you a perspective on the noise. My course was excellent. Way better than I thought it would be. I had a great deal of personal introspection that was necessary for me to go to another level of professionalism. But...back to Vegas. I am lucky enough to have a friend in Vegas. She met me on Wednesday night and took me to the strip area. Then we proceeded down to "downtown" where the ol time Vegas district began. I saw the home of the World Series of Poker (Binions), I hung out on Freemont street (where the big lit up cowboy from the movies lives), My friend Marianne somehow managed to have me there on a night when there was a spontaneous street party. I saw acrobates (let me just tell you... one of them was YUMMY. I think my words initially were... YEA BABY!!), I saw street painters that used spraypaints to make gorgeous artful paintings, and I saw lights above me enacted to the famous band QUEEN's greatest hit... we will rock you. There was so much to look at, this NYer had a hard time keeping up. I must have been in PA too long. We ate at the most superb restaurant. We both received roses... our salad was made at table side with such options as artichokes, pine nuts, hearts of palm, anchovies etc. We then received a sorbet to cleanse our palate, you know, in case it was dirty...hee hee. And then our amazing entrees came. Best of all, we received chocolate covered strawberries, figs, and apricots as a complimentary treat with warm washclothes to clean our hands. It was amazing!! Dutch will be glad I had this opportunity. I have been after him for 3 years to go to Vegas with me. He would have hated it. I tolerated it. I enjoyed my experience, but don't think I will be back. I am not free spirited enough to deserve to be in Vegas. I put $1o in slots and lost $10.... Vegas made very little on me. I miss my green grass, my green mountains and most of all my family.... It will be great to be home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mean Girls

I know how wrong it is to interfere. I know it is important that kids learn to settle their own arguments, fight for their own reputation. I struggle sitting back and watching as girls beat each other up through words and attitude. I am about to make a statement that will really age me....but..... Kids today are just plain mean. Especially girls. I sat this weekend and watched as Megan had her spirit broken time after time. She had a girlfriend over. This was our first time and I think it will be a while before I try again. Megan was told to shut up... called retarded....told she looked like a dork because she laughed too much and.... was described as "over the edge" with friendship. This was all in the first few hours. and it was "a friend". It really acted as a spring board for a conversation about friendship, personal strength, self confidence and patience. At 8 years old and in a rural community like ours your only "friends" are the ones in your class. Each year you get a new set of "friends" when you are assigned to a new teacher. My only hope is that this year is a lesson year. Hopefully next year will be better. I don't understand why girls today are so mean. Have we come SO far as a gender that we now find it necessary to beat each other down to get ahead? Or is it that us mothers are seeing our own weaknesses in our daughters and over compensate by teaching them arrogance and ignorance? It is heart breaking to see my little girls spirit be crushed. She seems to understand that this is incorrect behavior and I can only hope and pray that she does not treat each others the way she has been treated....but rather follows the "golden rule" that is perhaps ancient and out dated to some...but to me is the most valuable lesson in life.... Treat Others as you Wish to be Treated.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Grandma, can you hear me?

Ok, I know it is wrong to make fun. I especially know it is wrong to make fun of your mother... but, something hilarious happened the other day. My mom has a hard time hearing. For some people this is annoying. People do not like to repeat themselves. I don't mind. I generally have a higher level of patience with these kinds of things. Megan must take after me. The other day, we were in the van listening to Megan read. She was reading us a Pet Fairies book. She is doing really well with her reading and my mom and I told her so. She was very appreciative of our compliments and began talking about her favorite subjects in school.
Megan said: Do you want to know what my favorite subjects are in school, Grandma?
My mom: Sure...
Megan: my favorite subjects are Grammar, English, and Writing.
My mom: Aw... Thank you!
Megan: Grandma... Did you hear me?
My mom: Yes... Your favorite subject is GRANDMA.
Megan: No Grandma, my favorite subject is Grammar... not Grandma, But... If you were a subject, you would be my favorite....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Eight Year Old

