Family things.

I think one of the sweetest parts of being in a family are all of the little things that belong only to you. You know, the things that you remember when you grow up, being specific to your mom or dad. For some reason when I was little I always used to pick up on the things other families said and did and some of them stuck with me. For example, the mother of the family I babysat for all throughout jr high and high school always told her girls, “I love you so” and it just melted me. Adding one little word to the end of a phrase that everyone uses made it seem so much more personal and powerful. I still follow along with her and her girls on Facebook and every once in while I’ll smile when that little sentence pops up on my screen. And I won’t lie. I have been telling my kids that I love them so for 8 years now 🙂

Ice cream dreams are a thing I’ve passed on from my childhood. I used to have nightmares a lot when I was little so when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, scared and crying, my mom would come into my room and list off all of the good things I should think about to help me get back to sleep. She would say, “Just think of good things like ice cream cones and you won’t be afraid anymore.” Our kids don’t often have nightmares but every night as I leave their room I always say, “Have sweet ice cream dreams.”  I realized that this was definitely one of our things one night when I didn’t say it and Theo got out of bed to remind me that I forgot to wish them the ice cream dreams. Isn’t it incredible how strong the connection you can make by doing something so small?

It’s not just words, things can be anything really. When Josh and I were in high school, before we were comfortable saying I love you, we would do this hand thing where one of us squeezed the other’s hand 3 times. A sort of morse code I guess. Even after we said the words to each other we continued to do the hand thing anytime we were in a group setting and didn’t want to say it out loud. Cheesy, yes, but sometimes that’s what makes the best kind of thing. Of course we don’t do it much now but every once in a while those three squeezes still mean something. I’ve also let the boys in on the secret code although I don’t get many opportunities to use it with them anymore.

Josh and I also call each other buddy. I don’t remember where it came from but for as long as I can remember it’s been our term of endearment for each other. He’s even listed under “Buddy” in my phone. We’re not big into lovey names. Sweetheart is my way of saying asshole, honey was my dog’s name and I’ve never once called a grown person babe so I guess buddy was created out of necessity 🙂 Regardless, I love it because it’s so personal.

All of these things, whether stolen from someone else, passed on or created by us, make up a kind of club. They’re part of our binding. A legacy specific to the 5 of us. That’s why it’s so important to me.

Family can be so tricky but has been especially for us, because of circumstances and our lifestyleFor us, things haven’t had the chance to occur naturally outside of our circle of 5 because we’ve never been consistently surrounded by our loved ones. It has been easy for relationships to stunt when they should have been growing. When I was little my grandma lived 10 minutes from me which meant we were given the chance for things all of the time but mostly because she never missed an opportunity to make memories with us. Our thing was taking drives on roller coaster road every Friday night. I think of her every time an unexpected hill “gets my belly” and when our kids, whom have spent the majority of their lives in flat NJ and TX, cackle with laughter over “the roller coaster road” (what they’ve designated  the hills of Ohio without any help from me). While it makes me sad that our kids have missed out on creating those things with other loved ones, I am more sad for the other loved ones who have missed the opportunity to create those legacies for themselves. But hopefully moving home will open up more chances for growth and things 🙂





Throw back Thursday: Our high school love story.

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I’m sure most of you reading already know the story behind how Josh and I came to be but I think it’s fun to write it out and have it saved for when our great grandchildren read my blog (of course they will) so bare with me. 

When I was a 14 year old high school freshman brace face I played volleyball on our school’s Junior Varsity team. Thursday night games were always the best because the guys on the football team would come watch since they didn’t practice the night before their games. Not only did that mean we’d have a loud obnoxious cheering section but of course that meant we got to show off a little too. Regardless of which team you made, all of the volleyball players were expected to be there for all of the matches so during the Varsity games, the JV team would sit in the stands with the other students in attendance and cheer and work on homework.

