31 December 2009

wrap it up

Well, here we are again; it's new year's eve. Where did 2009 go exactly?

I try not to look back at any year with regrets; rather, opportunities to make things different and maybe even better in the coming year.

It's how I roll.

Therefore, let me start by saying thank you to each of you who read my drivel every day. Whether you were here in 2008 or new in 2009, thanks. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for caring about me and my family.

If I could give you all giant, squeezy hugs right now, I would.

We've had some ups and we've had our downs, but God is good and He's been faithful and really, that's all that we need, isn't it?

He sees down the road at that moment when we think that all is lost, and He knows. And really, I like a plan, but that picture would be too big for me to handle. So it's good that He's got it covered.

Cancer journeys are hard. Grieving the loss of my grandmother has been more difficult than I ever imagined. But with those difficulties come new perspectives. That life must be lived, now more than ever, because we never know what's around the corner.

And you know what? In the process, I've seen my Dad with more sparkle in his eye and spring in his step than ever. (Not bad for an old cuss who just had a birthday last week!) And I've been able to reconnect with family that I'd sorta lost over the years. And that's been a lot of fun!

So, what does 2010 have in store? I'm not sure, but I'm excited to find out! I say, bring it on!

Happy New Year, everybody!

29 December 2009


When my brother married his girlfriend this past April, he became daddy to a 4 year old girl. She's blond, sweet, dramatic, determined and ornery- everything he deserves.

She speaks her mind too.

She was asking Mom what was for dessert and so I called her over to me, thinking I was going to let her in on the information that there were cookies in another room.

As she climbs up on my lap, the first thing that comes out of her mouth is "You're looking kinda old, you know."

Even if it's true, it's Christmas. Santa was still watching her like a hawk. Not that she cared.

I'm stunned, so all I can say is "alright. No cookies for you then."

I realize that she's four and so to her, I really should be looking into becoming a member of AARP in the new year, but still.

She went crying to Mom about how I told her she couldn't have a cookie and Mom told her that maybe if she said she was sorry, I'd change my mind.

Which of course, I did. I may be old, but I'm not completely heartless. ;)


28 December 2009

what on earth do we do now?

Here we are. Celebrating Christmas is over and done. And thanks to the fact that we have this kitten, my house doesn't even look like we celebrated Christmas at all, and it hasn't for several days.

We dealt with freezing rain in Indiana on Wednesday, but fortunately there was enough traffic to keep it from getting too slippery. About 5 minues after we crossed the border into Michigan, the roads were clear and the sun came out. I asked Mom if she ordered that.

We had a great time with family. I personally laughed a LOT and got to hold the baby as much as I wanted, pretty much. You know, seeing as how he'll probably be walking when I get a chance to see him next.

I don't really see the youngest of my boys much when we are at my parents house. My sister's oldest child and my youngest are 366 days apart in age and get along so well that it's kinda scary. Mom said that you'd think that every once in a great while, there'd be some sort of a tiff between them, but not these two. And that's so nice. Caleb told Mom this week that Sean is his "best cousin yet!" Sean's pretty great, so I can't wait to see what comes down the pike next. he,he,hee.

Our trip home yesterday was uneventful. We sorta like them that way. It snowed most of the way home, and was below freezing, but once again, enough traffic to keep the roads from being too bad. We did get a chuckle out of Matthew asking if there was school today. Um, no son, you're on Christmas break. Oh, good. Teenagers.

But now, we're sorta in Christmas letdown. Wait, maybe it's just me. Anyway.... We can't take the time to undecorate the house, the cousins are gone, or rather we're gone, and we have all week this week.

I need to come up with something and I need to do it fast!

But for now, I leave you with video of my nephew Carson enjoying his very first peanut butter ball. Or rather, the yummy chocolate on it. Yep, it was me that gave it to him, he was so interested, I couldn't resist! Being an Auntie is awesome!

21 December 2009

18 December 2009

don't walk. run. seriously.

My friends, Mckmama is giving away Photoshop Elements AND Lightroom 2.  You have GOT to get over there and enter for a chance to win.


Giveaway closes Sunday.
What are you still doing here?


Oh, click here.  heehee.

Seven Quick Takes Friday 3rd edition

Super quick, here are my seven quick takes for this week!

1.  One concert down and one to go.  The middle school bands did a great job last night.  Unfortunately, having only arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule, we were unable to get good video.  Dang it, if the girl in front of Matthew didn't sit up straight as soon as I was focused on him! :)

2.  Caleb's concert is this morning and my in-laws are here.  They attended Jon's neice's concert on Wednesday, Matthew's concert last night and will head home after Caleb's concert this morning.  I need to get the fruit from the middle school fruit sale and then come home and get to my fifth, yep, the fifth batch of peanut butter cups!

3.  Santa brings our family gift tonight!  Woohoo!  Actually, he already brought it in as far as the den closet, but it still needs wrapped by his trusty elves.  heehee.

4. I get to see my family in five days!  Woohoo!  Can't wait!  Pray for good driving weather on the 23rd, will you, pretty please?

5.  My brother and his family are moving into their first home this weekend.  That's exciting stuff.  As I understand it, my sister-in-law is in the running for sainthood once this is all over.  I *knew* that she was good for my brother!  I can't wait to see the inside of the house, I'm almost as excited as when we bought our own home last year!!

6.  Caleb's behavior is better in school.  I am hopeful that he's turned a corner and seen that life without any toys or privileges is no fun.  Every day this week has been without poor report, so that's good news!  Of course, it makes me mad, because it just gave Jon more reason to be right.  And as I told his mother, that man does not need ANY more reason to think that he knows all there is to know.  (Love you, honey! :) )

7.  By Sunday, we will have occupied our home for one year.  It seems as though it was only yesterday that we were loading boxes upon boxes into the truck from our tiny apartment and headed here on a drizzly, cold day.  And yet, at the same time, it seems as if we've never lived anywhere else.  Now it'd just be good to meet some of the parents that our boys go to school with, since this is where they will graduate.  Takes time, I guess.  I'm just impatient and hate feeling like an outsider.

Okay, that's it!  Got to go!  Have a great weekend!

17 December 2009

16 December 2009

15 December 2009


This morning, I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that our home is warm.  Not overly warm, around 67; but compared to outdoors right now, a tropical paradise.

I'm thankful for my home.  And even more so, I'm thankful that after living here a year, it's starting to feel like home just a little.

I'm thankful for my family in more ways than I can express here.  Earlier this year, I struggled with the fact that time does not stand still.  Even when you're sure that you have more time; maybe you do, maybe you don't.  Dad's diagnosis of prostate cancer in June and then of Crohn's disease in July were reminders to all of us that whether we like it or not, time is finite.  He's taken that and run with it; getting more joy than ever out of life. Joy in his sometimes very difficult work as a hospice chaplain, and joy in learning a new hobby- the drums.  It's wonderful to see him so happy.

