Showing posts from 2012

October 27, 2012: Football, football and more football...

Having three boys guarantees one thing on fall weekends...lots of football. This weekend was clearly one of those; mirroring many weekends from years past. Although I have officially graduated one son from flag football and a college son from participation sports, we still live back-to-back football from Friday through Monday on any given October weekend. New to the mix are young adult sons who are also eager participants in fantasy football with nonstop NFL coverage.

This past weekend has proven to be a solid example of this. On Friday night Ben's high school team, less an injured Ben, won their first round of playoffs. Saturday morning resulted in a game loss, but Grant's junior high team taking 2nd place in their league play. Immediately following this game and on to game #3; Ben, Grant and I bundled up and headed to Lincoln to meet my college son and 85,000 of our closest Husker friends and fellow fans for the Nebraska/Michigan standoff.

The experience of Memorial Stadium…

September 28, 2012 (an entry from my mom)

Every week I receive a card in the mail from my mom. Yep, a good old fashioned handwritten note. She typically inquires on the goings on in my life, then updates me on the local weather in Arizona, and the feel of their daily life. She always uses colorful cards and explains the history of the card of choice.

I love to get her cards. I love to hear about her ordinary days. And I love to read Mom's neat cursive handwriting. I picture her writing the card at her desk as I read the delivered treasure in my own hands.

I asked Mom for permission to publish a recent note she wrote to me. It made me smile and I have since kept the card on my bed stand. It serves as a daily reminder of the gift of a caring mom and how the small things in life really bring us the greatest joy. And, yes, memories are a wonderful thing...

Sept. 28, 2012

Dear Sandy,

(Paragraph asking about my personal life, updating me on her family history research, details on the weather that day in their hometown)

Well my bel…

September 13, 2012: Birthday Celebration

Birthdays are certainly not ordinary. But after 45 of them, they do seem to blur into each other a bit. I am a month (to the day!) late in posting the Chronicles of my 45th b-day, but better late than never...

The picture above was taken on my 11th birthday. On back of the picture in my childish cursive handwriting is scripted "Sandy Wagner at 11th birthday. Sept. 13, 1978". Of note are my school uniform, boy haircut (tomboy stage?), and favorite butterfly necklace. What I really want to point out is the exquisite decorating flair of my mother.  Note the ornate China lady to my left. My mom made that eloquent conversation piece; big-haired China lady stood proudly on our huge wooden family stereo unit. The bird cage to my right was spray painted gold, filled with fake greens and a fake perched bird. My brothers loved to place that bird in interesting positions.

My birthdays of past included a homemade cake, birthday family dinner of my choice, and my having a few girlfriends…

September 15, 2012: Mosaic Dance Party

Sunday is a busy day for families.  One full of kids activities and family time.  But within the confines of their already busy days, several of the Lutz contingent along with family and friends met at the Mosaic Community Center at 91st and Fort to share some food and smiles with their residents.

As my son, Ben, and I arrived at the community park, we noticed a disabled man sitting on a park bench dressed in what appeared to be his Sunday best...a black suit, button down shirt, and blue tie. He was mumbling "it will start soon" and didn't respond when I gave him a cheery "hello".

Although I assumed he would be one of our guests, I thought it was best to give him some space based on his initial response to my greeting. Ben and I proceeded on to the community center as Rob (a.k.a. DJ Dugout) was setting up his music equipment. As we started rolling out the round tables from the basement of the center, the man in the suit first watched and then after noting his str…

August 22, 2012: The Start of School

Grant went back to school today. He was my final of three to start which officially closes out our summer of 2012. All of our vacations are now in the books. Family reunions are done and out-of-town visitors have gone back to their respective homes. Grant and I did enjoy a day at the zoo on Monday to add a bit of a "bang" to our summer close. But along with a non-ceremonial beginning to the school year, it was also a reminder that the days of my boys' carefree youth are numbered.

Grant is twelve. Although on Monday he was excited about the prospect of a day at the zoo (with his mom, no less); I am keenly aware that the probability of this being the case next year at age thirteen is slim. An era is closing in on me.

Our first day of school in years past included much hoopla in the preparations; hours organizing school supplies into new backpacks, filling out stacks of paperwork, labeling uniform shirts, and planning school lunches. The days leading up to school were fill…

July 8, 2012: Okoboji

We just walked in the door from vacationing at Lake Okoboji.  Besides the peaceful feeling that goes hand in hand with the end of an awesome family trip; the churn of my washing machine and the welcomed amenities of home complete a great vacation.  I have been reflecting a bit after hearing my boys share their stories  with smiles and laughs from their time in our cabin and at the beach.  Okoboji was my own stomping ground as a kid.  Having my boys enjoy this trip as much as I did at their age makes it even grander.

