Eighteen Years of Mother’s Days

When I was little, more than anything I wanted to be a mom. My mom made it look fun. She made it look easy. With five daughters and a husband that worked and coached, I have no idea how she did it but not only did she do it but she did it well. I don’t think I ever heard my mom say she needed a break or wanted to be left alone.

I want a break.

And I want to be left alone.

Not forever. Just for a little bit. A weekend maybe.

As I write this, I have one child (way too old) asking me what she should wear (and then when I give my opinion, she rolls her eyes and and complains that I don’t know what’s in style) and one child crying (way too old) because she doesn’t want to go with me to drive the first child to a friend’s house.

After eighteen years, it’s hard for me to come up with what I want without hurting people’s feelings. I have, however learned what I don’t want for Mother’s Day:

I don’t want crying (she doesn’t know what to do in the car)

I don’t want to drive anyone anywhere.

I don’t want to nag all my children to brush their teeth and take their meds. (The child crying has changed the complaint from having to go with me to not wanting to brush her teeth.)

I don’t want crying (I know I already said this but she is now crying that she doesn’t like when people judge her…she’s 6 so I have no idea).

I don’t want fighting (it’s amazing that two people that once shared a womb could find such stupid reasons to yell and scream at each other).

I don’t want to hear, “But I’m 18 now.” I’m sorry but you can’t “cry” 18 when you won’t make yourself a sandwich when you are hungry or don’t wash your own clothes.

And on that note, I don’t want to feed anyone. Shall we count how many times I cooked when no one bothered to tell me they weren’t going to be home?

I don’t want to hear, “I need” or “I want” from anyone including Leo .

I don’t want to hear ANY sarcasm. It might be funny when Chandler Bing is sarcastic but not so funny when it comes from people that are not making $100,000 an episode and are 18, 14 and 6.

I don’t want to share my phone. I’m really tired of not being able to take pictures because my storage is full. What makes it full? A “My Tom” game, 4 fruit smoothie games and my favorite, “Virtual Families” where Gia cried for an hour because her “person is depressed” and why can’t I find a way to make him not depressed? First, I have a hard time helping people in the real world not be depressed. I have NO idea what to do with a virtually depressed person. Second, I really don’t want to learn and third, I want to be able to play “100 pics” whenever I want.

I don’t want to hear the sound of “selfies” being taken. I ask you, how many pictures of the same face with your hair falling to one side can you send? The worst is being mid-conversation and a, “Wait,” a pose and a click and then right back to the conversation.

I don’t want to ever stop hearing, “I love you” from all 5 of them (including Leo).

I don’t want my husband to travel as much as he does. I miss him when he’s gone.

I don’t want to think about how fast my kids are growing up (lightning fast) and that soon, there will only be 3 at home. It makes me sad that I can’t remember the “lasts” (last time I held the twins, last time I rocked Gia to sleep, last time I held Nico’s hand before crossing a street…).

I don’t want to think about doctors’ appointments, ortho appointments and wisdom teeth surgery…all things that cause pain to my kids.

I don’t want my kids to ever stop telling me things, even if it means I’m uncomfortable or don’t really want to know (I don’t really need to know every single conversation had in the course of a middle school day).

I don’t want the hugs and kisses…bear hugs and sloppy kisses…to ever stop.

I don’t want to ever stop hearing from people that they met my kids and that they were respectful or “delightful” to talk to. I do, however, want to see that side of them more than I do.

I don’t want my husband to ever think I don’t appreciate all he does for our family (and I know once coaching is over, things will get fixed) or that I love him any less than I did the day I married him.

I don’t want my kids to ever doubt how much I love them and am proud of them. They are my whole world and when they are happy, I am happy and that is all I want…for them to be happy (and healthy, always healthy).







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The Oxymoron that is Living with Anxiety

Is it really living?


I thought it was just a phase. I thought it was going to pass and that I wouldn’t always feel the knot in my stomach when someone asked me to do something.


I used to be a cheerleader in the middle of a football field or basketball court and at crowded pep rallies.


As the oldest of 5 girls, it was always my job to either go first to do something or represent us all. If we were at a family event, I had to go first and kiss everyone which sometimes resulted in kissing neighbors of relatives that didn’t know me or me them or pushing aside the intense fear of public speaking to give a speech at our parents’ anniversary party or our dad’s retirement party.


I married someone who loves to go out and loves to attend EVERYTHING. This part confuses the heck out of me. Did I once enjoy it, too? How in the world did we fall for each other? It must have, at one time, not bothered me. I think back and I can sort of remember being a part of it but it feels like it was a different person…like I’m watching a movie or a TV show about someone else.


© Scott Patterson | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Scott Patterson | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I think the anxiety snuck up on me with what I am thinking is a vice grip because it will let up but never fully go away. It feels like such a cliché. It seems that more and more I hear people are dealing with some form of anxiety.

I’m missing Nico’s first football game of his senior year. It’s killing me that I can’t force myself to go. It’s the cross town game so it is emotionally charged and nasty all in one. Obviously that doesn’t help. It seems that everyone in town is at that game so the crowd anxiety is paralyzing. Belle wanted to go but didn’t have a ride (that has since been resolved) and you’d think I’d be the obvious choice but I couldn’t. She didn’t understand and how can I explain that the thought of driving there, finding parking, fighting the crowd and being nervous for Nico makes me want to throw up and hide. I’m not exaggerating. My stomach feels like it is in my mouth. I don’t want to talk to anyone and all I want to do is crawl in bed and have someone text me how he’s doing.

When did this happen? When did it get so bad I started missing my kids’ things? I joke a lot that I crawl out from my rock (to go to the bus stop, to go to curriculum night, to do things that I know will help Gia socially because she is basically an only child a lot of the time) but in all honesty, I’m counting the minutes until I can be back home (and this is not my dream home by any means). I don’t want to be this way. It’s stifling and feels like I’m not living at all and I know this so I make plans that sound like a great idea but as it nears, my mind and body start working overtime. I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m in flight or fight mode desperately thinking of a way to get out of the plans. How crappy is that? That’s not the friend, sister, daughter, mom that I want to be and yet I’m powerless to stop it.

And I’m on meds! I know they are working because with some of the stuff that has gone over the past year (new job, car accident and more medical issues than I can count), I don’t think I’d be blogging right now, I think I’d be in a padded room.



