Category Archives: Family

The Middle Child

While I was getting ready for work this morning I heard someone crying. Wimpering. It was my middle child. She woke up this morning because she had a bad dream. She dreamt that her sister had died and she was so upset. I felt so bad for her. Even though I was already late for work I stayed with her and comforted her and told her it was just a dream.

“Think of something happy,” I told her. “It’s your birthday today.”

Her response was, “Some way to start a birthday.”

Claire turns nine today. Only one more year until she hits double digits. And if she is anything like her older sister only one more year before the hormones kick in.

But she is not like her sisters. She is the middle child. The Creative one. The one that likes to be by herself and read books and play with Legos. She loves video games and Star Wars. Yet she is the peacemaker. The middle one that keeps the baby and the oldest from fighting.

When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will tell you a doctor, a scientist or musician. Yesterday while watching me make her birthday cake she said she wanted to be like me when she grew up. A multi-tasker. Yes, those are her words. “Mom, how do you do it all? You are frosting a cake, watching a cooking show and making us dinner all at the same time. When I grow up I want to be like you. A mutli-tasker.”

Brought a little tear to my eye.

They say middle children act out and misbehave to try to get attention. They have to do something to stand out from the domineering older sibling and the cute baby.

Claire has her own way of standing out. She quietly does what is right, throwing in her witty humor at the most unexpected times, encouraging those around her with her actions.

She is my middle child.



Wake up late and relax.
Eat a late breakfast.
Feed the Kids Lunch. Leftover Pizza.
Realize I have no jeans clean for the ice skating activity at 2:30.
Start laundry at 1:00.
Kids have volunteered me to make cookies for their Valentine’s party. All three of them.
Make 100 cookies.
Get to the activity late because of having to wait for jeans to dry.
Skate for 1/2 hour.
Invite friends over for Chinese food. Have fun.
Get kids ready for bed. Goal accomplished at 10:30.
Watch Survivor on OnDemand.
Crawl into bed at 12:30.
Wake up to the sound of child puking Chinese food at 1:20 a.m.
Almost puke Chinese food myself while cleaning up the living room, hallway, walls, and bathroom.
Crawl into bed with sick child. Fall asleep.
Wake up much later in child’s bed with kink in my neck.
Thankful it is Sunday.

Diet News and Everything Else

Week one of the “Lean Cuisine/George Foreman Grill Diet” went very well. I found it easy to stay with it. It makes lunch time easy. I think just planning my meals out and knowing ahead of time what I am going to eat is the real ticket to staying on the diet.

Wait. We don’t call it a diet at our house anymore. It is a Corporately Sponsored Lifestyle change.

I have also been a better mom this week. Maybe not better, but at least more organized(dinners planned) and active with the girls.

We have gone swimming three times, went on a walk once and did Tae Bo for kids together on another day. We have watched very little television. The seat mark on my couch is starting to lessen.

Speaking of television… We finally had to lock out the Disney Channel from the girls. They were not picking up bad words or behaviors. It was the bad acting that was killing me. One of my children tends to be a drama queen as it is. She does not need Miley Cyrus giving her pointers. I almost called her Hannah Montana a couple of times over Christmas Vacation. Oh, the drama!

Speaking of drama… Just before the Christmas break Emma and Claire were in a talent show at their school. I now know why people think they can sing on those first few American Idol shows. Because when they are little their parents encourage them to sing in these talent shows and tell them how great they are. Most the the kids sang along (in a monotone voice) with a song that was playing. Most of the girls sang a Hannah Montana song. Except for the one little girl that sang “One Night Only.” Now that’s appropriate for a fourth grader to sing.

I went to the talent show practice for four weeks straight. I thought my head was going to explode! Closer to the performance I would beg Larry to go to the practice so I wouldn’t have to take Excederin for the splitting headache I would get.

Emma and Claire ending up playing “Heart and Soul” on the piano. Claire played her guitar while 5 girls sang “Feliz Navidad.” They both did a great job.

Speaking of guitars (I could do this all day)… Claire got a new one for Christmas. It is a lovely teal blue. Yes, we are bringing the Eighties back. I don’t know who was more excited, her or me. I was just happy to have a nice sounding guitar to hear instead of the cheap little toy one that she learned how to play on. She was happy that is was acoustic and electric. Rock On! The other girls received American Girls dolls (Emily and Nicki) from their Grandmas. Much screaming and drama ensued.




Speaking of the Eighties… We got a new game for Christmas, Trivial Pursuit Eighties Edition. We had some friends over for New Years and played a rousing game. I realized that I had no idea what was going on in the world while I was in high school. The only thing I remembered about world events from the 80’s was that Reagan was shot. But I did know that Tiffany was a rival to Debbie Gibson.


We had a fun night eating and laughing.

Speaking of eating…so, about that diet. I lost 6 pounds this week.

Sunday Snowday

It was a true snow day today. Most times it snows I still have to go to work. I leave while it is still dark and everyone is snug in their beds while I face the treacherous roads. But not today. Today church was canceled which means everyone got to stay home. The girls were still up early and the first one was out the door with all her snow gear on by 9:30. By 10:30 we were all out in the snow. Some of us shoveling some of us rolling around in the snow. Crazy kids. Our neighbor came over and used his snow blower on our side walks and eventually part of our driveway. We love our neighbors.

