Monday, October 29, 2007

Complete Randomness

1. Is "randomness" a word?
2. I was told to shut up and was spit at by an 8 year old at school today. He's lucky to remain attached to the rest of his body.
3. Last Thursday, I decided since the weather was fairly decent that I would take the boys (who had been asking about the whole thing) to my dad's grave site. Despite a rocky beginning, the kids probably had more fun than anything else asking who was burried here and there. It was actually pretty good. I had dreaded the day. Luke, of course, was much more aware of WHY we were there, but he did very well.
4. Later that night, we had to watch Casey the bunny die. Ok, God, horrible timing. It's like Luke was okay at the cemetery, but when that bunny was dying, he was almost hysterical. I ached for him. He and the twins helped Chad bury her. We don't know what happened. But we watched the painful death. She was quiet but in much pain.
5. So, meet OREO:
Luke is in better spirits now about it, but last night had a relapse of crying hysterically for the first bunny and even had a bad dream that Oreo died. I chalk it up to being normal for his grieving process. Seriously, God. Bad timing....
6. This is a picture I took at Dad's the last Sunday we spent there...Drew and Luke were chilling. Dad was sitting on the couch to my right, or rather on the floor propped up against the couch with a vibrating massager thing on his lower back trying to gain relief.
7. A definite highlight to his birthday party: he got a Jeep (it was given to us by some pretty awesome people, we just bought the batteries). THANKS T & T!

Gabriel and Ava opening presents. Ava is practically a neice.

Also a highlight, Mom and Jon sent him this big play tent. It can either be a school bus or fire truck. He enjoys it. He's the king in there!

Some new clothes Gabriel got.

8. The story of my "Pretty Awesome Son Shirt." Since Dad's illness was so close to Luke's and the twins' birthdays, Mom got to be home during that time frame, and she was able to take them shopping for their birthdays. This is pretty rare since she lives in Montana. When shopping, Luke told my mom that I was pretty said and he thought they should get me something to cheer me up. As if that wasn't sweet enough, when Mom explained that if she got me a shirt, he would have one less present because she had a certain amount of money to spend, Luke picked out not one, but two shirts for me. So now, every time I wear either shirt, if someone compliments either of them, I am sure to tell them it's my "Pretty Awesome Son Shirt." I share it with you today, because I wore the maroon one today, so I got to tell the story 4 times. You make 5.
9. Drew is having a little bit of trouble with his mouth lately. I wouldn't say any of my kids are rude, but Drew and Evan seem to be testing to see what they can say and can't. More often Drew doesn't get the hint as quickly as Evan. I don't want you to think they are brats because I don't think they are....maybe I'm biased, but we get a lot of compliments on our kids, so I hope people are not lying. Anyway, Drew got in trouble tonight, and it's one of those things that made me chuckle AFTER the fact, and had he not done this on the same day as my random thought #1, his punishment may have been quicker. He got in trouble at the babysitter's today, and they do spank occasionally. Today he did I don't even remember what...and he got a spanking. In the middle of the spanking he looked at the lady and said "You hitted me enough times already!" So he got in more trouble. I'm not sure at this point what they did for punishment or if they just saved it for me. Either way, he was not allowed in the toy room or in front of the TV at all tonight. He went to bed early (even though it was only 15 minutes), and he had to do chore after chore after chore once he got home. Hopefully he will think twice before spouting off to them tomorrow.
10. On the other hand, you won't find more loving and serving kids than Luke, Drew, Evan, and Gabriel. I mean, the shirt story is enough to put Luke's tender heart right up there with the best of them. Drew and Evan are constantly looking for ways to serve others, a "chore" on their charts that they want to do well in. Evan swept Luke and Gabriel's room tonight, for example. Gabriel will bring you endless "totes" from the refrigerator, regardless of the fact that you just opened the can he just brought you 2 minutes ago. I couldn't ask for better kids. If they didn't test the waters some, I'd wonder about them. Plus I wouldn't feel as fortunate when I see the 8 year old who looked at me with such hate in his eyes today.
11. Normally I'd give you the whole rundown about the events (however insignificant they were) leading up to today's meltdown in class for that little boy...but somehow tonight, even though they sometimes exasperate me or push my buttons...somehow, it doesn't seem like a story I want to tell. It is obvious he doesn't have the kind of home my kids do - however chaotic it may feel sometimes. Lately I've been pretty consumed with the Poor-Me-Spirit (an equally evil form of PMS). I'd apologize for it, but I think it's supposed to be normal for this stage in the game. But tonight? Tonight, I feel blessed. Yeah, Dad was taken from me and my family a little early by our standards, and yeah, it still hurts. It may always hurt - despite the promise by people who have gone through similar situations that it "gets better." But I did have 31 years with a man who loved me just as much as I love my kids. It's weird to think that I pushed his buttons. I did things that in light of his day at work were dealt with differently. I wanted to serve him and love him by bringing him a diet coke. No matter how crazy it got, he came in and tucked me in, said a prayer, and gave me a kiss each night. Yeah, he thought about me growing up and not knowing his mother. Maybe he even took me to her grave site and let me walk through asking questions. He held my sobbing body close to him when my black bunny died in the garage, when my golden cat was smashed on the highway. He looked at me and smiled his half-smile at the supper table while I ate "Bert and Ernie Noses" (peas and limas). You're right, everybody. He does live on inside of me. That's pretty great.
12. I have been blessed.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ups and Downs

