Archive for Random

08 Nov 2015

Instructions for Grandma: How to Take Care of 4 kids for 3 days

No Comments Adventures, Kids, Lifestyle, Personal, Random, Travel

Dear Grandma (and Aunt Gina):

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for volunteering for the best three days of your life! Not only have you awesomely given me and Chance the opportunity to sit on a beach and do nothing for THREE FULL DAYS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, you have volunteered to lovingly take care of our not one, not two, not three but four beautiful children! Honestly, we can’t thank you enough and hope that you have an amazing time with the kiddos! (Could you please sign appendex 4 and return it with a notary stamp so that the contact is bound and we know that you won’t back out last minute? Thanks!)

I have put together a manual for you so that you’ll have a brief run down of events and schedules, important numbers, medical information, the children’s likes and dislikes, etc. so that way you are prepared for the three days you’ll be here! (It was all my pleasure and the least I could do!) I know you have a college education, two masters degrees and will retire this year from education, but things have changed since you raised me, and I just want to make sure you are properly trained to manage four kids…the right way.

It’s not too long (456 pages, single spaced with 10 appendices) and should be read prior to boarding the plane to visit! I have also taken the liberty to brief you here with some of the more top of mind things you should be aware of. I’ve made a brief outline of what is going on for the day, what your responsibilities are, the processes and procedures that take place so we won’t have many “Mr. Mom” moments…i.e “You’re doing it wrong.” Pretty straight forward really.

I’ve also included the links to instructional videos that you can reference if you have any questuons about how it actually should be done (what goes in each kids’ lunch, how to cut tomatoes, how to make an “Abby Grilled Cheese” or how to read “Pete The Cat” correctly (because if you don’t do it exactly right, Abby might just melt down and possibly explode!

If you remember correctly, I wrote you a four page letter abut 10 years ago when you had first offered to watch our first born child. I think we went to Vegas and I gave you an instruction manual for our then 9 month old. If I remember correctly, you told me you followed everything to a tee, so this should be like riding a bike!

So here it goes! Please make sure to print this out, take notes in the columns and have sticky notes readily available to be able to reference the items in the complete instruction maual that I have Fed Ex’d to you yesterday.

Wednesday

8am Arrival – Marisa to pick you up at airport

9:00am– Short breakfast meeting to go over any questions that may have arisen after reading manual. All notarized paperwork should be turned in.

10:00am– Short “how to go to the park” session with Abby to go over all playground rules and safety procedures when at said park. We will be going to one of the approved parks on the list (See appendix C for complete list of approved outdoor play spaces in Tampa)

11:00am-Return home to begin training. “How to Fix Abby Lunch” will be first on the schedule.

12:00pm– Training continues with “How to Put Abby to Sleep”. It is important to follow proper steps (on left side with blanket tag in hand) or the sleep process might not happen if not followed completely. We advise you take notes, pictures or video to remember.

12:15pm-Training continues with a house tour to guide you through where everything is.

12:30pm-Training continues with a “How to Cook Dinner” Tutorial. Approved menu options can be found on Appendix D in the Instruction Manual.

12:45pm- 12:55pm Lunch or Rest (one or the other)

1pm-Training continues as you prepare to get ready for afterschool pick up, homework, sport practices and afternoon chores.

1:15pm-Training continues with chore list expalniation. Please refernce appendex E for what chores are to be done daily.

1:30pm-Abby should wake up

2:00pm– Get ready to leave. Pack cooler with snacks for after school. Bring pencils to do homework in car.

2:10pm– Leave to start pick up routine

2:30pm–  Pick up #1: Shelby. Have a snack and do homework in car.

2:50pm-Pick up #2: Mia.

3:15pm– Pick up #3: Jake.

3:30pm– Arrive home.

3:45pm-Training continues with homework, dinner prep and after school activities.

5:00pm– After school activities begin. Please see appendix C for schedule of after school activities by day. Home work will need to be completed with each child individually. We find that the “new” homework takes twice as long and you might need to pour yourself a cocktail while assisting the children with their common core math homework. Should you need assistance in finding an answer (because you cannot understand the problem) we suggest you ask your Facebook friends for assistance. There is no other alternative.

  
7:00pm-Meal training. Please see list of organic, free-range and approved meal options. Dinner must be a 4-course meal, chosen from the approved list of meals and must be served at 7:00pm.

7:10pm– Training continues for clean up and bedtime routine.

7:30pm-Watch an approved show from the list of approved television shows (see appendix D).

8:00pm– Read books. The children may choose a book from the approved list (see appendix E). 

8:30pm-Bedtime. 

