Saturday, October 31, 2009

Celebrating Halloween or Participating in the Party: How Our Family Does It

My children are going out tonight and walking the neighborhood wearing costumes and begging for candy. Trick or Treating is what we call it!

Yesterday, we had a Halloween Party at our local elementary school and I was the Party Coordinator for my daughter's 4th Grade classroom.

Last night, my son went to a Hallows Eve Lock In with the Youth Group at church. They trick or treated early in the neighborhood for Diapers and Canned Goods for the local shelter.

M went to a sleepover at her dance studio, with no scary costumes allowed. They played games and watched movies. There was nothing scarier than "Freaky Friday".

We have pumpkins on our front porch and candy waiting to be given out to the neighbors.

Yes, we are Christians, but we participate in Halloween. I'm not sure "celebrate" is a good word for what we do with this holiday because we don't really celebrate the day, we just take part in some of the "good traditions and fun."

My kids have never worn ghosts or goblins costumes. They've never been allowed to wear costumes with blood or gore. In fact, for the most part, we've used Halloween to dress up as something we'd like to be when we grow up or dress up like little princesses and just have some fun!

C, our son, has gone as Train Conductor, Air Force Pilot, Buzz Lightyear, Astronaut, War Hero, and the like. This year, he is Moses including the grey beard and stone tablet. As a 7th Grader, he's dressing up just for the costume party at church and for taking his littlest sister out trick or treating tonight. He's not in it for the candy people. Whoever believes that one, please stand up. Good to see that everyone is still sitting.

M has gone as a Duck, Piglet, Clown, Amelia Earhart, Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz with a matching outfit for Kit the American Girl Doll, and an Angel. This year she's going as a nurse which is her dream profession.

A has been a Puppy Dog, (No clown outfit for her as she's afraid of clowns) Elmo, and Eeyore. This year she's dressing up as her favorite princess: Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

We don't spend a fortune on costumes. We don't have any "Halloween decorations" as we just decorate for fall . Tomorrow, a Door Hanger will go up on my front door about Thanksgiving.

I allow my kids to participate in the school Halloween Party because I take part in the planning. I use my influence to make sure there are no "scary games" just good fun. Yesterday, the hit of the party was a game involving a hanging donut on a broom, a blindfold and kids trying to eat without sight/hands the swinging donut. C and I spent Friday morning stringing a 100 donuts on orange string!

As a Christian, I choose not to allow my kids to watch horror movies or expose them to the "Evil" side of Halloween. We talk about how it's a bunch of make believe. There are no witches or goblins.

When C was little we used to recite the line from Veggie Tales: "Are You Worried, No Not Really, Are You Scared, Not a Bit. I know Whatever Happens, God Can Handle It" when we would see scary creatures on the sidewalk on Halloween. With all the kids, we've talked about the real power coming not from Witches and Little Red Devils, but from God. We've talked about how there is nothing to be afraid of, because God is in control. Now that little Veggie Tale phrase is a family mantra.

For our family right now this works. Participating in Halloween without letting it become too big of an event in our lives. I realized doing this post that I don't even have a picture of the last two Halloweens in my scrapbook/one by choice and one from lost pictures. But, maybe that sends a silent message to my family, too. It's not that big of a thing! While I think M is adorable in her nurse's outfit and C cracks me up with his grey beard and bathrobe and A's little silver sparkly shoes make me smile, it's just a moment in time that they are pretending and dreaming.

My strongest desire for my children, besides them accepting Christ as their Savior, is that they can learn "to be in the world but not of the world." For our family, that's our approach for Halloween, too. We want to participate in the good clean aspects of Halloween and avoid the evil and scary things.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WFMW: Visiting The Elderly

Yesterday, I called the "Retirement Village" around the corner from our house to schedule our annual Girl Scout Christmas Caroling Outing. This will be our 5th year of going and spreading a little Christmas Cheer with some "grandma and grandpas" as my girls lovingly call them.

We've learned a lot over the years about these special elders many of whom have dementia. We know that they like the classic Christmas Carols the best. Give them Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard On High and don't be surprised if they join along. The ladies tend to close their eyes on Silent Night and I wonder: where are they in their hearts and minds, where does the song take them back to, and what special memories are they reliving?