We all experienced the loss of my grandmother this summer and that was difficult; more difficult than I had ever anticipated.  It brought up my own mother's mortality and even mine as something that really kind of smacked me in the face.  It wasn't pretty.

Let's just say that the passing of our Grandma served as a reminder to me to tell people that you love them, because you may not get another chance.

Even amidst the uncertainty, I'm thankful for my husband's employment situation.  Business is such that he could have easily become unemployed weeks if not months ago.  But we're super thankful that hasn't been the case.  There are some questions about the future that remain unanswered, but we hold on to the hope that God has a plan and we'll be able to see what that is when the time comes.

That's good enough for me.

14 December 2009

let's call the whole thing off

Warning, this is gonna be random!!  Hang on.

I had literally been fighting back a cold for the last two weeks.  And not just any cold, but one that makes me sound as though I have swallowed a frog.

Perfect timing for the Christmas cantata on Sunday, don't you think?

Then I got an email this morning that our director of music would like me to share a special on Sunday.  Sure, I can do that, I replied, as long as I have voice left by then.  Fortunately, I've chosen a song that works well with the lower range of my voice. 

Especially considering that frog.

All the kids at church did wonderfully with the Christmas program yesterday!  I'd even show you video of each of my boys, if I knew how to load the videos onto the new post editor for blogger.  But I can't seem to figure it out, so that'll have to wait.

Matthew's band concert is Thursday evening and then Caleb's concert is Friday morning.  Each grade at Caleb's school gets a 20 minute segment to perform.  Sounds exciting, I know.

The best part is that I will be able to kill two birds with one stone, as they say, and pick up Matthew's fruit order on Friday while I am in town.  Saves me a trip, at least.

I've got two different kinds of cookies in the deep freezer that are going to need attention in the next few days.  The butter cookies and the gingerbread men will need different sorts of attention.  I decided that the boys could help with the gingerbread men and we'll do that Friday after school.  As to the butter cut-outs, I still haven't decided on the best kind of icing for them yet, so I'm unsure as to when they will be finished.

I just finished my fourth batch of peanut butter cups.  I had made a double batch for the Andersen family Thanksgiving, and then a batch as gifts for Jon's co-workers.  This morning I finished the fourth batch, half which I will give away and half are going to the office Christmas party on Saturday night.  (That was Jon's boss's only request, the peanut butter cups.)

And I told Mom that I'd make a batch to take to her house next week.  That's where most of the cookies are going too.

We thought we were finished shopping and I guess we are, but we forgot our godchildren.  So we're just going to send cash.  I have enough wrapping of gifts to do before next Wednesday.

Caleb has reminded me at least twice that "Grandpa has two gifts and one needs birthday paper, Mom".  Good thing he's keeping track.

Santa comes on Friday night.  Yep, we're aware that it's early.  But he has to deliver a very special family gift, and it's the kind that may be challenging to get back home again if he delivers it to Grandma's house.  So there's that.  I think that the boys will be excited.  I know I am.

Whew.  I need a nap!

11 December 2009

send in the clowns

You'll have to forgive me if this offends you, but something's bugging me. (Wait a second, no, you don't.  My blog, my thoughts. Read or don't- I don't care.)

Why in the world would parents want to remember the experience of their precious son or daughter's first visit to Santa with red faces, screams and tears?

We took Matthew to the circus when he was about three.  From the instant he spotted a clown, he was terrified.  Did I at that instant insist that he get as close to the clown as possible?  Nope.  For our entire experience of the show, we stayed as far away from the clown as we could get.

He's 13 now, and if you ask him, he remembers loving the circus, but hating the clowns.  Seriously.

Same goes for Santa.  Everytime we happened to be in the mall at Christmas time, he was pretty much the only kid who wasn't clammering to get in line to get close to the jolly ole elf.  As a matter of fact, when he was around four years old, as we were passing the incredibly long line of anxious kids and harried mothers, he said to me, "Mama, walk faster.  I don't wanna look at that man."

Lucky me.

So, in case this isn't clear, forgive me, but I will never understand what the big deal is if your kid is too afraid to sit on Santa's lap.  So what?  Who cares if you stood in line for an hour and then the kid freaked out.  Is that the point at which you say "Now, honey, you need to sit on Santa's lap." or "Let's get out of here!" ?  And to document the insanity with pictures? Craziness.

Is it more for the parents or the kids?  I sat on Santa's lap all of once, and I don't even remember it.  There's a picture and it's pretty tame, but Mom decided that since I didn't care whether I sat on Santa's lap or not that it was okay if I didn't.  And guess what?  I still got nice gifts, some that I still treasure to this day.

Now, I know that my nephew and my two neices have indeed sat on Santa's lap.  And while the pictures look like they just may be a teensy bit frightened, it worked out okay.  And that's great.  But if your kid freaks out, is it the end of the world?

I just don't get what the big deal is.

10 December 2009

welcome interruption

Due to a fairly major snowstorm in our area, we were all home for the day yesterday.  Even Jon, whose boss called at noon to make sure he was okay. Sure he's okay; the Honda wasn't going anywhere for at least an hour.

We played in the newly fallen snow. Well, to be fair, some played, while others had to use the snowblower. hehehe.

We baked my favorite cookies. At Christmas time, Mom always made Russian Tea Cakes, aka Mexican Wedding Cookies aka Snowballs. 


We made homemade pizza for dinner.

All in all a great day!

08 December 2009


Sometimes the sound of my children's voices is comparable to nails on a chalk board.

Sometimes I think that if I could just run away and be alone for a couple of days, everything would be okay.

Sometimes I have to settle for screaming at the top of my lungs inside the garage where no one will hear me.

Can anyone relate?

07 December 2009

Do you like Christmas music?

Really, who doesn't!

Then you wanna get in on this!  25 days of Christmas music- one song download featured each day- for free!

Go here!

05 December 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again!  Join the SWS carnival hosted at Call Me Cate by clicking here.

My six words:

It's looking quite Christmas-y outside! Yay!

04 December 2009

Oh happy day!

After eight days of having a bare room and next to no privileges, Caleb brought this home yesterday.

Hey, it's a start, right?

03 December 2009

sweet success

This post could be titled many things: "never give up", "don't be a quitter", "when good enough isn't" or maybe even "perfection issues multiplying".....ahem.....

I'm so very excited to tell you that my second attempt at making and baking gingerbread men for the season was, as the post title states, a complete success. Here's what I had to say about the first attempt.

Yep, I need more excitement in life, that's for sure.  But only good kinds, not the kind that leads to anything stressful.

Anyway, back to the cookies.  I still used the recipe from last weekend, but I modified it a bit and it worked out beautifully.  I went back to the old-school metal cookie cutter too and that worked better.  I guess GB* men are supposed to be chubby, right?  At least this time you can tell he has appendages.

*gingerbread, NOT Green Bay!

What?  They're missing appendages?  Certainly not...wait a minute.