8:35pm-Laundry (washing, folding putting away), next day preparation-back packs, lunch prep, breakfast/ morning prep & house cleaning. Please see the checklists for each activity and follow accordingly.

11pm-Take Abby to the bathroom. Should you miss this step, there might be consequences as she is still potty training.

11:15pm-Sleep. But be aware that there might be middle of the night training as nightmares or accidents might occur.

11:30pm-Set alarm for 5am. Sleep

5am-Wake. Begin morning routine training. Coffee is mandatory. Please be showered and ready at this time and meet in the kitchen.

5:15am-Begin to finalize lunches and backpacks.

5:30am- Begin to prepare the children’s breakfast or homemade organic waffles, fruit, freshly squeezed juice and grass-fed bacon. 

6:15am- Wake the kids. 

6:30am– Make sure everyone is up and getting ready.

7:00am-Hair. You’ll have had to complete beauty school training in order to complete the desired French braids and fishtail braids that the three girls will need preformed on their hair. (This training should have been completed prior to arrival.)

7:30am-Final check.

7:35pm-Leave for school. 

8am-Drop off. Begin day with Abby.

REPEAT

———————

But in all honesty, none of this really matters.

  
 As long as my kids are in your care, you have my blessings to do things your way. You raised me just fine and I know you’ll have the most amazing time with these kids doing whatever it is you want to do.

I Hope you throw this list away. I hope you make memories with your Grandkids and that you have a most amazing time just hanging out. Take them out of school. Give them donuts for breakfast. Let them sleep in your arms. Let them know that you love them and make memories that they will cherish forever. I cannot thank you enough for watching over them. I love you to the moon and back, Mom. Have a great time with the kids.

Love, 

Marisa

24 Sep 2014

Blindsided

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Personal, Wordless Wednesday

The definition of the word ‘blindsided’ is to catch (someone) unprepared.

Ummm … that word ‘unprepared’ is not in my vocabulary if you know me, yet that’s how this life with CAH works.

This was yesterday. Y E S T E R D A Y.

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Read more

12 Nov 2013

#InspiredBy My Husband…The Honest Man

1 Comment Adventures, Everyday, Lifestyle, Random

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

This week the Today Show has been talking to people that inspire. I love inspiration. I am a dreamer. I am a doer. I am a person who does find stregnth from people that inspire me each day to do better, reach for more, live for more, and help me realize that I am fortunate enough to live the life that I live in so many ways.

But today, I am inspired by my husband. He much like many other men in America. He works for his family and loves us unconditionally. He is hard working, honest, caring and loving, and today I could not be prouder of him and feel more inspired by his actions. Today he will received, what I think, is one of the most prestigious awards. A citizen award from the Tampa Police Department. He helped catch a few “bad guys” in our neighborhood and because of him, a few of them are no longer stealing from our neighbors. He did the right thing. He didn’t make it a big deal, but I think it is a huge deal. He’s not the spotlight kind of person…that’s just him. And all the more reason he inspires me.

Chance inspires me because from the moment I meet him because he’s always wants to do the right thing. Family values are the highest of priority for him. Because that’s what matters the most. He has taught me that above all, it is family that should be put first. He has a strong set of values I hope our children will carry with them through life.

Today, we will watch him be recognized for something that he did because he knew it was right. A lesson any parent wants to teach their children: right from wrong. I am inspired by his humbleness and his willingness to always do the right thing. He has done it for many years when no one was looking. This inspires me to make sure that I am living my best life, but I hope my children will remember today too. It might make their road of life easier to navigate if they is always honest. We can show our children how we’d like them to behave, but we can only pray for our children to do the right thing when the time comes for them to make decisions without us.

So that’s my daily dose of inspiration. I hope that you find inspiration from people around you too. The people who are in my life, those who I call friends and family, I am inspired by each and everyone of you in simple ways that you probally don’t even realize. Thank you for keeping me going. I know you are in my life for a reason and I am so glad you are there too.

19 Dec 2012

Lucky Number 7

3 Comments Adventures, Holidays, Random, Tampa, Wordless Wednesday

I have never really thought of birthdays being special. They are for the kids, but for me, it’s work. The presents, the party, the friends…It’s another birthday that I have to make special for my kids. I love it (and them) but it’s a birthday and that means work for me.

But today, and from now on, I think birthdays are something so much more. They are magical…special and are so important.

Today we are celebrating my daughter’s birthday…her 7th birthday. Lucky number 7.

It’s a random year, not too big of a milestone, but a birthday none the less. And THAT, to any 6 year old turning 7, it means the world.