I've learned that my girls do better if we dress up a little bit. We don't wear anything too fancy, but just not your every day school outfit of jeans and shirts. For some girls, "Sunday Best" is not something they are used to, but it shows respect for the audience.

We used to bring cookies along to share with the residents, but two problems developed. First, the girls tended to eat them and, second, the residents have dinner right after our concert and it tends to ruin their dinner. Nice to know somethings never change.

Looking around at the eyes of the residents while the girls are singing, I've seen my share of happy tears and forlorn looks of pain. Occasionally, there are people whose eyes have been ravaged by disease like Alzheimer's or dementia and it breaks my heart to see the blank stares in those eyes. But, you know what, sometimes those very people are the ones who sing out every word of Away in the Manager or another old time favorite.

Those songs are planted deep within their souls and they are never lost. Alzheimer's cannot rob them of those seeds planted by God. I remember clearly my own grandmother who when it had been months since she'd really spoken, remembered anyone, or had been aware of her surroundings hummed along as my mother sang Amazing Grace at her bedside. There were tears streaming down both of their faces as they shared this wonderful old hymn.

Maybe the greatest lesson I've learned from taking my Girl Scouts and my own family to Retirement Communities is that there is something wonderful about bringing joy to the residents. Too many of us today have forgotten the "Greatest Generation" and how interaction with them brings you so many blessings while giving them much joy.

Sharing your gifts with those in the Retirement/Nursing Community Works for Me. For more Works for me check out:

Finally, this poem was passed along to me this week. It speaks volumes so I'll let it.


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri . The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . .. . . when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, . . . . ... not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . . .. . . ..... with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food . .. . .. . . . . and makes no reply .
When you say in a loud voice . . . . "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice . . . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . .. . . . . . a sock or a shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . . . . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding. . . . . . the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am. . . . . . ... as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten . . . . with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters . . . . . . . . . who love one another.

A young boy of sixteen . . . . . . with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . . . . . . . a lover he'll meet..
A groom soon at twenty . . . . . . .my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . . . that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now . . . . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty . . . . . . . ... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . . With ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . . .. to see I don't mourn.
At fifty, once more, . . . . . babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . .. . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . .. . . .my wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . .. . . . .. shudder with dread..
For my young are all rearing . . . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years,. . and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man . . ... . . . . . . and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age . . . . . . .. . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . . . a young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . . . . my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . .. . . . . .life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. . .. . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . .. . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people . . .. . . . . . open and see.
Not a crabby old man. Look closer . . . .. see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . . . . one day, we will all be there, too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Funny Things I've Heard This Week

As usual, my kids were filled with funny words and actions this week. During a week that we hardly have seen any sunshine, it's been nice to have laughter. I hate to say it's been a gloomy week, but this morning as A was sitting at the kitchen counter eating breakfast, she asked me to close the blinds as the "brightness is getting to me." Guess she forgot what Mr. Sunshine looked like. Not to worry though, his trip to our house was short lived and it's gloomy again!

C had his first 7th and 8th Grade Boy/Girl Dance after school on Friday. He was going, but not taking anybody (girl, which I am very OK with). He was maybe going to dance with girls, but there was a "no touching rule" enforced. (Again, OK by me)

When my husband picked him up from the dance, he said he'd hung out with a bunch of friends, danced in big groups, and that he had seen a few girls. I think he might have said something about dancing with his friend Chad. "Oh, not what I meant" he said. A bunch of boys danced together. Oh, whatever! We danced and I had some great moves.

He then said that some of the music the DJ played, "worked great with my moves." When asked to elaborate there was something about arm swinging, legs moving inward, and such. Let's just say when he showed them off to me, I had the best laugh of my week. Here I had suggested he fox trot and waltz like he'd learned at Cotillion last year and he'd laughed at me. He might have been better off.

M has been a wonderful "mother's helper" this weekend with Miss A. Playing nicely with her, letting her have her way in playing Princess Monopoly, picking movies to watch, and painting her fingernails. Her little nursing skills have encouraged A to take her medicine, not touch her ear, and to say "it's OK" when we put in A's cotton balls.

