Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mastering (or not mastering) the Art of Worry

If you are a parent, you will relate, and if not, I hope you find something to grab your attention. When I was growing up, especially in high school, I thought that I was invincible. Nothing could ever happen to me. I made bad choices. I drank. I snuck out of the house. I told my parents I hated them. I had a baby my senior year of high school (you do the math). . And while I'm not entirely proud of the choices I made back then, I don't regret a single one. The lessons I learned in high school have stuck with me, preparing me, I think, for parenting my own high schoolers some day. 

Once you become  a parent, all of that invincibility crap goes out the window. Now you are in charge of someone else's life, and suddenly these fears start creeping up on you turning you into a totally irrational being. I don't know how my parents did it. I feel very helpless already, and my kids are nowhere near high school. I'm a worrier. I'm the parent that made my daughter practice walking the three blocks to school for two weeks before school started so she would know all the different routes to take and where to go if she needed anything. I still check on my kids before I go to sleep. I put my hands on their backs to make sure I can feel them breathe. I pull all my kids into my bed when they are sick so they won't suffocate in their own puke. (TMI. I know) I have a hard time letting them ride their bike further than our driveway.

I know it's wrong, and I'm working on it. The fact of the matter is, it won't change anything, and somewhere in my heart I know that God's got this, and I need to let him be in the driver's seat, but man that's hard. I have a hard time knowing where my line needs to be drawn. When do I swoop in and protect them, and when do I let go of the bike and let them ride on their own? What advice do I give them? How do I point them down the right path when I myself am still learning? My experiences are still shaping my faith and my beliefs. What I believed about God as a child isn't necessarily the same as what I believe now. He's better than I knew him to be, but somewhat different from the community I live in. Not to mention, the world we live in now seems to be more cruel and more dangerous. Kids are smoking and experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex at a much younger age than they were when I was a kid. Social media and the internet has made it possible for people to stay connected and for people to meet others and build new friendships in ways that you couldn't do 20 years ago. The flip side of that is scary, though. It is much easier to bully and harass others or BE bullied and get harassed by others. It's scary. How do I protect my kids from this? How do I help them build confidence in themselves to rise above the influence and listen to their their gut? I have so many questions I need answered, and I know that I'm not supposed to have all the answers right now. I'm just supposed to trust. Have faith.

What I do know is that I love my littles fiercely and with all of my soul. I am imperfect and I will make mistakes, but that's the part of life that I want them to grasp. Mistakes shape you. They mold you, and they make you stronger. If nothing else, I want them to know this much. Perfection is for the birds.

 I write this to maybe remind myself that there is a community of parents who are just like me-who struggle with knowing when to let go and how to prepare them for the world out there. I find comfort in knowing that no parent is exactly the same as another. No parenting technique mirrors another. Everyone's beliefs are slightly if not outstandingly different and yet, there are good people everywhere. There are so many amazing parents who just want their kids to grow up happy and healthy. Because of this, there are littles who are growing up to be bigs and are changing the world for the better. They are leaving their mark on this world in a positive way, and THAT my friends is what I want my kids to learn. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Make your mark. Change the world for the good. Do something good with your one wild and precious life.

"This is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen here. Don't be afraid."--Frederick Beuchner

Friday, February 22, 2013


This week I'm enjoying.....

Snuggling babies. Mmmm...I love the smell of babies. I had the privilege of helping out a good friend with her daycare while she was at the doctor's office praying she didn't have to have another surgery. (I feel your pain babe...All.Too.Well) I haven't had any babies to hold in a long time. I'm so ready for Jillian to have those baby girls. SO.EXCITED.

When Dan and I had Sawyer, I was so thrilled that all of my sisters-in-law and one of my besties were all pregnant together. How exciting it was that we all could experience the joys (and sickness and Braxton Hicks and heartburn) together. However, I soon realized that when everyone is pregnant together, myself included, you don't have time to love up other babies. I was selfishly loving up my own. It would have been nice to drink in babies in increments, now that I look back. Now that Dan and I are feeling quite confident that our family is complete, my heart still aches when I get to hold babies--bonus points if they are brand new. I just love their scent, their velociraptor squeaks, their chubby cheeks and soft, smooth skin. Before you comment, I'm NOT saying I'm ready to have another baby. In fact, we are quite content- our little family of five. There are so many things we want to do and places we want to go. Do I have enough love in my heart for another one? Absolutely. But the dreams I have for our family trump adding to our mix at the present moment. We do, however, NOW agree on baby names--just in case. It took us nine months to agree on Sawyer's name, so I guess having some ready to go isn't such a bad thing. We would be the couple that God says one day, "Haha. You thought you were in charge." And until that day comes, I'm going to pretend I am and so no baby will there be. :) For now, I'll continue to love up babies when there are opportunites. I like my sleep thank you very much.

