Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I love this!

Ok, so if you are a fan of paper mom, you have figured out I have an affinity for libraries.  I hope you do too.  I can remember visiting the children’s room when I was a little princess and being thrilled when I found my faves! I have to admit, it was sort of a dark and uninviting place.  Nothing compared to our local library of today.  I simply had to post the latest addition to our bright warm space.  I LOVE HER!  When I say I am a gushing fool over this, I am not giving it nearly enough description.  And, why do I love it????? Because this little gem is made of paper of course… my fave, my passion, my hobby, my thang… My youngest son named this little beauty after taking a few snapshots…. Ladies, please meet Miss Paperly McMache  She is paper mache perfection and made of old recycled  books!!!  So she is “green” to boot! Shout out to designer and artist – Mary!  Seriously paper peeps, does it get any better than Little Miss Paperly McMache?  LOVE IT!!!!

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

Wow, it has been raining cats and dogs.  The plus side, we have had a chance to wear those fancy, dancy new rain boots that I often think…. Why do we have those?  Well, we’ve needed them and have used them!

The World’s Greatest Husband has been pumping, sweeping and trying to figure out where the gutters have gone wrong (all while home sick with strep throat).  Our basement has flooded and carpets are ruined.  Honestly, we don’t have it as bad as so many, complete businesses have been lost, roadways washed away and school has been closed for two days.  Water damage is nasty, I hope our friends and neighbors start to dry out.  The upside beyond cute rain boots? The temperature is supposed to hit 70ish by Friday!  Maybe spring really will arrive!  Keep your fingers and toes crossed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The wicked step mother?

I’ve come to realize two things: Motherhood rarely gets a thank you and stepmo-ing is the ultimate thankless job. Maybe when they are older…

I have to admit, the World’s Greatest Husband often thanks me. He really is good about it. Sometimes he will even make an announcement at dinner, “Can everyone say thank you to Mom, for making dinner”. (7 people and our picky eaters – which I keep meaning to blog about is never easy) So I know I am ahead of the game on many different fronts… but honestly maybe when they are 39, I will feel the appreciation and love….

The Step Mo – never wins. Since day one - I’ve decided I am going to take the high road when it comes to my role as Step Mo. It isn’t easy; I often want to explain my reasoning, my thinking, and my motives to the World’s Greatest Husband’s ex-wife. Often I even want to ask her about her reasoning, thinking and motives. I want to feel like we are a mothering powerhouse, working for the common good of the children. But it doesn’t play out that way. It is often silent, I get the back story through a few trusted paper peeps, I hear tid-bits of life through our children’s stories but the face to face co-parenting interaction is limited. Maybe that is a good thing. I understand I am the Step Mo, not the mother. I take the backseat sometimes willingly, sometimes bitterly. I do have the self confidence to know I play a role in their little lives and they do count on me. We work together and our relationship is trusted and valued most days. It’s taken some time to figure these roles out but my philosophy is this big blended family blender: take the small victories.

I will share one small personal story. During the recent puke fest that lasted a week, I had to take three days off from work to care for my family. I basically caught everyone’s vomit with my bare hands, ran to the bathroom with them each time, didn’t sleep, felt shaky and weak from the smell and clean up duty, I had to wash every darn piece of linen in this house. I cried over the pain that this caused in all of our lives, from my little guy pleading,” Why is this happening to me”, to holding back the puked up hair and bangs of our 13 years old as she vomited some more. I worked hard, and I was sick too. Unfortunately, I felt like all the “other camp” could do is judge the level of toxic germs that must be living here in our home. I heard inklings of it with my own ears and I found it to be extremely hurtful. Honestly, I didn’t find the germs and infect our kids because I needed to take a three day vacation…. Let’s be serious here, if I can’t win on germs, is this a level playing field? The bottom line is this. I love all 5 of our children. Each one needs different things from me at different times, I have made a commitment to love them and provide for them. Sometimes it nearly kills me, I am working my tail off now so that someday I can enjoy them the way my mom and I enjoy each other today…. I know I’ve had a good teacher. The ultimate kick in the pants will be to have all five of them with their families standing around the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon visit - laughing about the puke fest that happened in 2010 knowing that we survived, that Mom and Step Mo was there helping them through.

