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Thursday, October 30, 2014

We Are Piggie and Gerald!

Zachary and Matthew went over to Grandma's before we headed off to Fall Fest to show her their Gerald and Piggie costumes.  This is not my favorite time of the year.  The day of Fall Fest is always one of the craziest days of the year.

Forced creativity is what I call it.  There are so many different ideas everyone has and so many changes of mind before the evening of fall fest that I don't like to commit to anything before I know for sure.

Matt didn't want to be Piggie because of the pink and because Piggie is a girl in the stories, but I told him that most people don't even pay attention to that.  Zachary really wanted Matt to be Piggie with him and I was really proud of Matt for thinking of his brother and enjoying the night.

It is fun to dress up and as much as I dislike Halloween, I love that Fall fest is an option to let the kids wear costumes and have a fun time without the Halloween focus.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spooktacular Gymnastics Meet

Dawn's second gymnastics meet was in Cedar Falls.  She improved a good bit on her scores from the last meet and got through her beam routine looking very good!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Can They Give You a Ticket For That?

I was tootling back into town this afternoon from Cedar Falls where Dawn had a meet this morning and was thinking how much I have been relying on my phone.  I am trying not to text in the car anymore because I admit...I have been known to text at stop lights or on a straight stretch of interstate.

Now, whichever 12-year-old is in the passenger seat gets to be mom's texting secretary.  They read what the text says and type my response if it is something that I need to answer in a timely manner.  So, Dawn was my typer today and did a great job. 

I understand how texting is very distracting while driving, but I found myself thinking about all of the other things that I have done or seen done that could also be characterized as "dangerous while driving".  I had to chuckle then about 10 minutes down the road when Zach was fretting about his shoe having a knot in it from the back seat.  

Rather than listening to him carry on and stressed, I told him to pass the shoe on up to me.  We were on a straight stretch of road and I was able to get the big knot out.  I could just picture it "well officer, I was just trying to get the knot out of my son's shoe and must have lost control!"  Can they give a ticket for "untying while driving?"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Glorified Storage Unit No More!

We knew when we purchased our new home almost a year ago that the garage was more than ridiculously big.  It really is, and there is no reason it has to be that big for our family, but that is just the way it was built.  It has actually helped enable the clutter and mess for me because when we moved, the boxes all got put there and unpacked as needed.

About six months after being here, I realized that there aren't nearly as many trips to the garage to find that important thing and that told me we have too much stuff that we don't need.  Lately, that has been the project.  Getting through some of those boxes and moving the contents out or where we plan to store them.

The great part of all of the work out there by David and the kids was that we were able to "unbury" the oil pit.  As long as we have an oil pit in the garage, we might as well use it!

Last Saturday David did.  Zachary especially thought it was cool that Dad could climb down into the pit and change the oil.  There were a few things that David thought would need tweaking in the whole process, but to finally be able to see the garage being used for something it was supposed to be used for (instead of a glorified storage unit) was wonderful.

Both the car and the van got new oil and a few of the extended family may pay a visit to try out the pit as well!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Are On A Pumpkin!

Gerald and Piggie are big favorites around our house.  Moe Willems is ingenious the way he writes these stories.  With his help, Gerald and Piggie have helped Zachary and Matthew learn how to get along in spite of their differences.  Gerald even seems a little autistic which is a big help to Zach because he relates so well to the stories!  Piggie, like Matt is full of energy and excitement, ready to take on any challenge with enthusiasm.

So, with that being said, it wasn't a difficult decision to pick Gerald and Piggie as our literary characters when it came time to decorate a pumpkin (or two) for the Starry school library.  During the month of October families could bring in a pumpkin that they decorated like a children's literature character to display.  We got ours in by the middle of the month but we were able to use our Friday off to paint and have fun with the decorating.

We like reading them, we like listening to their stories and even the older kids in the house LOVE to hear Zachary and Matt act out the books as they read them out loud.  We just love Gerald and Piggie.

Best news: New Elephant and Piggie book comes out in November "Waiting is Not Easy" and the boys can NOT wait!

But for now: We are on a pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Somethings I Will Not Understand...And That's Okay

Earlier in the summer, the boys were sent in to work on the mess in their room.  Since last December, there has been a piece of artwork that Ryan brought home from his old school laying on his dresser.  During the past months it had been crushed by books, toys and I even found a piece of ABC gum that someone had spit out onto the construction paper base.

I had a plan and I was in there to shovel through the mess and move on with our lives.  As it turned out, not everyone agreed.  I asked Ryan at the time if it would be okay if we threw the artwork away since it had seen better days.  He wasn't thrilled about it because it was a piece he had worked on with his friend from the old school.  Suggesting that I take a picture of it and THEN throw it away, Ryan was okay.  I brought the 3D construction paper piece of art to the kitchen table to dispose of later, not wanting to break the cleaning rhythm that I had begun.

Skip forward to bedtime and a teary eyed Zachary.  "What is wrong Honey?" I asked.  "I am kinda sad about Ryan's village" was Zach's reply. "Oh?  What about the village?"  I replied.  He answered with an "I don't really know, I am just sad".  Well, this isn't uncommon.  Zach gets a feeling and can't really express what it is that is bothering him.

