"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pssst....you're my favorite.

More than one person has asked me if so-and-so is my "favorite", because they see certain children of mine a lot more often than others on this little bliggity blog.  The truth is, I may have a favorite (haha, I kid, I kid!) but that has nothing to do with who's picture I get most often.  It's simply been my experience that as my kids get older, they turn all nasty and naughty (haha, I kid, I kid!), and resist my attempts to capture them naturally.  I get a lot of this:

and this...

When all I really wanted to do was take a few pics of my kids eating watermelon on a lazy summer afternoon.   :)

And, the truth is, I tell them all they're my favorite.  When she's the only one in the room, or when he does me a favor, or just for fun.  "Psssst....you're my favorite.  Really, YOU!"  I learned it from my Lao, who does the same to all of her grandkids.  I think.  Or, maybe it's just me and I am her favorite?  :)

Choosing to love,

Monday, June 27, 2011

This boy and his cat.

We got this cat for Ryleigh, when she was a baby.  In fact, we brought the cat home about a month before she was diagnosed with diabetes.  I remember leaving for Children's hospital and realizing that we had a pet to worry about.  Great thing about cats is, they pretty much take care of themselves. 

Diddy was never a cuddly, laid-back cat.  He bit, scratched, attacked, hissed, peed on stuff, and in general acted like he hated living with us.  Over the years he's just kind of existed along side us, like a roommate.  We feed him, change his litter box semi-frequently, and let him outside as often as possible.  He (we use the term "he" pretty loosely, since he's neutered!) has friends in the neighborhood.  Cat friends.  They get together for after-hours cat meetings.  They come up to our front door and meow for him (not kidding!).  He's up-to-date on all his shots, but he doesn't wear a collar, and I actually quit paying to license him two years ago.  (That one caught up with me and I paid $158 to avoid a court date...)

Anyway.  Along comes Rowen.  Who knows the reason...Rowen?  The cat's just outgrown his temperamental attitude?  Suddenly, this cat is allowing the 3yr old to tote him around like a sack of flour. 

And, he climbs into bed with him. 

It's pretty weird, but dang it's cute!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Because, there's not really much going on around here...but so much going on at the same time. Etc.: additional odds and ends; extras.

We finally got over to the library this week, to sign up for the summer reading program.  Good grief, we've been trying to get there for ever!  I was pretty sure Rowen could handle a 40 minute trip to the library, and he did OK.  Until we got home.  Then he totally crashed out :( dangit!  Poor kid.  I figured it'd be a slow road, and he seems almost 100% sometimes, but then he loses it pretty quick.  The instant I'm feeling annoyed and tired with the sleepless nights and keeping track of meds, I am overwhelmingly grateful that this is not a permanent situation for us.  This is temporary, and the end is certainly near, and I am a very blessed mama. 

The kids have to read for 10 hours, complete 10 activities, and visit the library 4 times before July 31.  Pretty sure Ryleigh got over half of the reading part done today.  Sweet thing, we haven't been to the library in three weeks, she's been surviving on Babysitter's Club books on loan from her aunt!

Rowen, in his tiny little gremlin voice, "we can get train movies, I'm siiick, riiight??"  Yes, sir.  Milk that as long as you can.  It's going to be a long road back to his usual level of spoiled, he's still operating off the charts for the most part.  Mercy.

Rugger and Eli, masters of the self-checkout.

Reise, creator of the home-checkout.  Hahaha!  I LOVE it when they make stuff up.  Can you see it?  I wish I had better pics.  Thankful for my phone camera when I forget my real one...but it doesn't always do what I want. 

She's got the flashlight going for the bar code scanner.  Do not tell Mitch.  I don't blame him for getting mad when he can't find that blasted flashlight.  I really don't.  But, I can't help but love this scene.  I really can't!

"Here, Rowen.  Like this.

Still trying to sell this beast.  And by trying, I mean we took the sign out and wiped it down, and re-sharpie'd the phone number because it was pretty faded from the sun, snow, rain and wind over the last six months.

She got a mini face-lift, and is loving life a little more now.  Everything looks better when the sun is shining and the grass is green.  Oh, and when the gross brown trim is gone.  Yes, much better.  Mitch thinks that brown storm door sticks out like a sore thumb.  I don't even care, because I love that door.  That door was a gift from my sister and her husband, who had it installed when I was in the hospital birthing Rugger.  (I just love that word, birthing!)  It was quite the feat, since we were in the hospital less than 24 hours, and it wasn't a scheduled delivery!  My brother-in-law suggested painting it.  I might.

