Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, I've been tagged by my Stepmom in this little photo game. You are supposed to go to your sixth photo file and post your sixth photo from that file, telling all about it. First I went to Picasa, but my sixth folder in there was from Halloween, and each of my kids was looking sideways. Then I went to the bottom and counted up. Not much better. So I decided to go to my other picture folder, the one in Windows. I accidentally went to my fifth photo file, and didn't like number six, so I decided to go with number five, but when I uploaded it, it turned out to be this picture, which is actually the sixth folder and sixth picture. I give up. Here it is.

I have no specific memories of this picture, but I have many specific memories of this child. She is my last baby. I'm crazy about her. She was grumpy to me when she was little, which she still is, really. Little, not grumpy. But now she tells me things. Like she wants a doll, a big girl doll, that talks, with a button. And a bus. A school bus? No. A bus that drives.

I am going to remember this girl as permanently having her hair in her eyes, except for the first twenty minutes of the day, and maybe several three-minute periods throughout the day after I reclip her hair back.

She is very into dressing herself lately. Yesterday she had her underwear on backwards, her shirt on backwards, and her shoes on the wrong feet. But don't worry. The shoes don't last. Or the socks. Or the shirt, for that matter. She likes being naked.

She likes to tromp in the snow. It's irresistable. There before her lies the scooped sidewalks, but she veers over to the small mountain (yes, it is a mountain here) and clomps all over it. We are trying to wear only snow boots outside now.

We saw a brand new baby in church on Sunday. She wanted to go get a closer look, and we stood there, amidst the crowd of others oohing and aahing over this sweet days-old little girl, and she said, "Is that the baby Jesus?" She seemed a little disappointed, like it wasn't what she had expected.

Those are my random thoughts on Gertie tonight.

Now I tag you Megan, and Heather. I hope you're reading.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It is so quiet around our house this morning. Everyone is sleeping but me. Gertie came into our room at 6 a.m. telling us that it was morning, "Grace said it was." I think she slept with Grace last night. Lately, she's been sneaking out of her bed into one of her siblings' beds after we put her down. I have even started reminding her when I leave that I want her to stay in her own bed, and she says she will, but then she must change her mind. I guess I don't mind horribly if they don't mind. But I don't like that it's sneaky, if it is.

Grace spend the last three days at a place called Eagle Bluff. It is an environmental learning center. Outside. In December. It is something that the whole pile of 7th graders get to do in this town. They are outside for stretches of 3 hours at a time. She said she stayed warm and learned a few things. She was so tired when she came home that I haven't heard much about it. I heard about a tiff and drama between her bunkmates, but that was it. Oh, and that they were trying not to waste food, and it was sort of a contest. The kids got into it. They were trading food and eating other's leftovers so they wouldn't waste more than they had. Grace said her group did very will, with only 7 1/2 pounds of wasted food for the three days. I don't know how many were in the group, and I know that the syrup on the pancakes killed them in the end. I know if I added up the weight of the wasted syrup around my house I could feed many hungry. They might get sick eating all that syrup, though.

My kids eat almost nothing I prepare at our house, and they are way too picky about what John prepares. I think we should try this experiment at home. Maybe they'd get into the challenge and EAT. What we fix. Gertie ate some sugary cereal yesterday. Gobbled it up. Asked for more. As soon as I dumped more into her bowl she declared, "I don't like this." And she pushed it away. What is that? I hate that. And she can't seem to leave anything she doesn't care to eat on her plate. I remember the others being that way a bit too. But what is with that? Can't it just sit in the corner until you're done?

In Bible study we are reading the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I have always had a hard time understanding this story. It bugs me. I am open to a new lesson from God here. There really are some great stories in Genesis. I've loved rereading them.

Gertie just woke up...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Study in Self-Portraits

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Christmas in the City

Well, that wasn't very nice, was it. I wanted you all to come back, and my intentions were pure, but I have just been spending every waking free moment working on a big trial transcript that I want to get out before Christmas. Anyway, I'm done with the biggest task, now I just have to proofread it, and enter my corrections. I'm feeling pretty good about that.

And since Christmas is fast approaching, I need to finish with Thanksgiving. I just found out this year about a sort of hometown kickoff to the Christmas season around here. The night after Thanksgiving our small downtown is abuzz with activity. They have a parade (sort of) down Main Street to where they light up all the Christmas lights in town for the first time. The local businesses participate with special treats or small giveaways. So we drug Heather and her family downtown, in the freezing cold, to eat some cookies and get the kids pictures taken with Santa and let the kids ride a train. I would say, overall, it was a good time. John thinks we froze out those southern cousins (Sorry, southern cousins!)

And this post isn't all that I imagined it to be, but I need to do some catching up around here.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Portland in a Box after Turkey

We sat down for a game of Portland in a Box, which was a Christmas gift from Niece Heather many, many years ago. Savannah was excited to play an Oregon game, and it was fun to play with some folks who had actually been to every square on the board.

It was a bit slow moving with so many players, but we all had fun. Even Heather. Even in this picture.

Savannah had quite a flair for rolling dice. She rolled doubles a lot and really held her own in this mathematically challenging game.

This is one of Grace's artsy pictures. I just like it.

And this adorable little child is just too irresistible for the camera. What can I say? Just plain precious.

I think there's kind of a Brady Bunch thing going on here. Completely unintentional, but how clever. If it had been intentional.

And this little guy really liked his turkey pin. And I really like this little guy. Those cousins are fun to be around.

Is it time for turkey yet? Again?

We finally abandoned the game looking just like this. Grace had one property. I had two. Heather wouldn't trade. Apparently it's a long-held conviction. Savannah loves her Daddy and gave him whatever he wanted...and Ethan started giving away everything he owned as soon as the Playstation started calling his name. And it calls his name, believe me.

This has taken me a very long time to download all these pictures and I'm not even close to done. So this is going to come in parts. That will be good for my blogging habit, and it's sure to make you check back for more. (smiley face here)

A Real Trendsetter

If you've seen my youngest lately you probably know that she's a bit neglected--in the hair department, I mean. And I'm coming to the point where I'm ready to cut her hair. Well, have it cut, I mean. We're talking about it.

Anyway, tonight I thought it was so telling when she sat down with her bag of barrettes and stuck a countless number in her own hair. I really do try to keep the hair out of her eyes, and it never fails that they are always falling out or the hair is falling out of them. I haven't actually tried this method, though. Maybe I should do that.

And please don't judge on the snotty nose and peanut butter face. That is an entirely different type of neglect (which I am only sometimes guilty of). I should have prepared her for the picture, but you know, sometimes you need to take the moment at exactly the moment it presents itself, or you'll never capture the moment.

I am working on (in my mind) a Thanksgiving post, but it will have to be bigger. Grace took 90 pictures and 53 of them were good ones! I need to try to choose and post. Big post to come.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"I can't say, "I like you," because I have tea in my mouth.

I just said, "I like you," to Gertie.

She replied, "I can't say, 'I like you,' because I have tea in my mouth."
She had just taken a drink of tea.