Small victories people, some may take a while to laugh about… I can’t wait.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Five for Friday

Happy Friday Paper Peeps!
Here are five special things about today...
1. My most amazing mother, my ultimate paper peep, my friend, my biggest cheerleader, my mom.... is home from the hospital and is on her way to good health.  I am so proud of the strength and courage she has shown.  If you should ever doubt the power of Hail Mary, I encourage you to re-think.
2. THE PAPERLY SPECIAL OCCASIONS CATALOG arrived yesterday.  I have samples! and I am so excited to share this with stationery lovers everywhere!  You are going to love, LOVE, LOVE it!
3. The kids and the World's Greatest Husband assembled the new TRAMPOLINE yesterday.  I am happy that they are so excited but I hate the thing.... it's huge, it's ugly and my yard doesn't need this piece of equipment! The happy Friday aspect is.... they worked together to assemble and the smiles were big and bright when I arrived home from work.
4. Paper party on Saturday! Yahoo! Looking forward to sharing Paperly with Kathy and her peeps.
5. Another contest is about to begin - sign on to "follow me" (over to the right) and you will be entered. check back later for details.... here is a clue, it involves the new Paperly catalog!!!!!
I hope you have a fabulous weekend!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy, Happy, Happy BIRTHDAY!

My youngest is turning six today. Wow, a lot has happened in his little life in six years. I was on the verge of divorce when I found out I was pregnant with my little guy. It was tough to be pregnant when I had little hope for my marriage ever surviving. We managed to muddle through a tough pregnancy; I think the hope of new life held us together for a bit. I think the joy of our new little guy arriving carried us a while, but a few months before his first birthday I filed for divorce. I remember feeling so bad that my marriage had failed before his first birthday and had serious feelings of failure as my daughter started kindergarten with the burden of divorcing parents. The range of emotion at this time in my life was dramatic.

Fast forward, the World’s Greatest Husband and I were dating before my son’s 2nd birthday celebration. Motherly guilt forced me to have a big 2nd birthday party for my son, since he was robbed of the first big party. The World’s Greatest Husband helped me decorate for his big party but wasn’t invited. He helped me shop, but he wasn’t invited…. We made a serious commitment to not involve family until we knew where this was headed. My son has now known my husband for more than half his life. I am grateful that he will grow and learn from this amazing man. I think our youngest has the least amount of issues with blended life, he thinks his family is one big party! And for a six year old, it sort of is.

My blended family mommy divorce guilt lessens as I become more comfortable with how resilient our children really are. As I see them growing and maturing it is nice to know we have “history together” I’ve always said to my husband I look forward to having history with him. When big moments happen we often giggle saying “history, baby” even last week with the puke fest of 6 out 7 family members, we commented on “history, baby”. So here we are celebrating history once again, and on Friday too! We will celebrate our oldest, 15th birthday. Hopefully we will continue to create a family unit where brother, sister, parent, step or biological work together to support one another. I love when I see them all giggling, sharing or even talking in the dark at bedtime… it is what families do and although we aren’t traditional we are a family… celebrating a little history today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On the mend

Ok, So I am feeling the antibiotic kicking in. I have STREP throat! My doctor said that normally adults don’t get strep unless they are caring for a sick child. Ding, Ding, Ding, we have a winner, my 9 year old daughter had strep throat two weeks ago and now scarlet fever is running through the elementary school. So I think I am on the mend, but I do have a new respect for my children when they say their throat hurts…. My throat is raw.

So this morning I am eager to step on the scale. A few days of being down and out, the sale must have shifted, right? No, can you believe it? But my bra size has… today I wore a smaller bra. Is this a good thing? I am not so sure the World’s Greatest Husband would think so. I guess I will concentrate on the weight loss not the breast reduction. I can always buy a padded bra. Well I should retract that statement because buying a bra for me is like purchasing a new home….. a big deal….. It takes a lot of effort for me to find the right one… lately there is a JCPenney number that has done wonders. Maybe with the weight loss this little bra buying adventure gets easier. Let’s hope!