Maybe it’s gotten worse because we are about to go through the 7th surgery for this family since January:

January-Tommy’s appendix

April- I had another tongue surgery and then two weeks later, Nico had a sinus surgery (his 10th or 11th)

May- Gia had an MRI for a swollen salivary gland that ended her up in the hospital for 3 days. She had to go all the way under so we had to go through the surgery department.

June- Gia had surgery to remove the blocked salivary gland. Apparently, you can do without one.

July- Gia had her tonsils out.

Aug.31- Tommy is having surgery because he has another hernia.

All the while, Tommy has dealt with several episodes of the red bumps (we are waiting for him to get them to biopsy them but he keeps having episodes on weekends).

It’s actually embarrassing at this point to go to the hospital. I absolutely hate medical tests, medical procedures and any kind of surgery. I mean, that’s not uncommon. Does anyone love having that stuff done? I have this reaction when one of my kids comes to me with an issue. It’s this heaviness that causes a throbbing headache and ends with a pit in my stomach. My eyes burn with tears that want to fall but can’t because I’m the mom and crying freaks them out (and makes me feel weak). Then the fight in my brain starts. Call or don’t call. All of the “what ifs” and “it’s nothings” swirl in my head until I work up the nerve to call the doctor. Just once I’d like to go to the doctor and have them tell me it’s nothing major, give my kids meds and send us on our merry way.

The one place I don’t feel anxious…in the classroom. I walked through the door to set up my classroom and it felt so right. Just so happy to be sitting there with the lessons and the schedule and the name tags and the smiley-faced shapes, my God, how I love the smiley-faced objects (one of my teacher friends, I can’t remember which one, hates smiley-faced objects). I went to a meeting for volunteers that are going to teach Religious Education (I did it years ago before I lost Rocco) and I felt a completely different stomach sensation. It was bubbling with excitement. (Totally aware of how corny that is but I’m at a loss for other descriptive words that describe it as perfectly as that.) I’m going to teach Kindergarten and I am so excited!

I’m working three days a week this year and two of the days I have my own class and the other day, I am craft person for the teacher I worked with last year. The three days work so well this year with Gia being in half-day Kindergarten. Normally change (unless it is with my house) scares me but I think change when teaching keeps things new and fresh and it makes me really excited for this year.

How can these not make you happy?

How can these not make you happy?

So what about you? Any tricks to dealing with this kind of anxiety? Anyone else feel this way? I’m sharing because if this makes one person out there not feel alone in dealing with this, then it is worth it to post it. And truthfully, it would help to not feel like I’m the only one. :)

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Why I Let My Son Bring His Girlfriend on Vacation With Us and Other Tidbits

If  anyone had asked me years ago if I would have immediately said yes when my teenage son asked if his girlfriend could come on vacation with us, I would have laughed and then hemmed and hawed and probably would have said no. Things have really changed since the days of how I thought I’d parent.

When he asked me, I thought about it…hmmm…what kind of kid would he be in front of his girlfriend? Would he be the brother that aggravates his sisters until they cry? Would he be the teenage boy who is still fascinated by the sounds coming from every orifice of his body? Would he be the moody, sullen boy that makes sure the whole family knows he would rather be someplace else? Or…would he be on his best behavior? Would he be happy because he’d have no reason to be moody or sullen because she was with us?

I did not enjoy the cruise or the Bahamas. It was too much work for two days on a boat and a few hours on the beach in the Bahamas (more on that in a second). I did enjoy my older son and his girlfriend. I saw a side of him that as a mom, made my heart swell with pride. He pulled her chair out, he opened doors and made sure she didn’t want or need anything. The best part? They were with us the whole time. I thought he’d want them to go off and do their own thing but we did all the meals together, sat by the pool together and went to the beach together. I feel like we got to know her and we see why he cares for her so much. I’ve made it no secret that my daughter has had a rough middle school experience and his girlfriend really took her under her wing and made her feel special. So much so that when we were at the beach, I had to tell her to leave the couple alone while they walked in the sand (Not that I am complaining that she was like Velcro to the happy couple). If I had a chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat.


How he asked her to prom. :)

How he asked her to prom. :)

The actual vacation? Well…

The first part  wasn’t bad. We arrived in Boca Raton around midnight so all we did was go to sleep. The next day, we went to the pool for most of the day ( I was super responsible this trip and didn’t burn…I didn’t get tan either which was a bummer but adding another doctor to our pay roll was enough of a reason to be responsible). The kids drove me a little crazy wanting to be tan and asking which sun screen should they put on and how long before it dries and what will let them tan but not make them burn. Leo and I had a long overdue date night while the in-laws fed the kids and took them for ice cream. When I went downstairs after getting ready, there was an immediate rush of compliments about what I was wearing. Apparently, I dress like crap normally. I wanted to say, “See what a shower and clothes without stains does for a person?”

The cruise to the Bahamas? Ummm…how can I put this? It was a freaking disaster (and here we go). One disaster after another. I didn’t want to go in the first place. I get sea sick. I’ve tried everything but nothing works for me. I’ve been on  three cruises before this one and several dinner cruises and I’ve gotten sick on every one of them.  I was adamant about this, saying that I didn’t want to spend vacation sick in a cabin with Gia and the next thing I know, we are booked for a two night cruise. :( That shows you how much weight I carry around here. I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be a lot easier to argue with me than it is to argue with others. No one told us we needed a notarized letter from Nico’s girlfriend’s mom saying we could take her out of the country. Once that was settled, we got on the boat and tried to buy dress pants for Tommy because surprise, surprise, he forgot his. He claims I said he didn’t need them but since I bought them solely for the cruise, it’s not likely that I said that. There weren’t any pants to be bought (the store was closed anyway). Gia wanted to go swimming but we forgot her arm floats. Guess what a cruise to the Bahamas doesn’t sell? Arm Floats.

"I don't like cruises!"

“I don’t like cruises!”

It was insanely crowded and we couldn’t find a seat by the pool. When we finally did, they closed the pools because we had to go inside for some safety talk. Gia had fries for lunch because it was the only thing she recognized. There were no strawberries or chicken fingers and the orange juice wasn’t actually orange juice. Finding water that wasn’t bottled (and expensive) was difficult. We got all dressed up to go to dinner, snuck Tommy in by distracting the maitre d’ and right before dessert, Tommy, Gia and I had to go back to the cabin because we were sick. We played a lot of “Go Fish”, “War” and “Crazy Eights”.