These are ABC cookie cutters.  Yep, marketed as such, and as I choose to believe, NOT the same as abc gum from grade school.  I got these cutters as a gift a couple of years ago and the boys have been dying for me to use them.  I'm excited for when they get home to see the tasty creations.

Aren't they cute?

And yes, they will be decorated, but that'll be closer to Christmas.  For now once they are finished cooling, I'll stack them in an ice cream bucket and they'll hang out in the freezer!

I'm so excited; I just love when a plan comes together!

01 December 2009


Nope, I'm not talking about me- this time.

Dina is up to no good when it comes to the Christmas decorations.  And she doesn't care what method we try to use to keep her away, she's gonna bat at the ornaments if she fat well wants to.

She's worse than the boys when they were small.  Matthew at less than two years old, was into rearranging ornaments to his liking every time he was in the room with the tree.  I'd leave the room for 90 seconds and every ornament he could reach was arranged in a clump on all the branches he could reach. In my foolishness,  I'd have to go behind him and fix what he'd done.

That was an exhausting Christmas.

At nearly the same age, Caleb would just take the ornaments off the tree and lay them on the ground. He never touched them once they were on the ground, but every ornament he could reach got taken off the tree at every opportunity.  I spent a lot of time putting ornaments back on the tree at naptime.

If Dina weren't also destructive, it wouldn't be so bad.  The poor ornament that she managed to destroy used to be a stuffed dog in a stocking.  Not anymore.  First there was the hanger here and some fur there.  Then I went into the kitchen and saw what was left of a nose and eye all over the rug at the back door.  Oy.

Good thing it was Jon's ornament- he was none too happy and I don't blame him, but he doesn't get as attached as the rest of us.

"Black Santa" didn't even make it onto the tree this year.  He's ceramic and I made him in preschool and he's irreplacable as far as I'm concerned.  So he sits in a box, just to be on the safe side.  That was more Jon's idea than mine- he said he wouldn't want to deal with the aftermath if Santa got broken.

It wouldn't be pretty.

So Dina gets locked in her pet carrier at night.  We tried just closing her in the den the first night and about 10 minutes after Jon came to bed we heard a loud crash.  She was chewing on a frame and it hit the ground.  And the frame will  have to be replaced.  (It was a piece of art that hug behind the tree, so we took it down.  That was probably a mistake.)

Whose idea was it to get this kitten anyway? ;)

30 November 2009

crash and burn

We had a very busy extended weekend.  Among other things, it involved making a batch of peanut butter cups as my offering for Thanksgiving dinner (yum!) and watching movies.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Disney's animated Robin Hood and The Music Man for starters.

My boys love musicals.  I think that's fantastic.

We had a wonderful time with Jon's family on Thursday.  It never ceases to be a riot when the family is together.  And my mother-in-law outdid herself again with all the fantastic food.  Yum.  And we all had a big laugh when as soon as everyone was seated at the spread my father-in-law pipes up "Where's the ham?"  He didn't get the memo that the ham was for later in the day, I guess. 

It'll be awhile before he lives that down.

Friday, Matthew and I braved the crazy crowd, but not too early.  We didn't get any "deals" per se, but we knew that would be the case in getting the extra sleep.  We were able to finish shopping for Caleb though, so that's good.

One thing about taking the boy with me to go shopping- I couldn't shop for him.  Duh.

We arrived home and then I mentioned to Jon that I had seen our "big family gift" while we were out, but wondered if I could get a better price elsewhere.  So he and I drove into Appleton and indeed we were able to find a better price on a comparable item.  Which will work just as well and the boys will love it!

Did I mention that getting said item, we ended up visiting three different Wal-Marts and two Game Stops?  Crazy.  But all the store staff were amazing, cheerful and helpful- so that was nice.

We also finished up about 99% of the shopping for our adopted family.  Did I mention that we got a family with two boys?  Well, we did.  And although I was a bit disappointed at first, it's worked out just fine and we've had a good time shopping.

We came home, took the boys to the park for a photo shoot, I made dinner and then we decorated the house for Christmas.

Friday was a fun but exhausting day.

On Saturday, we learned something, or at least I did.  Two things, actually.  One, the recipe for gingerbread cookies on the back of the Grandma's molasses bottle is a pain in the neck to work with and two, if your cutter is as wide as he is tall, he ends up looking like a very tan Stay Puft marshmallow man.  Oy.

He tasted good, but he looks awful.  And I found the old cutter in an ornament box while we were decorating Saturday night, so I may use a different recipe and the old cutter and see how he turns out.  (and yes, I took the picture and then I ate the cookie.  It was delicious.)

But by yesterday, I was hitting a wall.  We stopped at the corner gas station on the way to church, I thanked Jon for the Diet Coke and asked him to take me home.  So he did, and I spent the rest of the day on the couch resting.  It's just several things in combination, I'm sure, and I'm starting to feel better already.  But four days of go, go, go, were I guess too many.

How was your weekend?

26 November 2009


Praise the Lord.

Praise God in His Sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.

Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.

Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

I look at it this way; even when it feels like nothing is going right, I still have Jesus beside me guiding me through.  And I shouldn't be just in the habit of praising when things are going well; no, even when times are tough, it's probably because He's teaching me something that I need to learn.  And lets face facts here- I'm pretty stubborn.

But even in the tough times, I have immeasureable blessings for which I give Him praise!

Don't you?!?

25 November 2009

24 November 2009


It's Thanksgiving week, you know.

A man is taking a walk in the woods when he spots a bear.  Now knowing that a human can not outrun a bear (unless it's a Chicago Bear), the man tries to get away but is not surprised when he is tackled by the enormous creature.

While trapped underneath the bear's massive paw, this man's only thought is "Dear Lord, let this be a Christian bear."

To which the creature replied "Oh Lord, thank you for this meal I am about to receive."

What are YOU thankful for today?

23 November 2009

weekend update

My new camera arrived over the weekend, so I just wanted to share with you a couple of the pictures that I took.

This is our girl; she'll be 6 months old the end of this week.  We love her even though she knocked down the Christmas tree.  (That's another post.....)

The boys and I went outside to see how the camera quality was and I'm pretty pleased.  Now if I can just get them dressed up for the Christmas card picture this week, we'll be all set.

It's been fun to upgrade cameras.  The new one has features like image stabilization and face detection.  As soon as I can get the drive on the computer to cooperate, I'm sure that the included disc will tell me all about features that I have yet to learn about.  Not to mention that I went from a 64mb memory card in the old camera to a 2G in the new one!  Woohoo!

It was a tough weekend to be a Big Ten football fan.  I was born and raised a University of Michigan fan and for the second year in a row, the football squad did not win enough games for bowl eligibility.  Ugh.  And "Oh, how I hate Ohio State" captured a fifth win against the Wolverines. Not to mention that Wisconsin didn't pull off a win this weekend either.  At least the Badgers are bowl eligible; gives me ONE game to watch. (What's the fundamental difference between a wolverine and a badger anyway, besides the colors?!?  Get it, maize and blue versus red and white?!?!  Anyway....)