Ladies, I am feeling more like myself with every passing hour. Get ready for some posts….I think I’ve got my blog back.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Get Well Quick

This will be quick. Ladies, I’ve had a fever since yesterday afternoon at 2pm… Last check it was 102.2. What is wrong with me? We’ve had a rough two weeks of illness in this house. Add to that the stress of my mom’s illness. As a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, it is hard for me to ask for help. I am the one always in control. I have all the details. I carry the load. There is nothing like illness to slow you down and make you realize how we take HEALTH for granted. I am setting up my get well station: ginger ale, remote control, magazine and my iphone on the night stand. I am down and out. Send me your happy spring thoughts…. I am hanging on by a thread and need the paper peep love. I am seeing the doctor at 2pm… let’s hope a little antibiotic will do the trick. Seriously, I need to be back on top of my game…. This is getting old and depressing!

Friday, March 19, 2010

5 for FRIDAY

Five for Friday

Five great things about today:

1. Getting ready for our Family & Friends Brunch this weekend. More than 30 peeps will be here to find eggs and enjoy yum yums.
2. Go UCONN Women! (that one is for you El)
3. I lost yet another pound…I think that means….39!
4. The sun is shining and it’s the weekend.
5. The germs no longer live.

Life Strategic Plan - Do you have one?

Went to another conference yesterday morning…. One thing is clear. Something is missing in my professional life. My master’s degree is in Organizational Management and I am so drawn to the inner workings, relationships and details that contribute to the success of an organization. I loved my Master’s program; it made me feel so connected to my professional life. I miss school. I’ve loved school my whole life. Not so much the work and studying, often it was the social component, but I’ve always managed to do well and rise. I am sad when I hear people speak of their academic experiences with regret or even hatred. I don’t get it. School for me has forever been a good thing. I pray my children continue to have good experiences too.

So - the positive of yesterday’s workshop? I love being in a room of professionals where you can feel the passion and the energy, isn’t that great? I live for those moments and savor them! Although yesterday’s workshop referenced – mission, vision, goals, and theory of change as applied to non-profit management, I am going to apply it to my personal life. I am going to try to make a strategic plan for my life…. Do you have one?

So here are my personal questions as they relate to my life, my family, my career, my civic work, my home, my community I am looking to align my needs with my strengths and with opportunities. What I am going to do? Where am I headed? And how am I going to get there? What is my logic behind it?

Boy, this is loaded….

This is what my brain spins and sizzles about: family, my blog, Paper business, Doctorate, His, hers and ours, Childcare, carpools, commute, travel, extra money, I should read more, fairness, the state of our schools, meaningful work, savings for a rainy day, retirement, health, embracing my entrepreneurial spirit, being stuck, dreaming too big, meeting Oprah, letting go, losing weight, power wash this darn house, caring for parents, nurturing me, experiencing teenagers, kids, kids, kids, change, courage, new wardrobe that fits, summer vacation, turning 40, why hasn’t Rick Springfield toured in CT lately, peace, homelessness, being a good catholic, la, la, la, la, the sizzle list is long…..

Here is my disclaimer: I share intimate details with you my amazing paper peeps to keep me sane, share my joys and frustrations, and because what I am learning as I get older, as women, we all really do have the same concerns and worries – like I’ve posted recently, same worries with just a different, kid, husband, job, home or family. That being said…. I love, love, love my life and know that I am a lucky duck. World’s Greatest Husband and I are on the same page (most days) loving one another, nurturing our family, making sense of our professional worlds and trying to help those in need. I am embracing a life strategic plan so we can be stronger. A little vision can go a long way. I don’t want to get caught up in the day to day grind and lose sight of the big picture. Just to take time and think outside of today’s calendar, to do list, and schedule is powerful. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The illness lives on...

Ok, you know blogging has taken up too much space in your head when you are in emergency mode, crisis mode and all I can think to myself is… this is going to make one hell of a post!