Then Larry reminded me of why we had children before the age of 30. So we could go sledding with them. When we were first married and I was a teacher we went sledding on a snow day. I was only 24 at the time and that hill kicked my hiney. So I made good on my promise and went sledding today. Okay, I didn’t actually go down the hill but I walked up it and took lots of pictures. Larry was a sport and went down.

And even though we missed meeting with our brothers and sisters at church, we needed a day together as a family. We have been so busy lately. Larry has been working every day since Thanksgiving and it was starting to wear on me. So an unplanned “free” day was a gift.

Some pictures from sledding.

I thinkI will wait in the van. It’s too cold!


Larry, Claire, Susy and their friend Maddy.


Are we going all the way up there?


I should put up the video of him rolling down the hill on this sled.


Brrr. We only stayed out for about 30 minutes. The wind was crazy!


Snow and boot cut jeans do not mix.


Time for some hot cocoa!

My Girl

I made a chocolate pudding pie for dessert for after dinner tonight. All the girls were excited I had made a dessert just for them. It reminded me of when Larry and I were first married and I had made a fancy fruit salad for dessert. He was so surprised it was just for him. We go to so many church and school events it seems like I am always making some dish for something or other. So the family gets a little excited when I actually let them eat the desserts I make.

After taking a few bites of my pie I look up at Susy to see her face and one hand covered in chocolate pudding. I asked her what she was doing since she had more on her face than in her mouth.

Her response. “Eating chocolate.”


Did I ever tell you what a great husband I have?

While I am reading blogs he is in the kitchen cleaning out the fridge of the leftover Thanksgiving leftovers.  And taking out the trash. And putting the clothes in the dryer.

I think I may have to give him a raise.

Bake And Rake

Last week we had a teen activity called a”Bake and Rake.” We helped a couple at our church that have a lot of leaves to rake and bag. They had already done the hard work of blowing the leaves into piles so the kids just had to bag them all. I had the difficult job of taking pictures and opening the leaf bags. After raking the front yard Mrs. Greene made us homemade hot cocoa with marshmallows. So much better than Swiss Miss.

We bagged 26 that day.





My new favorite picture of the girls.


Thankful in November

I have tried for five days to write a post on this blog. I just have not had the time or energy to do it. The Castle household has been very busy. Besides Emma turning ten and having her very first slumber party, we also had a family party, piano lessons, Spanish lessons, an office Halloween party for 100 people to plan, laser tag and seeing the Detroit Symphony play Disney songs. Whew! It has been a busy month.

Next on the agenda is Christmas shopping. I went to Target the other day (I know, what day am I not in Target?) and had a little panic attack. It was very crowded and people were tossing stuff into their carts right and left and it felt like Christmas shopping in October. I was not ready for that. And then it hit me I have to work. I can’t shop during the slow hours at the mall and stores. Aack! I will have to fight the crowds and park a half a mile away.

This will be my first Christmas with a full time job outside of the home. I know I will not be able to do all the things I usually to do at Christmas and that makes me a little sad. Nothing like your child asking when are we going to make those cookies we make every year to add to the guilt that you already feel because you have to work the day after Christmas. I wonder if I can teach Larry the House Husband how to make cookies. It may have to be slice and bake this year.

This leads me to the purpose of this post. My friend Brenda is giving thanks every day in November. And I really meant to start the first day, but I got a little behind.

Today I am thankful for my job. I know after whining about not having enough time and having to work during the holidays it is a little ironic. But I am thankful for the extra money it provides our family and for the benefits we receive. I work with a couple of lovely Christian ladies and they make it fun to come to work. I also enjoy little perks like free tickets to the Detroit Symphony and the Red Wings. Maybe one day I will score some Piston’s tickets. During the school year my schedule allows me to be home every afternoon when the girls get home from school. And I have complete confidence in Larry as he has to get them ready for school in the morning. They are old enough now that they do most things themselves. They just need a little prodding here and there.

Thank you Lord for providing for our needs with a job that fits me perfectly in every way.

Ten Things About A Ten Year Old

1. You can use the hair straightener by yourself.

2. You ride your bike around the block by yourself.

3. You make your own lunch.

4. You want to pick your own clothes out now.

5. You like stuffed animals and dolls.

6. Blue is a favorite color.

7. Your room is always neat.

8. Your drawers are always messy.

9. You can wear a ladies size 6 shoe.

10. You still sleep with your blankey.

Happy Birthday Emma.

For Scott*

Hockey Time! Larry loves hockey. So yesterday morning when the email came around the office where I work that there were free tickets for the Red Wings game I jumped on them. It was not a regular season game, but it was still a lot of fun.

Larry had to take a call at the Joe. That’s my sissy phone he is talking on, not an iphone.


Here is Larry giving away our life savings for a pretzel.

Mmmm. That is GOOD. All this for $10.50.

The Zamboni has to be the best part of the game for me.


This next picture is for Nicole who likes to take pictures of random people. This guy sat down in front of me and this what I saw for the second period. The stadium was half empty and he had to pick this seat.


We moved.


Our row was empty.


We waited until the crowd left. Larry doesn’t like crowds. We took pictures while we waited.


The people mover. We didn’t ride it.


We had a fun night thanks to my Mom and Dad who babysat the kids and the free tickets.

Oh Yeah, Wings won in a shoot out.

*Our friend Scott is a huge Wings fan. He has moved to Ohio and he misses his Red Wings.