Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dear Pearl Jam,

Hey guys! Maybe you will get to read this message and maybe you won't...but my mom always taught me that the answer is always "no" unless you ask. So here it is. My name is Virginia Louden, but you can call me Ginny. I have been a fan since my ears heard your music for the first time during the summer of 1991. I was 13 years old and you rocked my world. Thank you.

When I heard about this recent tour I immediately messaged my husband at work and told him that if we could somehow buy two tickets to your show in Seattle on December 6th, that we should splurge and take a grown up getaway together. He, of course, agreed. Unfortunately, this particular show was sold out before I could blink this morning. We did have the pleasure of attending your show in Minneapolis, near our home, years ago and I can honestly say it was my favorite concert I ever attended. Standing in an arena with tens of thousands of fans all singing Alive together was one of the most moving experiences I have had in my life. It gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes.

As a youth it was my goal to grow up and be a rockstar. I can not even begin to count the hours I spent out in my family's music room singing along to all the truly amazing music that came out of Seattle in the early 90's. It changed the world of music and gave me hope for my future as a singer. Well, fast forward twenty something years, life happens, responsibilities reared their heads and five children later, I did not become that rockstar. I'm okay with it. But in my mind, for all of those years, I knew that I was going to be famous someday and my goal was to be like a female version of Eddie Vedder. The emotion, the range, the poetry, the artistry. Such is life. No regrets.

Getting back on track here, I am not looking for a handout, although I would except one, ha! If you read this message and have anyway of finding two tickets for me to your Seattle performance, I would very much appreciate it. My husband and I could really use a vacation and being able to see you in your home town would be a dream come true. We have five children ranging in age from fourteen years down to ten month old twins. Our lives have been a little turned around in the last year and a half, we have remained strong together, but a grown up break to reconnect and have some fun would be great.

Thank you for listening. If you are curious about me and what I'm all about, please take a moment and peek at my personal blog at I'm an open book.

I would be forever grateful.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Laughter & Tears

I'm going to give you a little of both. A typical day in my world contains the two. I'm not just talking about myself. There are, of course, the kiddos. Teenie weenie emotional roller coasters, in constant motion, keeping me on my toes. Going out on errands can be a trip, pun intended. When I have to take some or all of them out...I have to have a plan...and a s#!t load of patience.

The Plan: 

It takes me about an hour to get everyone ready to go somewhere. Therefore, whatever I am going to go and do had better be worth it. I have to really need something, want something, have to get out of the house, have specific people I want to see or whatever my reason may be. It is probably not going to be "just because." Not until the twins are a little older, at least.

Before I can go anywhere, I have to pack the diaper bag: diapers, wipes, pull ups, changes of clothes (at least one for each baby, depending on how long we will be out and maybe one for DJ too), bottles, formula, baby snacks, DJ's snack, a couple toys, blankets (depending on the season and weather), sippy cup, possibly child sized cutlery, Desitin, wallet, phone, sunglasses, keys, sometimes coupons/vouchers...and always Neno Bear (DJ's woobie). In the winter time...let's not forget hats, mittens, boots, jackets and snow pants for all!

Then I make sure all three little ones have clean butts and clean clothes on. I check on the dog and turn off all the lights. I may have to cover the giant stroller and bungee it on to the back of my Yukon. I bring the diaper bag and anything else we are taking along and load it into the truck. If I am home alone with the three little kids I corral one baby in the living room, bouncy chair, swing or somewhere else safe and carry the other baby to the car and then run back into the house as quickly as possible to grab the second baby and DJ. If my husband and/or my two teenagers are coming with, the getting into the car logistics are a little easier, but really it is just more people and more stuff. Away we go.