On this particular night, I was sitting with a few fellow players as well as a couple of older guy friends as I worked on math and socialized a bit. One of my friends had come to the game with Josh, whom I hadn’t really met yet. According to Josh we had met earlier the summer before but I don’t have any memory of that. I don’t remember exactly how he and I started talking but eventually our conversation turned to his older brother and I admitted to him that I had been kind of obsessed with Joe when I was little. You see, Joe had been friends with my babysitter (they’re now married) and I had thought his bowl cut was the cutest thing since Nick Carter. Of course Josh thought this was hysterical and simultaneously teased and flirted with me (something about how he was the better Kistler). Eventually he gave me his phone number and said I should call him sometime but I blew it off because he was a junior and I was a freshman and I thought he was just screwing around with me. I also had a boyfriend at the time. A few weeks later I saw and talked to Josh again but this time he let me know that I had missed my chance as he was currently hanging out with a girl from a different school (typical). And by currently, I mean right then and there as we spoke, he had left her with friends to come try and make me jealous.

A month passed by and during Thanksgiving break, my boyfriend and I broke up. I hadn’t really thought about Josh much so I was caught off guard when, during my lunch period on the first day back to school, the same friend who had been at the volleyball game with him approached me to ask about the break up. He told me that one of his friends was interested in me and wanted him to get the scoop. I can’t remember if I really didn’t know who he was talking about or if I was just acting like I didn’t know but the girl sitting next to me said that it had to be Josh Kistler. Later that day as I walking from one class to the next, I started to approach a group of upperclassmen guys, including Josh, who began to mumble, “Here she comes. Here she comes.” As I walked by, one of them (not Josh) handed me a note. I opened it and read,

I noticed you noticing me while I was noticing you. 

Call me sometime, 

Josh Kistler # 42. 

Ooooh yes. Not only did he include his last name just in case I was confused (although, come to think of it, the kid who actually handed me the note was also named Josh so I guess that could have been a little confusing) but he also included his football number within his signature. This note has become somewhat of a legend amongst our old circle of friends and Josh’s famous pick up line is still frequently recited. I’m so bummed that I don’t have it anymore. But anyway, back to the story. So that night I had a basketball game and decided that I wasn’t going to call Josh. I thought it was ridiculous that he would expect me to call him and I didn’t want to seem desperate. I was also a little shy and insecure and continued to think that he was just messing around with me.

A few days later I was on AIM (omg. AIM. there’s an acronym that no one under the age of 25 knows) and beefschtick42 (yep. incredible, right? Josh’s nickname in high school was Beef. I always forget about that now that we don’t live in our hometown anymore so it’s hysterical when we go back and hear someone call him Beef or Beefy. HA!) messaged me and asked why I hadn’t called him yet. I made up a few different excuses until he finally asked if he could just call me and within a few minutes we were talking on the phone for the first time. We talked for a couple of hours but the only thing I remember specifically is telling him that I liked to read and then smacking myself because I knew I sounded like a nerd. At the end of our conversation he asked me if I’d like to hang out over the upcoming weekend and I said sure. He said he really liked chick flicks (not even kidding – he does), and wanted to know if I wanted to go see the movie Bounce. We made plans for Saturday night because we both had a basketball game on Friday and then hung up.

Friday night came and our school had what we called a “double header”. It was when the Varsity girls team played first followed by the Varsity boys team. I dressed Varsity so I had to sit on the bench during the girl’s game and the same was said for Josh during the boy’s. After the game he asked me if I wanted to go do something but I turned him down because I didn’t want to seem too interested despite the fact that I really was. The next night he picked me up at my house and for the first time in my life, I was in a car by myself with a boy, on a date. It was big time. I’ll never forget that my legs couldn’t stop shaking. Not just shaking but convulsing. He asked me what music I liked to listen to and when I said any music was fine, he turned on Steve Miller Band. We drove to the movie theater and as we got out of his car, he pretended to show me some key chain he had so he could nonchalantly grab my hand. He bought my ticket and for the next hour and a half we sat and watched one of the worst first date movies ever. It was depressing. I remember he held my hand throughout the entire movie and even though I was in pain from not moving for so long, I wouldn’t pull away from him. Afterwards we drove around for a while just talking and eventually we ended up at his house where three of his best friends were waiting. They seemed to be surprised to see me still tagging along and spent the rest of the night trying to embarrass Josh until I decided it was time for him to take me home. I had never had a purpose for a curfew so I wasn’t quite sure of the time I was supposed to be home but I remember when he finally did take me back, it was the latest I’d ever been out. Of course as we pulled into my driveway I was nervous about what was next. I had just had my first kiss about six months before this date and obviously at 14, I was pretty green on relationships. I guess because Josh was older I expected him to be a bit more intense than I had intended but he was a complete gentleman and said goodnight as he pecked me on the lips. I was smitten. And 13 years later, I still am.

