To Honor a Vet

You either are a Veteran, know a Veteran, or at the very least, have met a Veteran.  I am married to a Gulf War Vet and my stepdad and father-in-law are both Vietnam War Vets.  I don’t often think about them being Vets though.  I talk to these three men all the time but I don’t identify with them as Vets.  At least not that often.  One of the only times I stop and think to myself that these men actually fought in a war, is on Veteran’s Day.  These men, whom I love and interact with all the time, whom are a part of my family, actually fought in a war to make sure we are able to live in a free country.

So why is it that I only really take pause to the sacrifices they’ve made for our country when Veteran’s Day comes around?  I mean, I am very proud to be married to a Gulf War Vet.  I am very proud to know and love two men who served our country in the Vietnam War.  I am proud, but I don’t really know what it means to be a Veteran.  Or what it’s like to have served in a war.  The United States celebrates Veterans on Veteran’s Day, but do we, as individuals, really celebrate them?

I am married to a Gulf War Vet and I don’t identify with him as a Veteran. 

Why is that?  If I don’t even identify with him as a Vet how can I really honor him and all Veterans for the individual sacrifices they’ve made?  The only way I could come up with was to take a moment to actually identify with one who sacrificed themselves for my freedom.  To understand.  So I sat down with my husband and asked him what it means to him to be a Veteran.  This is what he said:

“I feel pride to have served my country.  Growing up I heard stories about both my grandfathers serving in World War II and my dad serving in Vietnam.  I had the utmost respect for those who served, particularly those who served in a war.  Hearing stories from my grandparents and studying history, World War II and Vietnam were very scary times for the United States and most of the world.  Knowing this, both my grandpas and my dad signed up on their own to serve and protect this country.  Nothing gets my respect more than that.  Enlisting into the military was my way of paying that respect back.  It also gave me my own sense of honor.”

We all have our ways of honoring Veterans on this day.  In that moment listening to my husband’s pride, not only for his own sacrifice, but his pride and respect for Veteran’s before him, I identified with him.  This is how I choose to honor our Vets — by taking the time to understand and identify with just one.

Vets Day

I’m over you Halloween

Get out of my house witches and goblins and come on in pumpkin pie and fall foliage.  I love Halloween but by the time October 28th rolls around, I’m sorta over it.  I’m so ready for it to arrive but probably more ready for it to leave.  Now I have thoughts of thanks, warm fires and hanging with family.  It always amazes me how much an upcoming holiday consumes our daily lives, thoughts, plans, house décor and entire sections of stores.  I love each and every one of our fall and winter holidays, and I give each of them my undivided attention.  That’s why when one holiday is over and another one is approaching, I switch modes immediately in order to give the appropriate dedication to the upcoming one.

I woke up the morning after Halloween and I could barely stand to look at my Halloween decorations.  I wanted to rip them all down in one dramatic sweep of my arm like those hot love scenes in movies where the man shoves everything off a desk with one arm sweep right before he takes the woman.  In my version I would place Thanksgiving décor in place of all the Halloween decorations that are now laying all over the floor.  I do feel a little guilty about my sudden abandonment of one of my favorite holidays.  But I must admit, I’ve moved on.

As my parting gift to Halloween, I am sharing some of our moments this past Halloween season.  Until next year, Halloween!

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Flashback Friday – Taylor Tribune – 10/04/08

Front Page Forum

Some of you may have noticed the increase in cost for this edition.  I am not going to blame it on the economy, the mortgage industry or the Bush Administration.  I actually had a few people who wrote in letting me know there were some uncharacteristic mechanical and context errors in the last circulation.  So in order to avoid this embarrassing realization I will have to put some extra time and effort in during the editing process to ensure we continue to put out the highest quality of newsletter our loyal readers so deserve.  We do appreciate your continued loyalty and will definitely put your extra money to good use.  I can’t be expected to work for free as I’m sure you all understand.  Now on to the weather… it’s cool, it’s windy, and it’s spooky outside… ah yes, it’s fall!  Anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite time of year!!