I remember the day she was born. 6 lbs, 6 oz, 21 inches and the pinkest skin I ever saw. Her hair was curly brown, her skin just hung on her like an old lady's extra tricep flab. Her size 0 clothes were all too big... her dad had to go buy Preemie clothes. She was precious. I remember holding her while sitting on the couch and wishing I could freeze that moment. I wanted to remember her that little. I wanted to remember her skin that soft. I wanted to remember the gassy smile she would give me. Now she is 8. 8 years old. 8 years old. 8 years old.
She is still precious. She is SO smart. She is SO beautiful. I can't believe the stuff she knows. She knows beginning fractions. BEGINNING FRACTIONS.... She knows how to take a joke. She knows how to write in cursive. She knows how to tease me. She knows how to push my buttons. She knows when to say "I love you mom". I still try to hold her on my lap. All 85 pounds of her. We squirm and fight for space... but she will ALWAYS fit. The crook of my arm and the round of my waist is built to fit her perfectly. I look at her and see me... then I see her dad...then I see MY dad... But when I really look closely, I see something different. When I really inspect her and study her... I see Megan. She is such a perfect combination of personalities. She is so well rounded. Today, I told her about one of my favorite memories. There she was at age 3. She was ready to go down to the pond or go minnow trapping. SHe was dressed in blue jeans, tiny little work boots, a gray and white camo jacket and there, hanging from her right shoulder... a pink, silk purse. That is Megan...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Megan's communion

Megan's communion went so well last weekend. She looked absolutely beautiful in her dress
She looked beautiful and did great during the ceremony. We were so very proud of her.


Watching the races the other day, Dutch said to Joshua
"Josh, which car do you think is going to Win?"
Joshua as serious as could be answers him,
"The one in the front!"

Joshua got ready for day care the other day and put a dew rag on his head and his wrist bands.
When he walked into Connies, he said... "I'm a bad ass.... " (must have heard that from dad... )

Hearing that his grandma Hepler ran over a cat the other day....
"that is so wery wery sad!!!"

Watching the kids at the ball field swing a junk pitches time after time, Joshua screams from the benches...
"if you don't like the pitch, don't swing at it!!!!"

Mother's day

Mother's Day is the 1 day a year I get treated like a queen. For reasons I do not know or understand... Dutch really goes all out for Mother's day. He has been doing this for years... I guess since Megan was a baby. Megan was born the Tuesday AFTER Mother's day. That year, Dutch was annoyed. Annoyed that I wouldn't give him his baby for mother's day. Ever since, he makes a big deal of it and wants my mom and his mom around too. Mother's day generally starts with breakfast. Not breakfast in bed or anything, but he makes us a nice home cooked breakfast. Then, as the mom's go shop, he works around the house and prepares for the big meal. For dinner, he makes everone (the 3 mom's) whatever they want for dinner. This is literally ala carte. If his mom wants a pork chop, she gets a pork chop. If my mom wants a steak, she gets a steak. If I want chicken, I get chicken. He makes certain that we all get our favorites. Dutch also gets us all something all on his own. This year I received a really cool haning basket. It has these "flowers" that look like red cat tails hanging from it. I think he does such a great job honoring all the mothers in his life.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What did I do before kids?

There are times while I am running from my car inspection to my haircut with plans to go pick up Joshua from daycare, then Megan that I think about what I did on a typical night before kids. It is really hard to think about life before kids (LBK). I know Dutch and I used to go out often. We really liked to catch a band playing somewhere on Friday nights. I remember when sleeping in on Saturday was waking up around 11 or 12. I think we had more money then (even though we both make a lot more money now). I remember one year, even before Dutch was in the picture that I was out (mom cover your ears) "partying" (bar hopping, dancing etc.) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights... all in a row. How could I have possibly survived that? I can't stay up past 9:00 now without snapping someone's head off. Wednesday was ladies night at Frisco's, Thursday was 25 cent drafts at the Shed, Friday was fraternity party night and Saturday was back to Frisco's. All this while I went to college fulltime (and got decent grades) and worked part time.
I always remember thinking I didn't have any time. But I can't figure out WHY I didn't have any time back then... I'm sure there will a day sometime in the future... a long, long, long, long time from now that I will forget what it was like to have small kids running around. It is nice to hear that I am not alone. I vent and share with ladies at work and I am not the only one with 4 things planned in an evening with dinner not even considered until 8:30 pm. I am not the only one that has four changes of clothes in the car for each kid (currently... 2 Baseball uniforms, 3 sweatshirts, 1 slightly warmer jacket, 2 pairs of cleats, 2 pairs of sandals, 4 different various head covers and 2 blankets). Should I ever win a surprise, spontaneous all expense paid trip somewhere the only thing I would need to buy would be clean underwear... and if I looked hard enough, I may even be able to satisfy that need.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One of THOSE parents...