However I wondered about her nursing future, when she suggested we use a little nail polish remover on A's eyelid. Guess A was picking at her nails and had a fleck pf polish on her eye. M's suggestion was to "close your eye tight, I'll just put a dab of polish remover on your eye. It won't hurt a bit." Caught that one just in the nick of time!

My parents took M and C to a football game yesterday to help pass the day. They had a great time, but I loved hearing M's take on what happened at the game. It was all about the people, the snacks, and the door prize they won. C's response was that it was cold, the food was overpriced, and that the team was losing when they left. Boy, did that ever sound like his dad. Guess girls and boys do take in different aspects of a sporting event. M never made mention of the "game."

A has cracked us up this week too with her ideas about the surgery, hospital, and what she can and can't do. I think a few times I might have heard her say it's too hard to pick up these toys, it hurts my ears! She's also already asked if we have plans to go back to "her hospital" as this time she didn't get to eat in the cafeteria. I said maybe for a visit someday, but not for a stay!!

Yesterday she got a picture in the mail from her best friend at Preschool. T had drawn a great little picture and wrote a note wishing A a quick recovery. She signed it your best friend. A's reaction; how did she know she's my best friend, I don't remember telling her!

Friday, October 23, 2009

She's a Trooper, A Hero and an Adorable Five Year Old

Annette in the Playroom at the Hospital- All Smiles

A is a real trooper. She takes whatever life hands her and just makes the best out of it. Yesterday's ear surgery was no exception. At one point yesterday afternoon, she said this was just like having a birthday. A friend dropped off some "fake makeup and a new cell phone" for her, she got homemade cupcakes from Nana, a fancy new fleece robe from Bestemor, and a few coloring and sticker books from a number of friends and family to keep her entertained.

Hours After Getting Home In Her New Robe with some of her new toys and coloring stuff-so fun!

Now only a girl who takes life that way can say that when she's sporting a headband with a ear cup attached, has been up since 5:15 a.m. and had surgery cutting open her ear and fixing her ear drum.

She takes lemons and makes lemonade.

11 Reasons Why A is My Hero

1. When I woke her up at 5:15, she jumped out of bed, grabbed her cow slippers and Abby the Kola Bear, and said, let's go!

2. On the way to the hospital, she thought it was so cool it was still dark out. Wow, I get to see the nighttime!

3. When we arrived at the hospital, she walked right back to her room, sat on the bed and after the exam asked if finally she could go to the playroom. She and Dad had a rousing game of " Guess Who" which might become a new favorite.

Playing Guess Who With Dad in the Cares Unit

4. While the Child Life Specialists asked which "mask flavor" she'd like, A pointed out that the bubblegum smell was really more like jellybeans. That's the one she'd want.
5. There were no tears as the wheeled her away for the operating room, she was so excited to be on a bed with wheels. "We need one of these at home, Mom."
6. The recovery nurse said she did so well, she woke up like a champ with no complaints except about that" very unhappy baby that keeps crying." Guess she was looking for a private recovery room; maybe more spa like.

Looking a little groggy, but still trying to smile. Minutes later she was napping.
7. When she saw us, the first thing she asked if she could "go home now and "get this thing out of my hand". She didn't want that IV!

8. After an hour and a half nap in the room, she was ready to have something to drink and eat. A small sprite later and a few crackers and she'd proved she had no queasy stomach and could finally go home. She'd eat and drink more if they had let her. She liked the "mini" pop can. 6oz was just her size.

9. Her only tears where when they removed the IV and she had a few drips of blood. The band-aid trauma. Guess that little blood is more traumatic than the whole ear thing! The Child Sized Wheelchair that they wheeled her out to the car made up for the trauma though. She thought that was big time fun!

The Little Yellow Wheelchair; She was great at driving, even on painkillers!

10. By mid afternoon she was playing, watching NU Volleyball, and just hanging out. She was thrilled by the cards, phone calls, and gifts. Hopefully, not enough to want to do this again, but it was great to see the joy!