Sea Sick

Sea Sick

The next day we were docked and planned to go to the beach. That’s when I realized I didn’t have my wallet. I completely freaked out, tore my room apart, checked the welcome desk but had to get off the boat to go to the Bahamas (sunglasses came in handy). We walked off the boat and were greeted by locals wanting to show us around the island. My in-laws thought that would be a good idea. The rest of us kept saying, “Let’s just go to the beach.” Next thing I know, I am sitting in the very back seat of a 1970 Conversion Van with no air (conditioner or wind) reaching Gia and me. What did we see? We saw devastation and poverty. I have been to the Bahamas before and it was beautiful so I am really not sure what that tour was. We finally got to the beach, stood in line for a much-needed Pina Colada and found a spot to settle in. Because I didn’t have my wallet, I was distracted and worried. I really felt like I was on the outside looking in. I was watching my family having fun and I didn’t have it in me to join in. And then, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak, (Warning: TMI), while sitting on the beach, I got a little surprise that no woman ever wants while at the beach. When we got back on the boat, Leo found my wallet in a safe in another room and that began me putting things away and then not finding them. I hate when I do that and I seem to do it a lot.

Everyone raves about the food on a cruise but I am a Lou Malnati’s, Pot Belly, yoga pants wearing girl (okay, girl is a stretch) so I had a hard time finding something to eat. The Pina Coladas were good.

Back in Florida we went to the pool, went to dinner, Leo and I went back to the first restaurant that we went to because it was that good and went to Barnes and Noble.

I learned a very valuable lesson: I don’t need adventure in my life. I need relaxation. I will never again complain about going to my in-laws on Spring Break.

If you are friends with me on FB, you have already seen this picture but we took it at Easter and it’s the most recent one.

Family Easter 2

I’ve had a few posts in the drafts folder for a few weeks now and keep rewriting and rewriting. I’ll give you a few hints: girls are mean, insurance sucks, standardized testing is dumb and I’ve had my fill of doctors.

What’s something you said you’d never do as a parent that you find yourself doing?

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You Might Be a Part of the Royal Family of Chaos

Coming out of hiding for a moment because I am pretty sure that blogging kept me sane. It’s been through work that I’ve come to a realization, my life is crazy and at times, a train wreck. I mean, I’ve always known…it’s the crazy that created this blog. But it’s only been recently that I’ve realized it sometimes resembles a train wreck. I find that when I am at work, I can pretend that I’m a very capable juggler of all things “Queen of Chaos” related.

You might be a part of the Royal Family of Chaos if:

You decided that after almost a decade of playing basketball (I shudder to think of how much money we have spent), that you didn’t want to play anymore. (Nico) I admit, I miss watching him play. I don’t miss all the stuff that went along with it, though. That has been a nice break. I have more to say on this subject but will save it for another post.

You broke your arm at the beginning of basketball season and then on the first day back to school after the holidays, you are admitted into the hospital for appendicitis. To add insult to injury, instead of getting your cast off, you have surgery to remove your appendix. You would think that since he was in a hospital, someone there could take off his cast for him but you would be wrong. He had to wear it a week  longer. (Tommy)


Tom appendix


You continue to be your mom’s biggest help while complaining and rolling your eyes and then immediately saying you’re sorry. One minute you could be talking about how well you are doing in school and the very next minute you could be crying because your mom asked how you were doing in your math class, which led to you screaming and yelling at everyone in your path and then five minutes later, you are giggling at something on your phone.  (Belle)

Twin Teenagers!

Twin Teenagers!

You have turned 5 and got yourself a sassy haircut to go with your sassy attitude. You continue to have severe separation anxiety which means you don’t or can’t give your mom a break. You come home every single day saying you are married to someone new and have even gone as far as calling one boy, your ex-boyfriend. You are going to need your tonsils out in late May, early June but freak out at the mention of it so everyone around you refers to it as the “hospital sleepover”. (Gia)

Gia haircut

You are having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that your son is no longer playing basketball so you can still be found at the neighborhood pizza place and at the high school basketball games on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. (Leo) I get it. I’m also sad that Nico isn’t playing but this is a chance to get a little bit of family-life back, to do something outside of sports…or so I thought.

You have gone on strike because you are tired of being the only one caring how this house looks. You really understand the blessing of doing what you love. You love going to work and time goes quickly while you are there and you’ve been known to melt when you hear, “I love you, Mrs. Gubenko.” (obviously me)

Yes, I get paid to wear mouse ears. :)

Yes, I get paid to wear mouse ears. :)

You need four teeth pulled and for some reason, cannot wait. You are the child that has a serious meltdown when you find out that a friend of a friend of a friend that you just saw puked last week. Suddenly, you feel, like you are going to “catch it”.  Remember the Neosporin story? (Belle)

You don’t need braces but have asked that since you don’t need them, could you use the money to have your teeth whitened? (Tommy)

You can’t wait for college and use “You are going to miss me when I’m gone” every single time you aggravate someone to the point of tears however, you freak out or shut down at the very mention of college visits, the ACT or any future plans that don’t involve having your mother do everything for you. (Nico)

He's right. We are going to miss him.

He’s right. We are going to miss him.

You got your wife exactly what she wanted for Valentine’s Day even though it was corny and probably not something you would have thought of on your own (all I wanted was a song that reminded him of me…I miss the days of mixed tapes). (Leo) And if you remember, Valentine’s Day really wasn’t his thing. One word: Dinosaurs.

You realize that you miss blogging and the blog world enough to resurrect your blog for one post a week. (Me).


And how are all of you doing?? Doesn’t this just make you want to be a part of the chaos? :)


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An Update From Beyond the Blog (Warning: It’s Long)

Hello, my dear friends! I have missed coming to this spot every day. Really, really missed it. I kept meaning to come here and update for anyone wondering, “Whatever happened to the Queen of Chaos?” but life, as it often does, got in the way. I said that even though I was quitting the blog, I was going to keep up with my friends’ blogs and I didn’t. I had good reasons: it was summer and it went so fast that I feel like I blinked and it was over. I am going to try to not make this a novel or be too negative but as you all well know, that is probably not going to happen. Since I’ve stopped blogging, these things have happened:

1. Nico and Tommy both had surgery. Tommy had a hernia (no idea how or why) and Nico had his 8th or 9th (I’ve lost count) sinus surgery.