First of the season snow storms.
I use the term snow storm quite lightly. It's quite funny to see and hear all the hype about the impending doom that this snow storm may possibly bring. I think we all forget sometimes that we live in Iowa, and contrary to the last few winters we've had, Iowa is known to have a few doozies. It wasn't uncommon to see 40-50 inches of snow in a winter. I think NW Iowa can handle 4-6 inches. Even so, I joined the hype. I cut out during my prep period and hit up the grocery store for some last minute necessities JUST IN CASE there would be end up being a snow-mageddon and we were stuck in our house for the weekend. Hey, a girl can dream. One of those per winter would be totally acceptable. Alas, it snowed heavily, prompting my husband to remind me that my winter driving skills are not as impeccable as I would like to believe, and that it would probably be in my best interest (and of those on the road with me) to stay home from zumba and Langers. So stay home and cuddle on the over-sized chair with my hubby I did. We had a little Grey's Anatomy marathon and ate our own version of chips and queso while attempting 254 takes of a picture that truely doesn't do our good lucks justice.

Only kidding. Our version of "snowed in" was quite nice indeed. And let me tell ya, I'll trade in one sunrise to a soft blanket of freshly fallen snow today.

Things I'm not enjoying- Being jipped on a late start/snow day today. Criminelly. Only in Iowa.

New Phones.

Change makes me cringe, let me tell ya. I finally get used to something, and then it's time to toss it. This time, however, I was ready and willing to throw my phone out the door. Our service has been very spotty lately, and it wasn't uncommon for it to take four tries before I could actually get through to someone on the other end. The US is strongly dominated by our carrier...EXCEPT this little pocket of NW Iowa which conveniently is dead space. See what I mean?

So, we got new phones. I'm super thankful for a techie husband who makes sure my music and pictures are intact as they get transferred over. I'd screw it up big time.

Date nights with Amy Sue.

There is little better than spending a week night with someone you love that is not your husband. I thoroughly enjoy making the most of life, and so while Dan has his man night, I take an opportunity to spend a few hours watching teen dramas with my sister. I know technically, she isn't my "sister", but I'll be damned if she isn't exactly that. So sister is her name, thank you very much. We laugh. We cry. We tell stories. We share dreams. I sing out loud. She punches me in the stomach. It's all good.

Off to enjoy some sledding with the kids. What are you enjoying right now?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our Weekend

Our weekend served up just the right dose of staying home and going away. Don't get me wrong, I love the weekends where we get to go someplace spontaneous and make memories elsewhere, but there is something about being home that is just good for the soul.
 Jaedyn has been begging for many weeks to have a friend or two overnight. We are starting to feel the effects of not living in the same place as the kids go to school. She is at the age when sleepovers are becoming more frequent and asking to have friends come and play is a nightly ritual. I feel bad that most nights we don't get home until 5 o'clock, and after homework, supper and chores are finished, there is rarely time for friends. Summer is looking better and better right now! Anywho, we finally were able to make it work for her to have a couple of friends over and she was ecstatic. They spent their evening, among other things, enjoying pizza and ice cream sundaes, singing karaoke and watching a movie on the big screen. I wish I would have grabbed a picture of their sprawled out bodies overlapping one another on the couch when I went down to check on them. How anyone can sleep in this position, I don't know.