I am giggling because really I’ve been fighting tears since 2am. Remember the puke fest, the puke slam down, the puk-a-rama, the puke –a –jam, ya know, the one that has been happening here at my house? ( Hahahaha I am belly laughing as I type) well it hit its ultimate last night… two children vomiting, a third with a fever and then World’s Greatest Husband joins in…. I have to admit, between rubbing, patting, encouraging, CLEANING, and more cleaning we managed to keep a sense of humor. (I am not sure my boss thinks this is humorous, day three of being absent. Honestly, I’ve had no real choice in the matter, I was down and out, the kids cry every time they vomit, and now a husband who is moaning he is so achy. How can I leave this pathetic crew that I lovingly call FAMILY? Maybe I won’t have a job tomorrow and I can blog full time? Did you know blogging is expected to be a $726 million dollar industry by 2012)? Well, I do need my job so I am working hard to clean every germ that is living in this place.

Oh peeps, there is no real point to this post, I am beat, I am tired, now I AM CRYING,  I just disinfected the entire kitchen and am now moving on to the kid’s bathroom. The blog that was playing over and over in my head is no longer. I am sorry to disappoint. Stay with me, be patient. I’ll be better soon,” I just need to go puke up the sickness and get all the ickies out of my tummy so I can feel better and go to school “ (said that line a few times this week) My best for today is: Be healthy! Wash your hands.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sick Mommy...

The stomach bug referenced below, hit again…. This time our nine year old…. Then ME!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you hear me moaning? groaning? complaining? I don’t think I’ve been this sick in years! It’s ugly. Yesterday my daughter and I didn’t leave the bedroom, we slept all day! Today we ventured downstairs to put the others on the bus, slept, slept and now I am typing…. I do feel it lifting and the shower helped. There is nothing like illness that makes one realize all they do in a day. When you are out of commission, it shows quickly. My children actually giggled at me saying I was faking it. I think they were shocked and amazed that I am so sick that moving is a struggle. I think it was hard for them to comprehend. Seriously even on “sick” days mom’s still do it all…. Not this time, just not possible. HUGE LOVING SHOUT OUT TO the World’s Greatest Husband, he is a great man who simply handles whatever comes his way. I am a lucky sickee! Hopefully, I’ll be on top of my game after a bit more time. I have tons of Paperly orders to process and fun party things to prepare for our big brunch on Sunday.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Puke and Poop

Oh my goodness, my night has been an adventure. At 2am we jumped out of bed to a vomiting child in the hallway. Our youngest was puking like a pro. It was his first time! Well, it hasn’t ended yet. We are talking both ends. Poor kid. He was crying asking me “why is this happening” with such desperation in his voice. I know we all have projectile vomiting stories, but the sheer amazement of a child opening their little mouths and a stream of ugliness spraying out in all directions is really a sight you can’t describe. The fear of the child and the tactical operations of the mom meet head on. The “momminess” kicking into high gear “It’s ok, you’re ok, you’re brave, this is going to help you get the sick out of your tummy…. “ the rubbing, the patting, the kisses, you can see it all right? Well, hopefully we are nearing the end, really how much can one little body handle? Honestly my greatest fear was that another kid would start up at any moment….

So if you are a parent reading this, you get it. Funny how the mom’s in a room can always take the conversation to puke or poop. Here is one to make you laugh…. When my youngest was an infant, I struggled like all working mom’s do to get my business suit on, and then get the kids to day care… one morning, all business like and gussied up, I sat in my morning meeting thinking… I smell poop, I got a little weird about it, is it me? is it my neighbor?, I smell poop.! I SMELL POOP! POOP PEOPLE, I smell it! If I smell poop, my co-workers must smell poop too? Then as I put my hand near my face, I panicked, I really, really, really smelled poop! After a quick inspection of my hands, I noticed some baby poo under my finger nail! Ok, I am not proud, it is real life, but seriously, poop on the fingers? I was crazed, without skipping a beat, I left the meeting, scrubbed for several minutes and back I went….like a good mommy should.

I have five children, bring it on….

