Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Memories

Apparently, three year old future Pajama Mama wasn't a big fan of the jolly old man in the red suit. (circa 1970)

My brother Scott, sister Kelly, sister Jennifer and me. Notice my arm around Jennifer? Every single picture of us growing up, I had my arm around my baby sister. (circa 1971)

My FAVORITE Christmas present OF ALL TIME!!! My Dad built this four and half foot tall Barbie house for my sister Jennifer and me! It was made of all wood and had fancy paneling and carpet! My Mom searched the whole summer before for furniture at garage sales and items she was able to order through the mail, so the house could be fully furnished by Christmas. It even had a garage!! I don't think I have to tell you that we were the hit of neighborhood. At least with the female crowd ages 5-13. My Mom still has it at my parents house (but I think it would look better at mine - wink wink!) (circa 1977)

Ray on Christmas morning, age 4.
Ben looks a lot like his Daddy did! (circa 1967)

Christmas card 2004.

Christmas card 2007.

What are your favorite Christmas memories?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thanks For The Reminder, Mr. Schultz

Go tell it on the mountain Linus. You 'da man.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Because It's Just Not Christmas Without A Turquoise Seal

From top to bottom:
1. We made Christmas cookies! Do not fret, they taste better than they look.
2. Ben and his teacher at his class Christmas party.
3. Our "Days 'til Christmas" countdown banner.
4. Notice my beautiful staples at the top? Nice touch, don't you think?
5. Getting messy making ornaments.
6. Our painting station.
7. My attempt at trying to paint cool looking designs.
8. Ben's ornaments. Notice the turquoise seal?
9. Ali proudly showing off her ornaments.
10. And......BAM!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Northwoods Kind Of Christmas (Sort Of)

We don't live in the Northwoods. Sorry to disappoint if you we're expecting to see pictures of a cozy little cabin nestled deep in the tall pines of northern Wisconsin. We do, however, live in a cozy little cabin in Illinois! Close enough, huh? My father-in-law does live in northern Wisconsin, if that counts. (By the way, if you have the opportunity to visit northern Wisconsin and you love fishing, snowmobiling and relaxing - I highly recommend it. Not that I love to fish or snowmobile......but relaxing, that I can do.)

Since we live in a log home, I was so excited when I found these Northwoods-y Christmas ornaments at a garage sale this past summer. And if you know anything about me, it's that I love my garages sales. The ornaments were brand new (still with tags) and I snagged them for 50 cents each.

Two words: cha ching.

I realize that a fishing themed Christmas tree might not be every body's cup of tea. I get that. Because, honestly, before I found these ornaments I never would have thought of myself as an outdoors-y Christmas tree decorating kind of woman. Especially since I love all things sparkly.

Plus the fact that I don't really do outdoors. Too many bugs.

But, you know what? My northwoods Christmas tree has grown on me. And nothing says Merry Christmas like jolly old St. Nick in flannel, a tackle hat and proudly displaying his trophy trout.

Kind of brings a tear to my eye.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Somebody Likes......

......chocolate chip cookies

......playing with Barbies

......and dancing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Need Help Blowing Out My Candles

I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I last posted. I'm sorry for my absence. I don't feel good at all about leaving you hanging like that. Really, I intended to post for a few days now. Honest. But it seems like I could never get around to it. Maybe it's because there never seems to be enough hours in the day to check off everything on my to-do list. Maybe it's the holidays and all of it's madness. Maybe it's because sometimes I can't think of anything interesting to write about. Or maybe it's because I'm old. Yep, I think that's the one. My birthday was this past Friday......


Holy candles Batman!

Here are some pictures for your viewing enjoyment. I spent the day with my Mom and Dad and Ray and the kids. Every year on my birthday, I take my parents out to lunch at Famous Dave's. I take them out because I feel like I owe them for all that they have sacrificed for me over the years and for being the best parents that God could have ever given me. And what better way to show my gratitude than with BBQ ribs.

Did you read the last post on my blog? If not, go here. Go on. I'll wait. I'm not going anywhere.

Aawww!! Wasn't that sweet? I was so surprised that Ray thought to publicly wish me a happy birthday. Especially since he didn't even know what a blog was before I created Pajama Mama. Still him! (Honey, if you are reading this, I am really touched by your birthday shout-out but next time I wouldn't care if you didn't mention my age......just sayin')

Thanks, also, to my bloggy friends for your birthday wishes. You all made me feel the love! :)

And now......

A little poem about getting old:

It was my birthday, this much is true

I went to sleep 41 and woke up 42.

The years pass quickly it's hard to believe

Pictures in my mind, memories to retrieve.

Enjoying life in the middle age range

Not a line on my face I would choose to change.

For with age come wisdom, this I now see

I pray I'll feel the same when I turn 43!

It's like I'm a famous poet. It would have been good to mention a famous poet at this moment but I don't know any. Plus, I'm 42 which is half of 84 and my memory is not what it used to be. So, even if I knew of any famous poets, I probably couldn't remember their names.

