Monday, March 31, 2014

Spotting Beauty in the Rubble

Our dog, Wilson, was a stray that was rescued. When Wilson was at the shelter he was overlooked by everyone. It's kinda obvious why. J and I saw that his potential. I feel sad that people ignored Wilson at the shelter. But I'm glad too! Their loss is our gain.

The first pic of a big shaggy dog is Wilson when he first got to the shelter.

The second pic is what Wilson looked like after a shave.

The third pic is what Wilson will look like in a month or two.

Meet Wilson Woodrow Widney

Wilson is our adorable little mini poodle mix. We adopted Wilson from a no kill shelter in Chicago.

He is perfect for us!!! We know poodles very well, he doesn't shed, he's housebroken, has all of his shots, is laid back, friendly, and is good with our kids.

The kids used their own Target gift cards (bday gifts from friends) to outfit Wilson with toys, harness, poop bags, etc. we want them to take some responsibility for dog ownership.

Right now, Wilson is sleeping on my lap. He is exhausted after a walk with The 3 M's (Motor Mouth, Mini Me, and me). Perfect end to a perfect day!

Happy Birthday, BFF!!!

My BFF came to town!!! We spent four days celebrating my BFF. J and I had a great time getting caught up with our dear friend.

It's been so long since I've seen him that I took way more pics than usual and I kept touching him - kind of like pinching him b/c I couldn't believe he was really there!

Overnight Camping Trip

For the first time in 11 years, Motor Mouth was away from us for three days and two nights without family.

It was hardest on me b/c I literally spend almost every waking hour with MM. His home room is right next to my office. I watch him practice swimming for two hours/day, five days/week. We are always together. He loves his momma.

MM had a great time shooting bows and arrows, collecting maple syrup, telling scary ghost stories around a campfire, taking a midnight moonlit stroll, hugging trees....

Motor Mouth Birthday

Our little boy is 11 years old now!!!

My heart swells with love when I think of the outpouring of love we received when Motor Mouth was born. Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers were so happy for us to realize the answer to our prayers and fruition of our dreams.

We celebrated Motor Mouth's birthday with lunch at one of his favorite restaurants followed by the LEGO Movie and cupcakes. Grandparents and his birth mom wished him a happy birthday before bedtime. We celebrated with his classmates with ice cream treats.

Motor Mouth is a smart, hard-working young man that is a good friend, funny, loving, kind, tender hearted, and has a strong moral compass. He sets goals and works to achieve them. We are so proud and honored to be Motor Mouth's parents.

Mini Me Birthday

Our baby girl is 8 years old now!!!

I remember the first time I laid eyes on my daughter. I loved her immediately. She was beautiful.

For eight years we have been honored with being her parents. Mini Me is delightful. She is smart, funny, out-going, witty, sharp, loving, kind, generous. I love her so much.

On her birthday I took ice cream treats in to her classmates then we went to dinner at her favorite BBQ place. Each of us took turns sharing our top the three favorite things about Mini Me. She was ecstatic. After picking up cupcakes, we went home where we played family board games and watched Frozen. Right before bedtime we called all of her grandparents (adopted & biological) and godparents so they could wish her a Happy Birthday. Mini Me felt loved and celebrated.

Is My Boyfriend / Spouse / Partner Cheating?

I caught the tail end of Bethenny's talk show segment where men were talking about cheating. One man made a comment that has me ANGRY! He said: "If YOU THINK your partner is cheating on you, he ALREADY IS."

Are you kidding me? Really? Because you think it is so then it is so?! No. No, that is NOT so. Too often women (and some men) ruin an otherwise great relationship because of jealousy and insecurity.

I have a friend who is an amazing man. Let's call him....Mike. Mike fell completely in love. How in love? He switched jobs and moved to another city three states away from ALL of his friends, family, and children JUST to be closer to his girlfriend. Let's call her Rosie.

A few months in, Rosie started saying she thought he was cheating on her. He assured her he loved her and was not cheating on him b/c he was NOT cheating on her. Mike was so in love w/Rosie all he did was talk about how great she was and how happy he was with her. Ad nauseum.

Mike went to work and straight home. Otherwise, they were together. Mike had no friends or family in this new city he recently moved to. He was supporting Rosie and her kids as she had lost her job.