Caleb and I baked a new cut-out cookie recipe this weekend.  Butter cookies.  I might share the recipe; if you're interested, let me know.  The dough tasted fantastic and the cookies weren't bad either, haha.  We froze the cookies with the plan to defrost them and decorate them Christmas week.  Then, since we're going to Michigan for Christmas, I guess we'll take them to share with my family.  Caleb enjoyed helping with the cookie cutters but finds the baking process boring so he was out after that.  But he did reappear to request a cookie, of course.

I'm excited to get together with Jon's family for Thanksgiving this week.  Even though we're usually crowded into my in-laws home, we play games and eat and laugh and have a great time.  And of course, I have a batch of peanut butter cups made to share.  They've been in the freezer for about a week and Jon's been good about leaving them alone.  Of course, one batch is never enough, so Matthew and I will create a second batch when the boys are home on Wednesday.

And finally, yes, you read that right; we did put up the Christmas tree this weekend.  This is against my upbringing, haha, but it was for a purpose.  We'd intended to see how Dina would react before we placed our ornaments on the tree and were possibly met with disaster.  Well, Sunday morning, the tree was on its side, so I posted to my very wise group of FB friends for advice and it was suggested that we anchor the tree.  That has been done as of late yesterday afternoon; and we were a bit surprised to find that the tree was still standing when we arrived home from church in the early afternoon.  We decided to just maybe she scared herself and decided she better not climb the tree.  And the advice I got for keeping her out from underneath the tree is a mixed bag; it seems to be working, but not as quickly as I'd like.  She's pretty stubborn.  Gee, good thing she's a cat or I'd wonder where she got that from.

There ya have it- everything you wanted to know or didn't about our weekend.

How was yours??

21 November 2009

Six Word Saturday

It's that time again!  Join the SWS carnival hosted at Call Me Cate by clicking here.

My six words:

Turkey, pie and family; what fun!

20 November 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday! 2nd edition

Good Morning!

Since I found myself with not much to write entire posts about this week, I've decided that Seven Quick Takes is the way to go.  So, here we go.....

1.  Caleb's conference went okay.  And just okay.  He seems to be a bit behind in reading and math, but maybe it's because he can't seem to pay attention long enough.  As I said before, his teacher is convinced that he's a smart boy with wonderful ideas, but she's at a loss to get him to get his work done.  He already occupies a seat as close to the board and to her desk as he can.  I don't know.  *sigh*

2.  Christmas Day is five short weeks from today.  FIVE!  That's anxiety inducing and exciting for me at the same time.  I get to see my family, and that's the exciting part, but the hassle that exists in trying to get Jon to give me a wish list for my mom, oy.  Gee, that was a long sentence, sorry!

3.  We've signed up to be a part of "Adopt a Family" for Christmas this year.  Again, more anxiety and excitement.  We're excited to be able to give to others, but I did wonder if Caleb's belief in the guy in the big red suit will stay intact through all this.  If it does, great, and if not, that's okay too.  We're anxiously awaiting the information about our family to get started shopping.  I hope they have little girls!

4.  I'm contemplating some Black Friday shopping this year.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.  Jon will be home for the day, so I could get away with it.....

5.  Matthew's fruit sales for the band trip are going better than he (or I!) expected. (THANK YOU SO MUCH those who have ordered!!)  We also found out last week that he has a "trip sponsor" who is helping him to raise money for Orlando 2010.  That's a wonderful blessing!

6.  We have a weekend with NOTHING PLANNED!  You know, aside from our Saturday morning date, college football games (GO BLUE!), church on Sunday, cantata practice, and Packer football. As I said, nothing planned! haha

7.  And finally, I have to tell you that I was uber disappointed in the Project Runway finale last night.  Not that "Mean-a Irina" didn't have a great collection to put down the runway, but I really wanted Carol Hannah to win!  So I felt like I got robbed (ROBBED, I TELL YOU!) of precious sleep to stay awake to see it come down to that.  Oh, well.  And if you don't watch PR, you have no idea what this last paragraph was about anyway!  hah.  I'm excited for season 7 to start in January.

17 November 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day

Did you know that November is Prematurity Awareness Month? And that today is devoted specifically to the fight for preemies?

Let me tell you why I have a vested interest here. Bear with me if you've heard most of these details before; I just feel the need to put it out there....

I'm lucky. More than I can tell you about here. It would certainly take up this post and others to tell my story.

Let me try and give you a super short version. (Mom, forgive me if the details aren't 100% accurate.....)

When I was born in *cough* nineteen *cough* seventy-four *cough*, medical science was not advanced enough to save most babies born too soon.

Born at 28 weeks, I was an odds-beater from the start for sure.

Mom says that the day before I was born, she didn't feel 100% like herself, but she didn't think anything was seriously wrong. She was super young at the time too; twenty years old- just for your understanding.

She says that she went to church to help my Aunt put together the bulletin for Sunday, not realizing that she was in labor.

If you fast-forward the story some, I was born the next morning, weighing in at a whopping 2 pounds 11 ounces with a staggering length of fourteen inches.  I don't even think she had a chance to see me; I was whisked off to the University of Michigan Medical Center and given a 20% chance of surviving that first night. TWENTY PERCENT. Takes my breath away to even type that.

Dad tells that my entire hand with fingers outstretched was not much bigger than the tip of his thumb.  That's some scary stuff.

And my stay at the UofM NICU isn't without complications either.  I had a stroke at two weeks of age which gave me mild paralysis on my right side (that translates these days to not having as much feeling on that side, nor reflexes that are as fast) and I have three scars from IV insertions- one on my right pinkie finger, one on my left foot and I guess one on my head, though I've never seen it. I endured a couple of heel-cord lengthening surgeries on my right side; one at age 3 and the other at age 7.  And I have a limp.*  Those things are nothing compared to some.

When I was finally released from the NICU in December of '74, just before Christmas, the NICU doctors told my parents that "she's a sweet baby, but don't expect too much."

They don't take his advice.

I had epilepsy as a child, and while I did have some seizures as a kid, I took medication to manage and by the grace of God had outgrown the epilepsy by age 12.  Some kids aren't so lucky.

I say all that to say this.  As lucky as I was, most weren't.  And as lucky as some babies still are, there are many that still aren't. And that shouldn't be so.  I have a neice that I will get to meet in heaven who was born too soon. What a devastating experience that was for my sister and for our family.  No one should have to carry a baby and then say goodbye.  It just isn't right.

And do you know what the kicker is?  Babies like MamaSpohr's Madeline are still at risk later in life.  And sometimes prematurity happens for a reason....but sometimes there isn't a reason.  Sometimes it JUST HAPPENS.  And that is just not acceptable.

Click the button on this post to find out how you can help in the fight to save premature babies.  So that someday, no more babies are born too soon.