Nico's school picture proof. Junior Year

Nico’s school picture proof. Junior Year









Tommy's usual expression after a game. This was early in the season.

Tommy’s usual expression after a game.
This was early in the season.

2. The garage door was finally fixed.

3. Girl drama continued throughout 6th grade but this summer Belle was in the play Beauty and the Beast with my nieces and her confidence shot through the roof. She has done a lot of work on herself (admitting that no one is completely innocent when it comes to drama and working hard not to wear her heart on her sleeve).

Apparently Gia can't stand when someone else is having a moment.

Apparently Gia can’t stand when someone else is having a moment.

At one of the many competitions.

At one of the many competitions.

4. I have come to dread and resent the sports my kids play. I used to love to go to their games but now I just see them as reasons we are not the family I thought we would be. There is only dinner together once a week. Family parties are missed. Vacations can’t be taken. I have gotten angry over things that are said to my kids or how they are treated and it makes me want to avoid games. Nico had a pretty good varsity year in football. Good enough to get him a special mention all-conference. I’m happy for him that he worked so hard at something he loved. Basketball is next and to be honest, I don’t know how he does it. How any of them do it. Tommy just won the Super Bowl with his football team and is playing basketball for his school and the feeder team. Belle played volleyball for her school and just finished her cheer season. Girl sports are tough to watch. Girls are mean. They were fun in elementary school, maybe they’ll be fun in high school but middle school? So tough to sit through. She continues to go to tumbling and is so close to getting her back handspring. I hope she gets it so she can continue to cheer. That’s one of the things I never get tired of watching. She just shines when she cheers. Dancing is the other one. I miss her dancing. Gia is doing hip hop and it is pretty hilarious.

Nico is #6.

Nico is in white.




I love that smile.

I love that smile.







Winners of the Super Bowl 2014. After 9 years of coaching, Leo finally won one.

Winners of the Super Bowl 2014. After 9 years of coaching, Leo finally won one.


5. If you would have told me way back when Nico was asked to play on a travel team that our lives would be as insane as they are, I think I would have politely said, “No thank you.” This past Saturday, Tommy had basketball practice from 8-10, a football walk-through from 9-10:30 and then a baseball fundraiser from 10-12. What?! He’s 13. I have complained before about living out of my car driving carpool after carpool but I don’t think I have ever felt this tired of it. I have to give a shout out to Gary Cook for football, Cindy Halstead (and Mike) for basketball (and baseball) and Lisa Cunningham for cheerleading. Without their help in getting my kids to where they need to be, I think the padded cell with my name on it would be occupied at the moment.

6. The boys battle through stomachaches, headaches, exhaustion, leg bumps, swollen neck glands and nagging coughs. I know keeping active keeps them as healthy as they are but sometimes I think the schedule that they have is enough to make someone sick that isn’t battling anything. The fact that they deal with CF, run around with some of the craziest schedules ever, have some level of success and still manage to get good grades makes them my heroes. I think I might be on speed dial on the nurse’s phone at Tommy’s school and I’m not sure how Nico is pulling a B in his first period class when he misses it so often in order to do his treatment.

7. I spend a lot of time at home with Gia. She is starting to have friends outside of her cousins and that means putting myself out there with other moms. I find that I’m struggling with it. There is a huge wall I have up. You know when you meet someone and something clicks and you feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s happened with a few people but my guard is up. I don’t want to be that way. It feels unnatural. I feel like I’ve been burned one too many times with friendships that go up in smoke. I can’t do it anymore. At this point in my life, I am who I am. I’m not for everyone (quote from my friend Dave W.) and that is okay.

At one time, I liked to stay up late, drink some adult beverages and sit around talking about the latest games, the camps that are good to send our kids to, the teachers to pray your kid gets, and what the school is doing so our kids are prepared for the next level of school. I don’t think that is who I am anymore. There is nothing wrong with those things but it’s just that I think I am more of a go away with friends for the weekend, drink adult beverages and stay up all night talking. Not about our kids’ accomplishments, not about how our lives are so great that our husbands fart rainbows and kids crap roses. Tell me how you met your husband or boyfriend. Let’s laugh about our most embarrassing moments. Tell me how you couldn’t wait to be a mom but it turned out to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Let’s laugh about the weird things our kids do and confide that we laugh but are afraid those things are going to stick and are a part of them and they’ll suffer for them. Tell me the things you do or think that you never thought you would. Tell me what your dreams are and what is on your bucket list. I don’t want friends that wear masks. I want friends that aren’t afraid to stay up all night with their masks off. My kids are exhausting and the only way I can relax is when I am away. There are times when I am out for the night and my phone goes off 20 times but if I am away for the night, magically, they can figure things out themselves or they text Leo.

We’ve all experienced the conversation where one mom is going on and on about how her kid is so responsible and would never do anything that was illegal when just last week, you saw a snap chat of her kid doing a beer bong. Now, I hope beyond hope that there are no moms seeing snap chats of my kids doing anything they aren’t supposed to be but I am not naive enough to go on and on and say it would never happen when I know it could. My kids mess up. They sometimes act in a way that is not okay with me. They are hormonal and moody and snap at me. Am I really that dumb that I think they would never be that way outside of this house? I am working very hard with my kids on how you don’t always have to be right. Some arguments are small enough to let go. They are big, giant know-it-alls at home. I can only imagine that that sneaks out from time to time. Hopefully, as time goes on and they mature, it happens less.

Anyway, for these reasons and a few more, Gia and I spend many a weekend night curled up doing puzzles, coloring or watching Disney’s movie of the night. This time is so fleeting that I cherish these nights.

A rare moment where her hair is down.

A rare moment where her hair is down.








8. This very wonderfully awesome thing happened:

The hair is a little dark to correct me accidentally dying it red.

The hair is a little dark to correct me accidentally dying it red.