11. This morning she asked if we could have a "no more ear trouble party*" soon with presents, cake and friends. I said yes to the cake and friends, let's skip the presents. She said that sounds great. It will be just like our "no more nukkies parties, but better"

* for the record when each child gave up their "nuk" or pacifier we had a little party to celebrate, guess for A this is as worthy of a celebration.

Of course, she crashed later in the evening and today is taking it slow after sleeping for 13 hours. However, she's taking her pain meds and antibiotic like a champ, watching the movie Annie, playing with legos and leaving her ear alone.

I'm not sure grown adults could handle the pain, discomfort and ear tingling as well.

We'll be taking it easy this weekend. The discharge orders said no heavy lifting, no contact sports, no hair washing, and no swimming or air travel for at least two weeks. Guess we'll have to wait a few more days for her to get outside and do some yard cleanup for winter!! I think that means we'll be watching some college football, some cheesy old Disney Movies, and maybe taking a "midnight run" to DQ for some ice cream.

She's a real trooper!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Doing Well: Thankful for the Prayers

A is resting comfortably at home this evening. The surgery went well and she handled the whole thing like a real trooper.

I'll be back tomorrow with the details and pictures ( My husband was shocked I took my camera). Even in the midst of it all she had some great moments.

Just in the last half hour as the "drugs" have worn off has she slowed down. I'm thinking she'll crash from this "high" soon.

Thank you so much for all your prayers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ear Surgery Tomorrow

Miss A is having Ear Surgery tomorrow morning bright and early. We are scheduled to be at the Children's Hospital at 5:30 A.M. and surgery is at 7:00 AM.

Today, as I've thought ahead to what tomorrow brings, I feel peace. Peace that A tolerates surgery well, that she has the area's best doctor working on her ,and that the hospital we are going to is top notch.

I also know that this is all in God's hands. Friends and family are praying, we are praying and, as A said tonight, that's alot of people praying. Even the 6th -8th grade confirmation group that my husband leads is praying for her.

Hopefully, we can close the book on these minor surgeries and get her on the track to good health. I'm grateful that in the midst of all the H1N1 around we've been spared thus far and A can proceed with this surgery.

This afternoon, we had lunch with some friends and as we were leaving A said, "just think if I'd had lunch with Bridget tomorrow I wouldn't be there." For a moment my heart jumped. What does she mean? Does she know something I don't?

She finished with this typical A phrase, "Yeah, tomorrow I'll be busy eating nuggets and fries at my favorite hospital. Guess we could invite them to join us though."

Gotta love that girl.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Lessons: Feeding the Hungry and Counting Your Blessins

Our family is very blessed. I realize it everyday when I open my fridge and see fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. My husband and kids like it when there are snacks in there, too. My cupboard is filled with all I need to turn the fresh ingredients into meals and snacks. I have a working stove and all the appliances I need at my fingertips.

I can run to the grocery store to pick up any item I want at anytime without worrying about its cost, freshness, or availability. Their are probably 6 grocery stores within a two mile radius of my house. If I want it, I can get it quick.

If I choose, I can run through a drive thru and pick up food for the kids or go to a Restaurant and enjoy a nice meal. Chicken Nuggets and French Fries can also be had, but not sure they fit the definition of a "nice" meal.

Sure my kitchen is not top of the line, my cookware needs to be replaced, and my kids often complain about what I'm serving them or more likely what I'm not serving them. (Often, I think they would most evenings prefer Burger King). However, we only budget so much on food and we try not to eat out much so as it make our rare evenings out more of a treat. My family has what it needs to prepare our "daily bread".

That's why I call our family blessed. We have what we need and, for the most part, we have it in abundance.

Not so for everyone. I will sometimes jokingly tell my kids that the amount of food I throw away each day would feed a starving child for a week. I tell them that the food they waste on their plates, the food that rots in our fridge, or goes past expiration in our cupboard could amount to more than some kids across town eat all week.

While we continue to try and reduce what we waste, we are also trying to show our kids a little bit more about how to impact kids around the world who don't have "all this stuff." Making it tangible can be challenging, but, in the last month, we've had two great opportunities to show our kids ways to impact their world. The first was to sponsor a child for World Vision. This is an awesome ministry and we can't wait to learn more about Shakum from Ghana. We talked about what everyone would sacrifice in order to write that simple $30 check per month.