I also make sure to get as much into a trip as I can. The less total trips out of the house, the easier it is on me. A perfect example was three months ago. The babies were due for their six month check ups. I decided to make all of our family appointments for one day. Some might think this is crazy, but in my opinion it was so much better. We started out the day with five dentist appointments at eight o'clock in the morning. I had my husband go first so he could get to work as soon as possible...again, crazy, but the hard truth is we are a family of seven on one income. Daddy's gotta work. After the dentist, around ten o'clock, we went over to the pediatricians where the babies had well baby checks and my two older boys each had an appointment for something specific to each of them. We went out for lunch together after those appointments and then we had a little bit of time to kill so we ran into Walmart and the grocery store for a few things we needed. After all of that we went to the eye doctor where me and the two older boys had appointments at around three thirty or so. I believe we left there at five-ish. It ended up being a long day but I found it easier than doing it all in three or four different days. I have also been blessed with pretty well behaved children. Thank goodness. Pretty sure I ordered pizza that night, though. Who wants to cook after all that noise?

The Patience:

These pictures are from the babies nine month check ups, but it gives you a glimpse into what it can be like...

I gave up trying to get them to not tear up the paper roll within a few seconds. Ah well. As long as I kept them from rolling off the doctor's table, I was good. They can only wait patiently for so long. And most of you have been in a doctor's can't see in these pictures, but my other three children are in the room, too. Think about it.

The Laughter:

I found a perfect example of the ridiculousness that can ensue while bringing multiple children out and into the world to go somewhere. This image is from I recently found her blog and I think she is great.

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Too true! I can't even begin to tell you. I laughed so hard when I saw this the first time. Thank you, NinjaMom!

I have also come up with a new way to decide who gets my grocery shopping business, if I have to bring all three little kids with me, now that the babies grew out of their car seats with carrying handles. I go to my favorite grocery store first, Cub Foods, and drive around their parking lot, checking in all the cart corrals until I find one of those shopping carts with the kid car on the front. Those carts have TWO baby seats with buckles in addition to the fun car. If they do not have one of those kinds of carts on the lot, I leave and drive to the next grocery store and drive around their lot. This is the only way to ensure maximum success and safety getting them all from my car and into the store. It hasn't happened yet, but if neither store had a cart like that available, I would either call it quits and go home, or if I really needed to, I could drive to yet another grocery store.

The Tears:

This is where it gets a little heavy. I am adding a link to a video I saw last night that someone had shared on Facebook. I sat in silence, with my headphones on, and watched it while tears trickled down my cheeks. I almost turned it off when I realized exactly where it was going but I decided to force myself to sit through it anyway. It is fake. It is portrayed by actors. It is not dramatized. In real life it happens too often and sometimes it is good to have a reminder. Watch at your own risk.

Some days can be hard or stressful. There have been times when I am driving home from somewhere and think to myself. "Oh crap, we are out of milk." or that I really wished I had something or another. But if I am not willing to take every single child out of the car and in with me to a store or anywhere else, I am NOT going to go! Absolutely nothing in the whole wide world is worth the risk of leaving a child in a car. I don't care about the weather or the location or the circumstances. It can be such a pain in the ass to haul them all around but I just have to deal with that. I will never do it. And I probably won't ever watch this video again. My heart can't handle it.

The End:

Parenting is joy and sacrifice. Pleasure and pain. I take one day a step at a time. It's the best I can do.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What the Funk.

"Just because I am awesome doesn't mean that I want to be awesome all of the time." - me

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I have been in a bit of a funk. I have so many things that I need to accomplish but don't have the motivation to do them. I found this piece of art online today and it looks just like I feel...

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And now I feel like a complainer for saying so. Ugh!

A fellow blogger, and old high school classmate, wrote a post recently that I related to almost exactly. The biggest difference is that she works and I don't, but other than that I know what she is feeling with my whole heart. It is titled Balancing Act and here is a link:

I feel completely alone and surrounded by people at the same time. I feel like I am strong enough to do anything but can't get myself up and moving to start. I feel extreme happiness for everything I have been blessed with in my life and that I have also become lost along the way. Some days I feel like I may have actually reached Super Mom status and then the next day I feel like the biggest raging B-word to have ever walked the planet and then feel sorry for my children because they deserve better than I gave. I feel like a walking contradiction.