And, speaking of beasts.  Rugger!!  My word, humming bird (that's for my aunt, Marcia!).  He is packing on the pounds, and getting taller by the instant. Earlier this spring, it was very apparent by the high-water pants he was wearing (which I'd just purchased in December!), that he'd had a growth spurt.  A month ago, I was wrasslin' with him, and suddenly realized how heavy he was.  My handsome husband thinks it's because he's finally off his anti-seizure meds!  Really?  I was skeptical.  That is a side effect.  He did stop taking them in January, right before the apparent growth explosion.  Hmmmmm.  It makes me wonder. 

Doesn't he look thrilled?  I think this was at the end of March, when he was actually done being slowly weened off.

And, speaking of medicine!  Since Rowen is on a super duper strong and nasty antibiotic, we decided to put him on a probiotic.  He has trouble with his gut getting completely torn up by even regular strength antibiotics.  I did a minimal amount of Googling, and decided on Culturelle.  I wanted one that only contained a single strain of bacteria, and this one came up a lot in my searches.  Anyone else use a probiotic with their kids?  I'm interested in finding something a little cheaper once we're done being sick, to use for regular everyday maintenance.  One of my friends grows her own Kefir, which I think I'd be "down" with, but I need to do some more reading about it.  Specifically regarding the benefits of multiple strains vs. one strain.

I love my little dishwasher elf.  She's very efficient!  The only thing that saves me from complete depression regarding my kids getting older is the fact that now they can actually do stuff.  Unload the dishwasher, take out the garbage, grab me a pop from the basement while you're at it?!  It's great.  Probably not as great as rocking a sleeping newborn...but, there's just nothing I can do about that.

It took me so many days to get this post published that by this morning I'm able to report that Rowen woke up after 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep without screaming, and took his medicine without a fight.  Hallelujah!  Ryleigh woke up later and said, "Hey! Rowen's screaming didn't wake me up today!"  Life is good when the 3yr old isn't a belligerent mess before 7am.

Choosing to love,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I got a note in an envelope last night from Ryleigh: "Mom, can we go to Target for you-know-what?"  I wrote back: "Yes, good idea.  Dad will have to stay home from church with Rowen tomorrow, so we can stop there on our way home.  I won't tell him."  A few minutes later, Reise delivered another note from Ry: "No, you don't understand.  I want to buy some ballet slippers."  Hahahahahahahaha!  That girl just kills me.

In the end, the little sweetheart did spend $5.99 of her birthday money for a singing Father's day card.  It features, "Girls just wanna have fuu-uunnnnn...."  She thought it was just hilarious!

Happy Father's Day to the very best, most involved, helpful, supportive, concerned, hardworking, handsome daddy out there.

We love you so much!

P.S. Rowen is so much better!  He's had some rough spots and still wears out pretty fast, but I think he feels pretty good most of the time!  He's definitely not the sick little boy we took to the ER a week ago today.  What a crazy week.  Thanks to everyone for the prayers and help with kids, meals, etc.  It feels good to be on the upswing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity, jig!

We were up early this morning, and I was thrilled to see overcast skies and the threat of rain.  I love stormy days, and going home to a cool dark house to spend the day snuggling with my {whole} family sounded dreamy!

Dream was right.  Reality hit at 10:02am when we got into the van and immediate sibling bickering ensued.  **sigh**  It's hard to be spoiled for a few days, and then suddenly have to share again.  Especially when you still don't feel super great.  It's hard to be shuffled around and worried about your brother, and then have him say in his little gremlin voice, "don't talk to me, my head hurts me, I'm siiiick".  Oh, mercy.

It hasn't been the picnic I was hoping for, but it's good to be headed towards normal!  Plus, I got a shower and a nap, and I plan on doing as little housework as possible the next few days.  Gotta ease back into real life, ya know?

Rowen's favorite nurse gave him this amazing quilt last night after he took his pain meds like a champ.  (P.S. why don't hospitals flavor their meds?  Thanks for offering that service, CVS.  Best $2.99 I've spent this week!  And, believe me, there have been plenty of $2.99's spent this week...) 

Nurse Julie and he became buds after three nights together.  He wouldn't let anyone else with a hospital badge anywhere near him without a fight.  She's still the only one who's seen inside his mouth, no one else has even gotten close.  The instant she'd walk into his room he'd sit up straight, and turn into the world's easiest patient.  It became pretty comical, and she just loved him.  I don't blame her.  He is pretty cute when he's not saying, "get awwaaaaaaaaay from meeeeee!!!" and thrashing around like a cat on a leash.

I'm not really sure what to expect as far as recovery, and I'm pretty nervous about being in charge again.  Any material sent home only discusses the tonsils, well...what about that big ol' hole back there that was full of staph?  Uhhh...that tonsillectomy pamphlet didn't mention how that should look (not that I've had the opportunity).  I hate second guessing myself all the time, I'm usually pretty confident about anything regarding my kids.  I know his temp shouldn't go above 101.  Well, it's at 100.5 now.  Is that OK?  Are we rounding here?  Should I recheck it?  Maybe try another thermometer?  Under the arm...add a degree?