* While noticable to me, most of the time, I don't even think about it.  And most people don't ask about it either, but when they do, and I explain that I limp due to premature birth and stroke, most say "Oh" but the look on faces tells another story.  Like they're glad it isn't them.  And I want to yell "Geez, it's not a detriment, people!  Trust me!"  But there is also the occasional person who apologizes for asking and I tell them that no apology is necessary; I'd rather have you ask and know than wonder.....

16 November 2009


We just go back from a conference with Caleb's teacher.  She's just so nice.  I take back all the terrible mean not so nice things that I may have said thought about her.
She really does love Caleb, is confident that he is a very smart boy with wonderful ideas, and is just convinced that he is going to need to learn to multi-task someday.

For today, he just needs to get his work done.

To my understanding, she's going to try with Caleb some sort of "good behavior/ getting work done sticker chart" that apparently some of the other kids in her class already use.  And she said that this is a way for us to better know how it is he's doing in the classroom from day to day.

Because the music on the bus is loud and it makes him forget, you know.

13 November 2009

play it again

The minute we moved into this house, my mother-in-law was hatching a plan.  Nope, not to organize the kitchen or to help decide what color to paint the living room.

For a piano.

She had even gone as far as to say that if we were to find one on the internet, she'd help with the cost or pay entirely if the cost was more than reasonable.

Months go by and we don't have much luck.

Word gets around that Jon used to play piano as a kid...gee, I wonder who let that out....and even our church's director of music and her husband jump on the "get a piano" bandwagon. I figure when it happens, it happens.

We don't cross paths with our friends for a few weeks; we're away for various reasons and so are they.  But a week and a half ago the wife comes to us with a "surprise".

Turns out that the church property in the city we moved from is for sale.  And there are not one, but two pianos in the building.  And our church friends are on the district advisory board that oversees the sale of this property and the eminent disposal, sale or donation of all items left on the premises.

The piano is ours if we want it.

Jon and his brother took the van last Saturday afternoon and brought the piano home.  I didn't even really care at first; not for myself, anyway.  Caleb wants to take lessons so that he can play drums in middle school and Matthew asked if he could take lessons too.


You know how sometimes you didn't even know you wanted something until you get it?  Yep, that's me.

I play enough to be able to sight read the treble clef for sure; bass clef is a bit rusty. (I sing soprano, in case you didn't know.)  I can tell you that I know I got to the end of  'Teaching Little Fingers to Play', but then never went on to the First Grade book.

I regret that now, I tell ya.  Turns out my Mom was right.  Again.  Dang. ahem...

But I have had fun this week taking our church hymnal and plunking things out.  And the boys are enjoying taking lessons from a copy of the same book that I used and I'm sure Jon actually used.  I know his brother Jason played from that book, because his name is written on several pages.  And some cousins of our boys used the book too.

The piano is in desperate need of a tuning, but we have that scheduled for Wednesday of next week.  We found a guy in the next town over and his rate was even less than we had expected.  And of course, my in-laws have graciously covered the cost of getting the piano tuned.

I'm warning you right now.....don't be surprised if videos of lessons start showing up here!

**there's no picture for this post because it would seem that my camera is AWOL.  Hopefully it didn't decide to find a place to die.**

12 November 2009

I belong to the King

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love.
I shall dwell in His palace so fair,

For He tells of its bliss
in yon heaven above,
And His children in splendor to share.

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

I belong to the King,
and  He loves me I know,
For His mercy and kindness so free

Are unceasingly mine wheresoever I go,
and my Refuge unfailing is He.

I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

I belong to the King,
and HIs promise is sure-
that we all shall be gathered at last
In His kingdom above,
by life's waters so pure,
when this life with its trials is past.
I belong to the King;
I'm a child of His love,
And He never forsaketh His own.
He will call me someday
to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1John 3:1

words: IR Smith, 1896
music: JL Hall, 1896

11 November 2009

dig it

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his
annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work as the ground
was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The
old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to
plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be
digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles
would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me,
like in the old days.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.


At 4:00 the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived
and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They
apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do
under the circumstances.

Love you,

09 November 2009


I'm doing my best to keep in mind that when times are tough, or nearly impossible, and we manage to keep smiling and pull through- that's when we can realize that we've already been through and survived what we thought was worse before.

My husband already has plans to look back and laugh.

Me, not so much.

06 November 2009


I am certain that I am going to perish at an early age.

The cause?

Having to constantly repeat myself to all of the male inhabitants of my home.

If I told ya once, I told ya a thousand times……

"Don’t run in the living room!

Don’t jump on the couch!

Stay off your brother!

Wash your hands!

Find something to do!

Quit that!

Clean up this room!

Go brush your teeth!

Yes, you can have a snack!

Don’t touch your brother there!

Oh, no you don’t!

Put that away!

What did I just say?

Do we eat dessert every night?

Because I’m your mother, that’s why!"

Over and over and over again. My sis says that we just need to invest in tape recorders and just hit “play” every time. But won’t that invite carpal tunnel? Never mind.

Then there are the ones for my dear life mate. Fortunately, those are fewer since I refuse to be HIS mother.

“Don’t forget to make a savings deposit.”

“Aren’t you going to pack a lunch, dear?”

“Please don’t put your dishes in the dishwasher. Leave them on the counter and I’ll do it.”

(His mother never had a dishwasher and he hasn’t the first clue how to load one.)

and the most recent one:

“Have you had the oil changed in the car yet, honey?”

Nag, nag, nag.

05 November 2009


Last week the boys were on "fall break".  Here's the conversation they had once they got off the bus on Wednesday.

C: "Guess what, M?  We have four days off of school!"

M: "No we don't, we have three."

C: *getting indignant now!* "Nuh-uh!  We have four!  My teacher said so!"

M: *who's pretty exasperated at this point himself* "No, C.  Thursday, Friday, Satur.....oh!"


04 November 2009

ornament exchange!

Want the chance to brighten someones holiday?

Just in time, if you write a blog, you want to get in on the Bloggers Ornament Exchange!  Simply write a post telling others and then link back to Pampering You!  All entries are due Nov. 12th!

Hurry, there's still time!

Wordless Wednesday

03 November 2009


I'm entirely too frustrated this morning to write a cheery post.  I'm even too frustrated to write about what it is that is frustrating me, for fear that it will come across as the fault of just one party.

I just ask that you pray for our family.  We're seeing a storm on the horizon and at this point are doing our best to batten down the hatches and wait it out. 

Several things are sort of happening all at once.  Don't get me wrong; there is a bit of sunshine, but the clouds in the distance are pretty dark.

We're struggling, but in the midst of our struggle, trying to remember that God is bigger.  And that's really all that's necessary, isn't it?

02 November 2009

pictures, please.

We had a great weekend. And one where we were actually all home for a change, so that was really nice. Friday of course, M has a quiz meet, so once again, the weekend will surely go by and we'll wonder what happened.

Someone somewhere warned me once that this would happen as the boys got older. Heck, even 2009 has gone so quickly we're shaking our heads.