I GOT A JOB!!!!!! I am back to teaching. I teach two 3 year-old classes so I work Tuesday-Friday mornings at Wheaton Bible. Gia is in the Pre-K class next door so it works out really well. I love my job. I have a teaching partner that we alternate every other week between lead teacher and craft teacher. I forgot how much I missed sitting on a big chair with a bunch of kids sitting in circle time with me reading or teaching something. It is the satisfying feeling making a child smile or laugh from crying or being angry. And when they lean over and say, “I have a secret. Do you want to know it? I love you,” it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I am enjoying it all: the tea parties, the building with blocks, the pretend to be eating the plastic food they make me, the crafts, the stories and I think I love playing with the play dough as much as they do (I can make a fabulous Jack ‘o Lantern or Turkey just using a popsicle stick). I laugh at least once a day with the things they come up with.

At the beginning of the school year, Leo really stepped up and helped out. He worked from home a few times so that I could go to institute days and he took over some of the driving and picking up of the carpools. I depended on my sisters, Gina and LeeAnna to watch her a few times. And my mom continues to be a huge support. In fact, it was because of her the job came to be anyway. We were at Gia’s end of year picnic and I was talking to one of the teachers and I mentioned that after Gia went to school, I wanted to teach preschool. My mom interjected and said, “Couldn’t she do it next year while Gia’s in school?” The teacher said yes and I went and told the director that I was interested and the rest is history.

9. And this awfully crappy thing happened:

Passenger side of my car.

Passenger side of my car.

I was in a car accident at the end of September. The guy blew a stop sign while turning left and barreled into my car knocking me into oncoming traffic. I am hardly ever alone in my car but Gia wasn’t feeling that great so I talked her into staying home with Tommy. At one point, I was going to give in and bring them both to the Belle’s volleyball game. I thank God every single night that they weren’t in the car. Tommy would have been in that seat. The guy hit me so hard that the window shattered. I was covered on one side with the glass. Gia’s car seat was flattened from the impact and his turn signal was embedded in my car. I cut my hand on the glass as I was transferred to the ambulance. It was a freaking nightmare. For several nights, I couldn’t sleep because I kept replaying it over and over in my head. I am frustrated, mad and sad that it is a month later and I am still seeing a chiropractor for my neck, shoulder and back. It hurts to pick Gia up and she doesn’t understand when I say I can’t. I can’t remember the last time I held my older kids. I mean I can’t remember when I stopped. I am so aware of that with Gia and since she is only 32lbs, I should be able to hold her for a little bit longer. It makes me sad when I can’t. Let me tell you, I enjoy my job but after a day of bending, lifting and chasing, I need to take a muscle relaxer to be able to go to sleep. I can’t get comfortable and every position hurts. The chiropractor, Dr. David Flatt is so wonderful and is helping tremendously but trying to find the time to go is hard.

I’m going to miss some of Tommy’s basketball games. I tell myself every day that it could have been so much worse and I know that. It’s just hard to quiet my head or that flight response when I’m driving. And I really don’t need another reason to not leave my house. I’m just going to keep repeating, “No kids in the car. No kids in the car.” I have to give a shout out to my friend, Kim and her husband, Dan and bff, Rochelle for helping me out. Kim drove my car to my house and then went to the hospital to sit with me until Leo came. Rochelle watched Gia the day after when I was in bed feeling like a truck hit me (well, it was a Grand Jeep Cherokee).

So, that’s it, my friends. That is what I have been up to. Some good, some bad, some chaotic and some not…wait…that isn’t true. It’s always chaotic here.
See, we all knew that I couldn’t make this short. :) If you are still reading, I really miss you all.



Did I mention I love my job?

Did I mention I love my job?

What about all of you? What have you been up to while I was away?


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All Good Things Must Come to an End

You know how you have a favorite TV show and it goes on and on and on until it’s not your favorite anymore and you start to let episodes delete on your DVR before watching them? I don’t want to be that show. I want to be the show that you are wishing wouldn’t end, the one that leaves you wanting more or at the very least, ends on a satisfying note.

I have had some amazing opportunities through this blog. I got to go to New York, was in two published books and made some wonderful friends.

A funny thing happened when my computer went down last week. I lived without it. It was liberating not to be tied to it.  I missed my friends that I connect with through the internet and I missed writing in this space but I really feel like the time has come to close up shop.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I told Gia that I wasn’t going to be working on the computer, she said, “Really?! Thank you, Mommy.” She basically thanked me for being more attentive because I had too many, “Just one second” or “Let me just finish this” than I probably should have. After I had blogged for a year, I was going to quit. I thought for Nico’s sake, we should go back to being anonymous before he went to high school. He encouraged me to keep writing because I loved it. When I told him I was thinking of quitting again, he said he was “kinda glad” because when people “googled” him, my blog came up and they read it. One kid said what I wrote was deep and about how hard it is raising Nico (I’m guessing it was the one that was “Advice for Parents of New Teenagers”. While I am not ashamed of anything I have written here, it made me feel weird and lose the drive a little bit.

I am not happy with the environment that I am raising my kids in. There are things I feel are important that have fallen by the wayside. It’s not enough to just go through the motions and get through each day. That’s what I feel like I’m doing. I’m at a point where I am tired of writing about it and need to do something about it. Something has to change and it’s not going to change unless I change it. That’s what I have to do.  I have to get back to being happy with the way I’m raising my kids.

I cannot put aside things I feel or am dealing with and write about something else. I’ve never been good at that. I want to write about how much I hate social media. It’s made raising a teen a constant anxiety attack. Teens haven’t changed but our world has and they now live in a place where everything is broadcasted and accessible to everyone. I am guilty of it myself. I blogged about our life for three years. It’s time to go back to being private. Social media has devastated Belle and made it a full-time job maintaining her self-esteem. I’d love to write in detail how we have dealt with “girl drama” and losing people you thought were your best friends. Tommy has his own “stalker” on social media and it’s upsetting.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The love/hate relationship I have with technology is weighing heavy on the latter. How can I tell the kids to stop being so tied to their phones/iPods when I’m so tied to mine (or my laptop)? I envy the people who are able to balance it. Only blog when the kids go to sleep (which is um…never). Wake up early and write and read (I go to bed around 1am. There is no getting up early and fitting in writing and reading while running around like a chicken with my head cut off doesn’t really work). Blog and read when the kids are in school (Sometimes I want to spend that time with friends or family I don’t get to see often and I feel guilty because I know I should be catching up).

