Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Is Not What I Planned

School starts on Wednesday. This was our last weekend to make summer count. Our plan was to head up north to the cabin on Thursday for a long weekend of fishing and swimming and bonfires with smores and rides on the pontoon boat. But then Ben was sick on Thursday and Grace was still recovering from her flu/cold so we stayed home. Friday rolled around and Ben was feeling much better and Grace was cheerful so we decided to take a chance and go to the cabin anyway. I tried to ignore the fact that my throat felt like a briar bush.

We got up to the cabin by early afternoon. Plenty of time to enjoy the warm day. Except my body was starting to ache. And Grace was looking pretty tired. Still, we all went for a boat ride and played in the yard and even made it to dinner. All was going swell. Until I started getting progressively achy with cold sweats and a pounding headache. Nevermind the fact that I could barely swallow. I was just thankful that it was me that was sick instead of one of the kiddos. If I could get a good nights sleep I'm sure I would be feeling fine the next day.

I went to bed as soon as I put Grace to bed. Regardless of the ibuprofen I'd taken I was still in agony. I slept fitfully for about two hours until Grace woke up crying. Loudly. For a long time. Finally, I dragged my sickly body out of bed, joints aching, body sweating, to retrieve the little whiner.

I'm not sure what woke her. Don't know why she couldn't get back to sleep. But an hour and a half later I was still walking her around the tiny bedroom, sweating and crying and praying for mercy. Yes, Todd tried to help, but I am the expert in this area you see, so I knew I had to handle this. Besides, Todd isn't very good at breastfeeding.

Finally I got her to sleep and retreated to my bedroom. Only to be shaken ten minutes later when I heard her wailing again. After another twenty minutes I went to her and tried to sleep on the big bed with her. Eventually, the little rascal calmed down and fell asleep but her waking every 45 minutes and rolling and kicking me every 10 minutes did not help me at all. No sleep was had.

The next day I was definitely feeling it. It must be a flu bug or something, but compounded with no sleep it was rough. Grace was not a happy camper. She was tired. And for reasons I still can't figure out she didn't want to sleep in her room. The very room she slept for 14 hours a day in just a few weeks ago.

I made the decision to take my MIL's car and drive Grace and myself the 3 hour drive back home so that we could be miserable without interrupting everyone else's fun, and in the comfort of our own house. It was a rough drive.

The day got a little better once we got home. Grace slept in her own crib for a while, giving us both a much needed break. I felt slightly better but by the evening I was a sweaty, achy, headachy mess again. I put Grace to bed and prayed she would give me a full nights rest. I took some more medicine and climbed in bed well before the nighttime news came on.

This morning I am feeling better. I am running at about 75%. I'll take it. Grace and I are awaiting Todd and the boys' return. I just wish I hadn't missed all the last weekend fun. *sigh*

Well, I have two days left to make it up to them. Oh! And the county fair is next weekend. That will be fun!

That is, if no one else gets sick.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Never Do This...

but this is important and I need your help.

Our school (the grade school that I went to as a little girl and the school my kiddos go to now) was entered into a contest to win 50 laptops. There were 8000 schools from all over the United States that were entered and only 50 made the cut. Our school not only made it into the contest but is now in second place. This is a small parochial school with very limited funds. Much of the school is run on volunteer basis including our "computer lab". Unfortunately we do not have funds to update our computers so our lab is really in need.

Our school is a fabulous school. As part of the curriculum the kids do much volunteering in the local nursing homes, parks, and food pantry. The academics are always first rate. As the kids go on to the very large local high schools they are always in the top of their class and many of the valedictorians come from our little school.

Holy Family works really hard to make the school a family environment. They teach core values of kindness, courtesy, and love. Every year on the first day of school the kids walk into the building with "We Are Family" blaring down the hallways. It is a great school. And I am so fortunate that my kids are able to go there.