I wanted to post the two following pictures because I think they are so sweet. Ben gave me me a necklace with a little treasure chest locket on it, which he bought earlier that day at school at their Secret Snowman Shop. He was SO excited to give it to me. All evening, he couldn't wait for me to open his present. However, after I opened it, Ali quickly blurted out how the the treasure chest actually opens up. Well, Ben wanted to be the one to tell me that. Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with Ali for ruining his surprise.

Sad because Ali "ruined" his surprise.

Whispering sweet nothings to my sweet boy, telling him how much I love his gift!

Happy birthday to all who are celebrating a birthday this month! Even if you are younger than me, I won't hold it against you. :)

PS - I am now officially back to being 1 year, 11 months and 23 days older than my sister.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday Mama

This is Pajama Daddy posting :

Happy 42nd birthday to our Pajama Mama - our hot flannel wearing mama! ( a negligee would be nice too)

love Ray, Ben and Ali

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Angel Among Us

In Loving Memory of Noah Biorkman
"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth,
with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." - Genesis 28:11-13

My prayers and sympathy to this sweet little angel's family and loved ones. May the Prince of Peace comfort you during this unimaginable time.

If you wish, you can read more about Noah's passing here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lucy, Please Stop Calling Me - Part 2

Back to our regularly scheduled here for Part 1 of my "Lucy" story.

Part 2

So, after Ben jammed his finger at school last Monday, we headed to the hospital for x-rays that same evening. We were told that we wouldn't have the results for about 24 hours. I allowed Ben to stay home from school on Tuesday until we got the x-ray results back. He probably could have went to school but his finger was still very swollen and he couldn't bend it.

Big mistake.

As many of you probably know, when your child stays home from school either sick or injured, the sickness or injury usually does not stop that child from doing what they normally do - play. And if your child is anything like mine, they play HARD. Especially my son. I think it's a boy thing.

Anyway, I tried my best to help Ben understand that his finger may very well be broke and that it would be best if he did something that didn't require: a) him jumping on furniture; b) him chasing his sister through the house; and/or c) him being NOT quiet.

So, I strongly suggested that Ben do something a little less rambunctious, like taking a nap. When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I suggested that he sit down and QUIETLY read a book. I mean really, how am I supposed to waste my day away visiting my blog friends with all of this chaos swirling around me?

I don't do chaos.

So what did Ben do? I can tell you he didn't sit down and quietly read a book, that much I know.

Remember the chaos that I am not a fan of? Yeah, read on.

Ben decides that, with a potentially broken finger and all, it would be a splendid idea to stack up the couch cushions in the basement and then proceed to climb up the cushions like a rock climbing wall.

Huh? That is so not sitting quietly and reading a book.

Next thing I know, Ali is running upstairs saying that Ben "scratched" himself. My first reaction was "That's what happens when you don't listen to me, the Mom, who knows everything - including that (when in doubt) sitting and quietly reading a book is always the best choice."

So, Ben comes upstairs crying, holding his arm. At first, I didn't have much sympathy. After all, I told him to settle down, what with the whole broken finger thing.

After close inspection of his "scratch," I realized at that moment that I should have sent him to school. His "scratch" was actually three deep cuts on the inside of his left arm. His "broken" finger was also on his left hand. Apparently, when climbing his "rock wall," he fell off and then landed on his hand/arm on the edge of a furnace vent.

This child is going to give me gray hair. OK, more gray hair.

So, Ben's arm is now bleeding and he is crying and saying "I'm sorry Mommy, I'm sorry!" Two of the three cuts were pretty deep and because of the location, I started to freak out for a moment. I tried calling Ray at work but he didn't answer. Then I thought about calling 911. All the time, Ben is still crying, still apologizing and holding Ali's hand while I am trying to stop the bleeding.

And as quickly as it all began, the bleeding suddenly stopped. Thank you, God, for miracles.

Remember the chaos thing? I'm not sure but I think calling 911 and having an ambulance come to my house qualifies as chaos. I'm just guessing.

So, I made an executive decision and decided to take Ben right back to the same doctor from the day before, the one who handled Ben's finger situation. For those of you keeping track, this was our second visit to the same doctor, for the same child in less than 24 hours.

De ja vu, anyone?

Good thing I took him in because he did end up needing stitches. He was really scared but he handled it like a trooper, with only a few tears shed. I was so proud of him.

However, if the past two days weren't bad enough, the doctor started giving me attitude. He told me that even if Ben's finger was broke, he could have went to school. Well, excuuuuuse me! Who asked you anyway, doc? Seriously, my son has been injured twice within a 24 hour period, I have taken him to the doctor's office twice and the hospital once and now you are questioning my parenting decisions. Back off! I told him it was my decision whether to send Ben to school or not. The nerve of some people. He may be the doctor but I'm the Mom.

Can I get a woo hoo?

The good news, Ben's finger is not broke. He went back to school on Wednesday, sporting a nifty banged up pinky finger and 3 stitches in his left arm, which he was very excited to show his friends.

The bad news, all of the adrenaline induced chaos wiped me out and I spent the remainder of last week recovery from Ben's injuries by visiting my blog friends and napping.