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be in the Moment

I often think of a former co-worker from my first professional job. She was in her 50’s and full of life. When I met her, I was caught up in planning a wedding, registering for sheets, towels and flatware. I am not sure I was soaking in all her real life lessons like I should have, but I did gain a few valuable nuggets along the way. I would always look forward to hearing about her weekend escapades. She had a spice for life. She would share stories that made her spirit shine. I loved how she valued ordinary moments. She lived in the moment, completely. Living in the moment has always been a struggle for me, especially as a spoiled brat bride to be, 15 years ago. I must admit, I continue to develop this skill, but I am better than I have ever been, children have helped me to appreciate the moment, a loving and supportive husband has made me appreciate the moment, the word cancer has made me appreciate the moment, a bit of reflection has made me learn how to embrace moments. Do you know the greatest thing about my 50-something coworker? She could make a martini on the deck of her condo, with the sun setting, chips and salsa in a bowl, husband by her side, sound like the moment of a lifetime, or at least her moment of the day. I remember thinking gosh, she loves life, she loves her husband, she loves her martini (for sure) and I want to be able to love like that someday! The thing is- if we keep wishing for those moments of joy, searching for them, we miss them. They are in front of our noses all day long, the challenge is to take a moment to appreciate and experience them.
.....I am going to go try to "live in the moment" and find the beauty of all the laundry that is in the hamper.  I hope you have a good day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Hanging out with Paperly Peeps"

Just not enough hours in the day… Ever feel that way? I am going to say something sort of dumb… maybe? Uh? I don’t know but here is my simple take on things…..

It’s amazing we all survive.

Seriously, when you add up family commitments, work commitments, school activities, extracurricular activities, civic commitments, blended family dilemmas, grocery shopping, and keeping your marriage HOT, it isn’t easy….never mind trying to find time for yourself.

Are you with me?

Yesterday I was cranky and annoyed, challenged and upset. I came home from work feeling a bit out of sorts and wasn’t able to shake it. Then, I spent the evening at a Paperly Party (Big thanks to hostess with the mostess, Sally!) and I was able to take a deep breath and be with other professional women, other moms, daughters, wives and sisters…. and my attitude shifted, my spirit lifted. Just to switch gears for a bit a time was refreshing and delightful.

Paperly has been a wonderful experience for a few reasons…. Yes, beautiful paper is a joy to sell. (I just received the embossed Crest note card and it made me want to rub it on my cheek, the quality of this little number is impressive) but in addition to beautiful products, the Paperly Party has been an amazing education about women. How we are all so busy, how we often deny ourselves little luxuries, how we all have the same struggles, it may be a different kid, husband, job or activity but we juggle, we balance and we try to strive for success and peace, at home, at school, at work. Paperly has opened my eyes about being a sister, a friend, a saleswoman and a DIVA. Does it sound a little corny, that a little paper networking party for 2 hours can be a quick study on the human spirit? That it can make me feel proud to be a woman? Maybe, but for today, I am going to smile knowing I am growing from the experience. Honestly, it is a power boost to my spirit. Go ahead, call me a cornball! But I prefer Diva!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Peace is my favorite word. It is something that comes and goes in my life. It is something I try to concentrate on, be conscious of. A peaceful heart is kind, strong and giving - and not always easy to have.

Peace takes on many different forms for me:
There is the “Give me some peace and quiet” peace that I sometimes want to scream to five kids.
There is the “I feel so settled and loved” peace that the World’s Greatest Husband lets me enjoy.
There is the “Peaceful heart” peace I feel when I see our blended family working strong.
There is the “Peaceful sleep” peace that I feel when we are all tucked in tight after a day of family togetherness.
There is the “Make me an instrument of your peace” peace that I feel when I am in church.

Today I am praying for peace, strength, healing, love, health and courage. It has been a long weekend and a little peace sure would go a long way.

So I found this little prayer that may help keep peace in my thoughts, words, and actions.
Today, my goal is peace.
Today, I let go of any other agenda
and ask that you remove from my being
anything that hinders my experience of peace.
Today, in all my relationships,
I release all that obstructs peace.
In my work, it is peace that I offer others,
for healing takes place in moments of peace.
With my children, the gift of peace
reminds them of what is possible and who they truly are...
My peaceful doodle-ee-doo. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Five for Friday

Wow, it's Five for Friday already?... Here are five great things about today -
1. It's Date Night.  I need a night with the World's Greatest Husband.  We have had a long busy week and a little alone time is just what I need!
2. I didn't wear my heavy winter coat this morning!
3. The sun is shining and I sent my first ever "e-vite."  This is historical for a Paper Mom... no paper....
4. I actually took an hour last night and sketched and doodled. Oh what fun, maybe I will post one of my doodle-e-doos.
5. Did I mention date night with my husband? it is worthy of two mentions. 
Have a great weekend, paper peeps! or as our 13 year old says... Peace Out Sista -

Favorite books

A gal pal asked me to type up my favorite reads, this is what I came up with.