ANYWAY, if you could all take one minute out of your day to vote for our school to win the laptops I would greatly appreciate it. It is one vote per email (I believe per day). Here is how:

Go to

click on the blue "learn more" button
click on the orange "vote now" button
click "ranking"
click on Holy Family School
click VOTE now
Enter Name
Enter email address (one vote per email address)
Click on fruit for security purposes
Click VOTE


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting To Know You

Getting to know YOU

I just had to participate in GTKY today because I love the questions. Yeah, fall!

The Q's.

1. If you could host a Reality TV show, which one would it be?
2. Do you put your seatbelt on before or after you start the car?
3. Shave or hair removal cream?
4. What's your favorite feature in a house?
5. What is your favorite "Fall" scent?
6. What tv show are you looking forward to seeing the most this Fall??
7. Personal Shopper or Personal Chef?
8. What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of "Fall"?

1- If I could host a reality tv show it would definitely be Survivor. It is such an entertaining show (I love people watching and there are always such characters on that show) and it is usually in a beautiful location (especially when you don't have to stay in the elements the whole time like the competitors do).

2- I usually put my seatbelt on after I start the car. I want to get that AC started as soon as possible. ;)

3- I shave. Does hair removal cream even work?

4- I used to think my favorite feature of a house was the kitchen but after being in this house and seeing the benefits of having a wonderful master suite I have got to say I love it. Oh, and a good family room. Oh! And an eat in kitchen. We love eating our meals at the kitchen table now. And a nice big backyard. Oh forget it. I can't choose.

5- This is gonna be a hard one for me. My favorite fall scent. I think it is a toss up between the way the air smells both crisp and musty at the same time (the fallen leaves smell), and freshly made applesauce. Ooo! And hot tea (cinnamon pumpkin spice or something). And soup! I love making soup in fall. Mmm. The smell of bonfires. Ugh. I told you this one was tough for me.

6- I am looking forward to a lot of fall tv but one of my favorites is The Biggest Loser. I lurve that show. It is so inspiring to me. And lately, I need something to motivate me. I'm looking forward to getting in shape while watching the show. :)

7- Oh my, PERSONAL SHOPPER!!!!!! I would LOVE a personal shopper. I was just looking at all the new fall fashions and DROOLING. Another good reason to get back into shape.

8- First word that comes to mind when I think of fall? Golden.

Spill it readers! I'm curious. What are your answers to the questions?

Friday, August 20, 2010

My New View

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

I love the new view when I look in my rearview mirror. Being able to see all of those shiny, happy faces smiling back at me gives me warm fuzzies. It is a beautiful picture.

But I am not afraid to admit to you all that I cried while I was taking Grace's pretty pink babyseat out of the car. It seemed like the end of an era. The last of the baby years is quickly fading and all of the evidence is being cast aside.

It is a good thing that Todd has put his foot down and decided that four (he was perfectly happy with TWO) is our final number because otherwise right about now I would be plotting our next child. Then before you know it we would be buying our very own supersized van to haul our children around. And sooner or later I would be confused with Michelle Dugger (our only differences would be our hair and perhaps the fact that there is NO WAY I would be as sweet and calm as Michelle Dugger) as I lug my 20 children around in our family bus.
But these are MY four children. And I know how lucky I am.
I just love my rear view.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In The Kitchen

Eating at the table
and under the table

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

He Must REALLY Love You

I have been pestering your dad ever since I saw the first few blades of grass sprouting in our back yard. Every trip to Menards or Home Depot would result in me dragging daddy over to the playset area. We would mull over options and costs. We would talk about when the absolute best time would be to start it. And then finally last weekend your dad bit the bullet and bought you little monkeys a playset. And not just any playset. Against his better judgement, and with my pleading, daddy got you the mutha of all playsets.