I know. But at least this time I had an excuse.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

40 Is The New 30

Today is my sister Jennifer's birthday. She is 1 year, 11 months and 23 days younger than me.

"But wouldn't it just be easier to say that your sister is 2 years younger than you?" you might ask.

No. No it wouldn't.

Why? Because she's ONLY 1 year, 11 months and 23 days younger than me. That's why. But really, it's not like I'm keeping track or anything.

You see, in high school and as young adults, everyone always thought Jennifer was older than me. I HATED THAT. Because everyone knows that when you're 17, you desperately want to look older - NOT YOUNGER!

Why was my 17 year old self so dumb?? What I wouldn't give now for people to think I'm younger than my (ahem) current 40 something age. Seventeen year old Val, what was your deal?!

Anyway, over the years, I have come to realize what my younger self could not. Looking younger than your age: GOOD. Looking older than your age: BAD. And now that my "little" sister and I are back in the same decade again, I have decided that I am not two years older than her. Because in my mind, we are basically the same age. Forty, forty-one, forty-two,'s all the same. Right?


My sister has a different story to tell. And that is, that no matter how old she is - she is always YOUNGER than me.

Touche, lil sis, touche.

Well, at least for the next 8 days, I can say that I am only one year younger than her (today she turns 40 and I'm still ONLY 41.)

But next Friday, I'll be back to being 1 year, 11 months and 23 days older than her.

Mother's Day - 2009

Jennifer's baby shower at my house - November, 2008

Jennifer gave me a plaque last year after her baby shower
with this poem on it:
My Sister, My Friend
My sister was a playmate
I knew was always near
My sister was a protector
From every hurt or fear
We share a bond of closeness
We know will never end
We're here for one another
My sister, my best friend

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lucy, Please Stop Calling Me

Yesterday afternoon, Ali and I were shopping at Kohl's. We were there so Ali could pick out anything her little heart desired.

No, she's not spoiled. Yes, I know Christmas is coming up in just a few weeks.

However, she earned this little shopping adventure by wearing a patch on her left eye and filling up her patch chart with stickers (she has strabismus and has to patch her good eye in order to strengthen her weak eye, something she started doing right around the time of her 3rd birthday.)

Getting her to wear her patch daily has been a thorn in my side for the last 2 1/2 years. She is required to wear it for at least 6 hours every day, so I really don't blame her for putting up a fight. It sucks, I totally get that. However, the vision in her weak eye is at stake, so in order to get her to wear the patch (and keep it on) I need to bribe her.

There. I said it. I bribe my kids when need be.

Please don't judge my parental shortcomings because then I might cry......or maybe you've been known to bribe every now and then and can totally relate. Right?

Right?? OK. Maybe not. You just want to see me cry.

So back to the bribing that I do. I feel it's a trade off that's well worth it. Plus, if it were me and I had to wear a patch for 6 hours everyday, I would request a LOT more than a new Barbie. Like a vacation to Australia.

Anyway, our little shopping adventure was cut short when Ben's school called me on my cell phone, while I was in the middle of picking out a new pair of pants for Christmas because the pants in my current wardrobe may or may not fit at the present moment. I'll leave it at that.

Back to the call.

"Hello, this is Lucy from Zion school. I'm calling about Ben."

My heart stopped for a split second. I fear calls from Lucy because they usually involve informing me that Ben has been injured. Like last year in 1st grade, when she called to tell me that Ben and another student collided in gym class and Ben hit his head pretty hard and was acting not like himself and disoriented afterwards and to please come get him. Not the kind of call that tends to make my day (by the way, he was fine thanks to God.)

So, dear Lucy, you're a sweet woman. Really, you are. But please stop calling me. Hearing your voice scares me.

No such luck yesterday. And when I heard her voice, my mind shot straight back to last March.

This time, it seems my guy was playing a mean game of basketball during gym class with the likes of some pretty rough and tumble characters.

Seven year olds take their basketball very seriously.

From what I understand, one of Ben's friends accidentally hit Ben's hand, jamming his left pinky finger pretty hard. At first he seemed OK but shortly after the "jamming," his finger swelled up twice it's normal size and was sporting a large bump on the side and some colorful bruising.

There were no tears involved from what I've been told. However, the friend responsible for the "jamming" offered to let Ben borrow his Diary of A Wimpy Kid book to help him feel better. And everyone knows that the sacrifice of a Wimpy book to a friend in need is the most sincere form of apology.

At least to 7 year old boys.

So, I picked Ben up from school and headed to the doctor. He took one look at Ben's poor little puffed up pinky and sent us straight to the hospital for an x-ray.

Someone please tell me this stuff gets easier......

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.

Well, probably tomorrow. But definitely, most likely sometime this week. I know for sure it will be in December.

I'm tired. Can you tell?

Friday, November 27, 2009


Making popcorn. Yummy!

Ben won first place in the Thanksgiving coloring contest at school.

Having fun playing Barbies with Grandpa.

Ben and Grandma working on Thanksgiving puzzles.

Ray chillin' after cooking all day.
Ali showing off the table decorations she made.

Tired but happy at the end of a wonderful day spent with my family.