Saturday afternoon was spent at home. Nothing much got accomplished, but sometimes it's better to cheer on your daughter while she breaks her record of jumping on her pogo stick 103 times before falling off or watching Diego as you cuddle up on the couch with your three your old for the millionth time. Evening would have brought about more unneeded tube time if my sister in law, Amy hadn't called inviting me to take a friend's place to go see the Johnny Holm Band in Sioux Falls. Not one to turn down an opportunity to make memories and shake my groove thing on the dance floor, I accepted. What followed was many hours of laughter, dancing and inappropriate dance moves that place us permanently on the Awkward Dancers List if there actually is such a thing. I had tons of fun meeting new people and letting loose. Dan is not exactly a pro in the rhythm department, and maybe that is why he doesn't like to go dancing, but I so enjoy going out with the girls to dance my heart out as uncoordinated or dance floor challenged as I may be. Just for the record, if you are ever able to see the Johnny Holm Band perform in your area, RUN, don't walk to the nearest ticket stand and grab them. You won't be sorry. They are the greatest cover band I've ever listened to. You'll know all the songs and will undoubtedly feel the urge to" party like it's 1999".

This morning I woke up, nearly deaf in my left ear, with the most annoying ringing sound that hasn't gone away since I left the dance floor last night. So.Worth.It. We made it to church, and spent the next few hours at my dad's house with stuffed crust pizza, littles running around, boys playing x-box, and a brother with a creepy mustache who likes to get karate chopped in the throat trying to taze family members (just kidding Colin. The mustache is classy). And this my friends. This is the image of gratitude and happiness that I get to live so close to my family. I get to watch my nieces and nephews grow up. I get to mess around with my younger brothers the same way I got to with Casey when we were little. Ten years is a long gap in age, but it's so amazing to watch them grow up and be a part of their lives, give them advice, and watch them enjoy their childhood and teenage years.

Finally, it was 47 degrees here today. B-E-A-UTIFUL! I went for a walk with a good friend, played Yahtzee with Carter, played hidden picture games on the computer with Jaedyn, made fuzzy monsters with Sawyer and now I sit in my big comfy chair, relaxing with my hubby as my littles are tucked away in bed and we get ready to start the week. Feeling quite blessed tonight.

 Here's to a great week people! Enjoy the small things.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Not so Sappy Valentine's Day Post and the Time Where I May or May Not Have Almost Started the House on Fire

I'm a sucker for the holidays (Christmas in particular). There's something about a holiday that makes me feel extra cheery and puts me in the mood for some messy crafts and good old fashion cut out cookies. I love giving my kids little trinkets and treats that they look forward to opening on that special day, and raising them with an appreciation for a good old celebration doesn't hurt. Since my kids have been itty bitty, I have tried to make a big deal about holidays, but I know that I haven't done as much as I would like to. Some of that is because of lack of finances or the fact that procrastination is my middle name, and by the time I would like to do fun things, the opportunity is long gone. In other words, my holiday freak flag is raised high around the holidays.

Valentine's Day was never one of my favorites growing up. While I will cry at a good chick flick and was raised on Disney movies as a little girl, sappy has never described me. I get really awkward and sweat starts to drip from my forehead when there is anything more than a quick peck or hand holding by couples in public. It makes me feel weird. At home, I love a good romantic moment where my husband says something sweet or brings me flowers, but in general, sappy and me just equal awkward.

Now that I have kids however, I relish in the fact that I get to make holidays, birthdays, and get togethers into grand celebrations and use them as an excuse to raise my holiday freak flag even higher. Valentine's Day to me doesn't mean sappy or romance. To me it means, I get to spend another day showing my kids how much I love them. And I love them so much it hurts. Here are a few things that we've done to get into the mood for loooove.

On Monday, I ran to Fareway to grab a few last minute supplies. The kids wanted to make cupcakes and cookies, and being the Betty Homemaker I am, I decided to go all out and make homemade buttercream frosting. Delish! We had a lot of fun making and eating the mess!

                                    They are a lot like their mama. We are suckers for batter and dough.

 Once we had all this yummy, sugary deliciousness made, it was clear it needed to be given away or it would take 1,000 zumba classes to work off what I would have put in my  mouth. We ended up taking a plate of goodies over to my brother's house and Sawyer got to take a plate to share with his daycare friends. Win-Win
The true procrastinator that I am decided to put up all the Valentine's decor up on Monday. Yep. Three days before the big day. Oh well. I suppose we will enjoy it through February. A little love never hurt anyone. We finished the evening off with baths and a Charlie Brown Valentine's Day special. Can't go wrong with that!