I wrote something two posts ago that sparked something in me. I miss working with kids. I’m going to give some serious thought to running a “drop in” service where parents can drop their young kids off so they can run errands. It wouldn’t just be babysitting. It would be more structured than that…a mini-preschool for kids that age. Summer tutoring for school age kids and reliable care for infants and toddlers. It wouldn’t be at the same time. I can only have 4 kids here at a time. I don’t know…it’s just jumbled thoughts at the moment but the thought of it actually happening excites me the way blogging once did.

Maybe when the kids are older or out of the house, I’ll go back to it. Maybe by then Facebook will go back to being nice about letting our stuff be shown to our followers. I mean, they clicked follow because they want our updates, right? And yet only about 43 followers out of 300 saw them.

I just want to thank you all for reading and for commenting and letting me know constantly that I am not alone in one of the hardest jobs out there. People say that friends you make online aren’t “real”. Bull. Some of my very best friends were met through my blog and I intend to keep them. I want to thank you guys for praying when I needed prayers, lending an ear when I needed to vent and making me laugh all the time. I’m not giving up on that Girls’ Spa Weekend. We need to make that happen this summer.

The irony is not lost on me that it’s because of the chaos that I was blogging and now it’s because of the chaos that I am stopping.

Love to you guys always and I’m only an email away. :)

Until we meet again…

Photo courtesy of Jody Byas.

Photo courtesy of Jody Byas.

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Lies and More Lies

I am a teacher. It is in my blood whether I am actively teaching or not. I am sitting down here while Leo is helping Belle with her homework and I am lying to myself. I am telling myself that I am catching up on computer stuff but really I am hiding down here. I am fully capable of helping Belle with her homework but she is incredibly hard to help and I get mad. She gets frustrated easily and won’t listen to reason. There is a good reason she’s overwhelmed. I understand but in the interest of not damaging our relationship, Leo needs to help her.

For those not on Facebook, it’s her right wrist and it’s broken:

At least it's waterproof and a pretty color.

At least it’s waterproof and a pretty color.


Gia still sleeps in our bed. She doesn’t every night but more often than the other three ever did. The big lie here is that she needs me to fall asleep. Should I just be honest here? Raising the teen and the tweens, I think it’s me that needs her. I know what’s coming. I know she isn’t going to be little for long. She is everything good in this world. She is sweet and loving and hearing her breathe next to me at night fills me with peace. I know it has to do with loss. I know it has to do with fear and I know dwelling on those two things isn’t good for anyone over here. She isn’t going to be this little forever.

Proof that she does sometimes sleep in her own bed.

Proof that she does sometimes sleep in her own bed.

I know it doesn’t mean to be lies but they are and they bug me. The lies that teens and tweens tell in order to do something they want. “I won’t give you a hard time going to church”, “I’ll clean the playroom,” “I’ll babysit Gia,” “I won’t be tired” and so on. And then suddenly, they have memory loss when they ask to do something again and I bring up how they didn’t live up to their end the last time.

Some little, less bugging lies:

1. I’m just going to put my head down for one second.

2. If I eat this cookie and no one sees, I didn’t really eat it, did I?

3. I’m not really hiding this candy for myself, I’m saving the kids from getting cavities.

4. “I don’t know why Fishing/Poker didn’t record on the DVR.”

5. It’s okay to drop Gia off at preschool in what I wore to bed because it looks like clothes and I’m wearing a big jacket so no one will notice.

6. I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race because it is so far from my reality. It is but I really watch it because of the drama, drama, drama and I’m fascinated with the fact that drag queens are better at putting on make-up than I am.

7. It’s not good to wash my hair often. I know this is true but it’s not why I don’t wash my hair often. It’s mostly because I am too lazy to wash, dry, straighten and curl my hair.

And the biggest lie of them all:

I am only going to go on the computer for 20 minutes.

What lies are swirling around your world?

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Tidbits on Thursday: ER, The Bachelor, Leo and Work

What do all of these have in common? They all happened this week.

Apparently, too much time has gone by without an emergency room visit. We (Belle, Gia, Belle’s friend and me) were at the gym where the girls were going to begin their tumbling for cheer class. Belle loves to cheer. It is her passion. I think she would have loved to have gone the competitive route but some of her fears have held her back. Every session, she almost has her back handspring. She can do it but the one thing stopping her and causing her not to is fear. We were at a crossroads with cheer. If she wanted to continue, she needed to get her back handspring. She was motivated and excited and swore she was going to get it. For some reason, she was nervous on the way there. Funny how that works.

Gia and I watched the class from the waiting room. Belle looked good. She was doing it with a spot. Gia had to pee. The bathroom was inside the gym which Gia wanted badly to be in. She did her business, some of the older girls oohed and ahhed at how tiny she is and with wide eyes declared that she wanted to be in that gym. After bribing her with my phone and candy, we were back to watching. Five minutes before the class ended, Gia announced to a full waiting room that she had to go “poo”. Back in the gym we went. I was sneaking a peek at Belle when Gia announced, “I’m going to be in here a long time. It’s a bad one!” Peeking at Belle with the door open was not going to work so I shut the door. After she was done, we walked out into the gym to see Belle on a mat hysterical and holding her arm. I believe the exact thought I had was crap. Several coaches ran up, the owners ran up. They explained that she went back with her hands out instead of in. And then, “I’ve seen this happen a lot. It’s broken.” They taped it up and off we went. To say that Belle was upset would be a huge understatement. I don’t blame her. She was hurt and scared.

I was passing a friend of mine’s house and called her and literally said, “Belle broke her arm. I need to go to the ER and don’t want to bring Gia.” She didn’t even hesitate and said, “Where do you want me to meet you?” I told her that I was passing her house and would drop Gia off. A million thanks, KJ.

We were helped right away and told that they didn’t see a clean break but based on where her pain was and the swelling, she most likely fractured her growth plate in her wrist. They splinted it with a half cast and we see the orthopedic doctor today at 2.

In related news, I suck as a nurse. Really, really suck. We moms wear a lot of hats and somehow I never got the nurse one.