The second was when my girls, my husband, and I had the opportunity to package food for "Kids Against Hunger" on Saturday night at our church. We helped to assemble 12,000 meals in two short hours. Food that if eaten once every three days by a starving child will stop starvation from ravishing their bodies. Eating this food once a day, gives them all the nutrition they need.

Miss A got to dump in the "soy product", Miss M got to dump in the "veggies" and I topped it off with "chicken flavoring" before our table partner added in the rice and my husband made sure the weight was exact. If the package weighs too much or too little, custom officials in Africa have been known to reject the entire shipment of food

The food is going to an orphanage in Sierra Leon. It is a place where children go when their parents realize they can not feed them and want for them to have a chance at life. These are parents who must be at their wits end wanting to give their children everything and the best they can offer is an orphanage where meals are served and starving children have a chance.

Watching my two girls package the food to help these starving children I was so grateful. Grateful that God is providing for our family and that we have all we need. Grateful that when my kids gripe and complain about the meal I place before them I should, instead of have hurt feelings or get angry, realize that I'm blessed to hear them complain. Children across the globe are crying inside for food and parents are giving them up for fear they will die. I could not imagine having to make that choice of letting them go as the only option to save them.

It was a profound evening. Leaving, M said that her hands smelled like the food we packaged. I told her that it was a reminder of what we had done that night. That that scent should remind her of all she has to be grateful for here and that it should remind her to pray for the children who will eat that food and live.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tugging at the Heartstrings: Letting Them Go A Little Each Day

C with his Boy Scout Backpack. Yes, he did have gloves and a hat; I just made him take them off for the picture. Let's just say he's wearing lots of layers; long johns, pants, shirt, sweatshirt and a fleece coat.... no wonder his backpack is so heavy it's got lots of clothes inside.

Blest to have children in different life stages: preteens, elementary and preschool, I get to experience letting go a little bit at a time. I notice with my third child that I am way more relaxed on the daily stuff, yet more melancholy on the big things. I get that this will be the last year of lunch dates, PJ days, and of kids in the front of the grocery cart.

The empty nest is a long way off. A hasn't even going to kindergarten yet and we'll be way into our "senior years" before she graduates from college. However, I have the ability to see things from a perspective of a young mom with preschool kids and an experienced mom with soon to be teenage kids. It really is the "best of both worlds" as that Disney show song goes. I get to play with preschool toys and talk with a young man who sit next to me in the car and has a working knowledge of politics, religion and life.

C will be an official teenager this March. Wow!
He's gotten to be so mature in so many ways. He is such a nice young man who loves Jesus, his family (even his little sisters most of the time) and all things "math related." When I see him now I get a glimpse of the man he will become. Tenderhearted, deep thinking, passionate about people and God, and with a real sense of justice.

I remember when he was just a little guy with big dreams to be a "rocket scientist" and, today, I can see that those big dreams could be coming true.

But there are times that it pulls at my heartstrings to see him growing up. Like today. He's off camping with his Boy Scout troop this weekend at a Boy Scout Camp. This is a camp that was hit by a tornado just over a year ago and four young men my son's age lost their lives.

C is camping this weekend on that hallow ground. It makes my stomach drop thinking of those mother's who sent their young men off to summer camp and never got to see them alive again this side of heaven. It breaks my heart to think of C going off and never coming back home again.

This afternoon C and I were looking up the weather for the camp and came across a few of the pictures from that Tornado. Like the wise young man he is becoming he said, you know I bet if that had happened at a camp that wasn't filled with Boy Scouts a lot more people would have died. They were prepared. They knew what they were doing. He's right.

Being a mother that trusts God is hard. I trust Him that he will watch over my son this weekend. That C will come home Sunday morning alive and well and with a backpack filled with mud and dirt and smelly socks.