And there you have it.

PS. Our children will not be riding in cars alone with the opposite sex at 14 😉 

Day 22: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel.

Me: “What is something I could rant about?”

Josh: “Oh, honey, there’s a lot of somethings you can rant about.”

What could he mean by that… 😉

I’m going to make this post quick because, quite frankly, I’m sick of posting! But I set out to do something so I’m going to finish it and blah, blah, blah.

Today I’m going to rant about something that I have been ranting about for the past 8 years. God bless-ed orange juice tabs. You know, the little white things with finger pulls that you have to yank off of your oj container when you first open it. I’m sure to most people these little pieces of plastic really aren’t that big of a deal, but to me, they are the devil.


Josh and I moved in together when we were young – 18 and 21- so needless to say, we had quite the time becoming “roommates”. The closest we ever came to breaking up happened during the second month of cohabiting but that’s a different story.


You see, Josh does these things that drive me up the freaking wall and I used to take them personally. One of those things is opening a container of orange juice and leaving the tab on the counter. Or on top of the microwave. Or on the coffee pot. Other things include leaving dirty socks on our bedroom floor (or worse yet, hidden in our blankets), leaving kitchen cabinet doors open (how hard is it to close the damn door after you grab the pepper grinder), and smashing his hat down the side/back of the couch cushions, only to ask me the next morning if I’ve seen his hat.

But this rant is about the orange juice tabs.

To me, not placing that tab in the trash is the equivalent of fighting words. It makes me feel anger in the pit of my stomach and I’m ready to throw down. Well, at least I used to be. Until I realized that Josh does not do these things to hurt me (at one point, I really believed he did). Yes, he knows that these things make me crazy but they’re just little things that he has overlooked his entire life. Old habits die hard.

But this is a happy story. After about 6 solid years of oj induced arguments, Josh is in recovery. He no longer leaves the orange juice tabs on the counter because he forgot to throw them away – now he leaves them on the counter because “it’s our thing”.

*I have no idea why I call these things tabs but I always have and always will. 

Day 21: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

Oh man, this blog every day thing is getting tough. I’m getting a little sick of following the prompts but looking back on my old posts was fun. There’s a lot here that I’m really happy I recorded and a lot here that makes me realize how much I’ve grown as a person. Enjoy! 🙂

1. Ruby’s birth story.

The story behind my epidural free, gender surprise, last baby’s birth.


2. A love letter to my big boy.

A letter to my first baby.


3. The truth about breastfeeding.

A timeline of my struggles with breastfeeding the final time around. We ended up making it just over 6 months.

4. You’re my best friend.

My explanation of my friendship with my husband.

5. Sweet Summertime.

How our family deals with summer break.


6. My definition of family.

My take on the pettiness with the status of the American family.

7. A day in the life of a domestic engineer. Er, uh. A housewife.

A look back on a regular day in my life.

8. I can sleep when I’m dead.

Dealing with Theo’s sleeping issues.


9. Running while pregnant.

A struggle and then a success with fitness during pregnancy.


10. Almost vegan oatmeal raisin butterscotch cookies.

A random, throw together cookie recipe.


Day 8: A piece of advice

Marry your best friend.


I really think this is one thing that I got right. It is the one absolute piece of advice that I will beat into my children’s heads. It is the most important aspect to my happiness and the cause of my proudest accomplishments.