**We pause this writing for the purpose of the mad dash back into the house for one thing or another....for them to get back outside just in time to catch the bus....ah, Monday.**

On Friday, we went to our "local" farmers market to choose two pumpkins for carving.  And of course, as I expected, we ended up taking home two of the largest pumpkins on the lot; good thing I only paid twenty-four cents a pound.  Even so, the total kind of took my breath away when the kid nice young man at the stand uttered "thirteen...."  Youzers!

At least our purchase solicited a "holy cow!" from Daddy when he came home and saw the massive offerings weighing down the dining room table.  The boys were pleased at his reaction.

Now there's some sort of unwritten parenting rule that at every activity of any sort, pictures must be taken, right?  Be it for the purpose of preserving memories or embarrassment on their sixteenth birthday, pictures are a necessity, aren't they?

It would seem that my digital camera does not agree.

Now, it its defense, as if it needs one, the camera recently entered its fifth year of use.  I know, I know.  While being totally absolutely fairly barely state of the art then, it is almost an embarrassment to me now.  I mean who walks around with a camera that is only 4.1 megapixels anymore?  I'd almost rather have all the pictures from my classic bad hair years displayed for all to see.

I said almost, people.  ALMOST.

Do you know how frustrating it is to take pictures of priceless moments only to get what looks like it went through a hurricane on the other side?  And the blue 'file error' screen, are you kidding me?  Fanfreakintastic. Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, there's not money right now to make a shiny new purchase- seeing that all that fell from the trees this year is leaves, dang it.

So, I have a few pictures to post this week, but they aren't the quality that I'd like.  And I pinky swear that I will spare you the viewing of the pictures that someone took of the cat doing her business. Someone small and seven, I suppose.

After all, there are some things that do not need captured for posterity.

30 October 2009

Flashback Friday- Pumpkins!

Happy Halloween, everybody!

29 October 2009

come around

So the news is mostly good from my most recent appointment with Dr. BackPain.  (It was originally scheduled for Nov. 10th, but the office called on Monday to let me know that all the results were ready, so why not come in.)

Did you want the good or the less-than-good news first?  Good?  Okay, we'll go with that.

The good news is that there is no significant pinching of the spinal nerve.  So, that's good.  However, it seems that I have a condition called degenerative disc disease.  That is basically the excessive wear of the invertebral discs in the spine.  Fortunately, it seems that there is only one disc that this is currently a problem for, and that is the disc at the very base of my spine.

There is also no cushioning cartilage  for that vertebrae anymore.  I saw the MRI of my entire spine and all looks good, except for that one spot.  That is, of course, the cause of most of my back pain.  In combination, it seems that I also have a condition called Spondylosis and that has been causing the sciatic pain.

The treatments for such conditions are everything that I have been doing; physical therapy, stretching, heat or cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines.  I'm on about 1300mg of Tylenol Arthritis twice a day and that seems to be working.  The bonus to that is that it's not giving me the yucky side effects that some of the medications were that I was on, so that's good.

But the downside of having these conditions is that I am pretty much supposed to expect some degree of back pain for the rest of my life.  At least until vertebrae and disc transplant becomes a viable option. Because there is no way in hell  in the world that I am going to be able to modify my activity to never bend again.  Oh, yeah.

Dr. BackPain has ordered me to see a neuro-physical therapist twice a week for another six weeks.  Because I guess this therapist can better deal with the issues that my right leg has as a whole. ie: limited range of motion in the ankle, spasticity in the calf muscle, and that I can't wiggle my toes on that side.  blah, blah, blah.

Okay, on to the less-than-good news.....

When I was a child, I knew that my Mom always told doctors that my leg length discrepancy was five-eights of an inch.  So that's what I went with when I had given that information to my primart care provider when I went to see him in August initially.

Yeah, turns out, that was the case while I was growing.....now, not so much.

Those x-rays that I had at the beginning of all this have revealed that indeed, my right leg is shorter than my left.  But not by a measly 5/8"; no, try over one inch.  1.06 inches to be precise.  Yikes.

I should have known when I took off my left shoe in therapy and stood pretty much level that I was in trouble.  Craaaap.

I am still not in a place where I can deal with the mental issue of having an external shoe lift, and I wasn't even going to pretend that I am.  Unfortunately for me, I may never get there, but in order to maintain any kind of comfort, I will probably at some point have to fake it til I make it.

But knowing that I have been spending nearly the last twenty years compensating for the difference and that I'm indeed not in that place yet, Dr. BackPain has given me an order for the maximum internal lift, for now.  Knowing that my body will need time to work up to feeling okay on a level playing field, I have that option and when I have a follow-up appointment in January, we will together reassess to see where I am and what it is that I still need.

So, there ya have it.  For now.

27 October 2009

ain't it grand

***WARNING!!  This may not be the post to read if you just ate, are planning to do so soon or have any kind of weak stomach!!*** You've been warned!  bwaaaahaaahaaa.

When I was growing up, we had to live survived by a certain rule.

"No puke or diarrhea, no fever- go to school."

Let me tell you that I am not one of my oldest child's  favorite people lately because of that rule.  And you know what?  I don't really care that Mr HomeRoom said that you need to stay home if you don't feel well- take some Pepto and go to school. Not to mention that I have already received an official letter from the office letting me know that he has already missed too many days of school this semester.  And we're just short of two months into the school year.

Several hours go by and no "come and get me" call, so I figure we are in the clear.  Imagine my surprise when around 12:45, I get a call, but it's to go and get the youngest boy.

His teacher will probably never tell him that he "can't" use the restroom ever again.

The call goes like this:
Caller: "This is Mary, from L****** school.  I'm calling because C has had an accident."
Me: "Oh?"
Mary: "I helped him into some clean clothes, but his teacher says that you need to come and get him because he needs a shower."
Me: "Do you know if I am expected to return him to school today?"
Mary: "That would be up to you."

Poor kid, he is so embarrassed.  When I tell him that it's time to go, he tries to tell me that he needs to go upstairs and get his stuff.  I'm not really hearing that so I say "We'll just get it later."

Then I look at the poor secretary and say, "Well, of it's all the same to you, I think that I'll just keep him home for the remainder of the day."

She smiles and tells me that that would be fine.

First order of business once we are home is that everything he's wearing or carrying in a plastic bag needs to go into the wash.  And then he needs to get into as hot a shower as he can stand.  He walks his completely naked self into the bathroom, I supervise that shower and the getting into fresh pjs.

Then true to form, he asked me for a snack.

Did I mention that this is probably not going to get me nominated for Mother of the Year?  For sure.  And why not?

I wasn't thinking when I let him have raisin bran AND a banana the previous morning for breakfast.  Explosion city.

That's okay; I don't have any room for a tiara on my nightstand anyway.

26 October 2009

on the menu Monday

This week's recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman's site Tasty Kitchen.  This is an amazing site!  Browse through if you haven't lately; I'm sure you'll find plenty of tasty recipes!