For those that I am not friends with on Facebook:

Belle arm

The Bachelor: Renee was my favorite and she dodged a bullet. I didn’t watch the Jake and Vienna season but I did watch the Brad seasons and Juan Pablo, in my opinion, trumps them as bad bachelors. What a crock of crap that he didn’t want to kiss Renee because of her son and his daughter and then goes on to make out with other girls (including Cassandra and she has a kid, too). I don’t buy the language barrier thing either. This whole season was a waste of time…time I’ll never get back. I hate to say it but I don’t think I’ll watch if Andi is the bachelorette. It’s not that I don’t like her but it felt very much like a big audition when she was on the Women Tell All. Okay, fine, I will probably watch but I won’t like it. Speaking of the WTA, it felt like Sharleen’s comments were scripted to try to make him look better.

Leo: You know how I said I suck at being a nurse? Thank goodness Leo doesn’t. For the most part, when the kids need something (a late night snack, a ride to school, treatments, which used to be my area and I’m not sure when it switched but I’m not complaining), he steps up. Things I would say no to, he says yes and it makes me look at him as the kids must see him. For one, they aren’t afraid to ask him anything. He probably says no to the boys more often than the girls. It surprises me every single time. Gia will ask if she can sleep in our bed. I tell her she has to ask Daddy (thinking he can deal with the tears when he says no since I know he wants her to sleep in her own bed). She does and he doesn’t even hesitate. He says okay and she beams at him. He’ll be sitting down for the first time all day and Belle will ask him to take her to Walgreens for something and he does! Second, he is not afraid to show that he loves them. There is no doubt in any of their minds about that. He says it and he shows it and he is a big hugger. Even Nico will go up to him randomly and hug him. I was reminded this week with Belle’s injury of what a great dad he is and how I really did hit the jackpot.

Work: I’ve mentioned that I would like to get a job. I can’t really do much since Gia is still at home so I was thinking I might like to babysit. Ideally for someone who has a 3 or a 4-year-old but really any age. It would be nice for Gia to have someone to play with. If you know of anyone that is looking, let me know. :) This makes me want to get licensed and have an afternoon preschool in my house. I miss teaching preschool that much. Hmmm…maybe a summer camp? See, now I get all excited at the possibilities…

What about you? What’s going on in your world?


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Death to the Imaginary Friends

I have talked about Gia’s imaginary friends before. None of my other kids ever had imaginary friends. I’m thinking it was because Nico had my undivided attention for the first three and a half years of his life and the twins had each other and Nico. With the age gap being so big between Gia and the twins, I have been known to tell Gia to go play or find something to play with. She must have heard find someone to play with because before I knew it, she was talking to someone named, Booty. And if that wasn’t strange enough, she added, Ella Bella and Allie.

Booty and Allie or Booty and Ella Bella? Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Booty and Allie or Booty and Ella Bella?
Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not sure what is sadder: that Gia has three imaginary friends with those names or that I hate them so much.

Gia is the only person I know whose imaginary friends are mean. She’s always coming up to me complaining that one of them has hit, bit, kicked or scratched her. How am I supposed to handle that? I’ve asked her why they keep hurting her and she says they are mean. I have told her that she shouldn’t be friends with them and she says that they want to be friends with her so I find myself saying things like, “Booty needs to go home” or “Tell Ella Bella that you don’t like when she hits you.”

When I’d ask Gia to do something and she didn’t want to, she’d reply with, “Booty won’t let me.” I would call her to come eat and she’d be playing a game or watching TV and she wouldn’t come. I’d call her again and again and the last time wouldn’t be in my nicest voice and she’d stomp her foot and say, “I wanted to come but Ella Bella wouldn’t let me. She held me back.”

A big one was when I’d be a little firmer in talking to her. Not yelling but talking in a way that she knew I wasn’t happy or I was tired of asking and she’d start to cry. I’d tell her that there is no reason to cry, that she wasn’t in trouble but that she needed to listen to me or follow directions. Between sobs she’d say, “I’m not crying because of you! I’m crying because Booty tripped me (or hit me, or yelled at me)!” I would end up comforting her and the crying would stop and all was well again.

There was the standard, “Allie made the mess, not me,” “Booty spilled, not me,” and “Ella Bella made me eat the cookies.” I have to tell you…there were many times when I questioned my sanity for yelling at the imaginary friends and exhausted myself trying to explain to Gia that I knew that she was the one that did it, not her friends only to get into a “yes they did, “no they didn’t” argument.

My favorite was when I needed to get work done and she was whining that she wanted me to play with her or she didn’t have anyone to play with. I’d tell her, “Go play with Booty, Ella Bella or Allie” and she’d reply with, “You know, Mom, they aren’t real.” Ahhh…so they are real when they spill or make messes but when I need her to play with them, they aren’t. Got it.

Once, I used them to my advantage. It was late and way past a normal time for a preschooler to be going to bed. I was really frustrated trying to get some work done and exhausted from the bed time battles (with all four kids) and I ended up yelling at Gia. Believe it or not, I don’t usually yell at Gia. The other three know me as a yelling mom (I can’t change that but I am really trying) but with Gia, I have really tried to hold my tongue and have more patience. She, of course, was devastated and ran to her room as if I had broken her little heart. I felt awful. An idea came to me and I went to her and whispered, “Allie made me do it.” Was it the right thing to do? Probably not but she stopped crying immediately and nodded her head in understanding. Moment diffused.

Nothing, though, prepared me for how much I wanted to get rid of them after this incident:

Belle and Gia were looking at Instagram (the Devil’s playground) and one of the people who Belle follows reposted an inappropriate picture with a woman with her boobs blurred out so you couldn’t see them but clearly knew they were boobs. Belle panicked and changed it right away (yelling…because that won’t call attention to it or anything). Gia said, “They were having sex.” Belle, shocked, asked her, “How do you know about that?” Gia–my sweet baby that I want to stay a baby–answered,

“Booty and Ella Bella have sex.”

Belle was shocked and said, “Gia! That’s gross!” To which Gia replied, “Well, I didn’t watch or anything.” As if that made it okay. :( Once again, that Mother of the Year award escapes me. Clearly, a few changes needed to be made.

No more Friends episodes.

Only rated G movies.