There is one thing that never changes for our family of seven, our bedtime reading routine. Reading before snoring has become a joy that has been a part of my daily routine since I was a child and now is habit for my family too. It can often be a challenge with so many different reading levels and attention spans; it is a special way to end our day with warmth and love that can’t be described.

One for all ages: Our family favorite, hands down is “The Gulps” by Rosemary Wells and Marc Brown. This silly story is about a family slimming down after eating too many Winky-Twinks and Jiffy Chips. It makes us laugh every time, so much so that we have adopted the silly family name, "The Gulps" whenever we “pig out” at the dinner table.

I’ve read "The Enormous Egg" by Oliver Butterworth several times throughout my life. I remember Mrs. Baigert, my third grade teacher reading it the first time.

Once the kids are asleep, I end my day with a good book too. I have always described my favorite books as those “sappy, mushy, gushy lovey, dovey romantic reads.” My life is busy and demanding, I love losing myself in a love story. Here are my favorites:

"Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks (this author always makes me sob, the I can’t control myself, sucking air to breath kind of crying, I am always afraid I’ll wake my husband with the tears!)
"How to talk to a Widower" by Johnathan Tropper (You will laugh out loud!)
"The Pilots Wife" by Anita Shreve

My non-fiction selections: I love, love, love, craft books, anything to do with paper crafts makes me especially smile. I enjoy home improvement and decorating books, self improvement books, cook books, and professional/career books. I often use interlibrary loans to find what I am looking for. Have you read?

"The Girlfriends’ Guide to getting your Groove Back Loving your family without Losing your Mind" by Vicki Iovine
"The Girls Guide to the Big Bold Moves for Career Success" by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio
"Paper Bouquet: Using Paper Punches" by Susann Tierney Cockburn
"Everyday Food: Great Food Fast" by Martha Stewart
"Organizing your Craft Space" by Jo Packham

Run, don't walk to your local library
 and check them out!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tents in the living room...

Last Friday I mentioned Martha’s book Good Things for Easy Entertaining.  I love this little treasure.  Check it out at your local library.  The book is my dream life.  I love pretty things, I love the staging of photographs, I love the “it’s a good things ideas.”  I’ve decided that someday I will live the beautiful life, the staged magazine life, where the sunroom that is now the playroom will be my little reading nook with feminine floral prints and pretty white furniture.  Someday I will live in a house where High School Musical posters will be replaced with real art, expensive art.  Someday I will live in a house where one of the kid’s bedrooms will become my little craft room/study similar to the whimsical look of Mary Englebreit’s studio.  Someday we won’t refer to the hall bathroom as the “kid’s bathroom.”   

Someday, someday, someday, my house will be my little museum, my little personal interior design project.   … With my big family we live far from perfect.  Right now I have two (yes I said two!) kids pop up tents set up in my living room.  I struggle with being “cool mom” who lets kids play in tents, and “Hey, PEOPLE, this isn’t a camp ground!”  The kids have had a ball playing in the tents, so for now- I can live with it.  I just hope after we raise our five children, after we mold them into contributing, kind citizens who have families of their own, we aren’t so poor and tired that we have to live in those tents!  I've attached a few photos to prove it isn't always a campground around here....  I hope your day sparkles...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Love Stamp

I've been having computer troubles.  The World's Greatest Husband is working hard to fix them (even on his birthday!)

Went to our favorite crafty store, Michaels and I bought a new rubber stamp (FOR A DOLLAR!) Here are a few samples. 

Find your Inner Crafty Diva, have you ever visited the Paper Source website ( I love the fresh new springtime ideas.  I try to subscribe to their tag line..... Do Something Creative Everyday. By the way, for a busy mom like me, that sometimes means get up, take a shower, feed the kids and get through the day. 


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