And yes, I know that this is just a soup version of this post.  I promise that you won't care!

Baked Potato Soup (serves 6)

•4 Large Baking Potatoes
•2/3 Cup (11 Tablespoons) Butter Or Margarine
•2/3 Cup All-purpose Flour
•6 Cups Milk*
•3/4 Teaspoon Salt**
•1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
•4 Green Onions, Chopped And Divided
•12 Slices Bacon, Cooked, Crumbled, And Divided
•1-1/4 Cups (5 Ounces) Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Divided
•1 (8-ounce) Carton Sour Cream
•Chicken Bouillon (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Wash potatoes and prick several times with a fork; bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until done. Let cool. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; then scoop out pulp, and set aside. Discard skins.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons green onions, 1/2 cup bacon, and 1 cup cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated; stir in sour cream. Add extra milk, if necessary, for desired thickness. Add little bit of chicken bouillon for extra flavoring. Serve with remaining onion, bacon, and cheese.

*I used skim milk. Not that it makes much difference with all that butter, but..... 
**I increased the salt to 1tsp and also added 1tsp garlic powder at the same time...

Adding cold milk to the roux took forever for it to come together.  I heated half of the milk and should have heated the rest.... I just eventually cranked the heat and it came together.  Just don't turn your back, or it may scorch.  Yikes.

It took longer to put together then I would have liked, but the result was definitely worth it.  And don't let the serving size fool you; the boys and I all ate one bowl each and there was plenty left over. 

Now, I'm on a mission to see what can be done to lighten it up.....

24 October 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

First off, they don't read my blog, or at least I don't *think* they do. And that is okay.

I just wanted to pay homage to their marriage. Thirty seven years today* and that is getting to be a rarity.

They met in 1970 as high school juniors on a youth group hayride. It was actually a blind date set up by a mutual friend. He tells everyone that he knew he wanted to be with her right from the start. He could take her out once a week and then something dawned on him. If he went to church, he could see her. And if he joined the choir, he could see her then too. (He's so sweet.)

He played baseball in high school and even though they went to different schools, she was at the baseball games cheering him on.

(The little boy is my Dad's cousin, Robbie. He was about 4 at the time and is in just about every reception pic.)

They graduated high school in June of 1972 and were married that October. And the rest, they say, is history. I came along in '74, my sister in '78 and our brother in '84.

What they have together is amazing. Sure, they fight sometimes; nobody's perfect. But one thing that I learned from them is that you never give up on someone you love. If you value your marriage, you'll do the work that it takes to make it something special. It's not an easy ride, and there is no magic pill, but if you work at it, it can be an incredible experience. And how lucky we are, my sibs and I, to be able to have grown up with that Godly example of marriage.

It means everything to me.

originally published Oct 23, 2008 *updated for 2009

23 October 2009

Seven Quick Takes

This week, I decided to participate in "7 Quick Takes Friday".  You know, for all that stuff that rattles around in my head that I never find worthy of creating a whole post.

Here goes....

#1.  Jill at Scary Mommy was taking entries to win a Flip Camera this week.  As much as I thought that a Flip Camera would be fun to have, I am in no position to admit my parenting failures to the world.  Not that I don't have them, believe me, I do; I just don't think that they need to be out in the open for the general public to beat me about the head and shoulders with, ya know.  I do hope that my friend, Missy at Are You There God? It's Me. wins though.  Just the first story in her entry is priceless.

#2.  I am so sick of hearing about H1N1.  Really.  Our county was going to vaccinate kids for free with parental consent, but Jon decided that neither boy was getting in on that.  I was really on the fence about it, honestly.  Now, of course, notes came home that the clinic for the schools has been delayed.  Should I mention that out of the 14 students in Caleb's class, seven were out sick yesterday?  Seven.  We already dealt with "seasonal flu" in this house WEEKS before the official start of the season.  If H1N1 knocks at my door, I may not survive it.

#3.  So far, we've had to threaten to take trick-or-treating away from Caleb if he doesn't get his work done at school.  And I'm happy to tell you that it's working like nothing else ever has.  What I wonder is what we use for the next thing.....it's not like we can say "No turkey for you, son" and he'll actually care.

#4.  The boys learned a valuable lesson this week.  Thanks to their dad, they learned the value of taking proper care of ones teeth.  I was all prepared to take a picture and post it when Jon came home with what remained of his two teeth that had to be extracted, but it was way too disgusting to even talk about here.  Trust me.  I will probably never have to remind either boy to brush or floss ever again.  And the good news is that you can teach an old dog new tricks Jon learned his lesson too.

#5.  I am really hoping the MRI that I had this week amounts to something.  I'm gonna be some ticked if it comes back clean and this doctor starts thinking that this pain is all in my head.  The shooting pain that has run down my leg for the last two days is certainly NOT in my head.  Not even close. But I think that I will never, probably will should at some point come around to the idea that it's okay if she wants me to wear a shoe lift, even if it is external as far as the shoe goes.  Mom told me that at some point, comfort needs to take priority over vanity.  I should get there in this life time.

#6.  Jon's neice, Heather, is getting married this Saturday.  She was six years old when I joined this family.  I've had the pleasure of watching her and her siblings grow up and that has been a lot of fun!  She is a great young (she's 21!) lady; kind, caring, loves to laugh and loves her family.  She and her fiance Bill are great together and I am so happy for them both.  Now if I can just make it through those two pieces she asked me to sing, it'll be good.

#7.  You know what I like most about living in no man land?  That I have to take the back roads to get anywhere.  And this time of year, that is the way to go.  The scenery has been absolutely breathtaking as of late.  Even now, with most of the trees being slightly past peak, I still enjoy taking in the beauty.

22 October 2009


C: "When were you and Daddy married, mama?"

Me: "In 1995, sweetie."

C: "How old was Matthew then?"

M: *rolling eyes* "I wasn't born yet, silly."

C: "Oh." *long pause*  "Then I wasn't born yet either, huh?"

21 October 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday- Happy Anniversary, baby!

October 21, 1995

.....sorry about the picture quality. It's a picture of a picture. We were married in the stone age, you know.....

20 October 2009


Before today, I liked to think that I had a pretty high tolerance for pain. I considered myself able to withstand all kinds of crap, get up and move on. After all, it's in my blood.

It seems I was delusional. ahem

I survived the electromyography. I had myself prepared for the needle part of it, what I wasn't prepared for was the DIGGING that was done with a couple of the needles. Was that really necessary?

Doctor BackPain tried to throw me off my game by commenting on the magazine that I was looking at when she came into the room. It was Cooking Light and there was a piece on several yummy ways to make mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes.

And then she and the tech started to talk pie while I lay there feeling like a human pincushion on the verge of some screaming that would have landed me a starring role in any Friday the 13th movie. Blueberry, cherry.....

Anyway, I'm getting lost here.....ahem.

