Doing Better

Things are better since my last post.  That was my depression speaking.  We have made a dent in the Christmas shopping.  I have plans for how the cookies will get made.  Life is going on.  The tree was decorated Monday night (tonight is Friday).  I also have my Christmas village up.  Other decorations are up around the house.  That is helping my mood as well.  I’m starting to get into the spirit of the season.  Today I took the day off with Robert to do shopping.  We started at 8am and went until about 4pm.  We are both whooped tonight.  We are having pizza and watching “The Santa Clause” with the kids.  Time to watch the movie and head to bed soon.  Tomorrow is a full day of Girl Scout activities.



I’m not sure where to even start anymore.  I feel like I’m not living life, more like I’m going through the motions.  I’m trying to make a huge effort to engage with the kids and have open conversations.  I am my harshest critic and I feel like I’m failing.  Yet I look back at this Thanksgiving weekend at Mom and Dad’s, and I feel like super woman.  Mom had foot surgery so I did a large portion of the cooking and clean up from Wednesday-Saturday.  On top of that, Mom and I made efforts to play games with the kids and cut down on the amount of time they were on electronics (tv or tablet).  They loved the attention and learning new games.  However, by the end of Saturday, I had enough of doing all the work while Robert watched videos on his tablet or read his book.  My only chance to really relax was after 8:30 when the kids were in bed.

Coming home today, we pulled the van up next to the mailbox so that we could get the mail.  He got too close and ended up scraping my mirror on the mailbox and left some ugly scratches on it.  I honestly don’t know if he didn’t realize how close he was or if he wanted to show off how the mailbox will spring back to its original location (snowplow proof).  We went and picked out our Christmas tree for this year.  By the time we got home, I just want a big sign on me saying “Leave me alone!”  I don’t think Robert realizes where all this is coming from. Deep down, I’m afraid that if I confront him with all of this, I’ll be the one apologizing, and I don’t think that I should be.  The other possibility is that he will say he is a bad hubby/father, which he isn’t.  I don’t want to have to comfort him after telling him how frustrated I am.

More on just going through the motions of life rather than living:  work is piling up with projects for me to work on, Laura has the school play this week which I somehow ended up volunteering to help with several nights, Laura and I have a chiropractor appointment on Wednesday evening, between play performances, church programs, teaching Sunday School, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts (which is on Robert), I have no clue how I am going to get things ready for Christmas.  I refuse to decorate the house when it isn’t clean.  I don’t know when it will be cleaned at this point.  The kids are definitely old enough to help at 10 & 8, but I also get tired of yelling at them to help out.  I had to schedule when we were going to visit Santa (Dec 16) since every time before then is so full.  I am feeling like I am not getting to make choices for what I do and it is all about the kids.  I know that this is only for a limited time overall that I’ll be scheduling my life around the kids, but it is hard to keep that focus right now.  I’m tempted to take a day off work so I can be at home, cleaning and getting the Christmas decorations out and get cookies made.  That may actually require 2 days, but I know I can’t afford to be gone that much unpaid (very minimal PTO available).

Time to give kids attention.  Hoping to write more later.




It is my goal to revive my blog.  I want to use it as an outlet and to track the kids.  I can’t believe that Warren will be 5 in just 1.5 months.  Laura just turned 7.  I went back and read what I wrote when they were little, and I miss having that documented.  I put a lot on Facebook, but I don’t know how easy that will be to get to when I want it later.

Laura had to go in and have surgery today to have her ear tube removed.  She is still in a little bit of pain.  The doctor said there shouldn’t be much, but I have to listen to what Laura tells me.

Warren is still my little monkey.  He likes to climb and pester his sister.

Today we take off for Spirit Lake, IA.  It is our family Christmas (Neppl side) and celebrating Grandma’s 90th birthday.  Time for me to get off the computer and get packing!  Robert did a lot while I was at the hospital with Laura, but I need to get her clothes packed, my clothes, and the last few items pulled together.