Although we were only able to sneak in four days this year, every moment was a bit of a flashback in time for me.  My parents took my brothers and I to the same resort as kids and this was also the same one we stayed at when Grant was a toddler.  I remember my trips to the Emporium and Arnold's Park with the same fondness as Zach remembering his excitement in reaching the minimum height requirement to ride on the historic wood roller coaster.

The boys have spent time …

July 4, 2012: A Few Thoughts from Celebrations Past

The Fourth of July is certainly not an ordinary day.  It's a very special day.  One that I have celebrated every year for each of my forty-four years.  Tonight as I sat at my neighborhood park and took in all of the festivities, I remembered the moments and feelings of past Independence Day celebrations.  Although these memories are quite ordinary by all accounts, the accumulation of moments in time leave a lasting impact.  And they sure filled my mind and my heart as I watched the ten minute neighborhood display tonight.  I will share a few...

As a child, I was allowed sparklers and snakes, but that was about it.  All things big and explosive happened at my Grandparents' farm.  Laying on a blanket fighting off mosquitoes is the raw memory, but all the bug bites were worth the glory of the spectacular shows put on by my uncles and brothers.  I learned at an early age that all men were pyromaniacs. Zach was scared of fireworks at age three.  With a sleeping Ben in the nearby cri…

June 22, 2012: Lessons Learned for Camp Counseling

Zach loves his summer job.  He works for the Omaha Parks and Recreation as a day camp counselor.  Let me repeat, he "loves" his job.  And even more of a shocker, he "loves" the kids and the kids love him.  No offense to my oldest, but in a million years I would have never dreamt that a job involving children would be in Zach's future.  He has always been an animal lover, but little kids...not so much.  As he describes to me his days full of day camps, bowling, and the zoo; I see a reaction of pride and words of complete job satisfaction.  Who would have thought?  But a very good thing, indeed.

Over dinner I typically get daily updates on how cute the kids are and how much fun the day trips have been.

"How was the zoo today, Zach?"

"Oh, it was awesome, Mom."

"Awesome?  Wow.  How so?"

"The new aquarium was great and the kids loved all of it."

As he describes his various activities around the city, I am reminded of how I d…

June 6, 2012: Signs of Summer

This morning was a reminder to me of the signs of summer that infiltrate my house each year. Although these signs have changed a bit as my boys have grown older with driver's licenses and new interests outside of play dates and water fights; a five minute stroll through my house provides clues as to what the summer days and nights look like for them. With the skills of a seasoned CSI agent (a.k.a. Mom), I am quickly able to apprise the last 24 hours of my children's lives by this simple walk through. Today was no exception.

As I pulled into the driveway after my early morning run, I was greeted with lacrosse sticks strewn in the garage with the background noise of the morning sprinkler system. A golf bag laid nearby with golf shoes thrown to the side.  While grabbing a cold bottled water, I found a garage frig typically stocked full of a variety of drinks now barren with the exception of two Diet Cokes, sparkling water, and four Stella Artois'.

After opening the door to t…

May, 25, 2012: A Self-Professed Homebody

I am a homebody.  There is no doubt about it.  Regardless of where my career and travels take me, coupled with my guilty indulgence of never wanting to miss a party; the reality is that my favorite spot in the whole wide world is home.  I love the smell of clean clothes fresh out of the dryer and the feeling of accomplishment with perfectly organized stacks of folded clothes.  I relish my rolling gardens full of vibrant greens, new blossoms, and spring color surprises.  On the worst of days and the most trying of times, my world comes back  together in complete unison when I am preparing a meal in my kitchen with the familiar background noises that go hand in hand with my three busy sons.  I love a clean garage, an organized pantry, and a tidy frig.  A plan in my mind for the next meal and an open night to "putz" about the house from room to room finding treasures in forgotten drawers and looking through pictures from past days is a dream "night off" for me.  Enjo…

The Sound of Silence (Guest Post by Patty Johnson)

The beautiful poem below was written by Patty Johnson.  She shared it with me and I asked her permission to post on my blog to share with all of you.  Patty wrote this shortly after her youngest son, Jaime, left for college and left their home an empty nest.  Her words touch the hearts of all mothers.  I felt it was so fitting to post this just prior to Mother's Day weekend as I am sure many can relate to Patty's feelings of her ordinary days with her child now turned into cherished memories of days past.