I'm nuts, I know.  It's good to be home!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Love this kid so much I can't stand it.

On the mend.

We're staying another night.  There.  I said it.  Now, I won't be tempted to tell the nice surgeon that I think it's best we go tonight.  He left it up to us to decide what we thought would be better for our family.  One half of us thinks we should stay, the other half really wants to get moving on with life again.  I miss the other 80% of my children, and I want a bed, a hot shower, shampoo, conditioner, a bed...

That pig is so gross, and if I'd have known we were going to be dragging it around so many places this week I would have washed it.  Oh, heavens.  I'm shocked they let him take it into surgery, there's nothing sterile about it! 

I was so exhausted and relieved last night after we got back to our room that I just completely zonked out.  It was Midnight one minute, and 6am the next.  Honestly, I don't even really remember laying down, and when I woke up I couldn't figure out where I was.  Followed that up with a full shower and fresh Monday's clothes, and I don't feel too shabby.  Second day hand soap hair is definitely not as fabulous as the first, in case you were wondering.  

The boy is in for a slow recovery, if today is any indicator.  He woke up chipper as could be, hopped out of bed, and tried to walk across the floor to the potty!  He wears out really fast though, and isn't eating or drinking very consistently, yet.  We think he was probably in so much pain with that abscess, that he probably feels relatively great even though he's got an open wound the size of a silver dollar in the back of his tiny little throat, and two missing tonsils.  He's certainly not looking sick like he was.  The doctor warned us he might spike another fever immediately following the procedure, and he sure did.  But, since then he's been fever free which has to make him feel better.  

I said today that I thought it'd take me a good 6 or 7 days to really miss my regular routine.  That might not be quite true.  It's the middle of Day 4, and I'm really antsy to see my other little chickens.  I'm not bored here, and I love the quiet.  I could easily sit in this chair and watch my little boy sleep for hours on end.  I'm not worried about the other four, I know they're having fun and being well taken care of.  Thanks, Aunt Misty!  But, I miss them and I'm almost willing to go against my better judgement and get us out of here tonight, just to get back.  Almost.  I already said we were staying, so there's nothing I can do now but wait another night :)  


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Extended Vaca

What a difference an hour makes.  The minute I shut the computer down after posting Rowen's hospital pictures, he woke up from a very long nap and we discovered he had spiked a high fever...again.  104.9.  He looked horrible, was barely able to open his eyes, and just moaned.  Not OK!  Not OK for a kid who'd spent all night and day on IV antibiotics.

A few hours, some blood work, and a CT scan later, we're headed in to remove his tonsils so the ENT can drain the large abscess behind them no one could have seen.  It's in such a bizarre spot, and totally impossible to see without that scan!  I literally cheered at the nurse's station when the doctor told me the verdict over the phone.  No wonder he doesn't seem to be getting better very fast.  No wonder he's still running fevers.  No wonder he's so irritable, that poor sweet little baby boy!

Looks like we'll be here for a while.  I might spring for a complete shower once the boy is out and settled after his surgery.  Not that my hair isn't still looking fab.

Thankful for an awesome, young, energetic, caring ENT who came in to get our boy fixed up tonight.  Thankful I'm not worried about where my other kids are right now, thanks, Gma Sue!  Thankful for so many prayers for my baby, and our family.  There's no way I'd still be functioning on the amount of sleep I've had in the last week, without them.


Almost a Mini-Vacation.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did wash my hair in the hospital bathroom sink this morning.  With hand soap.  And, as a matter of fact, it looks pretty good.

I could watch this kid sleep all day.  I've been so thankful for the quiet one-on-one time we've had together, without any distractions.  If we were home I'd be worried about laundry, meals, four other kids, and whether or not the sick one looked hydrated.

The fact that some people are forced into this as a lifestyle isn't lost on me.  My baby boy just has an infection, and it'll clear up in the next day or two.  I know this won't last for weeks or months on end, and the mere thought of doing this day in and day out, with a really sick baby just breaks my heart. We are very blessed with healthy children.  A little throat virus turned bacterial and nasty really fast, and his tonsils and lymph nodes need to be treated with IV antibiotics and steroids.  We're praying that by tomorrow morning, he'll have improved so much that we won't need a CT to look for an abscess.  Our ENT is pretty confident that in most kids, a small abscess will clear on it's own without having to drain it.

