Bet you can’t guess what movie we watched this weekend?


little boys dressed as super heroes truly melt my heart… especially this little boy… sitting at breakfast with his tussled hair and sheepish grin…

We had a family movie afternoon yesterday and watched The 1978 Original Superman with the big 3 while our three year old was napping.  He woke up in time to catch the heroic finish and then fly around the basement with his cape blazing behind him while the theme music blasted from our stereo. 

Good times after a long week.

I have to confess the movie didn’t hold my interest entirely.  But, I was struck by a scene at the end.   Superman literally spun the world around backwards to turn back time and rescue Lois Lane.  After saving her life he comes down to her and she lets him have it.  She has no idea what he did for her and that her life was saved and instead whines on and on about her car that wouldn’t start and all of the things that went wrong that afternoon and where was he when she needed him. 

Now, God is way, WAY bigger than Superman, but it struck me none the less that I often react like Lois Lane to God.   I present him my list of complaints, my grumbles and “where were you when”  “why did you let all this bad stuff happen..”  meanwhile I have NO perspective on all that DIDN’T happen or how all those bad things really worked together for a larger good that I in my finite, mortal mind can’t see or don’t see and may never see.  It definitely made me think. 

After watching Man of Steel with Scott and The Original Superman with the kids this weekend, I have to first confess that neither held my interest entirely.  Man of Steel had WAY, WAY more action scenes than I cared for.  I really liked the dialogue portions and the character development but dozed off for a bit while he and General Zod blew up everything in their path.  But secondly, after learning more about the actual story of Superman, I must say I really like the character of Superman.  He strikes me as the most humble of all the super hero's.  I feel like I change my mind on this often as I learn more about each character.   It’s a close toss up for me between Captain America and Superman.  But, for now, Superman is my favorite Super hero.  Not saying it’s my favorite Super Hero movie, but my favorite actual hero.  (wow what a tangent this post turned out to be)

It has been C-O-L-D this past week here in MD.  I heard rumors that parts of the bay and various rivers and inlets were freezing.  So, this afternoon we took the kids out to see for ourselves. 

At one of the beaches we visited these ice balls had formed in the river.  I had actually seen pictures of them floating earlier this week.  Now the ice balls are frozen in to the ice.



I was impressed with how far out the ice went.  All the way to the end of the pier and far past it was frozen.


See the ice behind the kiddos?


Here we are at another beach.   It appeared to be frozen all the way across the river.  But, since we didn’t know how deep it was frozen, we only let the kids stand on the ice on the beach.    They enjoyed it though.


I don’t recall it ever being so cold for so long here in MD.  It’s been a nice change of pace to have some actual snow and ice on the ground in January.  It’s nice to not just have it feel like winter, but look like winter too.  I’m hoping all this prolonged cold means the ticks, fleas, mosquitos, and stink bugs that have been germinating year round these past few winters will dye off.  At any rate, we’re enjoying the change of scenery round here.

I’m going to a baby shower today for my one of my best friends.   I met her when we both taught together at a small Christian school, 12 years ago, though truthfully it feels like eons ago.   She’s the kind of person that once your friends with her, you feel like you’ve always been friends.   She’s also the kind of person that makes everyone feel like her best friend. 

I was thinking this morning what a blessing she was to me during my early months and years of mothering.  She wasn’t a mom.  She didn’t really like babies all that much.  In fact she refused to hold my son the first SEVERAL times I offered him to her to hold.  She had no opinions whatsoever on co sleeping, Baby Wise, cloth or disposable, nursing or bottle.  She was just there.  No judging, no telling me the right way to do it, just sitting in the front seat of my escape while I spent close to an hour nursing my son in the backseat before we could make a “quick” Target run.  Or taking my cart through the check out when my son could no longer be shushed, and all I wanted was to buy a Father’s Day card for Scott… I remember vividly standing at the card section trying to pick the perfect 1st Fathers Day card for Scott while our son cried and cried.  And when I found said card, she took my credit card and bought it and the box of diapers and wipes I needed, while I took my crying 2 month old to the car to nurse.  I can’t tell you how many hours she probably spent with me that summer while I nursed my son.  Which could have been so awkward for her, but she graciously stared at the window and kept me company.  She didn’t roll her eyes at me when I would sterilize his pacifier in boiling water after it hit the floor of our home… though she did tease me when child 3 came along and I’d say “oh no you don’t need to sterilize it, it landed right side up.”  She bought me a bag of Oreos in my last month of pregnancy and was there when I chastised Scott for eating 4 of MY Oreos.  (Yes, pregnancy moment of shame…. and explanation as to why I gained over 40lbs with that pregnancy).  Even though the thought of holding a new baby scared her, she came to the hospital to meet our son and brought me Rita’s Italian Ice. 

She was and is such a gift to me.  For the last 10 years she’s been there for me.  I was and am still amazed that she’d want to be friends with me because we have always been in different life stages. 

When we went out a few months ago and the subject of motherhood came up, I felt the need to warn her.  Watch out for moms.  They are a scary bunch.  I truly feel like moms can be some of the most judgmental people on the planet.  So many passionate views on everything from natural birth to epidural, bottle or breast, co sleeping or cry it out, pacifier or thumb, cloth or disposable, work or stay at home, the decisions and passions continue to grow… home school or private or Christian.  I feel like you are bombarded with questions and opinions and unsolicited advice the second you announce your pregnancy.   I personally feel that underneath it all, moms are insecure.  They want to do their best for their kids and often when they see someone doing things differently then them they take it as an attack on their motherhood.  Why did you do it differently than me?  Am I a bad mom?  Let me convince you to do it the way I did so I get some affirmation for my choice. 