This year, the meaning of the age 7 has changed for me as well as many others.

My daughter will get to BE 7.

We will not only get to celebrate her 7th birthday but we will get to she her be 7 for another year. She will loose more teeth, she will ride her bike, play with dolls, get better at reading, spelling and math, she will excel in gymnastics, and run and play as free as any 7 year old would do.

She gets to BE 7 and I get to watch her be 7 every day.

***

I usually wake up in order to get a little silence in before the chaos starts. But the silence has not been broken yet this morning. It’s dark, it’s quiet. My house will soon be a buzz with the sounds of life. It can be overwhelming and I get frustrated. I tell (or yell) at them to BE QUIET! I want everyone to be quiet because the baby is sleeping. I want the peace and quiet. I want the crying baby to stop crying. I want my oldest two to stop arguing. I want my 3 year old to stop whining. They get louder. I get louder. But then the sweet sounds come too. They laugh. They giggle. They help each other out. Four kids make noise loud enough to resemble a 24 hour house party when given the chance.

But it’s the silence I crave and the silence I fear. I could not imagine the silence forever. I want to hear “row row row your boat” 4, 578 times…in a row. I want to hear them. I love their sweet little voices and couldn’t imagine not hearing them ever again.

***

So today the silence will break as it usually does. I will welcome it. I will welcome all that goes along with my 6 turning 7 year old, and the rest of the crew to celebrate this new day. Because today is a birthday! And day that she will run out of her room screaming “ITS MY BIRTHDAY!” ITS MY BIRTHDAY!” We will celebrate her 7th birthday like it’s 1999, and hug and kiss and smile like it is the best day in the whole world! Why? Because to any 6 year old turning 7, it is.

But for me, I will try to hold back the tears when my bouncing 7 year old enters the rooms and screams with pure joy. I will hug her and thank God that we are special enough to see this day. This is a celebration about a new year and what is to come. The 7th birthday has come for her and she will go on being 7 like she is supposed to. I will take her fresh age of 7 and cherish it as the greatest gift that anyone has given us. To all the parents of 6 year old little babies in Sandy Hook, that will not get to see theirs turing 7, I will think of them and what they will miss. It is not fair. In so many ways, it is just not fair. The memory of what happened will be with me each year I get to see my daughter turn another age.

I think the reason many of my friends and I have come to take this harder than some is because we see 6 and 7 year olds each day. Another Mom put it best when she wrote, we know what 6 is. Because we do.

***

Happy 7th birthday to the most amazing daughter…my first little girl, who’s taught me about all the joys that little girls bring to life. I am so excited to see what the next year brings.

17 Dec 2012

My New Normal

3 Comments Everyday, Monday Motto, Random

I haven’t cried.

Not yet.

Not until this morning…when I took my kids to school and learned I had a new normal too.

I did my usual Monday Morning routine of getting up, getting backpacks ready, getting lunches made, making coffee and making breakfast for my kids.

It’s our normal every school day routine. It’s what we know and what we expect.

We got in the car, we talked about how fun the day was going to be… who we were looking forward to seeing and what we were going to do after school. Just like normal.

I thought I was doing good. I had really tried to stay away from the news and pretend like we weren’t really affected by what had happened. I honestly had not cried. It was terrible and I knew that, but it wasn’t effecting my family directly.

However, today was not the normal Monday once we arrived on campus. The first thing my kids did point out the not-so-normal. The police officers standing next to our administration building. The police car.

“Why are they here?”

“What happened?”

That was when everything set in in my mind. This is the normal. This is our new normal. I told my kids that we had a new rule when they got out of the car.

“You have to give me a kiss as well as Shelby and Abby.”

We get rushed. They get rushed out the door. We know we will see each other later. Right? Of course! Like always…

I kissed my kids goodbye…for the day today.

I told them I loved them and I would see them after school… right? That’s what always happens. It’s our normal.

I still have one more left in the car.

I will walk her into school. We walked into school and we walked past the police officers. They said “hi” and they smiled. They gave me a look like they knew that I knew that she was too young to know what had happened. We were on the same page. Protection. They didn’t want to be here as much I didn’t want them to be there. Why did they have to be there? Nothing was going to happen, right? And if something were to happen, they would protect her, right?

Shelby said it best. “Mommy they will keep me safe.”

I could only hope that someone would.

So we walked my last pre-schooler into class. I have her a hug and a kiss and told her I would see her later…just like always…

I went back to the car with the baby and cried. I cried out loud and prayed that my babies would be safe today. I prayed for all the families who could not walk their little ones to school and prayed that all of us who did would see our little ones at 2:30 for pick up.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized a lot of things are different.