I could very easily fall into the habit of being "one of THOSE" parents. We all know the type... The parent that gets too involved in their kids problems, the parent that gets too excited at the ball game, the parent that is annoyed by other people's inadequacies. Watching Megan's first ball game of the season last night, I found myself judging the coaches decisions, whispering to Dutch about how to help, wondering why it wasn't played differently. I don't like myself when I do that. I realize that "If I could do it better... why don't I just step in and do it???" reason #1. I don't have enough time to commit to that. reason # 2. I can't deal with parents like me. I had a big pep talk with myself last night to stress the importance of the kids having fun. It is hard to deal with change. Having had GREAT coaches for 2 years and having a 17 and 0 season last year with a championship year was amazing... but it is over. Before the season, we kept telling Megan that this was going to be her break through year. I can see already that it will be. Perhaps all this is designed on "purpose" to give her confidence. She is awesome compared to the others. She was 2 for 2 last night with 1 RBI. She is a team player and a leader amongst the group. THAT is what I want in her. The little ones look up to her.... I think one of them thinks she is a superstar. But I lose all that when I see the little shortstop boy (name withheld) FORCE himself on her base. Megan plays 2nd base and this little guy can't figure out that he DOES NOT have a base. He forces his little body onto 2nd and won't move for the runner or for Megan to make her play. As I said above.. I hate myself that I want to go and yank him off her base.
He is 6 years old. He SHOULDN'T know how to play shortstop! Megan ended up getting a runner out at 2nd despite the "basehog". Way to go MEGAN!! End score was 5-2 (the other team)... but end score REALLY was that the kids had a blast and 1 little boy (and Dutch) almost cried because he was so happy to have gotten a hit. He made it to 3rd before another batter left him on the base with an out.... he didn't care... all he cared about was the hit.
I will work on my behavior. I need to appreciate the little things and realize that whether the head coach is "bad" or "good" the kids are gaining by being a part of the team and having coach Dutch there (when he can) to encourage them and cheer for them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I hate to admit it, but I am the disciplinarian in my house. I am the one to review the homework, I am the one to address what is appropriate for school and what is not, I decide when the laughter is over and when it can resume, I decide who gets T.V. taken away, I decide who gets a colored drink in my minivan... I am the one to... yes, my friends...suck the fun out of everything. This is a hard job, but someone has to do it. Dad (dutch) is a god in the eyes of my children because I am the "giver" of discipline. He is the "fun guy". Just tonight, we had such a collision. It was pizza night. I decided it would be nice to distribute breadsticks in the car with the rule that no one can DIP into sauce in the car... if dipping is desired, one must wait until we get home. Well, then that rule is "stretched" by Dad. He dips a breadstick once for the child with the stipulation that he eat it right away. The child licks the dip off and instead of asking for more dip, he gives the dry, dipless breadstick to his sister. The sister gladly scarfs down any remnant of a breadstick. Now, the dip wisher asks for more. There are NO more breadsticks to dip and only a little dip left. The child continues to ask for the dip over and over and over and over and over (you get the idea) until Dad (who is engrossed in listening to the Penguin game on the radio) finally flips. Mom has tried to explain that the rule was already broken by the allowance of dip... and now anymore dip would have to wait until we reach home. Now the child is completely unglued and so is dad. This is a frustrating occurance for Mom, because yet again, she appears to be the "bad parent" although the "badness" lies in the hands of the spineless, penguin listening, overexaggerating father figure.
So yes... The fun of distributing breadsticks in the car was completely sucked out and never to be revived. Just like the loop in a "crazy straw" the dipping sauce loops the loop and disappears forever!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

First Communion

Megan receives her First Communion this weekend, May 4-2008. This is a Catholic sacrement that represents a childs acceptance of Jesus' body and blood. I remember my first communion as if it were yesterday and have told Megan stories about it. It was April 19, 1980. I looked angelic in my white knee length dress and my pearl crown. I was estatic because I was chosen to carry up one of the "gifts" just before the priest presents the communion. I waited and waited for my cue and when it finally happened, my mom had to give me a shove to get going... Megan was assigned a couple responsorial psalms and also gets to bring up a gift. I think I am more excited than she is. She too will look so angelic in her dress. It is tea length and she has the most awesomist (her words, not mine) silver sandals. Her veil is a gift from a family friend, Angie. That is very special. Here is her dress... I will post more pics when we have more.
We have a variety of friends and family coming for the event and hope to have a very nice party afterward. I hope Megan's communion day is as special to her as mine is to me.
Some memories from my communion:
1. My friend Kim in her Green plaid pants, red shirt, white sandals and socks... (ok, so it isn't a memory, I actually have evidence)
2. My mom always forcing me and Jonathan to be photographed. Mom, have you and Ruthy admitted that we will not be married?
3. My hand made pink dress with little roses that I wore after the ceremony
4. My mom having "1 too many" and giving away her Spaghetti Sauce "recipe" to my Godfather

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What are those cows doing mommy?