Josh and I have grown up together which inevitably has led us into many rough patches. We’ve been scared, broke, ashamed, unprepared, sad, annoyed, under appreciated, lost, and ready to give up at times but our friendship is what has gotten us through it. We are ridiculously silly together, completely open and honest, respectful of each other’s needs, and share the same interests, hopes and dreams. We tell each other when something’s wrong or when something’s right. We know each other’s vices and strengths and we know what qualities of our own level the other out. We spend most of our time together laughing but are the others’ first shoulder to cry on.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.23.58 PMWe are truly best friends. We’re so close that neighbors have assumed we were Mormons due to how much time we spend together. Ha! We’re so close that a high school friend made a reference to the movie “Saving Silverman” when talking about our relationship in the beginning. I assume he was referring to the part in the story where the childhood friend starts to spend more time with his girlfriend and less with his friends, rather than the whole psycho girlfriend thing. That’s all he could have meant by it. I’m sure. 

There are many things that Josh has said to me throughout our 12 years together that I will never forget, but when, as a 17 year old, he tried to explain his feelings for me, I think he captured our relationship for life.

“You are my girlfriend, my best friend, and my little sister.”

We love each other, have fun with each other, and take care of each other. If you have a friend like this by your side, life is good.

You’re my best friend.

I recently read an article that was hilarious and totally reminiscent of my relationship with Josh. It was a feature about a woman’s “almost fling” with another man while on a weekend getaway to Vegas with some friends.  No, I’ve never had an almost fling – that’s not the part that I related to. What I related to was when all of the friends vowed not to tell their husbands what had happened on their trip (they dressed like 21 year olds and danced with other men at clubs – nothing really.) and then the writer went home and laughed with her husband as she told him everything that had happened. I’ve been known to come home at 2am and wake Josh up to laugh with him and tell him everything that had happened during my night out with friends (My last big story was when a friend, who also happens to be a mom, pee’d on someone’s car because she didn’t like them. haha Don’t worry, I won’t mention any names!) How much he actually enjoys hearing all of this at 2 am, I can’t say, but he always gets up and listens and laughs.

The reason I do this is simple. Josh is my all time best friend and we don’t keep secrets. Any.

It’s kind of impossible to keep a secret from him because I’ve been very close with him since I was 14, so nothing really ever qualifies as something that I’m too embarrassed for him to know. He asked me out when I was wearing braces. He saw me fall flat on my face (which is still brought up often) during basketball practice. He kept me company when I laid out on a trampoline covered in baby oil and ended up blistering so badly (including on my face) that I couldn’t get out of bed.

That’s not to mention my twenties when I gained 60 lbs and felt like I was trapped inside of a fat suit. Or when he watched during my (and any woman’s) most unflattering moments of giving birth. Or when he had to clean up my vomit (repeatedly) when I had drank far too much wine (another example of our crazy girls’ nights). He’s seen it all. The real Morgan laid flat out for his viewing pleasure(?). And yet he’s still my best friend. He accepts and loves me for who I am (even if he uses a lot of this material for laughing fodder), so why would I hide anything from him?

I also recently read a blog about the secret things that women do when their husbands are not around. The stuff this woman listed were things like eating crazy foods at nighttime, peeing with the door open, and wearing unflattering shorts to bed. To me, this is crazy! I can’t tell you how many times Josh and I together, have eaten potato chips while dipping them into Ben & Jerry’s and drinking a beer at 9pm in bed. Oh, I also was probably wearing a pair of HIS most unflattering shorts. Why? Because that’s what friends do. They relax around each other and do the normal things that they would do if the other wasn’t there. I truly can not think of one thing that I wouldn’t do just because he was home. I get that some women think that certain parts of themselves are better left to their husband’s imagination but that’s not me. I would feel like I was pretending to be something I’m not, if I hid certain parts of myself for the fear that he wouldn’t like those parts.

I’m sure Josh feels the same way because I’ve seen him do quite a few questionable things. But  I won’t mention those things (even if I use a lot of this material for laughing fodder) – I actually keep his secrets 🙂

Stupid 16 and 18 year olds.

Yes, he saw me with this dye job.

That’s my Joshy poo!

We have LOTS of unflattering pictures together.

My 28 year old husband wearing his glory days high school football tee to bed. And I don’t mind.

Singing country songs together.