***

Having a six-year-old makes me go one step further to only fathom The loss that the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School are feeling today. With their new normal setting in, I can’t imagine what their new normal feels like. I don’t want to.

Today is the first day of their new normal too. They are finding out how to deal with their new normal. And some how, life does move on. Time doesn’t stop. It continues to move on.

***

I’m planning a birthday party for my 6 year old this week. She will be six turning seven.

I will get to see my daughter turn seven.

As we celebrate my daughter’s seventh birthday with such excitement and joy, but my thoughts will be with all those parents who will not be celebrating seventh birthdays with their children.

I’m not sure if it will effect my daughter like December 14th has effected me, but I know that all of her firsts will not come for some families. What she will be able to do will not be able to be done by the children who went to heaven too soon. On her birthday each year, I will try to remember that we are still here for some reason. For some reason, it happened some place else and not at her school. We will celebrate being able to still be around on this Earth… for some reason.

***

I haven’t cried until now. My new normal will take a while for me to get used to. I cry today because I don’t like my new normal. I’m sure there are many others crying today too because they don’t like their new normal either.

***

25 Jun 2012

Life in Numbers

No Comments Random

7 years ago
2 people were married
More than 100 people came
They drove over 200 miles
To 1 farm, in the middle of nowhere
To watch 1 diamond ring get placed on 1 finger
To symbolize a lifetime of togetherness.

Since then…
1 house has become our home
3 children fill it with laughter
1 more child will make their family complete.

We have had…
2,555 days of marriage
100s of fights and 100s of makeups
And changed over 20,000 diapers.

I would say “I Do” 1 million times again to the man I fell in love with
12 years ago.

And I hope to spend 1 million more years with you.

Happy Anniversay, Baby.

“I love you to the moon and back.” (That would be 238,857 miles.)

24 Oct 2011

What Would I Say…

No Comments Random

I have alot of “what would I say” ideas if I were to ever see some of the people that have left this Earth way to early. I have have over 20 years to think about what I would tell my father if I saw him again. And more recently, what I would say to my father-in-law who left us just one year ago today. I would like to think that we would talk like old friends that hadn’t seen each other in a long time. I’m sure that he would want to know how the kids were doing.

Jake is just amazing. He’s such an amazing young man…so polite, handsome, wonderful to his sisters. He is becoming an amazing baseball player too. He’s so smart and we are so proud of him. Mia is my beautiful little girl. She is sweet funny and an amazing gymnast. She is in Kindergarten this year and is having a really great time in school. Each time she looks out the window, she searched for the biggest cloud and tells us that is where you are. And Shelby…I so wished that you could meet this sweet baby girl and see the person that she has grown into. She thinks she is pretty funny. She is spunky and gives the big kids a run for their money. She is a super active little peanut. And everytime she sits in her Daddy’s chair, she calls it Papa’s chair.

Chance is doing amazing. You would be so proud of all that he has accomplished in the last year. I wish that you could come to his office and see that he HAS an office. He is the reason that our family is doing as well as we are and we are proud of him too.

Each time we go to the farm, we think about all that you have left to us and for our kids. The Farm is still our special place to reflect on what family means, what life is all about and what the true meaning of life is all about. Yes, it’s kind of deep, but sometimes, we all need to stop, take time and think about what really matters in our fast paced life that we race to get through sometimes. One day at a time. We miss those that have past and we should cherish those that are still here with us.

28 Sep 2011

We were REALLY hoping for a boy.

1 Comment CAH, Random

As I was watching this weeks epispode of Parenthood, the characters, ….were in the doctors hospital office talking about weather they wanted to learn the sex of their new baby. Obviously, they would find out eventually, but because their son has Aspergers, they were hoping for a girl because there would be less of a chance that she would have the same condition. The highly controversal process of “gender selection“, is something that many debate over…heatedly. I can see Read more

26 Sep 2011

After 15,674 miles, it was time to say good bye.

1 Comment Random, Review

Today marks the end of an era. I sadly parted ways with a trusted friend who had seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. She was in my life for 5 and a half years and each time we meet, I was always excited to see her.

I remember the day we meet like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 2006 and my family was on the most memorable vacation we have had to date. It was at Rosemary Beach Read more

22 Jul 2011

To spoil or not to spoil…that is the question

No Comments Random

I read a blog post from my friend the other day and it really made me think about how I parent. Spoiling my kids is not really something I do too often. When I think of spoiling, I think about how some kid who are spoiled, act like spoiled brats! I am not a fan of “those kids” and really don’t want mine to turn into them. However, I got to thinking… Read more