Ok... Hilarious story.... Everyday on the way home from picking up Joshua from daycare, we pass several cows and several horses. We "pretend" they are our animals. We have named them and we look for them everyday to "talk" to them. Yesterday on our way home, Megan fell asleep and it was just me and Joshua talking. As we passed "our" cows... one of them was trying to "climb" on top of the other.... Uh oh.
Joshua: "wow, mommy, look at that!!"
Mommy: "yep... neat huh?" (Ok... I am going to take the "dumb" approach here)
Joshua: "What are they doing mom?"
Mommy: "um, Gosh... I don't know, what do you think they are doing?"
Joshua: "I know what they are doing!!"
Mommy: "(sweating) what... what are they doing?"
Joshua: "They are boyfriend and girlfriend"
Mommy: "Ohhhhhh yeeeeah???? (Sweating more...)
Joshua: "Yep, they are boyfriend and girlfriend". "Boyfriends and girlfriends watch each other's backs"...
Mommy: "They what?" (Sweating profusley)
Joshua: "Yep, they watch each others back... like when one does a good job, the other pats them on the back and says... GOOD JOB".

Lets get home Joshua... Mommy needs a drink....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another funny moment

I was talking to the girls at work the other day when a story about Josh entered my mind. When he was 2 he loved horses. His favorite thing in the whole world was horses, rodeos, cowboys etc. Even his faorite movie was about a horse. The Black Beauty. Only problem was he couldn't really say the U properly in Bea - U- Ty. So when asked what his favorite movie was, he would say... Black Booty. Of course we would get a huge kick out of that, especially Dutch that would tell everyone that Black Booty was his favorite movie too...

Josh is getting to be such a big boy. Yesterday he received a raving review from Connie (his babysitter) about his ability to do all the necessary Pre-Writing Skills. He can trace letters, write his name (no TOP on the J, according to the new school guidelines), and connect dots. He acts like he can't do it and then little by little develops the confidence until his work is all done in lesson. By the time his lesson is over, he is beaming with pride just as Connie is.

Way to go Joshua!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mom, can we get a cow?

I love animals. I always thought that I REALLY loved animals. I thought that until about 5 years ago when Megan was 3 and started "Saving" the lives of worms on the sidewalk. Megan still does this every spring. The worms float up onto the sidewalk and then the sun comes out. Megan picks them up and tosses them off into the grass to save them from an agonizing burning death. Megan is now 8 and wants a cow. A COW!!!! Not a pony, she can ride, not a duck to follow her around our pond, not another dog to play with our Lucy.... A COW. She announced this the other day on the way home from school...."mom, I want a cow, Can we please get a cow?" Hmmmm let me think - NO. "Why, please mom....please can't we get a cow?" Now... I thought what I was about to say would have been something she already knew. I really think she did know it, but chose to selectively forget it. "Megan, there are 2 types of cows... The milking cow that must be milked 2 times a day; Once at 4:00 in the morning (her eyes got huge and I saw the disapproval in her face), and once at night". "The other type is Beef cows. Once they hit a certain age, you either need to sell the cow to someone who will slaughter (tough word, I know) it to eat it, or you need to do that yourself (the eyes of disgust that I saw were obvious). I know about Megan's obsession with animals... but I can honestly say I don't 100% get it, I am trying to.... I am desperate to "get it". Again, I always thought I loved animals the most I could... I guess there is more love that people can give. We were watching EIGHT BELOW the other night. This is a movie about sled dogs. Megan had a hard time at the movie theater watching this about 4 years ago... I thought she could handle it now. We got to a certain point of the movie and I had to turn it off. I knew "forcing" her to watch this would be wrong. She was so visibly upset that I turned it off and we watched light hearted SNOW BUDDIES instead. Megan is such a caring, kind hearted little girl. I try to be extra cautious of her animal attachment. I thank God for blessing me with one of my dearest friends Shelly, to help me through the tough times with Megan's passion. Shelly has the same passion and I can grasp it a little more. Megan has to save the worms... she has to save every creature that comes injured, sick, or hurt to our home... Megan has to know what species of animal it was that was hit on the road (this one, I still just don't get)... She has to look up animal information on the internet... I know this is Megan's passion. I will do what I can to help nurture that. Despite the fact that we do not live on a farm, I respect her enough to NOT get her a cow. I know it is one animal that we just can't keep forever... and I know it is not one that she could emotionally raise the way she would like. Just like my friend Shelly tells me... part of being a good pet owner and an animal lover is knowing your limits. Just as we can not take in hundreds of dogs to satisfy Megan's passion...we can not own a cow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Not much to say...