For months of this relationship, Rosie accused Mike of cheating. Mike stopped calling, texting and emailing all of his friends and drastically reduced how often he communicated with his MOTHER and siblings. Nothing was enough for this woman.

I wondered what he would tell me if a man I was dating became so possessive of me and through his extreme, unwarranted jealousy managed to get me to cut off myself from everyone who loved me.

In the end, it was her insane jealousy and false accusations of cheating that did the relationship in. She kicked him out b/c she couldn't trust him. Turns out she was just testing him. That weekend, Rosie begged Mike to return. Begged. Too late. Good God, Women! If you want your man to stay then don't kick him out!!!

Rosie lost a good man b/c she couldn't trust a man. Any man. If you can't trust a man that spends all of his free time with you, is not on the phone when with you and gives up his established life to move to your city to be with you, then YOU have a problem.

Let this be a lesson to you. If you THINK your partner is cheating but you have no proof, other than your "hunch" then hold off. Get proof or evaluate whether you are transferring a past love's mistakes on your new love. Or maybe, it's your guilty conscience b/c you were the cheater all along.....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What a Week!

Last week was quite a week!!!

We had what we hope was the last snowstorm of a very hard winter season. So done with snow, ice, frigid temps.

Mini Me was sick. J stayed home with her for two days. She took her own temp and texted the pic to J downstairs.

It is enrollment season at work. I sent a crazy number of acceptance letters this week. We are very fortunate to be increasing enrollment each year.

Friday night, after a long day at State, J had a mini movie shoot. I think it was actually a major shoot considering how many scenes they did and how many people were in my house!!! At 5:30 pm J says: "Oh, we are going to film in our laundry room." The crew and actors were scheduled to arrive between 5:30 & 6:00...! Good thing my whole house was tidy.

Our dear friend came to town. Kids had a fun time entertaining him and being entertained by him. He even spent Sunday with us at the pool watching MM race.

Mini Me turns 8 on this week. Their Hunger Games Themed birthday party is on Saturday. Then Motor Mouth turns 11 after that.

State Championship 2014

Our boy competed in the 9/10 Boys State championship meet this weekend.
He did great, had fun, and came home with a couple of medals.

MM placed:
- 6th in the 50 Freestyle
- 7th in the 100 Freestyle
- 9th in the 50 Butterfly
- 11th in the 100 Butterfly
- 12th in 200 Freestyle
- 16th in 100 Individual Medley

That's in the WHOLE STATE of Illinois!!!

There's a pic of MM signing his team board.
He accomplished best times in all six of his individual events.
He also had two relay events. 

And there is a pic of MM with his coach.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Mini Me wasn't feeling well.
She texted this pic to J, who was downstairs.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Best Great Grandmother

J's Grandma Barbara was a wonderful lady. I loved her so very much and miss her daily. Grandma Barbara was a Widney Woman. I'm honored to carry the same last name as her.

Look at how much joy her first great grandchild brought to her. We really enjoyed meeting up with Grandma Grandma and Grandpa Grandpa often.

Be Afraid

No words. Just pray for us - we have to live with this....

Lotta Hair

And to think, she was pretty much bald until she was 2-1/2 years old...

Cute Flashback

J sent me a bunch of old pics a couple days ago. 2yr old Motor Mouth was SO CUTE!!!!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What Do You Call Your In-Laws?

During lunch with work colleagues this week, I learned that most people don't call their in-laws anything. It was confirmed by a survey of my fellow swim parents.

Most people said they just look at their MIL or FIL and start talking. Or when they call them they just say "Hi" and whatever they called for.

Most people said they do not feel comfortable calling their in-laws "Mom" or "Dad" b/c they have their own parents and that is just weird. Some do but it was hard at first. Seemed like they were betraying their parents whether alive or deceased. And that it still feels weird.

Some said they call them by their first name. But it's weird. And calling them "Mr." or "Mrs." Was even more weird so they didn't.

Most people said their in-laws invited them to call them "Mom" or by their first name. But calling them by their first name seems disrespectful to most of us.

When kids came in the picture calling them "Grandma" or "Grandpa" was MUCH easier. Bit of a relief, really.

Interestingly enough, calling their spouses grandparents "Grandma" and "Grandpa" never seemed to be an issue for anyone.