She cracks me up.

We had a high school friend die in a hunting accident last week. His friend was getting out of the truck and the gun accidentally went off, shooting Lanny, who bled to death. He was in John's class and had helped us buy a few cars over the years. He sold cars. One was a cute little Mazda 323 turbo. I really did like that little car.

His wife was my best friend in the whole wide world when I was in middle school. She lived just a couple blocks down our street, which was the highway. We called each other every day many, many times. We had sleepovers. We coordinated our clothes that we'd wear to school. This was in the days of leg warmers. Should we wear the blue polo and the red leg warmers or the red polo and the white leg warmers? We babysat and dearly loved the Martin family girls for years together. They had Mandy, then twins, Katie and Kyla, and then Mara. While they were very young, they needed two sitters, but after a couple years, one of us could handle it, really. They gave us the option: We could take turns or stick together and each be paid half. We mulled it over (not for long) and decided to babysit for 50 cents an hour so we could keep doing it together. Boy, we loved those kids.

Anyway, it was a very sad occasion, and John and I both wanted to be there, so we began scrambling to make that happen. My friend Brenda agreed to take the big kids, including carting them all over high heaven to get them where they needed to be when they needed to be there. She bought a birthday present for Ethan's little friend's party that I forgot about. She is a saint. The previous owners of our dog took her in. They do that when they can. They are saints.

We took Gertie with us. She's a saint...well, not quite. She did a great job at the funeral, though, until she got hot. She had been very fidgety, but quiet for the most part. Until she got hot. Then she said in a whiny whisper, "I'm hot." I nodded. She said in a scream, "I'm hooooot." John took her out. I love that man.

We saw many friends from high school. Lanny's funeral was very well attended. You just don't think people you know are going to die so young. Very hard. They have three kids, 17, 15 and 12. Pray for them. They'll need those prayers.

Grace was in Alice in Wonderland and was a beautiful and perfect "Small Alice." I was so proud of her. Actually, all those junior highers did a great job. It was a fun play. But...I'm so glad it's over. Just in time for gymnastics to start.

That's what's on my mind. We are running these kids around like crazy. We want them to be in all the stuff they want to be in, but sometimes I feel like this just shouldn't be life. Ethan has basketball practice until 8:45. He is supposed to be in bed at 8 o'clock. It's just too late. And on December 1 we add wrestling. Crazy. I feel like I'm on the fast train and I can't bring myself to jump off. Things just must slow down a bit. What do we give up? Piano? Cello lessons? Gymnastics? Basketball? Wrestling? Church?

How will my children possibly become well-rounded happy adults without gymnastics and plays and church and piano and cello and basketball and wrestling? We. Must. Press. On.

Oh, please.

We will fix this.

Did this happen to you?

Don't let this happen to you.

This week I don't have to work. I am glad. I have tons of laundry and lots of errands to run. I've missed Bible study for two weeks because of work, and I've missed it. Genesis is so cool. I can't get enough. I eat it up.

Gertie is being so good, but I need to play with that girl, so I'm off.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We had our first snow this last week. It was actually beautiful, making the trees georgous and big, fat flakes. I always love fresh snow, and this was perfect, melting as it hit the sidewalks and roads. When it piles up and has to be shoveled and plowed it turns dirty and is much less appealing to the eye. Gertie made a few snowballs. It was fun.
Ethan is so pleased with this Lego tower he made. Can you all read it? I don't recall what the message was referring to, but the consequences of your choice certainly are severe!
Then we had Ethan's birthday party. We played a game called "Straight Face" where one person tried to crack the rest up, as they were desperately trying to break a smile. Grace made us smile. How can you not?
These are some ten-year-old boys doing what ten-year-old boys do. I said I wanted to take their picture, so the all simultaneously picked their noses. Lovely.

I tried to throw this party together on very short notice, and I think they had fun. Grace, my hero, helped me wrap gifts and bake and decorate a cake, and set this birthday table. I really felt like I couldn't have done it without her.

Gertie is sick, and she was yesterday for the party as well. We hated to cancel, and she wasn't coughing too badly, so we decided to segregate her and go ahead as planned. It all worked out because she slept through the whole commotion.

But I wouln't describe last night as going so well. She was up frequently. She was so hot. She was crying and needed me to be sleeping with her. She needed a drink. She needed to me hold her. She needed me to not touch her. At one point she said, "I don't want your jammies." I thought, "Well, that's fine. You don't have to wear them." Then she said, "No. It's...it's...it's...it's fuzzy. I don't like them. It's fuzzy and you have to take them off. It's fuzzy and I don't like them and you have to take them off." Apparently the same thing I love about my pajamas is the same thing she hates about them. They had to go. I'm hoping for a better night tonight. You know, my own bed. A solid night's sleep. Keeping my pajamas on...
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Stinky Attitude

We are driving home from dropping my basketball star off at practice number two this morning and Gertie finds a loose packet of Skittles in the car. She starts telling me how she wants to eat them. I tell her no. She starts crying that she wants to eat them. I tell her no. She starts screaming that she wants to eat them. I tell her no. And then...

Me: Your attitude is very stinky right now.
Gertie: Stinky, what does that mean?
Me: Bad. Your attitude is very bad. It's a no-no.
Gertie: You mean my attitude is bad and it's stinky?
Me: Yes, that's right.
Gertie: Well, I don't even understand what that means!

Don't you love that?

The Halloween Report

Oh, isn't Halloween fun? I was just feeling a bit blah yesterday, which is too bad, but that's the way it happens sometimes. After I ironed 6000 shirts for John, I laid down on the bed and started to read Water for Elephants, which I am really enjoying so far.

My sweet husband took over and roasted the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin carving yesterday. He even delivered me some in bed. We always roast them, and I always don't like them very much. But it's a tradition, right.

I recruited Grace to help Ethan with the French hobo costume, which I don't think my son had given a bit of thought to. She was all over that, though. She found some older pants and destroyed them, same with a shirt. I finally came downstairs and Ethan just looked like a kid with torn up and dirty clothes. It was the face paint that did the trick. I thought he was actually pretty cute. Gertie decided to go with the Tinkerbell costume, over the bumble bee. That suited me just fine. Our sitter and friend had donated those costumes for her, and nothing could have been easier. She woke up from her nap on the crabbier side yesterday, so it was a bit of a challenge getting her into the costume and out the door, but we finally got it.

Grace had asked to go trick-or-treating with her friend across town. Both John and I were disappointed to lose her, but I guess we both understood and remember being that age and wanting to go off with your friends.

I took Gertie and Ethan with me to drop Grace off, and figured that could be our trial trick or treat. Gertie said trick or treat, but it was below a whisper. She didnt' hold her bag open, she just stared at the big girls and the rest of the family. And with some prompting she said thank you.