I am obviously a little depressed. It has happened before and it will happen again. I'm not a doctor but I know that I do not need medication. I just need time. Pills won't make my kids leave me in peace for a bit while I clean a bathroom. Pills won't make my house in a condition to sell. Pills won't make my papers file themselves. I just need time. Luckily I am ridiculously patient, sometimes to a fault. Someday the picture that represents how I feel will look a little more like this...

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"Meet Virginia" 
By: Train

She doesn't own a dress
Her hair is always a mess,
You catch her stealin' she won't confess
She's Beautiful.

Smokes a pack a day, but wait,
That's me, but anyway
She doesn't care a thing
About that hair,
She thinks I'm beautiful
Meet Virginia

She never compromises,
Loves babies and surprises,
wears high heels when
she exercises
Ain't it beautiful
Meet Virginia

Well she wants to be the Queen
Then she thinks about her scene
Pulls her hair back as she screams
"I don't really wanna be the Queen"

Daddy wrestles alligators
Mama works on carburetors
Her brother is a fine mediator
For the president
And here she is again on the phone
just like me hates to be alone
we just like to sit at home
and rip on the President
Meet Virginia, Mmmm...

Well she wants to live her life
Then she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back, as she screams
"I don't really wanna live this life"

She only drinks coffee at midnight
When the moment is not right
Her timing is quite, unusual
You see her confidence is tragic, but her
Intuition magic And the shape of her body?

Meet Virgina I can't wait to
Meet Virginia, yeah e yeah hey hey hey

Well she wants to be the queen and
then she thinks about her scene
Well she wants to live her life
then she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back as she screams
"I don't really wanna be the queen"
I, I don't really wanna be the queen
I, I don't really wanna be the queen
I, I don't really wanna live this

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Go Ahead. Make Their Day.

The other night I was baking cookies after the kids went to bed. We needed a couple batches to sell at the lemonade stand and that was just the time it happened to work out for me that day. House all quiet and peaceful, me in my personal zone...the kitchen. No one underfoot, no one yanking on my apron strings saying, "Mommy. Mom. Mommy. Mommy." And so on. It was nice. It was peaceful. The rum and cola on the counter next to me was pretty good, too. I have to soak in these moments as I can get them.

While I was putting away the last cookie sheet full, I heard my three year old daughter in her room above me, moving around a bit. In the baby monitor I could also hear that she was making her usual voices for all her little stuffed animals, deep in conversation, still awake and playing at 11:30 at night. I stood there for a moment looking at the beautiful tray of cookies, perfectly zip lock baggied into groups of two cookies each, ready for sale the next afternoon. I had, of course, made an even number of cookies, forty eight to be exact. It only took a few seconds to say to hell with my undiagnosed OCD, forty six cookies should be just fine. I snatched up a snack size bag of two cookies, still warm and gooey-chewy, poured a small glass of milk and went straight up to DJ's room.

I gently knocked on the door and cracked it open. She saw me right away and was at first a little startled and a worried look flashed momentarily across her sweet face. That look left her face quickly because she doesn't really get in trouble for being up. She is allowed to fall asleep at her own pace. Some days she naps, some days she doesn't. She doesn't have to be up for daycare anymore. I may just have to sneak up and check her pull up or remind her to be quiet and in her bed. But this night she saw me come in smiling. I walked up to her and her entourage of fluffy animal friends and told her that I had brought her a surprise treat and then held out the cookies and the glass of cold milk. I wish I could have taken a picture of her face. That would have ruined the perfect spontaneity and sweetness of the moment so a mental picture will have to do. She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and a little half smile on her face, cocked her head to one side and asked, "Why?" Only half caring about my answer. I replied, "Because I love you and I just finished baking all the cookies for our lemonade party tomorrow." That rocked her world. Her smile expanded across her face and she held out her little hand for me to place a cookie in.