When C put on his Boy Scout Backpack this afternoon filled with warm clothes, enough hand warmers for 100 hours of heat, lots of wool knitted socks, a fleece blanket liner and a little note from his sisters, I had to fight back a few tears. You see, I realize that each time I let him go away, he grows in leaps in bounds. He experiences things that will define who he is and the man he will become. He grows up just a little more and the wings that will one day take him off to his future are growing and getting stronger.

It's what I want for him, but it also means that the little boy is slowly slipping away.

However, when I saw that his backpack is still bigger than him and that we can't put his sleeping bag or foam liner on it for fear it will topple him over, I realize that, thankfully, he still has a little growing to do. My job is not yet finished. We still have time to "train him up in the way he should go."

Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to say goodbye to that little boy a little bit at a time. It makes the joy of seeing the young man inside much easier to take on this mother's heart.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Doctor Visits, Surgery and Thanksgiving

Miss A is having surgery to repair a hole in her right ear next week. It's a hole that Tubes left in her ear and it's getting bigger rather than smaller. We've repaired it once when she had her tonsils and adenoids out two years ago, but the repair did not take.

Now we are going for the big guns; the best Ear Specialist in town, a more invasive surgery that should plug that hole and restore the 10% hearing loss that she has in that ear.

This week, we've been to the eye doctor for a follow up on her lazy eye. Great news! The glasses are doing the work and we are clear for a visit until next year. She loves her new glasses and does a great job wearing them. We've also been to the Pediatrician for a pre-op physical. She's in great health and cleared for the procedure.

I got such a kick out of A's explanation of what's going on next week. She's going to "her hospital" which is the one with the great cafeteria, play room and french fries and she's probably getting a toy out of the deal, too!

This will be A's third surgery in five years. All for relatively minor things such tubes, tonsils, and now ears. She's been to more doctors, specialists and hospital rooms than our other two children combined. We call her our Health Care Spending Account Child! But she doesn't seem to mind.

She takes it all in stride.

She's happy, joyful, and funny as all get out and takes these visits to doctors as just the normal thing you do. While I realize she has nothing to complain about with all the health care issues that others are faced with such cancer, chronic illness, pain etc, she is still only 5. She could fuss or cry or scream.

Most of our visits to waiting rooms and doctors offices are filled with books, snuggle time and giggles. She thinks the eye doctor is hilarious with his little Burger King toys to watch go back and forth. She asked me why he kept asking what the letter was on the wall. Doesn't he know his letters?

Our pediatrician makes her smile when he taps her legs for reflexes and she thinks it so funny he never remembers which ear has the hole in it. Can't he see it from outside the ear?

She's our child who took Mono in stride at two, Tonsil infection upon tonsil infection with a smile, and now she's going back to her favorite Hospital just for a little visit.

She lives life with gusto. She takes what is given to her and makes the most of it.

I feel so privileged to be her mother and witness all of this along our journey together.

Today is Pregnancy Loss and Remembrance Day. Almost fourteen years ago, we lost our first baby at ten weeks. It was just days before Christmas and we were heartbroken. For months after I wondered if we would ever have children.

Never did I begin to believe that I would now be the mother of three wonderful children. Children who have forever changed who I am as a person and enriched my life so deeply.

Seeing A take this next challenge of ear surgery on with such strength and courage is just one of the blessings. I am forever grateful.

I'm praying today that God can give other mothers and fathers who are mourning the loss of babies a measure of this joy! That He can turn their mourning into dancing. That they will know that not only did that child they lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death matter, they matter to God. That whatever God's ultimate plan for their family is that they will be able to find joy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday, I took my youngest on a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

Today, she made snow angels in the snow.

Yesterday, I mowed the lawn to rake up the leaves in the front.

Today, my front tree went into shock and starting dropping leaves like crazy. I think it was afraid it missed fall.

Yesterday, we all went on a Hay Rack Ride and Roasted Marshmallows by an open fire.

Today, the kids huddled together under blankets and warmed up with Hot Coco and Redi Whip.

Yesterday afternoon, the kids played kicked ball in the backyard.

Today, they built a snowman in the middle of the backyard.

Yesterday, I cut back my mums to allow for new growth.

Today, they were covered in snow and wilted like crazy.

