Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Taste of Spring

After weeks of nasty coldness, we've been blessed with some fantastic, spring-like weather in Omaha - and what a great weekend for it!  We spent our time at basketball, a CHD Awareness Banquet, a little shopping at Scheel's and Costco, and finally, some working and playing outside!  The week ahead looks good, too!  Hope it lasts and can tide us over until our trip to St. Lucia in March!

No Wordless Wednesday this past week...but here are some photos from the weekend for your enjoyment!
Charlotte taking it all in at the CHD Awareness Banquet Saturday night!

Cousins enjoying a FANTASTIC night out - celebrating their special cousin and all her heart friends!

Auntie Lindsey and Charley

Jack and his "stick man" balloon!

Owen's "pigs" in his new flip flops!  He took a nap wearing them!  I can't wait for long-term flip flop weather!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Friday has forever been the one day of the week that I look forward to most. For a very obvious reason...the end of the work week, but also for some not so obvious ones.

When I was growing up, Friday night meant going out for dinner. My dad would come home from work, and we would all go to dinner at Mickel's in Harlan. Friday night was All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken and Snapper, so my parents always ordered that. I think us kids usually ordered burgers or a drumstick, but we all got to enjoy the legendary Mickel's greasy dinner roll. Those rolls were just that - a dinner roll dumped in the deep fryer!! (Lord help our hearts!!). Those nights at Mickel's are so vivid in my memory...I remember Rusty the enormous Shrek-sized cook looking over those swinging doors from the kitchen. On occasion, he would drop off mints for us girls. I remember my Mom and Dad giggling about Mrs. Hemminger stashing chicken into her purse! I remember writing on the paper place mats at our table. Sometimes we did the mind teasers on the front other times we would flip it over and write the names of all of our aunts and uncles. When dinner was over,my parents would pay their less than $20 ticket, and we would head out. Our drive home would typically consist of one cruise of the circuit and then back to our neighborhood. As soon as we hit the main street to head home, squeals of "Erie, Erie!!" would resonate our vehicle...that meant take was the long way home (Erie Drive), around a circle and back to our place on Cheyenne Avenue. (I think we needed to know what was happening in the 'hood while we were gone!)

Friday night also stirs a few other memories from my childhood...popcorn and pop and night time soap operas! My dad loved popcorn. He would make a huge bowl that all of us would skim off of, and he'd finish every last popped and unpopped kernel in that bowl. In the summertime, we'd occasionally take our night time snack outside to the driveway, but when it was prime time TV season, we would watch Dallas and Falcon Crest! I am not quite sure why they thought it was okay for us to watch that late night "smut", but we did! I loved Bobby and Pam way more than JR and Sue Ellen...I thought Charlene Tilton (aka Lucy) was so pretty with her long blonde hair...and Jock and Miss Ellie...what great people!  Falcon Crest followed Dallas.. all I can say is Cole Gioberti...I can't begin to tell you what he did to a young girl's heart!!! (STOP laughing, Angie! I know you know what I'm sayin'!). When the shows were over, we were usually in bed by 10:00, so mom could watch the news.  The nights as I remember them were great...especially because we were together!

Jay and I have tried to make Friday nights special for our kids, too. Jay works until close to 8:00 on Fridays due to end of week collections at the car lot, but we don't let that stop us from eating together...typically Oscar's wings and fries or a large Mama's pepperoni pizza. Movies or Wii are usually next on the agenda and structured bedtime...well, that's usually out the window. In fact, sometimes mom and dad are asleep on the couch before our little guys even think about sleep! It's funny how only 8-10 years ago happy hour and bar night with friends sounded like a great Friday night...I wouldn't trade my new Friday night plans and the boys that I'm hangin' with for the world!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Power of a Song

Somewhere along the way in my 38 years of life, music became a big part of who I am.  I don't know if it was dancing in the living room to old Elvis albums, dance parties in my neighbor Nicole's basement or playing in the band in jr. high and high school.  For whatever reason, music is one of the fibers that makes me who I am...