May 3, 2012: A Ferris Bueller (aka Grant Lane) Day in 2008


I just experienced a new first in parenting.  After years of getting phone calls informing me of sick children...babysitters worrying about fevers, daycare noticing a strong cough, pink eye alert from the grade school nurse, high school admin calling with a sick teenager in the office; instead the call was directly from my college son.  He had gone to the UNL medical office after getting considerably sick and was diagnosed with a severe case of mono.  So instead of trekking to the daycare or grade school, I drove to Lincoln to bring my oldest home for some needed rest and recuperation.
Reflecting on my many trips to retrieve sick kids spanning my nineteen years of parenthood, a memory of a particular sick call spurred a smile as I raced back home from Lincoln with my very sick and sleeping eldest in tow.  The “sick” child of past memory was Grant and the time frame was sometime around his 2nd grade year.Grant had a long history of a weak stomach with a horrible gag reflex (i.e. …

April 18, 2012: Confessions of a Frequent Flyer

An ordinary day for me these days includes airport security, consolidation of three bags to two, A-List boarding passes, and free drink coupons with complimentary peanuts.Ding, ding, ding…you guessed it.I spend a lot of time at the airport.And I am proud to say that I have become a seasoned traveler.  George Clooney’s character in “Up in the Air” has nothing on me.I know the tricks on how to whiz through TSA checks.  Knowing which security lines to avoid (kids and elderly…avoid at all cost...sorry) has been key to my systemic approach, as well as removing my shoes and computer in the perfect sequence to expedite my path out of the security area.No doubt those following me through the bowels of TSA admire my efficiencies. Today I drove to the airport at noon to catch a 1:15 flight to Denver.  By my rough estimation, I have flown this particular flight no less than 30 times over the course of the last two and a half years.My bags and attire were a bit different than the norm today though…

April 17, 2012: Tornado Evacuation of 2003


April 1, 2012: The Beauty of Spring


It is a gorgeous Palm Sunday morning and I am laying in bed listening to the birds chirp and enjoying the cool breeze through my open windows; all while sipping a delightful cup of coffee.  The dryer is humming, the animals are lazily laying on the steps, and Grant is playing downstairs...the morning couldn't be more perfect and peaceful.  Five years ago I would have been setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and fitting in every imaginable task on my never ending to-do list before it was time to get ready for noon mass.  And back in those days, I would have probably pushed it a bit too far causing stress in making it to church on time.  I am quite certain many people have felt and lived this same drill.  But it is amazing how five years can change your outlook on what constitutes the perfect Sunday morning on a beautiful spring day.

What I do know is that the bed will be made, the coffee pot turned off, and Grant and I showered and ready with time to spare before we go to mass tod…

March 18, 2012: Run Forest, Run!

Ben just left for Day Two of his first job.  A month shy of his sixteenth birthday,  Ben has been quite excited about this first time feat.  He landed this job at a newly opened breakfast restaurant after much persistence in hopes of being a gainfully employed bus boy.  Instead he was hired as a host.  I do have to say that when he called in exuberance to tell me he got the job, I as a bit surprised that his initial role would be the host position.  The mother in me had a few pangs of angst thinking it would be a bit better for my free-spirit middle child to learn the ropes cleaning tables rather than throwing him onto the masses on Day One.  But as with many stages in parenthood, this one was out of my hands.  This one was up to Ben.

Yesterday morning began with a scurry of me trying to locate a birth certificate and Social Security card requested by Ben's new employer.  As I unsuccessfully rummaged through every drawer in the house searching for the elusive Social Security card…

March 10, 2012: 10 Things I Love about Grant

Grant and I just got back from a weekend in sunny Phoenix.  I would describe it as a "weekend on a whim" and was nothing short of fantastic.  With all of my travels, Southwest Airlines has not only deemed me as an A-lister, but they have also issued me the coveted "Companion Pass".  Basically I name my companion and for a year (up for renewal :)), my named companion accompanies me for free anywhere that Southwest flies.  The only restrictions are that he flies with me and that there is a seat available.  So as you can gather with my opening statement, Grant is my free travel companion.

With Ben touring Europe with his classmates last weekend and Grant and I looking at our activity free weekend in Omaha, we decided to capitalize on our travel opportunity and go on an adventure.  Phoenix was our choice...warm, sunny and plenty of family.  We boarded the plane with no specific plan other than some good company with people we love and came home with a weekend adventur…