"What happens to the village when it gets thrown away?" Zach asked me.  I didn't really know what happened to our garbage other than it gets picked up by the garbage man and goes to the dump.  So I told him I didn't really know.  "Does it get burned up?" he asked. "I don't think so" I answered trying to help put his mind at ease, although I really didn't know for sure.  "I think it just goes to the dump and disintegrates into the ground". That was my best guess.  He didn't not like that answer and it made him get a bit more agitated.  Not a place I like for him to be, especially after he has been tucked into bed for the night.

Finally I was able to get out of him that thinking about the village going to the dump made him feel a lot like when he knows a ball or toy if left in the yard after it gets dark.  I told him that I wanted him to write about how the village made him feel and that is what we came up with.  Thinking that he would forget about it, a couple days later I tried to throw it away but he remembered and I had to fish it out of the trash, straighten it out and come up with a better idea that we could both agree on.

I found a shadow box frame and was able to reconfigure the village to fit into the frame and we hung it on the wall up by Zach's bed.  I am not sure how long it will be displayed in his room.  It could be there til he moves out and brings it with him, but for some reason he is very concerned about what happens to this artwork that Ryan made.  When all is said and done, it turned out to be a pretty good compromise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Survivor Files: Still Living the Miracle

Today in the midst of everything else that I am doing, I paused and called the surgeons office.  I have another surgery to schedule.  It is supposed to be the last one in the long drawn out process of reconstructing my body after a mastectomy was needed to remove the cancer from my body.  I am thankful and grateful to all who have supported me through the last year and a half!  I look in the mirror and am still not thrilled about what I see, but I know that life isn't all about what we look like or what we think we should look like.  God knows what He is doing and I will continue on the journey.

We decided to wait with the last surgery, not because I want to, but because we ran out of flex spending money for the year.  With all the medical bills, and the limits the new healthcare bill puts on how much (or more accurately how LITTLE ) we can put aside for that fund, we are out of money.  Just in time for a broken arm for Zach and some tests on Stacey's knee (more about that in a future post when I know what we are dealing with).

Needless to say, I called the sweet nurse who I love at Dr. Andrew's office and asked if it is too soon to schedule my last surgery sometime in January.  No!  She was so happy to have that much time to work with.  She is hammering out the details this afternoon as I type and will let me know when arrangements are finalized.  At least this has given the tissue plenty of time to heal and the last few things are supposedly only going to take about 2 1/2 hours.  Scheduling this far ahead hopefully means I will get first dibs on time.  Looks like surgery will be January 9th, hopefully bright and early in the morning.

I pulled out all of the cards and notes of encouragement that I had stashed in my bedside table from a year ago over the weekend.  I really have some great people in my life.  I love you all!  I walked into the pediatricians office the other day with Dawn and looked around and saw all of the breast cancer awareness month decor and thought "man, I wish that everyone who had a life threatening experience in their lives could have a month dedicated to their disease or ailment".  How about "sufferers of scary life-threatening ailments awareness month"?

There are a lot of things I am still hammering out.  I talked briefly to a fellow breast cancer survivor on Friday night and was trying to explain how weird if felt that after treatment and starting to feel stronger and closer to normal how I don't even remember what I used to do before.  Who did I do things with?  How did I organize my time.  The urge to just continue spending the day on the couch is still quite overwhelming for me. She just nodded with that look like she knew exactly what I meant.  That felt good, to know someone who understands the struggle it is to clean and cook and wash and even socialize again.

With that, the dirty master bathroom is calling.  I got a couple new things in the cleaning isle at the grocery store last night.  I am looking forward to seeing if they make the job easier.  One foot in front of the other and I am one step closer to finding the normal of my life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Do You Suppose It Looks?

David has been home this week taking some much needed vacation time working on some things around the house.

The garage has made some great progress.  This afternoon we were talking out there and he pointed to the big box we have been hauling across the country and storing for 22 years that contains my wedding dress.

His question was "how do you think it looks after all this time?"  On a whim I said "I don't know, lets see!"  We were both surprised at how well it has held up in the box over the years.  Except for the grandma/grandpa house attic type smell, it looked great.  I do have to say, that smell on my wedding dress did make me feel kinda old!

The girls liked seeing it and Matthew said it was beautiful.  I would say, from the front it looks pretty good on me still!  You wouldn't want to see the back though.  Maybe if I lost 40 pounds I could get it zipped again.

 Dawn actually said "aww Mom, I think I really want to wear your dress when I get married!  I told her that I am sure she may today but she still has many years to come to her senses!

For now I will see what we can do to keep it in decent condition so at least she could use the fabric or remake it into something a little more modern for her when her big day

They thought it was neat that Grandma made my headpiece and they both tried it on.  It was fun to play dress up this afternoon!

I don't care what people say about styles and how they come and go.  I am glad I was married in 1992 and if I did it over, I would pick this dress again!