This morning I am struggling of coming up with something to say in my blog. I knew this would happen... When I started my blog, I thought I had a ginormous amount of stories to tell... and here I am...blocked up!! So, instead of telling a story, I am going to describe what we did last night and this morning so that in the future, when I forget how cute my kids were when they were little, I can read this and remember.
Last night Joshua had gymnastics. He loves, loves, loves to be Mr. funnyman. And that aggreivates me. I know that it is his personality, but Megan was never like that. She did as she was told, to the best of her ability. He, on the other hand, does as he is told in the funnies way he can. UGH!!! Well despite Mr. funnyman syndrome, his coach wants to move him up to the 5 year old Boys gym class. WOW!!! I was very excited. Josh is going to be 4 in June, so that is a big deal. I agree that he would do just fine. He can do all the physical stuff, he just needs a bit more of a challenge and needs to stop being the clown.
Megan has an MP3 player. Before you all think how spoiled she must be to have an MP3 player at 7 years old.... I really bought it for my dad when he was sick. I thought it would be a great "therapy" for him to listen to his music while getting chemo. Unfortunately, he never admitted that he did not know how to use it. Anyway, after he passed, I took it back and put a bunch of kid friendly songs on it and allow her to use it with supervision. She loves it. She walks around thinking she is "all that" with her "Ears" in.
Last night, I made Microwave pizzas and bought cookie dough ice cream from schwanns. We lay a blanket on the living room floor and let the kids eat there on Movie nights. They feel like they are getting a treat, and we get a night off from kitchen clean up. Movie nights are standard here at the Hepler's. We have probably seen every kid friendly movie ever made.... I mean it, last week, we watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!!
This morning, like every Saturday morning, the kids are in our bed. We love that!! We don't allow them to sleep with us (very often), but in the mornings on the weekend, we allow them to come in, wrestle, watch t.v. and get CUDDLETRAPPED. What a great moment. They usually get along until someone kicks someone else and then that is the beginning to the end...
I think that captured my memory pretty good....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Busy schedules

I rarely have time to sit and contemplate how busy I am...I just assume everyone is as busy as me. This blog has been fun for me... but most of all, it doesn't take too much time. Time is something I don't have very much of. I think in the big picture, we are all busy. I think everyone's definition of "busy" is different from person to person. Busy, for me, means that I don't get my house as clean as I want it. Busy means my kids are having fun. Busy means that I am keeping my kids out of trouble, but not stressed out. Busy means I get to see my kids smile with their friends. Busy means I have to do "spelling" in the car. Busy means we talk about our day in the car. Occasionally I complain about being too busy. Those moments of stress happen, but all in all, I would not change a thing. I love having something to do every night. I love watching the kids run, play, join in girlscouts. I have to admit... I hate having my house come last. But when the kids are raised, I will have plenty of time to "clean up the mess". I am very lucky that Dutch is such an involved dad. I get my moments of "free time" that I usually spend cleaning, vaccuming, doing laundry, or putting clothes away. I value that time and feel that I get more done in 1 hour alone than a stay at home mom gets done all day... I have seen proof. There is today's blog with only a few minutes to spare, cause I have to get Megan to Gymnastics while Dutch gets Josh to Baseball....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Joshua Moments

Joshua has a lot of funny, no... hilarious episodes on a day to day basis. I want to try an search for a few in my memory and get them jotted down here, before they are gone forever.

1. One day in the back of the minivan, we hear a growl and a grumble. Then a Thud and another... then out ouf the mouth of an innocent 2 year old we hear... DAMN IT.... GOD DAMN IT, I DROPPED MY TRUCK. This in the growly, intimidating imitation of a truck driver. After we finally settled our hysterics I think we explained well enough why someone shouldn't talk like that.