Yesterday, I lined up our three pumpkins and prepared the new "pumpkin patch pumpkin" for display on the porch. I didn't get it out there until after the snow. Thank goodness A said it would not have been happy this morning.

Today, the pumpkins had a blanket of white stuff on their tops.

Yesterday, the kids were throwing Hay at each other and their Uncle while bouncing down a country lane.

Today, the kids were throwing snow balls at each other.

You might have guessed that Old Man Winter Made A Surprise Visit This Morning To Our House. Yes, I realize the calendar might only say October 10th, but obviously that doesn't matter anymore.

Oh, please don't say this is a sign of things to come. A Winter filled with snow, cold and lots of "inside" time.

I'm just glad I thought ahead this week and got out all the "snow gear".

We have all the coats, gloves, hats and snow pants we could want. All that's missing are some new sleds.

I was thinking that Santa could bring some new "snow" things. Looks like by Christmas, we'll have had plenty of time to use them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Funny Things I Heard This Week

I'm thinking that my "Funny Things I Heard This Week" segment might become a regular around here. Besides the fact that my kids crack me up with their insights and thoughts; it's a great way for me to capture these moments. Heaven knows when I'll be getting back to scrapbooking and can write these thoughts down in my books.

This week not only included a weekend away for half our family (the dad was left to solo parent and paint our basement), it also included a trip to our Pediatric Dentist for checkups. Let's just say those moments alone allow for memorable sayings to fly out of my kids lips.

Since A seems to get the most playtime around the blog, I'll start with her. However, her siblings overachieved with their one liners.

A: "Too bad you aren't going to Colorado with us C, we have Bubble Gum and Mountains. You've just got school"

About returning to Preschool after a short break, I asked if her teachers would remember her. Her response, "Yeah Mom, they've known me forever, or at least 100 days. How could they forget me after a few days? " You are right A, how could anyone forget you?

When I told her we had Dentist appointments today, she said "Don't tell M. She'll just cry." Then the moment M got in the car yesterday after school, A blares out loudly "Ha Ha you have to go to the Dentist tomorrow!"

Now on to her big brother:

When I told C that I would need to pick him up during school Wednesday morning for our Dentist appointment, he quickly calculated that it would be in middle of Human Gross Development (otherwise known as Human Growth and Development). He was thrilled. Then he said, "I can't believe that going to the Dentist is finally better than what I'm missing. Now don't be late picking me up."

His checkup was stellar and the Dentist commented on how he was such a nice young man. She even suggested he might want to come along with his middle sister when she has to have 4 teeth pulled for moral support. His response, "I'm not good with things like that, send A instead."

When I mentioned that maybe we could arrange it during Human Growth, he said "Nah, there is only one week left of that class. I like everything else"

C is now trying to talk us into letting him get out of Boy Scout Summer Camp in June He is begging to go to Church Camp instead. At first, I was so thrilled that he was choosing Jesus over friends until my husband pointed out that they stay in cabins with indoor bathrooms at Church Camp and not tents.

Here I thought it was for the "mountaintop experience" and it's really just for the air conditioning and indoor plumbing.

C joined the Math Club this week. He wants to be in more Math Competitions. When I asked him who was in the club, he named a few of the boys and the lone 7th grade girl. I didn't recognize one of the names and he clarified that he was the boy from the other team that "looked smart." I asked him what that meant and he commented that you could just tell he was smart. A lot like you then I said. "No" he said "I'm cool smart." There is a competition the end of the month and C is already excited except for the fact it's after school. He said that takes away some of the fun as missing school should be part of any math competition. Yeah, you'd hate to stay in school to learn things that might help with the test!!

Finally Poor M:

The Dentist really robbed her of her joy today saying she needs to have 4 teeth pulled. She was crying and nervous just hearing the report. When she calmed down a little, I asked if she was nervous it might hurt or what was the issue. She's worried that she'll have a huge hole in her mouth, no money from the tooth fairy, and that it will hurt a ton. When I said she'd get money, and probably extra money for these teeth, she seemed a little better. But her best line of all is that maybe we could just start working on those four teeth and get them loose on their own. I said how about a softball to the mouth. She looked seriously at me thinking deeply then finally said, no the dentist might be less painful!