He's a pretty sick little dude, and he does a lot of this {sleeeeeeep}.  It took a combination of nurses and an anesthesiologist 13 sticks to get his IV in.  The ER had used up three good veins the day before, so it was slim pickin's to start with, and everyone knew it wouldn't be an easy task.  The one that finally took is only in about half-way.  So far it's held up, and we're praying it doesn't come out or go bad.  When he's not being messed with, he pretty much just passes out.  He always wakes up crying.  After gagging on some Tylenol last night, he fights his fever-reducers.  It's not all fun and games.

Dear Bruce-The-Volunteer-Hospital-Magician, I'm kinda disappointed I didn't get to see your act, but even more disappointed that you barged in here and disturbed my sleeping kid! Sorry he was in no mood to watch your tricks after you woke him up and scared him half-to-death. {I think I liked the therapy dog from yesterday better.} Sincerely, Momzilla

But seriously?  It's so quiet in here.  I only have one little boy to tend to.  Most of my friends have unlimited texting plans.  There's free Wi-Fi.  And, my hair honestly looks fantastic.  I am not complaining.

Our family and friends have made our lives so easy, and I am so grateful it brings me to tears.  We don't deserve the people who love us so much!


Here we go!

We're officially a family with a kid in organized sports.  We've held out as long as we could to save ourselves from practices, games, meetings, and general busyness.  It was nice while it lasted!  Something tells me I should cherish this summer of only having one child's sports schedule to manage.  Here we go!!!

Then again, this has been pretty fun.  Sweet little Kindergarten tee-ball.  My favorite part of the game is my handsome husband coaching 3rd base.  Gosh, he's stinkin' handsome!  {That little pitcher is pretty cute, too.}  He's having fun, and learning how to be part of a team.  He can get a pretty good hit off that tee, if I do say so myself! :)  

Bless their hearts, my grandparents showed up for the first game.  It was h.o.t. and involved a very long walk from the parking lot.  Papa's still got it, charmed his way into a golf cart for a ride part-way :)  Haha!  Love them so much, so grateful they are a big part of my kids' lives just like they always have been mine.

I love baseball, and would rather sweat it out in the heat outdoors than be stuck inside a smelly, loud, gymnasium any day of the week.  I know it's not all about me, but please listen up children of mine, play baseball.  Run track.  Take up soccer, if you really want to.  I might even agree to learn football.  Let's leave basketball and volleyball for other families to enjoy.  Thanks, XOXO, MOM.

Choosing to love,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jazz in June

One of our favorite family activities to start off the summer, is Jazz in June.  Our friends meet us, we eat our dinner and relax the night away.  It's especially relaxing when the dads take the children away from us...  :)  So wonderful!  Nothing beats a lawn chair on a summer night, that's for sure.  The first concert of the summer happened to be on Reise's actual birthday, which was fun!

It's a great place to people watch.  And, mascot watch.  Weirdest looking mascot I ever saw...an Otter.  Never would have come up with that on my own, believe me.  I just sat there dumbfounded by the whiskers.  Clearly, Rugger had no problem with him.  Her?  Look at those eyelashes.  Leads me to believe it's Miss Otter.

By chance we ended up next to the jugglers.  Sa-weet. 

This night could not have been more low-key.  Until it was time to leave.  Somehow the balloon that Reise had tied to her flip flop (which was on her foot, of course) got tangled up with her other leg.  In the middle of the crosswalk.  Of a busy downtown street.  Imagine a puppy getting tangled up in it's own leash, only it was a balloon and instead of just tripping her way across the street, she just stopped and screamed and cried like a complete maniac.  Heavens to Betsy.  It was incredible.  I just laughed hysterically because it was that insane (it's laugh or cry, right?).  Mitch, did not laugh (or cry, I guess there is a 3rd option).  Oh, my!  Poor girl, she just lost it.  She never really recovered, and I hated that she ended her birthday so dramatically and abruptly, but the only thing to do was put her to bed.  

This week the balloons will not be tied to anything, and naps will be required before we go.  Hello!  I'm already looking forward to it :)


Friday, June 10, 2011


Roca Berry Farm.   A fun way to spend a very cool, slightly rainy June morning.  Only in the Midwest, can it be 103* on Monday, and 54* on Friday.  I'm not complaining, I loooove the cooler temps.  Jeans and sweat shirts?  Yes, please.

Happy I have fun mommy friends who bundled up their kids and met us there.  Happy our kids love each other.  Happy in general :)  {Thankfully, the fuuuunk has lifted!}


Ryleigh found this little baby mouse.  Oh, wait.  No.  That was a gigantic spider.  I promise you, it was as big as Sweetie.  I shudder just looking at the picture. 

Designated Quality Assurance Team {Sienna and Landon}.

We ate our lunch and got rained on just a little.  I was really glad by the time we got home, that we had already eaten.  Sitting in the van for close to an hour got me waaaaay too relaxed to do much more than get everyone settled for naps and resting.  Whew!  

Great way to start the weekend :)