2. One of the most favorite things that Josh says is "Lucy" Lucy is our little jack russell. She is small in stature, but a huge part of the family. Joshua, with his pronunciation still in development, can not say L's very well. It is so adorable to hear him say "OOSey"

3. Speaking of trouble with L's.... At Villa Grande one night Joshua asks Dutch (ok... whines and whines) for his LEMON. The one that comes with the water. In a direct effort to assist Josh with his pronunciation, Dutch says "Joshua, say La La La Lemon". In his cutest, most innocent, adorable face, Joshua repeats " La, La, La WOMEN!!!"

4. I was not present for this memory, but Dutch had a chance to take Joshua to see the Monster Truck show in Pittsburgh. Ron Grenci and Howie went along. I guess on the way out of the parking lot traffic got a bit much for the 4 "men". Ron kept making the suggestion under his breath that he wanted to "pound" one of the drivers. Finally, Josh in again, his most growly intimidating voice ever says to his Buddy Ron. "C'mon Ron, Let's POUND someone!!"

I know there are more entries to include in this particular post... I will need to jog my memory and try to get a few more written down. But for now....

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Some Pics

I wanted to add a few pics and wasn't really sure how to do it... so let me give it a try here....

Some pictures of Great grandma and the family. I had taken quite a few toward the end of the year of 2007 and beginning of 2008. You can see how much Joshua loves, loves, loves, his great grandma. You can also see how frail and tiny she had gotten.
Next to Dutch, she looked so little...
She sure hated her picture taken, but she consented to these and I have no guilt in showing them off.... enjoy these....

Too Pretty

We finally made our way through all the commotion and ceremonies of Great Grandma's services. Despite the fact that Dutch and I second guessed our parenting all weekend, it was pretty uneventful. All of his cousins had their little children there for all the viewings and the funeral... We gave Megan the choice and she chose to go for 10 minutes. I just don't think kids need to be running around dead people and seeing all the sadness.

Anyway, speaking of pretty.... one of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog occured the other day. Megan was heading to school and had on her Nike warm up pants and a Steelers T shirt. She still looked adorable. On the way out of the house she asked me: "mom, do I look too pretty?" Odd question I thought... "no, Megan, you look real cute". "No, mom.... do I look TOO, TOO Pretty?" What is with this kid.... "Megan, you look pretty, why???!!!". "Cause mom, I just don't feel like being too pretty today". I practically fell down our horrific 16 stairs.... How hilarious.... to be 7 years old and wearing gym clothes thinking that you are TOO PRETTY. I sure wish I had that sense of self esteem. (thought to self... Perhaps I shouldn't wear this new lipstick, I certainly don't want to be too pretty today. I better not buy these new pants... they make me look TOO, TOO Pretty).

When do we loose that? I hope Megan never looses that. Hopefully when she is 14 and having a bad hair day, I can pull this back up and show her that she once had the self confidence that could not waiver. Megan will never be TOO PRETTY in my eyes, because she is as beautiful as God (and a little work from Dutch and I) could ever create. Thanks Megan for the adorable memory. You Are Beautiful!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The end of an era

She was the Matriarch of the family. She was so strong. Dutch's grandma, Irene Stamm, was 90 years old when she lost her fight last night. October 17, 1908 - April 4, 2008. "Grandma" had a bad heart and it just couldn't take anymore. She was famous in the family for Milk Pies, Christmas Eve celebrations, Halloween Pumpkin contests, Mother's day pot lucks, and most of all for her favorite spot in her rocking chair. She gave advise, the latest family gossip, and her share of kisses and hugs.
A few nights ago when she was in the hospital, she told Joshua (as he held her hand and smiled) that he was going to grow up to be a big, handsome, strong man. I just cried. To know that my children had a great grandma is special. I never did. But to know that she won't see them grow up is heart breaking.
I am a firm believer though that her influence will be in them. The way she raised her kids... grandkids...great-grandkids... and yes, great, great grandkids. I thought of her a MY grandma too. I will miss her so much!

Friday, April 4, 2008

First Day

Today is the first day of my new blog.
I have been thinking about this a while now and finally decided to take the plunge. There are so many things that happen on a day to day basis that I want to be able to go back and think about or have my children read about their lives. I thought this would be a great way to capture those memories... big or small. Our Canadian friend Carpie has nicknamed Joshua Tiny T as in Tiny Twister because of the way his tiny physical presence can cause a mass implication. What a great way to tell about the lives of all of us! No matter how small we feel, we have far reaching ties to the ones around us.