And so we sat there, just the two of us, each nibbling sweet buttery cookie and melted chocolaty goodness. We talked about I can't even remember what, but we did. We laughed, we smiled, we hugged. We took turns washing our bites down with milk and giggled about our front teeth being covered in chocolate. She glowed. It was beautiful. I gave her a big hug and kiss, tucked her and all her little animals back in and went back downstairs, I am pretty sure she was asleep within minutes. I will never forget that little bit of time I spent with my daughter, for as long as I live.

I know that this is not something I should do all of the time. I also know that I need to make sure that I am taking blessed opportunities to have special one on one moments with each of my five amazing children. I need to put a little more effort into this side of motherhood. I am so busy and overwhelmed so often nowadays. I need to try harder...but to do so without trying too hard...if that makes any sense. I need to make their day, whenever I can.

* Please take a moment and click on the TopMommyBlog button to the left side of your screen. You can vote for me daily and help me get to #1. I would really appreciate it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

Make lemonade and invite your nieces and nephews over on a super hot day. Sit around the front yard for five or six hours, pull out the yard toys and folding chairs, bug spray and sunblock and make it a day. Fifteen dollars or so in supplies, at most, and they'll have the best time. So simple, so sweet!

The little things make life great. Time spent with family and good friends. Watching the children build relationships with their kin. Some days just make it all worth while. Some days I go to bed smiling. Ahh.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"It's a Major Award!"

I won a Versatile Blogger Award! And it looks nothing like this...

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It looks a little more like this...

Ooh La La!

The Versatile Blogger Award is not actually a tangible thing. In fact, I had no clue what it was and had to research it myself before I could get ready for this post. I am still kind of a rookie at this whole blogging thing and am learning as I go. I was nominated by a fellow mommy blogger back on May 18th, the wonderful miss Charlotte Walker who owns the blog Charlie Beth's My Life as Mumma Walker. She notified me by commenting on a previous post I had written called Who's the Parent?!. The reason that I took so long to accept the award and nominate my own favorites is because, again, I had no idea what it was and, second, didn't know of eight other blogs that I followed or liked enough to nominate. Now that I have had some time, I am ready. So, thank you so very much Charlie. I really appreciate this and am truly flattered.

So, here are the 5 Officially Unofficial Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.

2. Share 8 random facts about yourself.

3. Add a picture of the Versatile Blogger Award to your blog post.

4. Nominate 8 fellow bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.

5. Let them know that you have nominated them.

Here are the 8 random facts about myself...Hmm...this will be hard...some things that I haven't already blabbed about on my blog...well:

1. I am hopelessly addicted and in love with all things related to the book series Harry Potter. I think that J.K. Rowling is a super writing genius and I can not wait to get my hands on and read her new book, The Casual Vacancy, and it is in no way involved with the Harry Potter series.

2. I wanted to become a Registered Nurse but I had to drop out of college. Actually, "had to" is not the right words. I could have continued with college but I barely qualified for any financial aid, would have had to take out many loans and never see my 2 oldest sons because I had to work full time weekdays and would have had to be in class weeknights and weekends. I could not bring myself to sacrifice that time with them. I do not regret this decision.

3. If a teeny tiny rambler house did not cost a million dollars or so, I would move to Key West Florida and live happily ever after. Writing, deep sea fishing, drinking mojitos, eating conch fritters, maybe waiting tables and making barefoot sandals to sell at Sunset, sitting at the bar listening to live music at Sloppy Joe's, eating dinner at El Siboney at least once a week. Wouldn't that be the life? Am I right, Dad?

4. I have never travelled further west than New Mexico. My hubby and I decided just yesterday that if we can get our hands on 2 tickets to go and see Pearl Jam in Seattle this December, then we are going to plan a long weekend vacation away, just the 2 of us. Fingers crossed! We could so use a getaway.