Great Day

Today has been a great day.  I was able to wake up this morning on my own, meaning no alarm clock.  When I came upstairs, the kids were both up and happy.  I got them each what they wanted for breakfast.  Warren made my coffee for me.  We sat together and watched cartoons for a while.  I also did my Saturday morning chat with Mom.  It was shorter today than usual, but that’s ok.  It is so nice to touch base with her at least once a week.

Laura had a Girl Scout trip to Skyzone today.  She had a blast jumping for an hour.  I was would have considered jumping, but my tattoo is fresh enough I was afraid to have my shirt rub too much.  Once we were finished at Skyzone, Laura chose Subway for lunch.  She ended up eating a 6 inch sub and drinking all of her milk.  She ate about half of her chips at Subway, and finished them in the car on the way home.  After lunch, Laura and I went to Kohls to do some shopping.  I need some summer clothes, as does she.  We had a good time wandering and shopping.  She ended up getting a dress, several pairs of capris, and two pairs of shorts.  I found some capris, shorts, and shirts for work this summer.

Now that we are back home, Laura is sitting next to me reading a book, Warren is napping, Robert is out in the garage, and I have a cat purring happily on my lap.  Thankfully my lap is large enough for a cat and laptop.  Although the cat has been know to force the laptop to relocate.  :)

This has been a great start to Mother’s Day this year.




Yesterday I went to a conference for work about becoming a happy, confident woman.  I wasn’t expecting to come away with so much to think about.  One thing we really focused on were our goals.  It raised some very good questions that I have been forced to consider.  Am I doing what I want?  Am I doing my job just because I fell into it?  Do I want to do this forever?  Do I even want to be working full-time?  And those are just the questions raised related to work.  I have several questions raised in my personal and spiritual life as well.  So much to be thinking about and considering.

I will say that I have a renewed desire to lose weight.  The numbers on the scale have started creeping up.  I told myself when I lost all the weight to begin with that I will never see some of those numbers again.  If I don’t start changing this now, those numbers will reappear, and I will beat myself up even more.  So for now, I am tracking everything that I eat.  I am focusing on drinking more water (which will hopefully mean less snacking) and eating balanced meals.  For this first week, I’m just recording what I eat.  It doesn’t matter how bad.  I just need a starting point.  Next week I will start looking at what I eat and how to alter it slightly to make it healthier.  Thankfully I have a great app on my iPad to help me with all of this!

Home front, things to be fairly status quo.  Robert and I are both making an effort to keep the house a bit more tidy.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m not embarrassed to have people come over at this point.  I think we’ve made a point of doing the dishes after every meal for close to a week now.  For those that truly know us, this is unusual.  I do hope that we can continue this trend.  We are also making the kids pick up their stuff more, rather than leaving it lay around the living room.  I would really like to do a big purge of toys soon since they don’t play with probably half of what they have.

This weekend we don’t currently have any firm plans, but we do know that we’d like to do something.  Hopefully it will be a nice weekend.



Tonight’s Gonna be a Good Night

I have a high school classmate that has a 2 year old son.  He has an undiagnosed condition that lands him in the hospital quite frequently.  I follow what she posts as a way to lend support from afar.  I can’t imagine all that she is going through, physically and mentally.  She also has two girls that are older (I think about 4 and 6).  I know that she can sit there and complain how life isn’t fair.  However, I don’t think I’ve heard her take a “pity me/us/him” attitude once.  I know that she has her moments to break down and cry, but she wouldn’t be human if she didn’t.  Anyways, one of her postings today was thinking how different her family is.  Her dinner isn’t inspired by Pinterest, but by either cafeteria or take-out.  Her diaper bag isn’t about fashion, it’s a traveling hospital.  I could go on and on, but you get the point.  It has inspired me to truly appreciate each day with my family.

My new goal is to have dinner as a family as many nights as possible.  I realize that there will be nights it just won’t work, but I won’t beat myself up over it.  Tonight we had breakfast for dinner, French toast and sausage.  After dinner, I decided to whip up a batch of brownies, with frosting of course!  Robert and I did the dishes together while the kids played and the brownies baked.  So tonight, we had a nice family dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, the kids picked up the living room, dessert was made, dishes from dessert were done, and kids were in bed close to on time.  It truly was a good night.  I don’t think we even needed to discipline the kids much!  These are the nights that I want to treasure.  These are the nights that I picture us having as an “ideal family”.  I can say with certainty that my classmate from high school would love to have an evening like we had.  Her three kids at home, happily playing together, being able to eat together as a family, and all sleeping under the same roof.  When this does happen for them, I know that she treasures those nights.