This could be interesting...
We decided to hit our old neighborhood first, because if Gertie pooped out, Ethan could still go around our neighborhood a bit. The first house we went to there was a woman all dressed up with pink spiky hair and pink and silver sparkly stars painted all over her face dishing out the candy. Gertie walked up, whispered trick or treat, and then did a combination of dropping and throwing her bag toward the woman. It was like she really wanted the candy, but wasn't going to get too close. We picked her bag up and said thank you and went on to the next house.

At each house she'd ask me if they were going to be scary. She actually was doing such a good job with her manners after a bit that I let her walk up with Ethan alone. She would come running back to me jumping and giggling and telling me that she got a piece of candy. She loved it. Although, really, what kid wouldn't. Think about this holiday. We teach our kids to knock on doors and get free candy. It is quite the score. Anyway, one day a year...I really don't know what I'm doing with my camera. I turned it to night-time setting and took this picture. Apparently I lose auto focus when I swich settings, and my hands are just too shaky, not to mention the moving people I was trying to photograph, but I thought this picture looked kind of cool. Kind of like I had super-imposed this family of mine into this shot.

Ethan faithfully said "Treeck-or-Trreat" (that is my best attempt at his French accent) at every house. One guy said, "What are you? A hobo or something?" Ethan said, "A French hobo." The guy roared with laughter and loved it. He said that was the best one he's seen so far. He made my son's night.

We came to our home where we had stocked up on a huge bowl of candy to give out, but at the end had decided that we wanted to both go trick or treating with the kids, so no one manned the door here. I feel badly about that not only because now we have a huge bucket of candy on top of three way too big collections of candy, but also that when we pulled up to our house, we had left the porch light on, so I bet we had lots of eager knockers and then no one here to answer the door. We decided that next year we really need to keep one of us at home. It's just that each of us hates to miss it. A friend of ours said he saw some big bowls of candy just left out on the step for help-yourself trick-or-treaters. There is an idea.

It was a good time for our family. And when we picked Grace up, she had a big bag full of candy, and a wagon full of non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army's Food Shelf. These girls had split their time between candy and a service project. This idea had never even occurred to me. I was so proud of them.

Happy Day to all. Oh, one more thing. For a Minnesota Halloween, we couldn't have asked for more. The day was probably in the low 60s. It was beautiful.

Now I need to pack up all this Halloween stuff and get ready for Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Slither

Gertie is killing me this morning. She's got a sliver, which she is obsessing about all the time. It hurts, but she doesn't want me to touch it. Every once in a while she approaches me and says, "Mommy, don't take my slither out yet." He He He.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween's on the Way

Halloween is tomorrow. I think we will finally carve a pumpkin this afternoon. The weather is beautiful here, and I hope it stays that way. Gertie is a trick-or-treater in training. She's been eagerly anticipating knocking on doors and being handed a piece of candy after she says, "Trick or treat!" And she tells me many times about how she's going to look them in the eye and say, "Thank you."

Grace is going to be wearing the Alice in Wonderland costume that we paid nearly $20 for at Walmart so she could wear it in the school play in a couple weeks. At least her costume is covered. She is on the border of being too old for trick or treating. She informed me a couple weeks ago that if she did go trick or treating, she'd rather John and I didn't go, but that she just take Gertie and Ethan herself. That way she'd feel more comfortable knocking on doors and begging for candy.

Ethan has been telling me he's going as a French hobo. I am still wondering what difference there is between a French hobo, and just a hobo, but I guess we'll see. I'm not expecting much.

My Dad was here to see us last week and I have not even one picture from the visit. Very disappointing. We had a good time together all the way around. He helped me take care of some unpleasant errands and shook his head as he opened our van's hatchback. Let's just say we haven't vacuumed the van out in a while, and it needed it. He did that for us, he gassed us up. He bought fish for Ethan, which Ethan noticed right away when he came home from school. It was a good time.

The days are just whizzing by around here. Tonight John and I have our small group, which is new. I am looking very forward to that.

John finally ordered and received a new turntable to play his vinyl on. That is what I wanted to get him back on September 4th, his birthday, but I was hesitant to pick one out. I asked him to do it, and he was slow to make a decision. But now he's got one, it's hooked up and spinning often. We all like it.

And Gertie has just been a kick lately. She has got the funniest sense of humor. After all her grumpy days, I think she's finally coming into a little sweetness. I am really enjoying her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catching Up Again

Oh, it's been so long since my last post. It seems like just a few days ago. Things have been going well for us around here. I just really do like this life.

The Phillies are in the world series this year. That is John's favorite team. He's been loyal to them since he was just a little guy. I remember when we were early married they made it to the world series and won. But that was a long time ago. We are rooting for them big time in this house.

Ethan has just finished doing his homework tonight and it is shortly after 9 p.m. He had church tonight, and we decided to let him go even though that homework wasn't done. I'm really not sure what to do with days like this. He was feeling pretty overwhelmed and on the verge of a meltdown. I knew he'd be up late, but I also thought he needed a break. I really think he has a hard time staying focused on schoolwork sometimes after a long day. He had spelling, math (tons of it) and social studies and reading. That's a big load. We settled on doing the social studies during the lunch hour tomorrow and tackling the rest tonight. I was just finishing getting Gertie into bed, way too late, by the way, but she had church too. Anyway, Ethan wanders up with a big smile and a ho-ho in one hand and a fist-full of peanuts in the other. Oh, my word. He was so glad to be finished. Conquerer. I just love that boy. But he's got to get organized....

I don't know if I hit the nail on the head with the low blood sugar, but I've been trying to make sure Gertie has a bit in her belly before each nap and so far, so good. We've had a good week, and I'm enjoying that girl. The other day I was snuggling Ethan (yes, he still likes to snuggle) and Gertie was jealous. I was telling her it was his turn. She could join us, but I wasn't ousting him. She really wanted me to herself. She fussed, and then cried, and then gave up on that. After a bit she said to Ethan, "I know, Brother, you can go over on the couch and I'll have this side of Mom." She was proposing it like it was a great deal for him. He didn't fall for that. She fussed a bit more. Finally went to sit with Dad (who is great, but obviously not as great as me) and after a bit, she said to Ethan again, "Brother, you can drive my car if you want." I just loved how she was trying so hard to coax him away. Very manipulative. He let her have me at that point. Loving brother.

My Dad is coming in the morning. I am excited to see him. I think the weather is going to be poor, but I guess we'll just have to cozy up. I'm just looking forward to having him around for a day.