Personally, I never felt comfortable calling my in-laws "Mom" and "Dad." It always felt awkward and not authentic when I did. They are barely older than me (I married their oldest son and I'm 4 years older than him. They were like, 19 or 20 when they had him). Besides, I have my own real, good, healthy parents alive.

My SIL never seemed to have a problem calling them mom and dad. But she is the age of their youngest child and grew up calling them "Mom" and "Dad" when she was teenaged BFFs with her now SIL. I still call many of my childhood friends' parents "Mom" or "Dad" cause I always did growing up.

My in-laws had a German exchange student that called my MIL "Donny-Mommy." That felt like being a copycat to me so I modified it to "Donna Momma." That's what I called her for years. All my Tulsa friends and many of her former co-workers called her that too.

I have always called my FIL by his first name. Now I just refer to him as "Grandpa." I think he prefers that because when he calls me on the phone he says, "Hi, this is Grandpa."

See, it's awkward for them, too! LoL

Nature & Nurture

MM's birth mom, KK, and I are great friends. We recently had a conversation about our son. KK remarked about how proud she is of MM and how glad she is that she chose us to parent MM. KK went on to say that there is no way MM would be as accomplished as he is had she raised him. She simply did not have the resources.

This kid is amazing. He can play a mean guitar, sing like a boss, and draw like a pro. Once again, Motor Mouth is on the honor roll at school. AND he is ranked in the top 15 in the state going into the State Meet.

J and I have no biological claim to Motor Mouth's talents and giftings. He was born with it. What we did was give MM the room for his talents to flourish. That's what adoption does. It gives kids opportunities to experience lives they never would have known possible.

We are not amazing people for adopting. We are just an infertile couple that wanted children. And this is just nature and nurture combining to create a really amazing kid that we get to call our son.

Boss Snack

I was working late a few weeks ago when my boss brought this surprise snack to me from Mariano's. Great snack. Great surprise. Great boss!

One Word

J designed this set and the "1 Word" 5-ft tall signs. It was for a message on New Years Eve. The congregation was asked "What one word will you focus on in 2014."

I put together the stands the signs are on and applied the vinyl lettering to the stands. I gave blood doing it but it was worth it!!!

I also hung a bunch of lights. Yes, I literally support my husband in his career.

W Design

J designed this 5-ft tall "W" for a series entitled "Wisdom Talks." And he did the lighting.

New Do

Mini Me sporting her new do.

I had to wear my hair in two braids all through elementary school. So yeah, my kid gets to pick her own hairstyles and hair color. Besides, J loves to cut and color her hair on his day off.


Mini Me had a school project. They were studying South America and had to pick a South American animal. I coerced her.

Me: "What animal do you want to do?"

MM: "I don't know. Maybe a bird."

Me: "Oh. What about a snake?"

MM: "Nah. I don't like snakes."

Me: "Oh, okay. Well there is this snake in South America that eats people...."

MM: "Really???!!!!!"

Me: "Yeah, an anaconda. So what bird do you want to do?"

MM: "I want to do an anaconda!!!"

And yes, that is a small pic of a dead man cut from the body of an anaconda. Look, if I had to help up to 25% it was going to have to hold MY interest.


I drove over one of the craters we call potholes in Chicago. Got a flat tire.

The weather this year has taken a MAJOR toll on our poor streets. I don't blame the city at all. I'm ready for warm weather. So ready.

We were on our way to swim practice so I had a friend pick Motor Mouth up and take him to practice. Then I had to sit with Mini Me at a gas station for about 90 minutes until AAA could get a guy to me. First, they had me in hold for over 18 minutes before accidentally disconnecting me!!! Another 10+ minute hold and the operator was so sweet.

While waiting for the tow truck, Mini Me had to use the restroom. We went across the street to an art gallery. I didn't think the gas station restroom would be as clean.

I could have changed the flat myself but it was SO COLD. And we have AAA. And the AAA guy was cute. The bill for two new tires was not so cute.


J says I look pregnant in this top. He's right. I don't care. Sometimes you just have to wear what is comfortable.

Album Recording

Here are a few pics from the album recording J did last week. J is a master lighting designer, sound engineer, set designer, and so much more. I'm not even going to be modest about him - I am a proud wife!!!

This was the recording for Charles Jenkins and the Fellowship Choir's new album. It is one of the most anticipated new albums of 2014!