Today, being the amazing parents we are (insert sarcasm here), Dan and I decided to surprise the kids with their favorite breakfast: triple cheesy scrambled eggs and pancakes (double bonus if they are heart shaped and pink). They were super excited. I believe the words "you're the best parents ever" and "I love you. I love you. I love you" and "WOO HOO" were uttered a couple million times. Score one for us. It wouldn't however be good Wolfswinkel fashion if the morning didn't go down without a few kinks. And by kinks I mean I may or may not have almost started the house on fire with some tissue paper and a candle. No worries. I'm a fire fighter's wife. (Oh wait...the last time I heard those words I was on my rear at the bottom of a fireman's pole with a shattered ankle.) Nevertheless, no harm, no foul.

Tip number #3508: Do NOT put a candle on the same table where you are going to let your children open up presents. For the record, tissue paper will go up in flames in .3 seconds and that baby will take out the entire table's worth of cargo if you don't throw it on the linoleum (risking your own hand) and spray it with the sink hose until there is a lake in your kitchen. The evidence was minor.
I will finish off my Valentine's Day with some zumba and the traditional Thursday night girls' night out at Langers. I gotta show my ladies some love too. :) And THAT my how we do Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reflecting and Enjoying......

"Enjoying the small things" has always been my motto, my mantra if you will. It's something I've intentionally tried to keep at the forefront of my priority list, especially in the midst of much sadness and tragedy over the course of the last few months. From the heart breaking shootings in Conneticut, to losing loved ones to cancer, new cancer diagnosises, car accidents where families are torn apart, and one near and dear to my heart right now-- a good friend and co-worker who lost her 26 year old husband to altitude sickness almost two weeks ago. Watching a 22 year old widow grieve the loss of her husband is sobering and gut-wrenching to say the least. It's in the midst of these moments whereI find that I am the most introspective and reflective about life and faith and tend to question "What is this life all about" more frequently. What I've discovered is that the only thing I can do is live my one wild and precious life to the fullest capability I can. And I tend to do so as fully as I can before I am called to my heavenly home.

In order to live my own wild and precious life, I need to grasp those things that wouldn't be newsworthy events or even things that you would talk about at family get-togethers, necessarily. Heck, these things wouldn't probably be on many facebook walls either (except for will definitely find them on mine). But I crave these moments...these little things..because I find them daily. The more I find them, the more blessed and happy I feel. I crave these little moments that make my day more fulfilled. I hope one day my kids will learn to find happiness in these little things themselves. Being happy is contagious, and I plan to pass along my "sickness" to as many people as I can. :)

Here are some things I'm enjoying right now:
Trying out Bantu curls from Pinterest
Remember all those epic fail pictures on pinterest. Yep....that's us. You live and you learn. Next time we will make sure it dries all day first. Still good quality bonding time was had.
Birthday celebrations where you get to talk in British accents and spend 5 hours laughing with your best friends while your husbands stare at you from the other side of the table wondering whether to claim you or just ignore you. They chose the latter. (But they didn't threaten to leave us there without rides. That's true love.)

February camp-outs in your bedroom are a must when you can't go outside!

Doggy piles--'nuff said

Real pedicures even when you can't wear flip flops. The snowflakes are a nice touch.

Spa a la Wolfswinkel. The perk about winter is that you don't take off your socks as often making it perfect for painting little boys toenails pink, purple and blue. :)

It has been a tradition since summer to head to Langer's every Thursday night after zumba. There's something about girl time that is so good for the soul. It makes me a better mom, a better wife, and makes me appreciate these awesome women in my life. Even when we can't all make it every week, when we can, we make the most of it. We laugh, we cry, we dream, we plan, we enjoy.

Right now the sun comes up at exactly the perfect time--right on my way to work. It's a shame that it's always at my back, and being that it's Iowa, seeing a sunrise can be few and far between the cloudy yucky days. But when it's there, Oh lawd have's gorgeous. I have to pull over sometimes just to admire it's beauty. It's the small things people.

Tiny 1 lb 6 oz puppies that make my chubby 20 pound puppy run for cover. She's just the cutest thing I've ever seen and can entertain the children for days. Too cute.
And just in case you don't believe in rainbows and unicorns yet......Here is a little extra ooomph to scoot you along. And when chocolate says's true.
Happy Weekend to you!