You know what bugs me, though? Commercials. We could be watching something like American Idol or The Voice and a preview for a show comes on and of course there is some glimpse of two people kissing wrapped in sheets. I don’t want to be one of those people who is up in arms about censoring everything. It’s my choice to have my kids watch those shows so I need to just deal with that situation as it comes up but the question arises: Are there any shows on network TV that we can watch as a family without having to yell, “Shut your eyes!” or getting into a big discussion about sex? I’m all for watching TV and using it as learning lessons but sometimes, I’d like to check out and watch a singing competition without having to be on alert.

After explaining to Gia that Booty and Ella Bella having sex was inappropriate (again, did I really have that conversation?), I thought that it might be time to get rid of the “friends”. I agonized how to do it and not damage her little psyche. I didn’t want her to end up on a therapist’s couch (fine, she probably will anyway but I didn’t want this to be the reason) saying, “My mom made me get rid of my only friends, Booty, Ella Bella and Allie.”

It turns out that I worried for nothing. Gia came downstairs and said, “I’m sick of Booty getting me in trouble and being mean. He’s gone and he’s never coming back.” This led to flushing Ella Bella down the toilet and scooping up Allie and throwing her outside. Gone. I have no idea if this was the right way to handle it but it feels a lot better hearing her take responsibility for messes and spills and dealing with her emotions because they are hers and not Booty’s.

And just when I was starting to like using them as reasons for my bad behavior…guess I’ll have to own up, too.

What about you or your kids? Any imaginary friends? Are they nice ones or mean ones?

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I Want, I Need, I Can Do Without

Every once in a while I like to put things into perspective by asking what it is I want, I need or what I can do without. I admit that sometimes I get caught up with the want part or I realize a need is really just a want.

I Want:

1. I want to live someplace warm. I think 43 years of seeing the seasons change is enough for me. If you read any of this blog, you know I am not a good winter person.

Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net







2. I want to live in a town that lets you park your car on the street overnight. I realize this is a first world problem but it would be nice if we could leave Nico’s car on the street so that when we didn’t have to juggle the three cars. And it would be nice not to get a ticket when you forget that your car is on the street the day of your daughter’s birthday party.

3. I want to be more active in my church but I’m afraid to commit to anything because of the chaos that is my life.

4. I want to have a wonderful spring break with clean slates and kids that are happy being able to do nothing but sleep, eat and relax. I want relationships to grow in a positive direction and not be strained. I want to feel nothing but love.

5. I want to blink my eyes and have all the laundry done and the house clean from the craziness that was this weekend. (Soooo much basketball!)

I Need:

1. I need this cold or sinus infection to go away. I have had my head in the sand about it for a week and why can’t it go away with me just taking over the counter meds instead of seeing a doctor? I can’t smell or taste anything so for all I know, this house might stink, we might stink and the food I make might taste horrible.

2. I need a job that I can do from home. It’s not just because the money would help (for the tons of activities and camps that the kids want to/need to be in. I use the world “need” loosely there because do they really need to be in them or is it if they want to keep playing the sports they are in, they should be in them? The answer to that most times is yes. Take, for example, Belle. She is going to do cheer again. She really wants to continue with it but in order to have success in it or get to where she wants to go, she has to tumble. So not only do I have to sign her up for cheer but I have to sign her up for tumbling. See what I mean about needing a job?

3. I need to get organized in a way that works for longer than a week. I need a system, a schedule, a routine…something. I need something because we are pretty much flying by the seat of our pants over here and I’m tired of it.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4. I need to carve out time (maybe I really need more hours in the day) for Leo and me, each of the kids and me and maybe, just maybe a little for me. I caught up last week on a lot of work and had a plan in place and then chaos hits and I’m behind again. I need to schedule time so I won’t fall behind.

5. On that note, I need to find something that Gia likes to do by herself for longer than three minutes. At the moment, she loves my phone but not only am I tired of getting alerts that “My Tom” has to go to the bathroom or wants to play, but I am missing important texts from children that need rides home.  I love playing with her (okay, I do not love playing babies or Barbies…I somehow do it “wrong”). I do love doing puzzles, coloring and reading but not all day long. Trying to get things done while she is sleeping is almost impossible. I could ignore the laundry, the kitchen, helping the kids with homework or studying and write, read and write but the guilt would kill me.

I Could Do Without:

1. I could do without middle school talent shows and girl drama. I might get lucky on this one since after the initial drama, she’s decided not to do it. While we are on the subject, I could do without any drama. Period.

2. I could do without the recurring dreams I have every single night. I’m not going to sugar coat it-this school year has sucked all the way around. It started out promising and quickly spiraled downward. So it is no surprise that the dreams I have every night are:

I am in high school again and I’ve lost my schedule and can’t find the main office so I go around asking people if I’m in their class.

I am in high school and I can’t remember my locker combination and there is only five minutes before I have to get to class.

Nico has a game and I can’t find the gym or the field house. I can hear them cheering his name and I know I’m missing it but I can’t find it.

The old stand-by of not remembering that I have a test that I didn’t study for is even in the rotation.

The people are always different and once in a while my nana, papa or grams makes an appearance. I don’t mind those. I also don’t mind when Taylor Kitsch makes an appearance.

They are the kind of dreams that stay with me all day and the last part aside, I could do without them.

3. I could do without every single one of my kids fighting me on when to go to sleep. It bugs the living crap out of me bothers me that they all view going to bed at a decent hour as a punishment.

4. I could do without the constant self-maintenance that comes with getting older. I don’t want to take the time to dye my hair or wax places that no women should have hair but my age and my hormones make it so that I have to schedule what little free time I have to take care of those things. This isn’t self-maintenance but it is about getting older: Yesterday, I pulled a muscle getting into the bleachers for Belle’s volleyball game. Not just a tug but a full-on, “this is going to hurt really bad tomorrow” pull. And it does. So now getting into the bleachers has become dangerous.

Image courtesy of varandah / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of varandah / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. And God love his soul, I could really do without the reminders that there is laundry that needs to be taken care of or tables that need clearing off or things that need to be thrown out. My favorite is the reminder that there is left-over food in the fridge that someone could eat when they get home from school when he knows darn well that our kids are the worst at eating leftovers.







What about you? What do you want or need? What could you do without?

In case you missed it, I’m over at Ten to Twenty with advice for parents who have kids that are soon going to be teenagers. I’d love it if you would visit me there and let me know you did. :) Click the button below:



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