M however cracked me up the most this past week studying for the States/Capitols Test. Last week, it was the East Coast and she did great only switching NJ and MA around. But she got the Capitols right so half credit. We both agreed that the East Coast is hard. Too many little states in a small area. What was really funny was how she kept trying to understand the island of Manhattan and how it's part of NY but looks like it's own state. That's too confusing she said. Guess you could say she's a Midwest Girl who is used to huge states that could swallow Manhattan and still have room.

This week it's the Southern States. We were working on them yesterday at Piano and she loves that three states in a row could almost spell her initials. MAG. We stretch out her first name and then it's her middle name. It's almost a nickname she goes by. Too bad we can't learn our directions first; she's really confused by South and North and West and tried repeatedly to call Virginia, East Virgina, and when that did not work she said how about Up Virginia or Down Virgina. Oh honey, we need to study maps at Girl Scouts. You'll be lost in the woods with only up and down to go by.

Now I realize that my husband is cracking up reading this thinking that his wife has no sense of direction; still looks at her hand for the L to see if it's left or right. My response is that I thought those "math, science and direction genes were coming from my husband."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Girls Get Away Weekend

A sitting on a Strawberry, part of the play zone at the Cherry Creek Mall. She loved jumping on bacon, over easy eggs, and this cute strawberry. What a great way to burn off some energy.

I've just returned from a long weekend trip with my youngest daughter and my mother to the great city of Denver. We went for a girls weekend to see some lovely young ladies that we've known forever. They were our former neighbors whom I babysat for and my parents developed this wonderful relationship with when they came down each morning to catch the school bus and waited inside our house. Don't tell child protective services please since we did not have a license.

It was great to get away spend time together with just A and my mom while having the opportunity to see these young ladies and the wonderful women they have become. I've talked before about their mother Ann; a mentor, friend and inspiration who courageously battled pancreatic cancer only to lose her fight much too young. Her three daughters (and one son) have become adults now with lives of their own, but in them I can see so much of their mother. The girls are finally all living in the same city, so we decided it was about time to have a little reunion. While we get to see them when they come into town for holidays; it's rare to see two of them together, so imagine the treat of all three O Girls in the same city.

My mom, A and I spent time with the "girls" as A affectionately calls them now and their families all weekend. There was homemade spaghetti dinner, roughhousing with "Uncle Nick" and Pete, meals out at fun restaurants, and even a trip to a pumpkin patch. In between, we also fit in a visit to my mom's favorite quilt shop and a new knitting shop for me.

We had so much fun seeing their lives and having a peek into their worlds. Their mother would be so very proud of the women they have become. Talented, loving, beautiful, warm, great wives, mothers, and sisters. Just what she dreamt for them. Hard to believe that I've known the youngest her whole life; 28 years. I still remember returning from a ski vacation in Colorado and seeing the pink balloons on the O's mailbox signaling that the youngest K had been born.

All in all a perfect girls getaway weekend. The only thing missing was Miss M who had school and couldn't come along ! Poor A is not used to having the whole backseat to herself on long car rides with no one to watch movies with or fight over blankets. Good thing Nana and Mom are willing to take turns being her buddy in the back. I could have split a gut when Nana suggested that we take turns driving and A announced loudly and slightly confused: "I don't drive yet Nana". When you are one of the gang, you think it all includes you, even the driving.

A cracked my mom and I up on most of the trip. She is a little adult in a 5 year old's body. She must have asked us 100 times " are we there yet?" Her favorite parts of the trip were the daily trips to the hotel ice machine, the hotel swimming pool, playing at the play zone at the mall, and, of course, seeing Pete.

While the closest we got to the mountains was the view from our Hotel window, this trip to Colorado had lots of mountain top experiences. Most important is the strong bond I have with my mom, A, and the O girls. Those are memories that I can store away forever.

I saw this adorable Lucky Brand Scarf in Macy's for a mere $79.00 and want to make it. Not sure I have the skills yet, but I'm going to talk to my Knitting Friends and ask their advice for a pattern. It's too cute to pass up!