Levi’s Legacy

Levi is days away from turning 4.  We cannot believe he is about to be 4 years old.  I think we all say it every year with each child because it just doesn’t seem possible that our kids can be as old as they ever are – ever!  We are having a fire truck themed party this year.  You would think with 4 boys and Keith being a firefighter we would already have had a fire truck themed party but this is actually the first one.  Levi is really into fire trucks and LOVES going to the station and sitting in the bucket truck.  It is definitely his favorite.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact Keith drives it and tells Levi it is his favorite too.  Although he is almost 4 we haven’t quite mastered potty training.  And the minute you judge me just remember someone else is judging you for something.  He goes pee just fine and makes it to the bathroom when he has to go.  He also is fully aware that he needs to poop in the potty.  The concept is by no means lost on him.  He just simply chooses not to.  When he has to go he will tell us he has to go poop and he will take off his pants and put his Pull Ups on and go into the bathroom and poop.  He will then come out and tell us he pooped.  And just in the more recent weeks he will proceed to tell us what size his poops are.   As with any boy he is most fascinated with his poop.  He always wants to see it.  We tell him he cannot see it because he needs to poop in the potty in order to see it.  We even bought him a Batmobile and Batcycle AND a Diego Rescue Pack and showed them to him and told him if he wanted them he must go in the potty.  He was so excited and ran and sat on the potty and actually tried to poop.  The problem was he didn’t really have to go.  He asked us if we could help him “squish it out” for him.  I felt so bad for him.  Over the next several days he would sit on the potty and try to poop because he really wanted those toys.  We never had any luck.  Ahh!!  I don’t know anyone who went off to college who wasn’t potty trained so I know it will come in time.

Levi Luke Layton Wagon

Lukey Tales

It seems our little Lukey finally busted his teeth through.  He is doing so much better and not whining as much which means he is not in as much pain.  He had the worst time getting those teeth in.  The poor kid.  He also has broken through the “verbal threshold” as I call it – or maybe someone else called it that and I stole.  Whatever it may be, he’s talking!  Now it’s not like he is spewing out sentences but he will repeat about every word when prompted and he will communicate what he wants now with attempting to say the words instead of standing there crying (which is what his main mode of communication has been for almost two years).  It must be frustrating to understand what’s going on and know in your mind what you want to convey but not be able to form the words to say it!  I’d be a whiney little sh*t too.  We’re also pretty sure that Lukey thinks he’s still the baby.  He’s very high maintenance and refuses to have much independence.  He’d just as soon remain little forever and let us wait on him and carry him around most of the day.  He likes to be swaddled, cuddled and talked to like a baby.  I think if I let him nurse he would.  But we don’t mind.  We did sort of screw him out of being the baby for very long.  He was only 7 months old when little Layton was conceived (about the same age Layton is now).  Dad has taught him some bad habits lately.  It seems he’s been giving Lukey Dum Dums to make him happy (a little sucker for those who don’t know what that is).  Keith calls them “pop ups”.  So I was holding Lukey the other day and I walked past the cupboard where the Dum Dums are and Lukey says, “hmm pop up” in his cute little voice.  He kept saying it and then I realized he was asking for a sucker.  Remind me to lecture Keith some more later.

Mom Lukey Halloween

Layton’s Lullaby

Okay, when it comes to perfect little babies Layton wins this category.  He must have known he had no choice than to be a sweet little being with little resistance to his surroundings.  He just goes with the flow and looks around waiting for someone to make eye contact with him and then when he catches someone he gives the widest, toothless grin and kicks his feet with the most absolutely adorable delight he can muster.  Okay that sentence didn’t make sense but bear with me.  I’m a proud mom talking about her precious baby.  Anyway, as I was saying, he’s just so deliciously sweet it’s ridiculous.  Anything that comes his way he’s fine with.  He doesn’t whine or fuss or really object to much.  We introduced him to solids a couple of weeks ago and he thought that was a long time coming.  He thoroughly enjoys eating pretty much everything – although we’ve struggled a bit with spinach.  I’ll break him down.  Layton just went in for his 6 month appointment and the doc said he lost a percentile in weight so he suggested that we give him formula during the day and only nurse when he wakes up and goes to bed.  He’s concerned I’m not making enough milk – which really makes me feel bad that I’ve caused him to not gain enough weight due to lack of milk production.  It also makes me sad because I really enjoy nursing.  I know that all good things must come to an end and it’s better for him so that he gains weight.  After all, I have nursed four hungry boys so I guess I need to come to grips with that chapter coming to an end soon.  Do you think my boys will always need me?  I think so too.