If I could give moms one gift it would be this:  GRACE.  Grace for themselves and for other moms.  You aren’t going to be a perfect mom.  Your going to let your kids down.  Often.  There is no perfect mom.  Stop comparing.  Stop trying to measure up.  Stop trying to feel better about your mothering by looking down on the choices of others.  Stop assuming others are looking down on your choices just because they mother differently than you.  

Chances are they are doing the best they can and really don’t care that you served your kids a Lunchable in the back of your messy car.   Give yourself some grace.  And accept the fact that while we all might go about it differently, we’re all going to probably end up in the same place.  The fact is there are about as many different ways to tackle those very important years, as there are kids, but there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY. 

Happy Baby Shower Day Megh!  I am so thankful for your friendship and support as I’ve trodded down the crazy, chaotic and fun filled world of motherhood the past 10 years.  And I am excited to cheer you on as you embark on your own journey. 

My own paraphrase of a very busy 30 minute period of time here at the circus on our first day back at school at home, based on the "If you give a...." book series.  There is no embellishment here.  This is how it really went down at the circus house this morning.

If you give a mom a minute, she'll sneak a peak at facebook.

And when she sneaks a peak at facebook, she'll see one of her friends posted a crock pot recipe.  This will remind her that she needs to put her own dinner in the crock pot.

As she gets out the crock pot, she will see the flour and looking at the clock, she will realize she should start lunch prep soon.

As she pulls out the flour to make waffles, she will see a box of pretzels.

The pretzels will remind her that she wanted to finish a conversation with her daughter from last night.

She leaves the room to talk one on one with her daughter and as she's talking she will suddenly hear her 3 year old crying and screaming for Mommy and Daddy.

This will cause her to rush to the bathroom to see what is wrong with her 3 year old.

When she goes to the bathroom she will see the toilet overflowing on to the floor.

When she sees the toilet overflowing she will immediately shut the toilet off and call for the other kids to quickly grab towels and a plunger.

While she waits for the towels and plunger she will calm the scared three year old and take the opportunity to let him know that if you flush the toilet once and it doesn't work, you should not flush again.

The other children will bring down the towels and plunger.  When they do, you will mop up the floor and plunge the toilet.   This will create wet towels.

When you have wet towels, you will take them down to the washing machine.  When you go down to the washing machine you will remember to switch the clothes and start a load.  Your daughter will follow you downstairs.

When your daughter follows you downstairs you will continue with the conversation from earlier.

After finishing the conversation, you will go upstairs to wash your hands.

When you go to the kitchen to wash your hands, you will hear your phone chime with a text from your husband saying he's coming home for lunch.

When you read the text from your husband, you'll remember the flour you got out earlier and go back to making waffles for lunch.

When you make waffles for lunch, your family will eat them.

When your family eats the waffles, you will tell them the story of your morning.  When your tell your husband  about your morning, he will suggest you write a blog post about it.

When you finish school and write a blog post about your morning, you will probably post it to facebook.


It’s funny how our New Years Eve festivities have changed through the years.  Scott and I have never been big party animals, but we did go to downtown Pittsburgh on Dec 31, 1999 to ring in the new millennium with a kiss on the Roberto Clemente bridge.   For several years we would watch the fireworks in Annapolis at midnight.

Then we had kids.

And New Years became a stay at home night.  Some years we’d have friends over, some years we’d do an in home date night of dinner and a movie after the kids were in bed. 

The past few years New Years has been a Family Fun Night. 

Last night we sat around the table and talked through the year… we broke it into quarters and talked about some of the highlights of those months.

2013 was an epic year for the circus family. 

We went on a mega vacation.  Without a doubt that was one of the major highlights of our year.  6 months later and when the kids recall our trip, their highlights were Mt Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, prairie dogs, and the choo choo trains.  When we are out driving and see the sunset our three year old will exclaim, “Look a sunset just like on vacation!”  As I recall my blessings in 2013, that trip is  without a doubt one of my greatest blessings.  I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to spend 3 weeks together away from home, as a family seeing our beautiful country.  I don’t know if any trip could top it ever. 

We also grew our family… TWICE this summer with the addition of our beloved pup Wendy and our patient and slightly bipolar cat Cartwheel.  I am grateful for both of them and the joy they bring our family. 

Other highlights as we recounted the year was our Labor Day tradition, our 6 year olds first lost tooth, our son starting Jui Jitsu and even competing in his first tournament, our 6 year old joining the gymnastics team, our 7 year old scoring her very first 9 in a gymnastics meet, our sons 1st NFL game, , getting to spend time with their cousins, and swimming in the summer.  Honestly, it was a ridiculously good year for us.

After recounting our blessings, we headed downstairs for some family fun. We watched Monsters University, then dived into some chocolate fondue at 11:00 PM and started pulling out the party supplies… IMG_9840IMG_9834


Our girls know how to party hardy… Our seven year old is most def the night owl of the bunch… I think she could have held on past 1 am if I had let her.  She was in a fantastic mood.  I gotta tell you my boys battled some illness all day… with temperatures over 100 they were downing ibuprofen every 6 hours and the 3 year old was taking his nebulizer every 4 hours.  It def wasn’t their happiest of New Years for them, but they hung in their like troopers till midnight. 

This year we added confetti to the New Years festivities… which was super fun (and super messy).  new years eve collage 1

Today marks a new month and a new year.  As I look back on 2013 I am very grateful for the memories and good times that our family had.    I am mindful though that not everyone had such a banner year.    Some people that I know, some people that I love dearly, had a very difficult 2013.   I don’t know what 2014 will hold for us.   But, I do know that God is the same, unchanging good God in the good years and in the bad and my prayer is that our family will praise His name ALWAYS in any and every situation.