Even with grandpa as his assistant it still took all morning just unloading, unpacking, and sorting all of the materials.
You were a bit disappointed when you woke up from your naps thinking the playset would be done and this was all you saw:
But you were very good sports and repeatedly told daddy, "Good job, daddy! You're doing great!" I know he appreciated it. At the end of the day this was your playset:
The next morning daddy, after a not-so-good nights rest and many ibuprofen, got right back to work. Soon the playset had floors!
While you played,
and had fun, daddy sweat it out in the hot, humid, sticky, mosquito infested yard.
Daddy worked on it all that week even though he had come down with a nasty stomach virus. The minute he got home from work he would throw on his shorts and head outside.
He worked as fast as he could and wondered if it was all worth it. Would you kids even play on it as much as we hoped? I tried to assure him that it would indeed be worth it in the end, but then again, I wasn't the one doing all the work.
It took daddy all day just to put the slide together. Still he continued to work, determined to finish in time for the weekend and Grace's birthday party on Sunday. He even got up at 6 in the morning to work on it before church so it would be mostly complete when the guests arrived.
And he did it! All that work. And it was definitely worth it. It made the birthday party a perfect day. Everyone gathered outside to watch you and your cousins enjoy daddy's hard work. The humidity had given way to a beautiful warm day. And dozens and dozens of dragonflies zoomed around the backyard eating up all the mosquitoes making us feel like we were in some kind of fairyland.
Even after all of our guests left you and your neighborhood friends played for hours on the playset while daddy put on the finishing touches.
Yesterday as daddy sat outside on the back patio, drinking a beer and reading the newspaper, while you kids laughed and played on the playset he knew all of that hard work had payed off. You kids are in love with your playhouse. You thanked daddy over and over again for his hard work and made him cards to show your appreciation.
Someday, when you are older and perhaps have a family of your own, you will look back at that playset with fond memories of all the fun you had. And once again you will see and appreciate just how much your daddy loves you.

Job well done, daddy! Well done.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


You were just born. I could swear it is true. I can remember holding you for the first time, kissing your sweet head, and calling you my Grace. My angel.

And yet here we are celebrating your first birthday. How can this be?
It is still hard for me to believe that I have my baby girl. How can this precious angel belong to me? What did I ever do in my life to deserve such a gift?
I had dreamt of you for so long that even after the ultrasound confirmed that you were a girl I couldn't believe it. It all seemed too good to be true. Grandma even bought you your first little, pink outfit to help me believe what she knew all along. I hung that outfit up and stared at it everyday. I pictured how you would look in the pale pink shorts and the soft cream top. I wished it was a few sizes smaller than the 12 months Grandma bought so that you could wear it right away. But those 12 months went faster than I could have imagined, and now here you are. You are wearing that very same outfit looking more beautiful in it than I could have ever dreamed.
You are more than I thought was possible. You are sweeter, and funnier, and smarter, and more beautiful than my dreams would allow. You are absolutely magical.
Please, sweetheart, don't grow up too fast. Let me savour this. It is too good to let go by so quickly. Let me hold you a while longer. Let me snuggle you to sleep. Keep giving me those wonderful hugs and kisses. Keep jabbering your silly talk. Make those sassy faces all you want it just makes me want to smooch you more. Slow down, honey. You don't need to grow so quickly. This past year has gone way too fast.
My light. My angel. My little girl.
I am so proud of you. I love you with all of my heart.
Forever my baby. Forever my girl.
Forever your mama.
Happy Birthday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There She Goes

PhotoStory Friday

The girl is on the move. She is walking and walking fast. So fast that I can barely capture her in action.
Yet another milestone met and surpassed all too quickly.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Here We Go Again

My mom recently lent me a book to read. I never ask her for suggested reading, and yet she never fails to show up at my house with my next book in hand. Mom and I have very different taste in reading. She loves nonfiction. She loves hearing about people going through horrible, awful things (perhaps that is why she also loves the Lifetime network) and then coming through the struggle with new found strength. I do not enjoy reading about all of the atrocities going on in the world. I have enough nightmares, I do not need more. I like novels. They are an escape for me. Still, when mom brings over a book I read it. Because she wants me to. And once in a while I'm actually thankful that I read it (Left To Tell).

Since dad passed away last year from Alzheimer's many of mom's friends have been passing on Alzheimer's related books for her to read. Because they happen to be novels mom thinks I would enjoy reading them too (Leisure Seeker). This past week she casually dropped off another one. Still Alice.