You all think I am crazy obsessed with Kenny Chesney, and you are probably right! I have seen him in concert 6 times in the past 6 years...and he didn't even tour in Omaha 2 of those years!  I LOVE HIS MUSIC because so many of the songs he sings tell a story that parallels real life. You can put yourself in his songs, and they have real meaning. Every time he sings There Goes My Life, I think of my husband Jay and my step-daughter Brooke and how closely the words mirror the road that they have travelled since the first day Jay found out he was going to be a father for the first time - unwed and 19 years old. Kenny recently had a #1 hit called The Boys of Fall. If you grew up in Harlan, Iowa, passionate about high school football, like I did, you have to picture our small town when he utters the lyrics. The list of Kenny Songs goes on and on, but for me, one song sums up the power of a song...I Go Back.  This song talks about hearing a song today and the place it takes you back in time. There are so many songs that trigger those days when I hear them...

I'll Be There for You (Bon Jovi)...first love, first song.  (Okay, I don't think it was really love...but it felt like it then!)

Everything I Do I Do it for You (Bryan Adams)...Do you remember this song?...Bryan Adams?  Theme from Robin Hood?  Takes me back to the old Harlan swimming pool where I worked many summers.  I was part of the staff that worked at the old pool during the last season that it was open.  This song was a hit at that time, and all of the lifeguards I worked with made it "our" song...(not sure why we needed a song...??!?!)  If it came on the radio, we would sing it over the intercom.  I'm sure the pool patrons and the neighborhood were happy about that!

Fishing in the Dark (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)...The good ol' days at CU.  There were too many Saturday night parties to count where my roommates and I would end up in a circle singing with a bunch of Sig Ep hotties!!

Can't Help Falling in Love with You (Elvis)...Dancing with my Dad at my first wedding.  He loved Elvis, and I couldn't have thought of a better song to have danced with him.  I still remember how handsome I thought he looked in a tuxedo...I don't think I had ever seen him in one before that.

Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)...Bette sings this song well, but there was never a better performance in my mind than when three ladies from our church, some of whom were actually family friends, sang this song at my Dad's funeral.  He loved their voices when they sang at mass, and their rendition of this song was a perfect tribute to him.

Me and My Gang (Rascall Flatts)...Of my two kiddos, Jack is definitely the performer.  Owen...not so much.  Before Owen was born, Jay and I could put in a Rascall Flatts CD, and Jack would dance/gallop for hours.  I have some great video of this that I'll definitely be sharing when he graduates from high school!

How Do I Live (Leanne Rhimes)...I'm taken back to the recording studio where my sister-in-law Holly and I took my step-daughter Brooke to record a cover of this song, so that I could surprise Jay with our first dance at our wedding.

Anything Bon Jovi...Bon Jovi was the first rock concert that I ever got to go to.  I was a junior in high school, and hair bands were it!  I got the best concert t-shirt ever - with a huge picture of Jon Bon Jovi on the front!  (I so wish I had that now for an 80s party!!)  My love for this band continues as I have been to two of their concerts in my 30s too!  Jay and I, along with several other couples we hang out with, have created some gut-busting memories with Bon Jovi playing in the background!

This blog could be longer than it is already becoming because as I'm typing I've thought of a half a dozen more songs that take me back.  I'm sure if you love music, you can relate.

Most recently, I've been touched by a song.  It's was only released in the past couple of weeks.  It's by the country group, Rascall Flatts.  This song has words that are as powerful as any I have ever heard, and especially appropriate if you know anyone who is travelling a road in their life that is difficult.  I turned my family on to this song because it seemed to fit how I was feeling about my sister Kristen's trials and tribulations with Baby Charlotte.  In turn, when she heard it, she immediately related it to her own little family.  Well, Thursday of this past week, this song was exactly what I needed when I was at a loss for words for a friend in need.  You see, I have a girl friend at work.  We have only been friends for less than 2 years, but I consider her one of my dearest.  In late 2009 about 6 months after she and I became friends, she was re-diagnosed with lung cancer after a nearly 7 year remission.  She has fought and continues to fight her fight more graciously than I could imagine.  During 2010, she endured treatment after treatment, some successes, some failures. The lung cancer spread to her liver.  Thankfully, her liver was successfully treated.  But on this day, she shares with me that this dreadful disease has now spread to her brain.  In all of this, I made a promise to her that I would always treat her special treatment, no feeling sorry for her....but on this day, I'm sad.  She's sad.  I have no words for her.  Only a song.

I confessed to her that I had no words, that I didn't know what to say, but the word that I wanted to say were part of a song.  She see she hates country music, and she knows I LOVE IT!  In fact, when we were first getting to know one another, she jokingly told me she questioned whether we could be friends given my love for that "crap"!  She listened and now she knows what I wanted to say because the song could convey the words I just couldn't get out.

That's music...That's a song...That's powerful.