And my automatic van door has been very testy for a very long time. It only sometimes works, usually when it's warm. And if it's cold out, there isn't much hope. Well, it's gotten to the point where if you have to manually open it, it is so hard. The kids can barely do it. It's really bad. I took it to our car place, and they said, it's fine. By this point the day had warmed up and it worked fine for them. Then one cold morning I was so irritated that I drove over to the car place unannounced and said, "Come out here and try to open this door. It's impossible." Well, I wouldn't recommend that tactic. Two guys come over, open the door, stare at my like I'm a psycho (which I kind of am at this point) and say, "Well, it's tough, but they usually are when you open an electric door manually like that." Very maddening. So at least another month goes by and I get so mad the other day again (not to mention that John and Gertie and I had had a lunch date before John had to go back to his office. He left us at the restaurant and Gertie was wanting a sugary donut from the buffet. I was telling her that she needed to finish her chicken first. She screamed at me! Very loudly. I just picked her up and walked out. She was screaming and kicking and fighting. Ugly. Please have sympathy for the next mom you see this happening to. It just isn't right. ) Well, I digress. I fought Gertie into the car seat knowing my next errand, Target, wasn't going to work with her in that state, so I decided to take the van to the Chrysler dealer and let them look at the door even with a screaming toddler. I was preparing to say, "Just don't mind the screaming toddler in the back seat." She actually calmed down by the time we got there. They said they knew just what to do and I could bring it in tomorrow morning. Woo hoo! I'm so excited to have this fixed. And then the icing on the cake is that they called today to tell me that we are still under a service contract (that we had no idea about) for about 400 more miles and this is a covered repair, as well as a bearing that they is--suddenly I don't know what would be wrong with a bearing, but whatever it is, they're going to fix it, and that's covered too. So now I'm racking my brain trying to think of anything else that's wrong with my van that might be covered as well. He said he'll look it over real good and fix whatever he sees. How could we have not known this? I guess I need to just be happy to have found out now.

I'm having a home date with my husband tonight. I love that guy. But he doesn't love that the date is beginning with a long and boring and unneccessary blog entry. Not really dating material. Although the Phillies and the Rays isn't really dating material either, right?

Hope your days are fine.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

PPP, PPP, PPP (It's not the ABCs)

We've been busy around here. Last weekend I offered to go get John's mom for a visit. John had been planning on making the drive, but he was having a hard time getting up the gumption to get going. I thought a bit of peace (even though it's staring down a long straight stretch of interstate) and a good book on tape sounded pretty good to me. I drove to SD on Saturday and back on Sunday. I worked on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Football was canceled due to an extremely wet Tuesday around here. Gertie and I had Bible study yesterday morning and then Marge and I headed out to Target while Gertie napped in the afternoon. We had a long good time shopping without distractions and came home to a slightly grumpy husband who thought we were a little out of control.

Gertie has been up and down on waking up from her naps in fits. The other day I received an e-mail from a friend seeking help about a kindergartener waking in the night upset and afraid. Unfortunately I had no sage advice for her, but it did spark the idea that there are other people out in the world who may have my problems. I just googled something like "toddler wakes up screaming from nap" and found a few sites of parents having the exact same problem with their little ones. It sounded almost exactly the same, just irrational, inconsoleable crying that lasts about thirty minutes. Do you know what advice they were being given? That it might be low blood sugar. Wow. That was a new idea to me. It makes them behave that way. They suggested making sure that you feed them some good protien before they nap. I think there might be something to this for my Gertie. We try to nap her around one, but depending on what's been going on, sometimes it itsn't until three or so. At one o'clock she's just eaten lunch, but at three, it's been a while. I don't recall any pattern, but now I'll be looking for it. Yesterday she was down early after a good lunch and she woke up in a great mood. We've had a good couple of days. She is certainly headstrong, and likes to do her own thing, but I can usually coax her back to obedience by reminding her that if she doesn't obey me she'll be disciplined. And then I remind her that "she loves me and she doesn't want to disobey me."

I just got off the phone with Beth and she solved my video problems. I had tried to upload this video so many times. Then I tried youtube. I thought it never worked, but she told me to go back and look. There it was. I am so excited. I'm really not sure any of you will be. (I guess I'm hoping the grandparents will like it, but it's probably even a bit long for them.) So watch what you like, and I promise not to quiz you on it later.

It is homecoming week for the university in our old hometown. We like to go to that if we can, and I guess we can. So we are headed out again this weekend. We always have a great time and see some familiar faces. We had a homecoming parade here for the high school and lots of kids threw candy. Gertie keeps talking about the kids that threw candy at her. She wants to eat it. I guess when I write that, it doesn't sound so odd. When she says it, it makes it sound like they assailed her (but she liked it). It's raining candy. Can't beat that.

Ethan has football tonight, and I'm really hoping John's mom will join us for the "fun." It's hard to get her out. She just doesn't enjoy it much, but we like having her around.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Girls

These are a bit old, but a couple--and actually the only--pictures I took of the weekend I spent with my girlfriends a couple weeks ago. They are my oldest friends and I love these pictures.

Also, the last picture of Gertie was actually my attempt at posting a video. I'm having a heck of a time, but I am determined. I will get it on here. It's probably too long...
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's Up

It's been a very busy, but very pleasant day so far. Gertie and I had a grooming morning, clipping toenails and cleaning ears. Her nails had been long neglected. I don't love grooming. I actually don't hate it either. I just don't seem to take the time to do it often enough.

Then we headed out to the Nature Center here in town again for another walk with some friends. That was just plain enjoyable. I can't tell you how much my soul hungers for that connection with others. I love conversation and discussion, and I just can't seem to get enough lately. Good days.

Gertie had a great time getting absolutely filthy exploring the creek and the bugs and the sticks and such. I was thrilled to watch her digging about. The Nature Center is a museum-type place with lots of stuffed birds and smaller animals, as well as skins and bones and antlers of various animals. They have a snake and a bee hive and a few salamanders as well. It is small, but fun for kids to explore. And then the bulk of the excitement revolves around a wooded area with paths and a creek running through it. It's got prairie and just lots of nature to explore. She didn't want to go home, and when we couldn't check out the snake (that lives safely inside a big glass box) because they were closed over the lunch hour, she was quite upset and crying. We'll have to go back again soon.

Then we met John for lunch and I raced Gertie home for a quick nap before we begin the race that is Tuesdays at our house.

I am really wanting to get a video of Gertie (and maybe the kids that don't change quite so quickly as well). I promise to do that soon.

I am working the rest of this week...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Answered Prayers

I'm very tired and I'm not doing the math, but I think it's been two nap days since that post and both awakenings have gone very well. Yesterday I was gone, and John said there was minimal fussing because I was gone, but there were no tantrums and all went well.

Today, again I was gone, but she wandered downstairs and was in a great mood. Everybody cheered her on and made a big, big deal about how nice it was that she was so happy when she woke up.

I just can't believe that once I finally put this out for all to see she does a 180. Thanks for prayers. God is good, good, good. Even to me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Love Gertie, really, I do.

Gertie continues to wake up from EVERY nap screaming and crying. She is irrational and uncooperative. I just don't know if I can put on paper (or, uh, the internet) how incredibly frustrating and exhausting this is.

Today: Wakes up screaming for Mom. John goes up and she'll have nothing to do with him as he tries to bring her downstairs, calm her down, but evenutally gives up, leaving her screaming in her room. John and I are just discussing what to do because this is becoming an ugly routine. She starts screaming for Dad. He goes and brings her down, telling me that she's going to calm down. Her face is blotchy and red, she can't regulate her breathing yet, and she clings to me, still whimpering. I sing a bit to her, and she tells me, don't say that. I ask her if she'd like something to eat. She starts crying. She's not hungry. She doesn't want a banana. She wants a banana. I take her in my arms to get the banana. She wants to peel it like a monkey. Mind you, all of these comments come out in on-the-verge-of hysterics cries. She takes three bites. She doesn't want any more fruit. I want Cheerios. I place her in her chair to set her up, and she's still screaming at me. She needs a drink. I've had it. I take her up to her bed and she screams up there for a few minutes. She tells me she's going to calm down, so she is allowed to come down. I sit her back in her chair as she whimpers for her drink, then her Cheerios. She eats. She watches Dora.

That was ten minutes ago. Now she is cheerfully talking of going to church and how she wants to go to her class. Go figure. And, heeelp meeeee, please.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rocking Horse

I realize I've been a little short on pictures lately. These are of the kids playing on the rocking horse we picked up off the curb in front of our neighbors' house. Have you ever picked up someone's trash from the curb? In my part of the country it is kind of an understood thing that if you put something out on the curb you are hoping that someone will consider it a valuable treasure and take it off your hands, that way you don't have to pay to dispose of it. I think our neighbors have moved by now. There is no car there ever anymore, and for a couple weeks before they moved they were frequently placing things out at the curb. We have another set of neighbors that snatched up most everything, which is just fine with me. But the other night Grace spotted the rocking horse and raced over to check it out. She hollered over to me that it was in good shape, and I hollered back to go ahead and bring it home. Real classy.

Now I have a huge rocking horse sitting in my living room. The kids love it. Gertie keeps taking her babies for rides on it. Ethan is a crazy man on it. But what am I going to do with this big rocking horse? I am thinking after a bit, maybe it will be on my curb.

As for other goings ons, we are in the full swing of school. We are all adjusting well to the fall schedule, racing from here to there and there to here. Ethan starts football tomorrow morning, and he's excited about that.

I've been doing laundry all day. Lots of it. John told me this morning he's got no clean underwear. Well, now he does. Ethan told me this morning that he was wearing his last clean pair of pants. Not anymore. The kids are on the trampoline, and John has built a bon fire for s'mores. It is a good family Friday night. (Except that I'm in here blogging, but that's about to change.) All my chicks are in the nest.

As for me, I'm off to Sioux Falls to visit my girlfriends this weekend. I don't know what we're going to fill our time with, but it will most certainly be girly-girl things that our husbands won't much enjoy doing with us. These are my oldest and dearest friends, and I am really looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Gertie keeps saying a few things that I want to make sure I write down. I can't recall if I've mentioned them before, so sorry if I'm repeating myself.

First is the rhyming. She is rhyming everything. I love you bove you. There is the school pool. I want a cracker tacker. Rhymes everywhere.

Then she is telling me I'm the favorite mom in the whole world. And Dad is the favorite dad in the whole world, and so on. And it seems to be required after she says it that I say it back for her. You are the favorite Gertie in the whole wide world. If I don't say it back, she repeats it in an angry way until I fall in.

The biggest repeater is "Mom, I love you and I don't want to disobey you." She says this all the time. All the time. Not after she disobeys me. Just when she's sitting on your lap or crying because she's "really sick."

Just a quick post.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School Days

This morning I got up early with Grace and we ate breakfast on the porch. It was a dark and windy morning, although it has still produced no rain. The kids went to school, first Grace on her bike, then Ethan on the bus.

Grace has little lists posted about the house:

eat breakfast
don't forget cello book
gym bag

She is definitely a list maker. She also isn't very tidy, so I find them laying about. I enjoy them. It is fun to see what is on her mind. She was ready so early, but that was good because she helped me out a bit in packing Ethan's lunch and got off to school early enough to take care of a few loose ends.

Ethan was sluggish. He went to bed early enough, but he's got a cold, or allergies. I am never quite sure. I almost considered keeping him home. He was planning on riding his bike, and I was going to take Gertie to join him, but Gertie was a sleepy head this morning, so he was faced with a lonely ride to school. At the last minute he opted for the bus. I am glad because I don't completely trust his ability to not be hit by a car. He watches for traffic 90% of the time, but every once in a while I catch him dart out into the street without even glancing sideways. We have charted a very low traffic route to school, but one of the streets is now under construction, so he'd have to take the busier street. It was a good day for the bus.

Gertie has had a great morning. She still comes to me occasionally saying that she is really sick or would I love her for a minute, but overall, this morning, she played on her own some, she was happier, she ate well and has been drinking a bit. I was able to get a lot of laundry done, some phone calls (even a fun one with sister Beth) and many errands run. We had a good day.

I just finished putting scalloped potatoes and ham in the crockpot. Pray for good food. Dinner is usually John's forte, but he's working all day in Albert Lea today, and won't be home in time to fix anything. I thought I could help with this burden. I just don't cook much, so I haven't tried this recipe. I'm sure it will be delicious, though, right?

It has been a good first day of the usual school-day routine. I am not the mom that is so anxious for summer to be over to get my kids out of my hair. I actually like having them around, but around now I do get anxious to get the show on the road. I want my "normal" days to start. And they have.

The kids should be home any minute now to tell me all about their days. Well, at least Grace will...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Long Story Long

If I had read a post like that I'd be checking in, so I felt I better update. Although, it is Labor Day weekend, so maybe many of you won't read this until I've already caught you up. So for my memory bank as well, here is the story:

Yesterday when Gertie woke up from her nap John saw a big bright red drip of blood on her lip. We looked in her throat and could see some blood and a big bright red spot in the back of her throat. We knew we'd need to take her in, but the blood didn't continue to come out her mouth, and we were trying to determine if we could take her to the urgent care here in town, or head to Mason City where the ENT doctor has his practice. I tried to call the triage nurse, but I got voice mail, so we had decided to just head to Mason City. As we were walking out the door, the nurse from our local hospital called back and assured me that they could determine whether we needed to head down to the ENT or if they could handle it here. So we changed gears and decided to go to the local urgent care. A very long two and a half hours later they told me that I needed to go to Mason City, and would I like to ride in the ambulance or drive myself? I opted for our own ride, so I collected John and Grace (Ethan is visiting Cousins Hunter and Tate) and we drove down to Mason City.

Things moved much more quickly while we were there. The doctors made a decision that they'd like to remove the blood clot and stop the bleeding. Gertie didn't even cry when they put the IV in her wrist. She is so brave and I am so proud of her. The nurse gave her a bunch of stickers and she immediately stuck them all over her lower arm. They were lots of dime-shaped stickers of the Disney princesses and they were headed in for surgery. John and Grace left for some much needed dinner, as it was 8:30 or so by then. I was able to stay with her as we walked toward the operating room, and left her only as they walked her into the operating room doors.

When the doctor came out he told me that she is quite a trooper. She did great. They found a couple veins that were trickling, but nothing that was gushing blood. That was good. They cauterized the whole area, I think he said, and it would be extremely rare for this to occur again. He kept us in the hospital overnight. The nurse on staff was great. Gertie slept pretty well after I finally insisted on turning Snow White off the television at 11 p.m. I couldn't believe she was still awake. I figured she'd be so tired after that long day, but she was mesmerized by the movie. What she really wanted was something to eat, and the nurse gave her a popsicle. She kept insisting that she wanted another one that was purple, but the nurse said no. She needed to go easy after the anesthesia.

The doctors came in before 7 a.m. and woke Gertie up by basically sticking a big popsicle stick down her throat, and that didn't go over very well, but they said everything looks good and she can go home.

Since home she's been very clingy, a little spacy, and hungry. I am trying to be very careful about what I give her to eat, but she's going after the popsicles again. She has a bit of a fever, but I believe that's pretty normal. Nothing to worry about unless it's up to 102 degrees.

John seems to think she needs some Disney movies now. He is on that errand. It was making us remember Grace when she was about Gertie's age, shouting at me as John and I were having a serious discussion about something, "Don't say that about my father. He's not crazy. He's a genus!" We both looked at her and realized that that was a line straight out of Beauty and the Beast (except for the "genus" for genius part). That was the beginning of Grace's acting career, reciting everybody else's lines as well as her own.

I am hoping for a nap this afternoon, a long one. I think we're all exhausted.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for Gertie. I realize many of you won't read this in a timely fashion, but I'm making my pleas. She is in surgery right now because of a blood clot that formed in her throat. The doctor feels that the best thing to do is to remove the clot and cauterize the source of the bleeding. I think we're looking at an overnight in the hospital again, but I'm not absolutely sure.

Please pray that they easily find the source, that they are able to stop the bleeding, that she tolerates the anesthesia well (she did great with the tonsillectomy), that her mom isn't overtaken with fear, that we can be a comfort to Gertie as she recovers again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Call Me the Nurse

I kept thinking something blogworthy would pop up to post about, but I have nothing, so I'll post anyway.

We are in recovery mode around here. Gertie is doing well in the sense that she's had no complications. I think her throat hurts quite a bit. She isn't eating all that well, although, she is eating, so that's good. But she wants a lot of different things, and tries to eat them, and then decides she's done after a bite or two. As the enabling parent, my excuse is that I want her to eat something, so I keep it coming. She wants peaches. I get peaches. She eats two bites and then she's done. Five minutes later she wants pudding. I get pudding. That is a one-bite snack, and then she's done. First she makes a mess of her face and arms and chair, then she's done. Then she wants a cheese taco. That she mostly eats. Then she wants a gogurt. Two bites. Then she wants a bagel, but I say no. Then she wants a bowl of Kix. Again, I say no. I'm ready for bed. Time for bed.

And when it comes to drinks it's almost just as comical. Again, because I'm trying to get her to drink a quart of liquid a day (and she's not doing it) I keep the fluids coming. The last few days she carries around a chocolate milk and a juice and sometimes a water. When she snuggles with me--which is almost all the time--she needs both drinks, both in her lap. Of course, she rarely takes a drink from either of them, but she needs them close. In her lap.

What she does like is popsicles. She eats them in the morning, afternoon and evening, one after the other.

She is whining again an awful lot. I feel bad because I know she isn't feeling well. She tells me many times in the day that she isn't doing very well. She comes to me often and says, "Will you love me for a minute?" So I feel sorry for her and I've had many adults tell me they had their tonsils out and they remember it, either from being an older child or even an adult, and it really hurts and it takes a long time to heal up.

So I am creating many, many bad habits that I'm praying we are able to break when the time comes. I am neglecting so many things that need to be done because she must be in my arms most of the day, and if I do go off to do something, she becomes desperate for me. I am trying to remain patient.

And then I really rode Grace and Ethan hard today. They were very helpful and did lots of chores for me. When we were cleaning the bathroom, Grace kept complaining about being freezing. I said, we'd better take your temperature. We did. It was high. So I've been keeping her going all day and she doesn't feel well either. I don't know what her virus is. She seems okay other than this fever. She did say she's tired, though.

John is teaching two back-to-back three-hour classes on Tuesdays this year, and he's doing that about 45 minutes away from us. He just got home, exhausted, and I'm going to greet him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Medical Chart

My prayers were answered, and Gertie's surgery went very well. She was scared when they carried her off. I had prepared her for them rolling her away on a little bed, and she many times was telling Dad and me the story of how the people in masks and hats are going to come in and roll her away on a bed.

But when the time came, they just took her from my arms. They were in scrubs, but most of them didn't wear masks, only hats. They said it would take about 45 minutes. I felt like that time flew by. I don't think it could have taken that long. The surgeon said that her tonsils were pretty big, and her adenoids not as big, but the surgery went well and she's waiting in recovery. She'll probably be in there for about an hour. They'll come get you. It must have been about 20 minutes later that they said she was asking for me. And it was a long walk through the halls until I reached her. When I saw her she was kind of sleeping and little bottom lip was sticking like she was sad (because she was). I climbed into bed with her and she cried for a minute, and then she'd fall back asleep and then wake up and grab me as she cried out. That went on for a bit and then they wheeled us up to the hospital room.

She had no vomiting or nausea that we could tell. She drank right away and ate popsicles. At lunch time they brought her a clear liquid diet of jello, broth and juice. She ravenously went at all of it. Just one bite after another. She said, "Something else."

Grace and Ethan were in the hospital room by the time Gertie and I arrived. Grace really wanted to be there, so John had dropped them off on his way to work. They both did really really well in the room. Gertie didn't seem to want their hugs or affections for the most part. She just wanted mom. That made both of them a bit sad, but I told them not to take it personally. Ethan was going a little stir crazy after a bit. He was tossing the stuffed elephant around and stuffing his arms and legs and trunk into his body. That made Gertie mad. Lots of things he was doing were making her mad. Not really mad, but just irritated. My friend Regina came with a Sponge Bob painting and coloring book. That was a big hit. She had lots of goodies for Gertie, including stickers. That kept Gertie busy for a good while, and I was thankful for all of it. (Thanks, Regina) Then she took the big kids off for lunch. That was great too. A big help to quiet the room down for a bit. And they brought back some books that were great for passing the time as well.

John came over after he was done with work, and she was very happy to see him.

One of the nurses brought her a stuffed kitty cat. She really clung to that. A friend from church brought a zoo book with flaps for her to turn up. That was a huge hit considering we just went to the zoo not too long ago.

Any time food was mentioned she cried out that she wanted whatever it was. We quickly learned not to discuss food. By dinner time I asked if she could eat something, anything. They said as long as it was soft, so she had mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, peaches and pudding. She ate ravenously again. It tired her out pretty quickly, though.

I think it was because we were just there for observation, the nurses weren't in and out too terribly much. They would check her vital signs every couple of hours and give us pain meds when we asked for them, but when we went to sleep, they really left us alone. That was nice. Gertie slept fitfully. She woke up several times crying out, but it was in a sleepy state, and she'd roll over and fall right back to sleep.

By morning she said she had no pain, although she was still a little irritable and clingy, so I think she had some, but not too bad. At one point the doctor told her that she wanted to look in her throat, but she needed to go get the light first. She left the room and Gertie said, "Mom, I don't want to do it, but I have to, right?" She is getting an early understanding of how doctors get their cooperation reluctantly. They said she was doing great and we went home around 9:30 a.m., I think.

Well, I hope this wasn't too dull. I wanted to remember this as it went down. Thanks for all your prayers. Thanks to my Lord, my faithful Lord.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excuse my French

Last night Gertie and I were reading before bedtime. She had chosen this book that a college student of John's had given to Grace. It shows pictures of so many different things and gives the French word as well as the English.

Anyway, we came upon a picture of a hamburger and I asked Gertie what that was. She immediately said, "That's a crabby pattie!"

Some of you may not be surprised. Some of you may know that that is a common term from Sponge Bob Square Pants. But I just couldn't believe that my daughter identifies a burger by relating it to a Sponge Bob prop. I did wonder if she'd know what a burger was. We do eat them--a lot--in the summer, but we just cut up a few burger bites for her with no bun, so I wasn't sure we'd ever called them hamburgers to her.

It struck me that my older kids, when they were younger, would have had no clue about crabby patties. I turned my nose up at Sponge Bob and we didn't watch it. But now Gertie knows the Simpsons and Sponge Bob and many other things that aren't appropriate for her.

And the worst offender is John. I think he prefers Sponge Bob to Dora, and he definitely prefers the Simpsons to Little Einsteins. There is no hope for me!

And in other happenings, both John and Grace are sick now. The bug has made it's way to everyone except me. Please don't find me. I have a call into the doctor to make sure we should still be going forth with surgery in the morning with the bug floating around our home. Gertie is feeling fine, and this bug started with her. She's long over it.

And the nurse just called. We're good to go. Bright and early...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Catching Up

Once again, I find myself putting this off. I'm not sure why. I think maybe it's just too much to say.

We had a very fun family vacation:

Chapter 1: Work Before Play

We decided to head over to John's Mom's house for the first leg of our trip instead of the end. She was having a garage sale and it was one week to moving day. I was very concerned about arriving with three kids and being "helpful," but it all worked out. John was able to accomplish a few tasks that she wanted done around the house. I helped pack up the rest of the kitchen and haul some things over to the apartment.

The apartment is really nice. It is big and clean and new and nicely laid out. I think she'll fit nicely in there, and the laundry and mail are close to her apartment. She is excited about settling in.

Her sale went very well, and she got rid of most of the bigger things. Some of the smaller nick-knacks and dishes and things didn't sell, but those were and easy trip to the good will, I believe. What didn't sell, we stuck out on the curb and prayed somebody would come along and take it. They did. All of it. Marge's sister Susie and her husband Larry ran the sale, they did a good job and stuck it out until the end.

I talked to Marge a few days before her move and she told me that her house sold. Apparently a woman of about 70 years old and her son have been looking for a home. They showed up at an open house that Marge's realtor was giving for another home. They started talking and telling her what they were looking for, and she thought Marge's house was perfect. They looked at it and made an offer. Things are falling into place beautifully and Marge feels the hand of her Savior over the whole situation.

Chapter 2: All Work and No Play Makes John a Dull Boy

When we left South Dakota we headed down to Omaha to the Henry Dorley Zoo. This has been a favorite place for us for several years, and I have to say, this year was definitely no letdown. Gertie has reached the perfect age to be so excited about all the animals, and the big kids (and the biggest kids) really enjoyed the animals as well. We spent the whole day, the weather was perfect, just a bit overcast to keep the hottest sun away, but no rain.

We also stayed in a hotel the night before and swam and swam and then all snuggled into bed together and watched the Olympics until the wee hours of the night. Just a good family day.

After the zoo we spent the night with our friends Brett and Dawn. They are a groovy couple sans kids, but they always make us feel so welcome. We played a yard game where you toss two golf balls on a string and hope they wrap around one of three bars. I can't seem to remember the name of it, but it was fun. Gertie fell asleep on the way home from the zoo, I transferred her into a bedroom, and she didn't wake up until 6:15 the next morning. That was very early, but I was just glad she slept through the night.

We were sort of planning on hitting Adventureland on the way home, but we were a bit exhausted after the zoo day, and we kept imagining Gertie watching the big kids ride rides and getting mad that she couldn't, and we kept imagining standing in line for twenty minutes to ride for three over and over again. We decided to table that and wait for an opportunity to take in a place like that without Gertie. Or wait for another year. I know there would be rides for her, but there is such a disparity between her and her sibs that I think it'd be better to wait.

We did stay in a hotel again, though, and had a great time. We checked out several hotels and I wasn't happy with any of them. I complained that the pool was too small. I wanted a suite. It wasn't clean enough. I got grumpy and pouty so John drove down the road and we found a new patch of hotels that were the same, but cost $40 more. That will teach me. I took a nap and felt much better, and my gracious husband didn't hold it against me. We swam and swam again, and Gertie is really starting to enjoy the water. She was putting her face under, floating around on her floatie by herself, and jumping into the water by the time we left. Ethan still likes me to watch everything he does. I am supposed to rate it. How big was the splash? What would you give me for that dive? How long does it take me to get from here to there? But I loved it all. It was all good.

Chapter 3: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

I took Gertie into the emergency room on Friday night. She woke up from her very long nap crying and clinging and super hot. When I'd ask her if her ears hurt or her throat hurt, she said no, my chest. Then there were a couple times she was crying inconsolably. She didn't have a cold or stuffy nose or anything like that, so the chest pain was worrying me, and the fact that I couldn't calm her down. I arrived at Urgent Care at 8:20 p.m. The sign on the door said they're open until 8:30. I thought, phew, I just squeezed in. But apparently not. They put us in the emergency room. Her fever was over 103 and the chest pains might have been what did it, or they just wanted to go home in the Urgent Care department. I'm not sure. It just costs me a lot more money because of that decision. And the doctor said virus. He doesn't think that will interfere with her tonsillectomy on Thursday. I hope not. She has her pre-op appointment tomorrow morning.

And now Ethan has the bug. Ugh.

Chapter 4: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

This morning the girls and I went to church. I was so blessed to be there. I just love my church family and praising God and worshiping God. The sermon was good to think on about how we as Christians reach out to the people in our world. In so many ways we aren't that good at it. We need to really love on the unlovable. I have a long way to go in this area, but I want to grow.

Pictures later. I just don't have it in me right now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Brand New Bed

John came home from his mother's house yesterday. It is so good to have him home again. We really missed him. Gertie bumped into a drawer last night and started crying, I walked over to comfort her and she just shoved me aside and ran to Dad. She missed those strong arms too!

He brought a van full of stuff from Marge's, which we've been tackling today. The one I want to talk about is a new bed for Gertie. We took the crib down this morning and set up the new bed, rearranged the room a few times, and finally settled on a placement. Gertie was excited as we made the bed up, but then we went down to eat lunch.

I've been trying to restore order to the house (which sometimes seems to create chaos first) by settling so many things John brought back into their homes. Pretty soon I noticed that Gertie was nowhere to be found. That can't be good. That just doesn't happen with her. She doesn't get into too much trouble that way because she seems to really like the company of others more than she likes exploring. But still, I was a bit concerned.

Then I found her asleep in her new bed. I had been sorting some clothes and reorganizing, and I had left a small pile on her bed of things that needed to be hung up. She found them, and dressed herself up before she fell asleep.

I am so excited that she likes that new bed so much! I am hoping that it will go okay, this transition between crib and bed. I remember Ethan just didn't understand he could leave his bed for the longest time. When he'd wake up, he'd yell out, "Mom, I'm awake." I never really clued him in because I was afraid he'd start getting up whenever he wanted to. Hopefully Gertie will be so cooperative.

In other news, Ethan had lost his retainer on Thursday night. We looked everywhere and couldn't find it. He's been incredibly faithful with that thing, and I figured it must be here somewhere. I kept trying to get him to retrace his steps, to think back to the last place he had it and he had nothing to offer:

Mom: Where did you put it when you took it off?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.
Mom: Did you take it off before breakfast?
Ethan: Yes.
Mom: What did you do after breakfast?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.

After a bit, Grace recalls that while she was taking her contacts out before we went to the pool, Ethan came in and made some sort of joke while flashing his retainer. So we know he had it then.

Mom: Do you remember telling Grace that joke?
Ethan: Yes.
Mom: What did you do next?
Ethan: (absolutely no thoughtful pause) I don't know.

After this goes on for a while, I really do start to get irritated. I tell him that if he is uncooperative, maybe he'll buy the next retainer with his savings.

He mopes about the house for a while, and as I'm tucking him in, he asks me if a person can create their own nightmares. I say I'm not sure, but why? Because I want to die in my sleep. I'm such a failure. Blah. Blah. Blah.

That just made me even more mad. Now he wants to end his life because of a lost retainer?!? An hour ago he didn't seem quite so distraught. I told him that he's going to have failures in life a lot bigger than a missing retainer, so he needs to prepare for that, and that God has numbered his days already and he better not mess with God's plans. I did say some nice, encouraging things too...

This happened Thursday night, and we had an orthodontist appointment already scheduled for today. When we told the orthodontist what happened, he said that he didn't think we should replace it. His mouth needs to have a little give to let his incisors grow in, so we'd better just skip it. I said I'm worried about those teeth getting real crooked again, and he said they will probably give a little, but if he'd continue to wear the retainer, then the incisors would probably come in real high and forward, so it's just a matter of balance. He's probably going to need braces again in a few years anyway, to correct all his teeth.

Then we were off to the eye doctor. Ethan's eyes are a bit weak, but he still doesn't need glasses. Grace's eyes just continue to get worse. Ugh.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Prarie River...and some other Catch-up

Hey! It's been a while. I thought i'd talk mostly. I haven't taken pictures in forever.

To start my week... i babysat the Moreland kids on Monday. we had good fun, except the 0.7 mile walk to Ellis and back (Ellis is the middle school I attend which serves free lunches to kids under 18). did i mention me and Ethan had to switch between a wagon with a 22 lb. Toddler and a 5 year old, and a stroller with a 30 lb toddler uphill? On the upside... we saw two baby racoons on a driveway and stood to watch them for about 3 min. that was cool.

Tuesday i had a cello lesson at 9:00 am, but other than that i relaxed.

Wednesday I watched the kids again, and a little later i went to the doctor. 3 shots. OUCH!! Only one hurt later though. It got swollen and sore with a slight redness on friday, but it's normal again now.

Thursday i was planning to go to work with mom... but as you know she finished early so i couldn't. I watched Gertie while she went and cleaned her office. Then we relaxed.

Friday the kids came again. in the afternoon we went to the pool in a nearby town (much more little kid friendly than our pools) And then immeadiatly when we got home i head off to a one night work and fun camp. Basically, we had some fun friday night and roasted marshmellows. However I was up till midnight and got up at 7:00. Then i helped haul some tables and cleaned some garbage cans and a fridge. Then I weeded untill lunch then after lunch for a total of 4 and a half hours of weeding. Then we walked down a river and found a mailbox, and a TV. Adriel (going into her Senior year of college) decided to try some raw clam meat somebody found. I don't even want to talk about it. finally we went on a climbing wall and a zipline. Lots of fun but the harness was very uncomfortable. When I got home I was SO TIRED!!! but now, i'm just kinda chillin.

Sorry no pictures. I was very busy as you can see.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Prize-Winning Cabbage

At the end of school last year Ethan brought home a little cabbage plant in a styrofoam cup. He had a sheet of paper that explained that if he grows this cabbage and takes a picture of it when it's all grown up, he'll be put in a drawing for a $1000 prize.

I don't think it necessarily has to be the best cabbage or the biggest cabbage. It is just a completed and good-looking cabbage.

We cut it this morning. It is huge. It is 11 pounds! Really, I'm not the master gardener. I don't quite know how many of the leaves to peel off before we get to the real head. His may be smaller if I knew that. It's very oval shaped.

Now what do I do with this cabbage? If anyone has any recipe ideas, please let me know. The gal that cuts my hair said she stir fries it. That doesn't sound too bad, but I already can't remember what she stir fried it with.

And this is my little cabbage. She didn't want to be left out.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Ran the Race.

I am done working! We had a jury trial scheduled for the rest of this week, but the guy decided to plead guilty, so now I'm home again. Yippeee.

I found this out yesterday, so I raced home and took Grace to the doctor. She had to get shots. Then this morning I needed to go back to tie up loose ends and gather my things. I left home, and as I was driving they were talking about a very bad storm heading our way. The kids were by themselves for just a couple hours until the sitter would arrive. I was worried about them and called home as soon as I got to work. It all worked out, and the storm wasn't too terribly bad where we are.

We had a good day, and ended it with a swim in the pool and movie afterward. It was fun. Gertie went to bed well.

She is getting her tonsils taken out on the 21st of this month. They really don't look good, and I thought the ENT might recommend this, and he did. They want to keep her in the hospital overnight since she's so young, but it's pretty routine. I'm trying to be a big girl about the whole thing. I can do this.

John is at his mom's house trying to help her prepare to move. I miss him.

I'm sleepy and I need sleep. ZZZzzzzz....

Monday, July 28, 2008


I've been having a hard time with this Blogger. I don't know if it's Blogger, or it's me. It's probably me. But I was posting pictures, and they were showing up and looking fine, and then I'd go back later and they'd be gone. And then I was having a hard time uploading pictures into Blogger. This morning I finally got it all straightened out, but if you've checked in in the last couple days, please go back and look at my pictures to make sure you saw all I wanted you to see. I'd hate to have you miss out on some really cute kids.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Would You Swear or Smile?

And one important note: Spaghetti is not on the menu.

You're Outta Here

Can you tell I'm in a collage sort of mood? Ethan's baseball season came to an end this week. I love watching that kid play. And these are some memories.