When I went through my cancer treatments, people kept telling me how amazed by me they were and how inspiring I was.  I didn’t get it at the time.  I just did my thing to make it through each day.  I get it a bit more now.  So many lessons to be learned in life.  Some of the greatest teachers are the smallest people.



Home Sick

I have been travelling for the last week.  I came down to Kansas City, Missouri last week for Camex.  I was supposed to leave Thursday morning, but had to leave Wednesday afternoon to beat a snow storm.  I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the kids.  My goodbye was very quick for Robert.  I’ve tried talking to the kids and Robert via Facetime and Skype, but the kids just aren’t interested in talking very long.  I was supposed to fly out at 5:15 tonight.  At noon I was notified that my flight tonight was cancelled.  I am now sitting in my hotel room watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.  I am so ready to go home and be with my family.



Illness Strikes

I don’t know what is up lately, but I’ve gotten a bad bug.  I get waves of nausea.  I can’t be up for very long periods of time.  I am also exhausted.  This all started last Monday.  I was out of work on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was good to go from Thursday to Sunday night.  Sunday night it came back.  I am home from work again today.  I’m hoping that a day of rest will get me back on my feet and back to work tomorrow.



School Starting

I am struggling more than I thought I would with my baby girl starting kindergarten this year.  4K was no big deal to me, but this year seems bigger somehow.  Perhaps it is because it is a full day now.  She’ll be with all the other big kids.  She’ll truly be starting her school career.  It reinforces just how much she is growing up.  The following letter was read on the radio this morning.  Yes, I teared up.  Just for reference, Laura is wearing  blue shirt today.

I Trust You’ll Treat Her Well
By Victor Buono

Dear World:

I bequeath to you today one little girl … in a crispy blue dress … with two blue eyes … and a happy laugh that ripples all day long … and a flash of blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you’ll treat her well.

She’s slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning … and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she’ll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say “Good Bye”… and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she’ll learn to stand in line … and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She’ll learn to tune her ears to the sounds of school-bells … and deadlines … and she’ll learn to giggle … and gossip … and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she’ll learn to be jealous. And now she’ll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she’ll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in a sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew. No, now she’ll worry about important things. Like grades … and which dress to wear … and who’s best friend is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she’ll find new heroes.

For five full years now I’ve been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and father and friend. Now she’ll learn to share her worship with her teachers … which is only right. But, no longer will I be the smartest man in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time … she’ll learn what it means to be a member of a group. With all it’s privileges. And it’s disadvantages too.

She’ll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud. Or kiss dogs. Or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms. Or even watch ants scurry across cracks in the summer sidewalk.

Today she’ll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I’ll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to become a woman.

So, World. I bequeath to you today one little girl … in a crispy blue dress … with two blue eyes and a happy laugh that ripples all day long … and a flash of blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.

I trust you’ll treat her well.




Today at church we celebrated Pastor John’s birthday, 25 years being an ordained minister, and 20 years at Peace.  Our usual one hour church service went slightly over 90 minutes.  The love and appreciation we have for our pastor and his family was overwhelming at times.  I am thankful that I’ve never had a crisis where I needed my pastor to come to me.  However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’d be there for me/us if we need.  His wife is an amazing lady as well.  She is heavily involved, and I’ve never heard her complain.  I was telling Robert on the way home that while we do a great job of showing our love and appreciation for PJ and Julie, we can’t forget about his kids.  They have missed time with their dad because of his pastoral duties.  They are great people because they have great parents.  So here is my thanks to Pastor John and his family.  Thank you for your many years of service to Peace.  Thank you for all that you do (it is too much to list out!).  Here’s to many more years at Peace (I hope!).  May God bless you in all that you do.