You know what else I wasn't prepared for? The electric shocks. No kidding. Dr. BackPain never said a word about that on Thursday. NOT. ONE. WORD.

When the tech uttered " it's not pleasant ...", my first instinct was to sorta blow her off. She doesn't know how tough I am.

Boy, was I sorry about 2 shocks in.....

I've done childbirth with only those IV drugs are are "supposed to take the edge off", which, by the way, didn't work for me, so I know how that goes. Ask Jon how his left hand felt for weeks after Matthew was born. He left the delivery room with a bent wedding ring. That's right, I bent that sucker nearly into an oval while it was on his hand.

But I'd do it all over again to never have to experience today ever again. Like, ever.

One shock almost made me cry. And I'm fifty percent Nichols, and they know tough. I'm the kind that only cry at sappy Cheerios commercials about being together for Christmas.


19 October 2009

on the menu Monday

Seeing as we haven't done one of these posts in quite awhile, I figured it was time.

This week's recipe doesn't have a name, seems that I call it something different every time I make it. haha. Ya know, since it's my recipe.

Here's what you'll need:

6 large baking potatoes

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 cup sour cream

1 pound bacon, diced and cooked til crisp

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

garlic powder, salt and pepper
***feel free to substitute anything you like; low-fat sour cream, turkey bacon, diced ham, no meat, different cheeses. The sky's the limit. Once, I even used 1/4 cup of Tastefully Simple's Bacon Bacon....worked great!***

Anyway, here's what I did for the recipe this week.

Bake 6 large/medium russet potatoes. I *know* that this process can be done in the microwave and that's fine if you wanna do it that way. Me, I prefer the crispy skin that oven baking provides, so I do it that way. I baked them at 350 for about 90 minutes once I pricked them, sprayed them with cooking spray and sprinkled them with salt.

Once they come out, they look like this:

Next, once they are cool enough to handle, split the potatoes length wise and scoop out the pulp. You'll be left with 12 potato boats, as it were, for the yummy stuffing.

Here's the potato, sour cream, and spices ready to be mashed. I use a potato masher and just go to town. You may need a splash of milk if the mixture is too thick.

Then you add the bacon and one cup of the cheese. The other cup of cheese is for later!

Stir to combine and stuff into your potato boats.

Now at this point, I typically stop and place the potatos in a baking dish and refrigerate them til I need them.

Then I have my oven preheated to 350 and bake the potatoes, covered in foil for about an hour. **If you were to make them not so far ahead of time, I would start with 20 minutes and work from there.** I then take them out and sprinkle the rest of the cheddar on top of each potato and put them back in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

When they come out, they look like this! Yumm-o!

We typically have these with just a green salad for a simple dinner.

17 October 2009

Six Word Saturday

Well friends, another week is behind us, which makes it time for Six Word Saturday, hosted by the blogger at Call me Cate!
Wanna join in the fun or see entries of others? Click the button below!

My entry:
Challenging times just make us stronger.

16 October 2009


I spent a lot of time flat on my back on a cold, hard x-ray table. Around 45 minutes, as near as I can figure.

While I'm staring at the ceiling, at first I wonder if anyone actually counts all the dots on the tiles as they lie there. And I decide that I'm not that motivated to actually be one of those people. Then all I can think is how thankful I am that the reason I was there can be taken care of. That while painful and aggravating and annoying are all words that describe my situation in a medical sense, there are words that my situation isn't.

life threatening


Then right there on that table, I just started counting my blessings. Since I was under orders to not move, for the whole time, be it four or forty-five minutes, what else was I supposed to do?

"Alright, hold your breath." God is good
'bbbbuuuuzzzzz' This doctor knows what she's doing.
"Okay, breathe." Considering my start in life, this could be so much worse.

When I was finally allowed to get up from the table, I couldn't. My back had stiffened up to the point that I thought that a crane was going to be necessary to get me off that table.

Thank goodness that wasn't the case.

I have to admit, I'm not without a breakdown moment in this though. Seems that one test that I am scheduled for next week involves needles. Now, generally I'm okay with needles; I've had so much blood drawn in my life that I'm surprised I have any left every time they go for a vial.

But this test involves multiple needles and no one is drawing blood.

Scares me a bit.

And I also realized that all my life, through almost every medical issue that I ever experienced, I always had my Mom by my side.

She and Dad spent countless hours at the hospital after I was born @28 weeks.

I'm sure that she was with me when I had heel cord surgery at age 3. After all, she's in the pictures.

She's written in my baby book that she was with me when I had to ride in the ambulance after I hit my head at school and had a seizure. I was seven then.

She was also with me, that I vaguely remember, when I again had heel cord surgery at age 7. The best memory of that time though was that Dad came to visit me at the hospital and he ordered me real food. I remember being so happy.

And she was right there when I was on the verge of giving birth to Caleb. I'd had a very challenging pregnancy and I remember being so scared. Just the sheer number of doctors and nurses in the room had me in a panic, but she was right there, telling me that she was sure that everything was going to be okay.

But she wasn't there today. And circumstances being what they are, she won't be able to be there Monday for this needle-y procedure nor Thursday for the MRI.

And I wish she were.

15 October 2009

all the pieces

Remember this post? Well, here's the update.

I made an appointment with my primary doctor and he ordered some xrays. And he ordered some physical therapy. I wasn't going to go, but they called me, so I didn't have a reason not to make an appointment right there on the spot, you know?

So, I went to my first appointment on September 11th, and it was BRUTAL. Man alive. I could barely walk when I got myself home.

Current findings are that my right hip muscles are weak, DUH, I have degeration of the lowest vertebrae of my spine and there is slippage of that disc. The slippage of the disc is what was (and has been) causing my sciatic pain.

Good times.

So this morning, I am headed to another clinic to see the neurologist who works closely with my physical therapist. She is going to get an accurate measurement on my leg discrepancy among other things.

I have a brand new pair of Nike shoes that, when I take the left one off, I am pretty balanced. That spells certain doom for my hope of getting away with not needing a lift of some kind.

*Deep breaths, deep breaths*

I'll try and remember to keep you updated as things progress.

The good news is that unless the neuro orders more therapy, I am done. I went to physical therapy twice a week from the 11th of September til last Friday. I am still doing my exercises that I have been given, but I am on the downside of about 36 hours of sciatic pain from not stopping and listening to my body, and I am trying to manage the pain without the medication. So for now, specific strengthening exercises are on the back burner.

When I actually do that, listen to my body and rest when needed, it works. Surprise, surprise. Needless to say, but you know me.....my physical therapist just grinned when I told him that if I did what I was told, I was in no pain. Huh.

I never said I wasn't stubborn.

13 October 2009

Give Thanks!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

who made the great lights-
His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.

and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.

and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.

but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

to him who lead his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.

who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings-
His love endures forever.

Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

and Og king of Bashan-
His love endures forever.

and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.

and inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven
His love endures FOREVER!

originally published February 3, 2009