I am only halfway through and I resent this book. I don't like it. Sure it is smart, well written, researched, and heartfelt. But I don't like it. It has me gasping for breath. It feels like someone is stepping on my chest. This book makes me swallow every few minutes, trying to choke down the lump residing in my throat.

The woman in the book is Alice. She is 50 and has just been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. The book gives such a glimpse into how the person with Alzheimer's feels that all I want to do is cry. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking of the internal struggle my father was going through. And it makes me question every conversation I had with my dad in his last few years. Was I kind enough? Was I too kind? Was I condescending in my concern? Did I make his last few years easier or was I irritatingly cheerful/cautious/chastising/babying/supportive? What was dad thinking? What could I have done better?

And then there is the subject that I have been so careful to avoid. Alzheimer's can be genetic. In the book Alice's Alzheimer's is genetic and her daughter also has the gene. She will also have Alzheimer's. A whole other subject that I never let myself think about is brought to the forefront of my mind by this stinking book.

And now. Now Todd's dad has Alzheimer's as well. We've known this for a while. This is not new information. But this past weekend while Todd's mom was away Todd was staying with his father and he had absolutely no clue who Todd was. He also had no idea he was married or that he had any children. It was the first time he ever forgot Todd. Todd has always been his father's pride and joy. If he was in a stubborn Alzheimer's fit Todd was the only person he would listen too. Whatever Todd said, he believed. And this weekend he didn't know who he was. It was incredibly hard for Todd.

I remember when my dad forgot who I was. It didn't sting me. I expected it and I didn't take it personally. It just didn't hit me. Perhaps because even when dad didn't know who I was it still felt like he knew that he should know me. And I guess in my heart I knew that he really did know me. His mind just wasn't allowing him to see it. But this is new for Todd. And though he went through all of this with me, it is different when it is your own father.

So, here we go again. The stress. The heartbreak. The worry. It is happening all over again. And reading this book, making me think of the what ifs for my own chances of getting Alzheimer's, Todd's chances, I have the urge to chuck it out the window. I can do without those thoughts. And what good do they do anyway? We will do the best with whatever we're given. That's all we can do.

And yet I keep reading this dumb book. Hoping for some happy ending, but knowing it will just get worse. I know Alzheimer's too well to believe it will end any other way. But I keep reading anyway. Hopeful.

Thursday, August 5, 2010



Summer is for running around the house in your swimsuit all day.
Summer is for trips to the zoo and cooling off in the penguin exhibit.
Summer is about hot, humid weather that drains you even with the simplest task.
Summer is about exploring your passions.
And being patient while your big brothers explore their passions.
Summer is for exhausted rides home.
Summer is about multiple trips to warm lakes and swimming until you are wrinkled and pruney.
Summer is about eating it fresh off the plant and tasting it's warm sweetness pop in your mouth.
Summer is about playing in the gritty sand. And chewing on shovels.
Summer is about enjoying life to the absolute fullest. For taking advantage of every moment that you can. Summer can be absolutely exhausting for parents. Especially when stomach viruses run through the house. And sometimes sickness is the only thing slowing you down in summer's fast paced run. Yes, summer can certainly be draining. But summer is fleeting and now it is almost over.
When I was a kid and the stores would start sending out their Back To School fliers I would get so excited at the thought of school beginning. I couldn't wait to see my friends again, to wear the new shirt mom bought me, and to open that brand new box of crayons. Yesterday I asked the boys if they are excited about school starting in a few weeks and their answer was not what I expected. "No! I want summer to last forever!" they all whined. And I smiled to myself knowing I must be doing something right.
So, I will put aside blogging for a while longer, too busy with soaking up the last of summer. Though the weather can make me feel sluggish and slow it does not slow time from whizzing by, proven by the approach of Grace's 1st birthday. It knocks the breath out of me when I look back with panic wondering where this past year has gone. I try not to make myself too crazy. I want to enjoy each day as much as I can. But knowing how fast it all goes does put a certain pressure on me to make each day count. So I will do my best. Soaking up this summer. And soaking up my little ones while I can.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson