Sunday, March 30, 2008

Why? Because.

Okay. I'm no longer moping (or mopping, for a few who were confused). I got over it. Ethan got over it. He finally went to school on Friday. That made for a very long spring break for Ethan. It just didn't involve a sunny beach on a tropical island.

Today has been a good day with newspaper reading and hot tubbing and snuggling. I have to go to work tomorrow, but after that my week is clear--of work, anyway. The weather doesn't look like it will be too bad either. I am going to be out in it, that's for sure. Friday was nice enough that I dug my bike out of the basement and we rode around the lake to the park. It was so fun to see Gertie playing on the equipment with so much more confidence and ability than even last fall. Ethan was all over the place too. He needed to expend some energy!

I absolutely love riding my bike. It is my favorite exercise. And truthfully, I don't ride my bike like it's exercise, so it doesn't really count. I just like to ride here and there...I'm starting to have the feeling I'm repeating myself. Sorry.

John is fixing steaks for dinner, with baked potatoes. I can't wait. I love this day.

And here are a couple more pictures I took of Ethan and Gertie painting one day while Ethan was home sick. Look at Ethan's tongue! He has always done that when writing or concentrating. I love that. And Gertie is pulling off her sock, which is what she does within 7 minutes of getting the socks on her feet. She even does this in the car when we're headed to the store or church or a friend's house. So I have to go around and put her socks and shoes on again before we can leave the car. Sometimes I'm in a hurry--well, always. This frustrates me. I say to her, "Gertie, please don't do that because we'll be there in just a minute and then you'll have to put them on again. She says, "Okay." And then she takes off her shoes and socks.

Her other favorites right now are "Why?" and "Because." When I ask her to do something she says, "Why?", but when I ask her why she does something, she says, "Because." I say, "Because doesn't tell me anything. You need to say why." She says, (like I asked her to) "Why?" Around we go. I have started saying, "We don't say because." And she says, "Yes, we do."

Do you see my future?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Today I'm moping. Once again, I realize my behavior is wrong, selfish, sinful, but still, I mope.

Yesterday afternoon, John and I went to see a Minnesota author, Will Weaver, speak about his books and answer questions of those of us that had them. I was looking forward to this date with my husband and getting to know this author. I haven't read much of his work, but I saw a movie called "Sweet Land" that was based on a short story he wrote. We read the short story as well, and I liked that too. I am hoping to read more of what he writes. Anyway, two minutes after we sat down the cell phone rang and it was Ethan's school nurse. John decided he'd stay, sort of like, of course, I'm staying. You can come and pick me up later.

Anyway, I need to back up. Ethan woke up on Monday morning with an ear ache. We kept him home from school, I scheduled a doctor appointment for 1 p.m., but I had to work, so John was going to take him in when he was done with school. Well, Ethan perked up by noon, so John canceled the appointment. When I called to check in, I thought that was not a good idea. I know that ear infections are typically worse at night and in the morning, and ease up during the day. So I resecheduled his appointment for the next morning. Sure enough, he woke up with a very sore ear. The doctor confirmed an ear infection, but said he could go to school. I took him in late after we started his meds and dosed him up with some Ibuprofen.

We head out for this little afternoon date we had planned, and now you are caught up.

Today he woke up still complaining of a very sore ear. Even after we dosed him with Ibuprofen again, he still says it hurts a lot. I am thinking it should be feeling better by now, but here he sits on the couch next to me again this morning.

For this morning I had planned to go to Bible study, which I love and hate to miss, even when my son, whom I love, is sick. I look forward to it. Anyway, scratch that off the calendar, along with a meeting I had this afternoon relating to the schools, and church tonight, where I was going to receive more chai tea from my friend with the Costco membership. Boy, was I looking forward to that as well.

So I realize I need to straighten my thinking and focus on what is important, which is the fact that I am available to care for and nurse my son as he doesn't feel well. Bible study will be there next week, and so will eternity, which I'll spend at Christ's side. You just can't complain about that!

Please pray with me for a relief of pain in Ethan's ear and a right spirit within me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Am I Overdoing it?

Okay. Do you remember I asked you all what was next? I found out what was next! Gertie pasted herself full of Easter stickers. I am starting to think she just likes having her picture taken.

And here is the picture of Grace's haircut that we all promised you. Doesn't she look great?

My mom and Les came for Easter. We have been having a great time. Grandma helped us decorate eggs yesterday.

Here are the kids after the egg hunt. John's family tradition has been to put out a big tray full of Easter candy for all to enjoy. We like doing it that way. So does Gertie!

Mom decorated this egg. We were all impressed and decided to memorialize the moment.

And now we're at church for the musical "Donkey Tales." Here is my little "Dude" looking like a real cowboy.

And here is Gracie singing her solo. This musical was so much fun to watch. And Grace did a great job.

And I forgot to put this one of Marge and the kids up while she was here. We had lots of great moments, but not enough with the camera. She loves to read to the kids, always has.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thinking on Easter

I'm not sure why, but I'm having a sentimental moment. It's cloudy and rainy outside. I am praying that the temperature stays warm enough that the roads don't become icy before I go home today at around 5 p.m. I am killing time between hearings and I am thinking on Easter.

My heart is overflowing with gratefulness for the sacrifice of Christ's death on the cross so many years ago. I imagine His conversations with his disciples the night He was taken into custody and how He begged them to stay awake in prayer for Him. He asked God if He really had to do this. I have pondered it before, and I imagine it would be a bit scary. I know He is God, so I'm not sure He gets scared--or got scared, but I do know He wasn't looking forward to what was to come. And yet, He submitted. I know how selfish I can be, even when I know I am being selfish and shouldn't be. I can behave childishly sometimes. Very disappointing to note about myself.

But I keep thinking about Christ taking the next step at every critical moment. The beatings. The cross. I am sure He was looking ahead to eternity with His Father, but first it was hell.

I am thankful that He did it. I am thankful that I know Him. I am thankful that's He's worked on my heart as much as He has. I am thankful that He'll still be doing it in 40 years. (And there will be plenty to keep Him busy, I'm sure.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Real Deal

We had Grace's orchestra concert this last Thursday. I was very proud of Grace, and again surprised at how good they sound.

I read Grace's post and thought she didn't do the dollhouse situation justice. This is the typical scene:
John and Marge left this morning. We had a nice time together. I'll miss her. I'm not sure about Gertie, though. She has taken to being quite rude to people at times, Grandma being a main target. Grandma will say something and she'll say, "Don't talk." (Beth, I thought you might appreciate this.) We were in the hot tub the other night, and she said to Grace, "Do you know what?" in a really sweet voice. Grace said, "What?" And Gertie said, "I don't love you." This was also in a really sweet voice, but the message was a little sour. I am to the point of taking her to the no-no chair when she spews out these rude commands and comments. I just don't understand where this comes from, but it can't stay.

Her other latest hobby, when not snapping at us, is covering her body with inappropriate substances. You saw the marker, heard about the nail polish, and now she's moved on to hand sanitizer and liquid soap. Not good. I have confiscated all squirt bottles, pens and nail polish. Anyone out there thinking like a two-year-old? What is next? I need to get ahead of this game.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nail polish and a Doll house

On Saturday, Gertie got a doll house. It has so much furniture it can't all fit in the house at once. Half of it's on the floor outside the doll house. She adores it, so I just wait until she takes a nap, then play with it myself. Otherwise she's running the show.
Here are some pics.

You all saw Gertie's incident with her legs being covered in ink.
Today they became covered in light pink nail polish. as well as both hands. Sorry we didn't get any pictures. We were just trying to insure that none got on anything else and getting her cleaned up. But it was quite a sight to see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oops, I did it again.

So I felt a little guilty about neglecting Gertie earlier today, and I was eager to cover those naked legs. When Grace came home from school, we went for a little walk in the melting snow.

That occurred right before I dislocated Gertie's elbow again. Of course this was due to the way she just drops her legs out from under herself as I'm holding her hand. This is not a good pattern we are establishing.

As we were leaving the house for Urgent Care, Gertie told me she misses Grandma. This was before we had even left our steps. They must really be bonding. And when we pulled up to Urgent Care she said, "This is going to be really fun." That was before I unbuckled her and touched her arm again. Then she wasn't so sure.

I am having a great time visiting with Marge.
(and neglecting Gertie)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Morning, Sunshine

Not a single alarm went off in the Berke house this morning. It created quite a panic when my faithful youngest woke us at about 7:30 a.m. Our target (and frequently missed) takeoff time is usually 7:40 a.m. We made it by 7:50, I think. I can't vouch for brushed teeth and hair, though.

John's mom has joined our household, for the week, at least. I always enjoy having her here, and so do we all. Grace has an orchestra concert on Thursday night, so we are hoping to take her out for that.

Ethan had a wrestling tournament on Friday night. He wrestled so hard, and we were so proud of him, but he lost the first two matches, so he was out. He had a hard time with that; I think he was expecting to do much better. Wrestling is a sport where you are really fighting your own fight. He still says he loves it. Tonight is the last night. They have a pizza party and Ethan has his heart set on a brand new jacket he earned by having no more than two absences. (He had two. He called it "riding the bubble." Is that a popular expression that I just haven't heard before?)

Anyway, with that over, the kids won't be in any nighttime activities for a bit. I am looking forward to the lull. What will I do with all my free time?

I want to eat popcorn.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Deep sigh. Can I tell you about my week? (Not waiting for a response.)

I went to work on last Friday and my steno machine wasn't working right. It gets a little technical, but I needed to get it fixed. Places that fix steno machines aren't like auto repair places. There are only a few, and they aren't next door to where I live. Not only are they scarce, but I NEED this machine all week long because I'm working every day. I called ahead to where I was going to be working most of the next week, and they had a machine I could borrow, so I scrambled to ship my steno machine off to one of these places. I got to the shipping store right as the UPS guy was loading his truck. I begged (not kidding) him to wait just a minute to add my box, and he finally agreed. He was not happy to be agreeing, but he did agree.

I had a nice weekend and went off to work on Monday morning without a hitch.

Switching gears. (Pun intended.) I arranged for our Honda to be fixed on Tuesday. They told me it would probably take until Friday, or maybe even Monday, to replace the transmission.

Back to work. Around lunchtime I was told that I wouldn't have to work on Tuesday. This is good, because it makes arrangements for getting the Honda to the shop even easier. So John and I drove both cars the 40 miles to the Honda dealer on Tuesday morning, did a little shopping while we waited for word about the rental car. Finally gave up after an early lunch and decided we'd just have to figure it out later. When we were about 10 miles down the interstate, we got the call from Honda approving the rental car, so we had to drive back and pick one up. That's okay. We were happy to have the vehicle.

Then at home I got a call saying I didn't have to work again until Friday, followed by a call saying one of the other court reporters was sick and I needed to work tomorrow.

All told, long day. Family hot tub. Feel better. Go to bed....Wake up to husband saying that I left the lid off the hot tub all night long. We are talking about overnight temperatures into the single digits. Expensive mistake. These things happen, though, right?

Moving on. I get out the door for work in good time, driving the rental car down the interstate, when I receive a call from John that I've taken his keys. This is not good for him. He can't drive the car to take Gertie to the sitter, to work. He can't get into his office. He doesn't sound happy.

I had agreed to cover for the morning, but things were going long and I was worried about John getting to work on time for his night class. I was creating a big stir, trying to find someone to cover for the afternoon, but when I went into court after lunch they declared they'd be done within 30 minutes. And they were. I raced home to relieve my husband. It all worked out once again...except I forgot my still-functioning equipment in the courthouse 40 miles away. This is disappointing.

Thursday was supposed to be a day for fun. Gertie and I were going to story time, where I would listen to stories read aloud by the librarian and she would stare at other children as they listened to stories read aloud by the librarian. Then we were going to a play date in the afternoon and a birthday party after that. I did not want to ruin this day by giving up a single one of these fun events we were looking forward to. So I used my exceptional organizational skills to plan a quick drive over to Rochester to pick up my equipment right after story time, and just before the play group. It was tight, but we made it.

Now when I get home from the play date I check on the Honda to find out if it's going to be done on Friday or Monday. I am told that the transmission arrived, and they'll finish installing it TODAY. This means that we have to get over there to pick it up because Honda is only paying for a rental car until the repair is completed.

I am also checking on my steno machine, which I thought would arrive today, but I've seen neither hide nor hair of it, and I'm told he'll mail it tomorrow. Now I panic. No. I MUST have it today. That's fine, he says. I can ship it on the Greyhound same day. You can pick it up on your way to work in the morning. Whew.

Later I am checking to see that all is going well, and I'm told that "Ole's Gas Station" isn't open when the Greyhound arrives at this stop at 11 p.m. at night, so if I want the package off that bus, I'd better be there personally to pick it up. Hmmm. Sitting at a dark, closed gas station at 11 p.m. at night waiting for a Greyhound just doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Not to mention this would involve yet another lengthy drive for me. This day is not looking bright. I call the guy back, not very happy, and he says he'll work it out.

He calls me while I'm driving my newly repaired Honda home from the repair place. I was glad for the conversation, because I guess when they replace a transmission they have to disconnect many things, including my stereo, which is an anti-theft stereo that needs a special code to power up again. No one seems to have this code right now, so I'm driving without my usual companion, NPR. Anyway, he's going to personally drive my steno machine down to my house later tonight. Will I be home? Sure. And thank you. I'm thinking, I just hope he doesn't come between 8 and 9 p.m., while Lost is on.

Oh, he made it. Our car made it. I made it. I was reflecting this morning (and many times yesterday) that as each thing would go wrong, a solution was always found. There was just lots of phone calls and stress trying to get to the solution. God was faithful. It was just a very stressful couple of days. The test must have been: How did I handle the stress? Overall, I thought I did okay. (Don't quiz John about this!) No, seriously, I truly did try to find the blessings in each situation as they worked themselves out. I praise God that He is my constant in days where I really need one. I praise God for occasional broken stereos. I praise God for rental cars and good customer service. It's still out there! I was beginning to lose faith in that.

Deep sigh. I feel so much better now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blessings from Above

Well, I must say, it's been a pretty good day, all told.

I had a relatively short work day today, and tomorrow is canceled, probably Wednesday won't go and Thursday is for sure out! I love this kind of week. It occurs because many people, when finally faced with putting their case to trial before a jury or a judge decide it is better to plead guilty and not risk the higher penalties if they are found guilty.

And our Honda. For many months the gears have been slipping occasionally, and finally the engine light has come on. Our mechanic had said at one point some time back that Honda has been pretty good about replacing transmissions for some models, and we should call them, but they charged us $190 and flushed the transmission fluid. (I think that's what they call it.) I am also remembering a postcard we received in the mail about how we are part of a class-action lawsuit against Honda due to transmission failures. Well, I dug around on the internet and saw that there have been many complaints, and that I should call Honda's customer service. I did, and it turns out we are covered under an extended warranty they offer to owners of our model and year because of this problem. Yippee! They will replace our transmission for free. I am pleased with their customer service. Our Honda has almost 90,000 miles on it.

Gertie hasn't had an accident in a week. Not one. I think we're there. This is very good.

All these things are blessings to me from my Lord up above, and I am grateful. Very grateful.

P.S. Still waiting for a picture of Grace with the new haircut. She wears her hair in a ponytail EVERY day, so we're having a hard time getting a picture that reveals a haircut at all. It is forthcoming, though.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I guess this is my catch up post. I am very busy with school sports and plays, so sorry i haven't been posting. I've been having a lot of fun though.
An example of my fun on my not-so-new digital camera (mom and dad upgraded and gave me the old one).

This is my best friend Karyn. Taking a picture of taking a picture.

this is Ethan doing his worm, he says he's improved since then, so i'll have to update you then.

This is Gertie and mom on the computer. Gertie doesn't like mom's emails.

One other thing. I got my haircut today, i'll post a picture soon.