5. I hate video games. I have never liked them. I understand that many people do like them and I am fine with that. They just aren't for me. But...I just got my first "smart" phone and tried out a couple cute little app games the other I am hooked on Restaurant Story! Good grief! I'm actually playing right now.

6. It is a pipe dream of mine to own my own little diner in my small town. I started writing out the menu one night, just for fun.

7. Having children stole away my will to do dangerous and adrenaline pumping things. Before kids, I wanted to bungee jump and skydive and all that jazz. Now, I can't bring myself to do it. I can't even fly over a body of water anymore without suffering a mini meltdown in my mind.

8. My favorite food in the whole wide world is an old family recipe that my father makes. We call it "Round Steak", although this in no way describes it, but it is AMAZING and DELICIOUS and NOSTALGIC. We always serve it with white minute rice, pan gravy and the best coleslaw ever. Mmm!

Whew! That was a chore to pull out of my brain. But fun. 

And now for the nominees! Here are 8 blogs that I have found, love and read regularly: 

8. Me & The Mexican by Tara at This blog is interesting to me because my older sons' father is from Mexico and we had our differences and struggles with culture issues way back when we were together. Tara has some great insights. She says they are "Making two cultures work in one casa." This is very nice to see.

7. A Day in the Life of a Super Mom by Jessica Scott at Jessica does a good job of being real and true. She says that "It takes a Super Mom to raise Super Kids", which is super true. I also love how she describes herself: "Mom of 4, stick-shift driving extraordinaire, can read a novel in 4 hours, ambitious and driven, can change a diaper in 2.5 seconds." It's like she's the girl next door.

6. Absolutely Kathy by Kathy at This woman has some great ideas for kids. Crafts that are so simple and very creative. Her site is lovely and her little daughter's name is Virginia...which I swear had no bearing on my nomination. Ha!

5. Mommy Talk UNCENSORED by Melissa at One of her recent post titles explains her blog perfectly: Juggling Like a Clown on Crack: Balancing Career, Life, and a toddler. This woman says all of those things that we are ALL thinking but just don't have the cojones to say aloud. She even hosts guest mom bloggers that have to let off a little steam. Good stuff!

4. Pin With Me a While by Sarah Clark at I do not completely understand Pinterest yet, but Sarah does. If you need kid friendly ideas, fun recipes and holiday inspiration, this is where you should go. Her site is so clean and organized. The photos are beautiful. I love her blog.

3. Pink Dryer Lint by Robin Kramer at The name is what got my attention the first time but the content is what keeps bringing me back. Robin is very good with words. She is easy to read no matter the topic: family and child humor, practical ideas around the home, life and so on. She writes like your wise and witty sister.

2. The Beautiful Mommy Blog by Stephanie B. at Stephanie has taken her blog to a whole nother level. For those that wish, there is actually an online beautiful mommy community, complete with discussion forums and the works. Among the usual mommy blog topics, Stephanie also shares her journey through raising a child with Craniosynostosis and the challenges as a mother and family that go hand in hand with this. She is strong and inspiring. 

1. Forever Five Blog by Mommy Frazzle at This is my new favorite blog to read. She writes about real life situations you just can't make up and I find myself laughing out loud in the living room often, the kiddos turning to look at me to see why. She also hosts a monthly book giveaway which is very worth looking into. I actually won one last month. She has 3 children, 2 of which are twins, so I can relate to her very well. Reading her stories is like sitting across the table, out for cocktails with your best girlfriend, giggling until you have to pee. Love this one!

So, there! I hope you get time to check out some or all of the blogs I like. Thank you again Charlie and congratulations to the next group of awesome bloggers. Keep the words flowing. I'll keep on reading you. Peace!

* Please take a moment to click on the TopMommyBlog button to the left side of your screen and vote for me! Thanks.