Layton Baby

Life of Logan

Logan is doing fabulous.  He started 7th grade and he loves his teachers and is excelling in his classes.  We couldn’t be happier.  I contacted his teachers the first week via email to let them know Logan struggles with staying focused and socializing in class so we could get an action-plan in place before he gets too behind. They all responded with the same theme stating Logan was doing well and they have not had any issues with him keeping focused but would keep in contact with me if there were any issues.   We also implemented a travel card so that they could fill it out in each class with how he did and what assignments, if any, needed to be completed at home that day.  I have to say that I love this card!  And I love his teachers.  It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make when a child likes his teachers.  Last year Logan’s main teacher was about as organized as Levi on caffeine.  This just made Logan’s issues exacerbated to the nth degree.  Logan feels good about his classes and his homework and told me the other day he makes his homework into a game so that it is fun.  I have to give my dad a shout out on this one because my dad is always telling him “positive affirmations”.  It drives Logan crazy because he would tell him that every time he saw him for a while but I think Logan is actually getting the concept.  We are very proud of Logan and tell him every single day he comes home from school.  Okay, let’s get to the dramatic part of Logan’s life.  Logan has a crush on this girl (going on two years now).  Her name is Elyse.  He finally asked her out on the bus last week.  He came home and told me proudly.  He says they hug all the time on the bus (no comment) but she won’t answer him.  Well finally on Friday she told him no.  She said that she “still loved him but no.”  I asked him how he felt about that and he said he didn’t care because they still hugged the whole way home.  I told him to act like he didn’t like her and she would instantly want him.  He promptly (and so wonderfully) told me that would be very hard to do because he does really like her.  Oh what would it be like to be so innocent again?

Logey 7th Grade

Keith’s Korner

Keith has been one very busy boy.  I am so proud of him because he is officially done with school and will obtain his Fire Science Degree in the mail any day now.  He completed his courses last month which now makes him officially qualified to be a Captain (a job he’s been doing for the last several years).  He joked when he received his last and final grade that there was this amazing transformation that occurred and he instantly knew how to do his job.  Okay, joking aside, we are very excited and relieved after all these years he’s finally done.  So what has he been doing since he graduated?  Studying of course!  He now must study to take the Captain promotional test which he will participate in next Friday.  He had to read a 500 + page IFSTA book all about being a company officer.  He also has to go through a video personality test, a written personality test, a written IFSTA exam (going over the material he’s been reading) and a tactical evaluation.  They pretty much put them through the ringer.  He feels fairly confident because he’s been studying very hard and has been doing this job for so long.   He tends to do well on tests anyway – which I have to admit turns me on a bit.  So after he tests next week they will make a list based on how well each person did and that is the list they use to promote the next year when a Captain’s position opens up.  Since they are growing so much we are hoping one opens up in the beginning of the year.  Stay tuned!  So other than that, Keith has maintained his normal insane schedule at work, home, and his extremely demanding Fantasy Football messenger board (aka “smack talk board”).  It’s like a bunch of middle-schoolers all talking smack to each other about how well their players for the week will do against their opponent’s players.  If you don’t’ know what Fantasy Football is, just Google it.  Let’s just put it this way – you would think Keith was actually in the NFL by how emotionally invested he is with Fantasy Football.

