I ADORE my chickens. They may not be that cute, but they are totally, totally precious. Who would have ever thought that $3.50 of bird (that is how much they cost as baby chicks) would be so affectionate, so funny, have so much personality?

I don't care if the whole world thinks I am crazy or weird...everyone should have chickens. They are good for the soul! (Well, not everyone. They are a bit of work...but there are some big payoffs - like the way they snuggle and fall asleep when they are cozy in my lap! Or the way they all come waddling over to see me when they are walking around in the garden - all 8 of them! Who knew I would be such a good mama bird?)

Also, Bill is making the most outstanding chicken coop. I'm so proud of him.

Hello lonely blog; or, when it rains, it pours!

SO much for my fun Ikea job! It may go down on record as being my shortest-held job in all of my history...1 month of employment.

Surprised? Me TOO! I would never have taken the job had I known exactly how much work was in store for me (not all at Ikea, either). It took awhile between my interview, when I learned about the position and discussed it with Bill (who at the time was not superbly busy at work...as he had not been for roughly 1.5 years!), and my hiring date. In between those dates, Bill DID become superbly busy as work (yay for the Martec Group, what a sigh of relief)...so busy that he hired me to do some work for him.

Imagine my surprise when I went from being a stay-at-home mother of 3 kids, to working 40 hours a week between two jobs!

Imagine my pain when my husband was even busier than ever...making it impossible for him to always step up and be superdad if my schedule was a little full (pick up this kid from practice, come home a bit early so I can get to this appointment, etc.).

Imagine how freaked out I became when I realized we have no break in busy-ness in the imminent future - PLUS we soon add 3 nights of soccer practices, 2 days of games, girl scout meetings every 2 weeks, and soon after that, 5 nights of swim practice a week!

Add to that the fact that my very nice manager discovered that the other two people that she was training (who already work at IKEA) were not as in love with the position as I was (it was pretty busy and involved lots of running around the store, perfect for busy old me)...leaving her with lots of hours on the schedule to fill (which I never planned to be able to fill).

So Mrs. Lucken and IKEA parted ways too soon...which is actually quite fine. Nice manager set it up so that I could go back anytime that I want to work there again. I bought a few cute things. I had a nice little jumpstart and got out of the house. I realized I'd rather be a slave to The Martec Group, like my dear husband, because of course they pay better than retail.

The only sad news is that I am stuck in my house MORE...and it is DIRTIER as I am working on this stupid computer all the time! Not so good for my psyche, but oh well. It's good for the bank account, and for the self esteem. It has also forced me to not volunteer for each and every single opportunity that comes up in the kids' schools, which is kind of a bit of a good break. A person can totally sign her life's hours away to the schools, if she is generous with volunteering as I can be. I like helping, but sometimes I feel like it is now totally expected of me, instead of being something nice that I do to help out.

Next, my darling mother-in-law has decided to renovate our home as her latest project! (If you saw her house, you would know why she is not renovating her home...it is already glamorous and perfect.) SO, I am sitting at this computer while my stuff is all over the house, except in the laundry room, which is being revamped. The Lucken family without a laundry room/mud room is a very sad sight. Our garage is trashed (has a refrigerator, a laundry sink, a washer, a dryer, 8 chickens, stuff I still haven't unpacked since we moved here, and all of the random things that once lived in my laundry room, strewn about in disarray as we prepared for this project). I have to somehow paint the laundry room so that I can put the washer and dryer back in it tomorrow (soccer uniforms need to be cleaned for the weekend!). We are still in the middle of our chicken coop project, and there is wood all over the backyard like we are hillbillies. Oh yes, and I have 11 shrubs to pick up on Saturday, and 3 trees, and STILL HAVE TO MAKE SPACE TO PLANT THEM! And DIG THE HOLES! And GET THE SOIL! And the trailer (for getting the soil) needs to be returned Saturday!

Finally, I have to spend the weekend getting ready for the launch of another project with Bill's work...

oh yes, and I have three kids.

SO now, do you see what I mean by "when it rains, it pours?"

I can't believe I am actually managing all of this craziness. I think the half of a pan full of magic cookie bars is what got me through today, though.



The Easter Bunny must be very tired

The Lucken children were really amazingly spoiled this Easter! They were included in an Easter Egg hunt in my sister's neighborhood, which was unexpected and mind-blowingly fun. The Easter Bunny left them baskets (including the standard garden gloves - how thoughtful! Did the Easter Bunny hop through our yard and say, "I think that 3 budding gardeners live here!" haha) PLUS a multi-step scavenger hunt leading to a few extra presents. (Another aside - The Easter bunny is a gifted poet! Her iambic pentameter is flawless!) Grandma Sybil loaded them down with adorable presents, Aunt Julie brought over the cutest things which she sought out and purchased from multiple easter-themed collections at area stores, Aunt Perry brought them a cute little bag of treats...our house is trashed with Easter presents, candy wrappers, and plastic eggs.

Oh yes, I should mention that in my first attempt at (co) hosting Easter (my sister cooked almost everything, because she is amazing), we had two Easter Egg hunts. One for big kids and one for small kids. Total number of hidden eggs = 160

Today, I definitely feel like I overdid Easter, but I think that is understandable. It was our first Easter without my Dad and his annual beloved Easter Egg hunt, and also our first Easter with Julie in town, so we thought it would be a good idea to change a little (or a lot). Added to the crazy Easter festivities was Katie's family birthday party on Friday night, which was also pretty big (23 people) and fun, and I am tired! I went all out for my little family - I can't imagine how the Easter Bunny must feel!


In the same vein, the Easter vein, I really want to remember the other things that I did this Easter that were maybe more meaningful and memorable.

For the first time, I was able to take my children to Church on Easter Sunday! (The Easter Egg hunt and brunch were always early at my Dad's house, as Dad and Nancy liked to go to the cottage afterwards). I felt so nostalgic, seeing my 3 nicely-dressed children at Mass - more than anything, that reminded me of my childhood (well, that plus the fun scavenger hunt and presents - I had enough time to do that this year and that really reminded me of my thoughful mom who loved holidays). There was something about doing these two things from my childhood that made me feel like my parents were right there with me, celebrating Easter with my family. We may not see them, but they were right there in Mass with us - my Dad singing the songs, dressed in a tie, with my Mom, probabaly tired from the shopping and the scavenger hunt planning, happy that her three children are happy, making sure they are dressed properly and understanding the true meaning of Easter (I had even read the Stations of the Cross to my children and we observed some solemn hours on Good Friday). I was sure I felt them in our traditions which I was carrying on with my children.

In case I needed a little confirmation that I was doing the right thing, Mass started with an opening hymn that popped into my head when we were looking at our Easter baskets (and then it was in all of the Lucken heads, as I was singing it over and over for fun)! They all looked at me like I was magic when they heard it in church. And THEN, the offertory hymn was "Morning Has Broken" - the hymn I chose as the opening hymn for my Dad's funeral. Emma was sad, but I explained that it's meaning was perfect for my Dad then, the way it was perfect for Jesus now - the suffering was over, it was a new and beautiful day.

I looked at my little family, and the tears rolled down my face as I whispered to them - "I am sad your grandparents are missing this [being with my kids as they grow up], but I am so happy because I feel like they are HERE."