Daddy making kids laugh in hallway

Mollye’s Mentionables

So as for me.  I wish I could report something new and exciting but unfortunately I can’t.  I guess I could report about how hectic my life is and how crazy it gets, but I love every minute of it so I don’t like to focus on the chaos.  Each day is a struggle and completely fulfilling all the same.  Our house is never picked up or clean but we don’t care.  I don’t get everything I want to get done each day but I’m fine with it.  I would like to run 5 times a week but I’ve settled for walking 4 times a week instead.  Basically I’ve learned with four children (and 3 of them being so young) that life is about balance.  I don’t resist what is and I just go with it.  Yes I have my bad days and yes I get stressed out.  But there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think how lucky I am to have four perfect little boys.  And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate how wonderful of a husband I have.  Our life is great and I try to stay in the now and just be.  I don’t want to wake up in 20 years and look back and wonder if I truly appreciated each day.  I can definitely say that I do.  I’m also very happy right now that Halloween is approaching.  The house has been decorated for a couple of weeks now.  I’ve purchased my share of new decorations like I do each year.  The kids’ costumes have been ordered and received since last week.  I guess you can say that I LOVE Halloween.  I already know what treats I’m making for the kids’ Halloween party at daycare.  I can’t explain what it is about this time of year besides there’s something about the crisp and spooky air, the colorful leaves (which most certainly look like Fruity Pebbles) and thoughts of going to the pumpkin farm.  Heating apple cider and carving pumpkins is slightly arousing, to the delight of my husband.  I just love it!  You can pretty much find me in a good mood from now until the beginning of the year.  Happy Fall everyone!!

Mom Levi Halloween

Halloween Ceremony

It’s been a long week.  As I touch on in my video, I am a wife of a fire fighter.  Being a fire fighter’s wife is exhausting, sometimes scary, but most of all, an honor.  But let’s just touch on the exhausting part for a moment.  Yes, I’m proud of my husband.  Yes, he has an honorable profession.  Yes, he’s hot… oh wait, that’s not relevant here. But anyway, being a wife of a fire fighter has its challenges.  One of them is that he’s gone approximately a third of the year.  Yes that’s approximately 126 days a year, give or take (don’t quote me on that – I didn’t do the exact math).

There’s a perception among some that fire fighters have this plush schedule.  It isn’t so.  Without going into the whole politics of it all, fire fighters have a brutal schedule.  They are at the mercy of the public — at all hours of the day.  And that mercy carries over to their families, kids, and everyday existence of them all.  I’m not complaining, just stating facts. So that said, us significant others, are left to fend for themselves during those 126 days or so per year.

On this Wednesday Video Confessional, I thought I’d give a glimpse of the lighter time spent while the hubby is gone.  Us moms gotta entertain our kids (and ourselves!) somehow.  Let me set the stage — My BFF brought her 3 boys over for a sleepover on a Friday night in October.  Full-on Halloween season!  Full-on Halloween season for me actually starts the last week of September, so by mid-October, it’s on.  When you have a house-full of boys, you need to think outside of the box.  And if you’re my BFF, you just sorta fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along.

Pretty funny what two exhausted moms, 6 kids (all boys), and an iPhone can capture on an October Friday night.  I have to give it to BFF for her impromptu Halloween Ceremony!  And please take note of the freaky, red eyes on all the kids.  Those were unintentional from the ceremonial candle in the middle of the circle.  But they added quite the spooky effect, if I say so myself!

The Day Has Arrived!

This is the day our family anticipates once the winds pick up, the temperatures start to drop, and the days get shorter.  It’s that wonderful time of year when everything goes from sunny and warm to spooky and dark.  There’s a chill in the air, goblins peer around every corner, ghosts wisp by us in the night, witches cackle from their brooms.  Oh yes it’s here!  The day we decorate for Halloween.

This day is scheduled months in advance in order to avoid any conflicts that may get in the way.  We took down all the boring ol’ regular decorations and placed them on the kitchen table in order to make room for all that’s scary.


The kids all help take out the Halloween decorations from the bins, of course turning them into toys and playing with them as I’m trying to place them in the perfect place for optimal scare and spook.  I ingrain their affinity for Halloween when they’re very young.  You know it’s worked when your 17 year old partakes in the decorating festivities and insists his bathroom is decorated as well.  After the kids are done playing with the decorations they will attempt to place them where they see fit, then I go behind them and place them where I see fit.  Usually in a completely different section of the house.  They try.  But Mommy knows best.

After all the Halloween decorations are placed, I look around at all the newspaper wrappings spread throughout the house, the regular decorations still scattered all over the kitchen table, no sign of kids.  In typical kid fashion they love to help with the fun stuff but are nowhere in sight for the clean-up.  Sigh.

After everything is cleaned up and the husband puts all the bins away we put in The Nightmare Before Christmas to top off the decorating ceremony.  It’s rainy, windy, and cool outside.  And I couldn’t be happier.  I lit my caramel apple candle and sat down to type my blog.  I love this time of year.