Read it and weep!!! I'm so proud of my little guy!!! This is his first report card...well, the first one with more than check marks!! This one had real grades on it, and I have to say, I'm REALLY happy with Luke's accomplishments!!

I have fall break this weekend, and I need it. That's a plus. Big time.

Gabriel turned 3 yesterday!! He's such a big kid now. On Saturday night when I carried him to bed after falling asleep on the couch, I was pretty bummed that it was the last time I may put a baby to bed. It is exciting to see him grow up and get his own (slightly bossy, a little spoiled) personality.

The spunky little three year old dumped his entire plate at dinner not, not even twice....3 STINKIN' TIMES!!! I was so mad! It's hard to stay calm - especially with repeat offenders. Green beans, mashed potatoes, yogurt - all caked to the floor. THREE TIMES. The entire kitchen was moved to the living room for that "clean up in Aisle 4." The other night Drew did the same thing with chocolate milk. It literally spanned the entire width of the kitchen.

Dad wasn't at the birthday party last night. I was okay while it was happening...and even later that night. Even when Jenny was trying to talk to me about Dad. I was trying not to get emotional then. (Jen, sorry. I guess maybe I didn't really want to talk about it - looking back at last night. Hope I didn't upset you...) Today - hit me like a ton of bricks at school. I was on my prep period, thank God. The image of my dad opening gifts with Gabriel last year while we snapped pictures kept coming to me today. Then the realization that he not only didn't get ot help Gabriel, or see the amazing Bears come back last night or eat cake and laugh with us, or hug me just still stings. A lot. So today? Today was pretty crappy. Maybe the rain and gloominess of the sky didn't help. Either way, I was pretty sad today.

A friend from church is battling some medical issues. I called him in his hospital room and prayed with him during my prep today (and before the breakdown I just mentioned). It's scary to hear dooming medical terms as possibilities. But you know his response? In my anxiety for him, he said that my dad taught him how to handle it no matter what the real outcomes are. How amazing. I was blessed. I guess the last half of this paragraph may belong in the "ups".

Thanks for letting me get it out, once again.

Friday, October 12, 2007


You know when you find out months after a conversation happened that you may have hurt someone's feelings? And the way you find out was told to you "in confidence" so you have no idea how to fix it because you aren't even supposed to know.

I'm there now. Pray for wisdom.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What a difference...

A new hairstyle can make. My spirits were lifted today....just a simple haircut and highlight, but it did me good.

Luke QB'ed his flag football game tonight and threw a touchdown pass on his second play!!!!!!! Needless to say, our section was quite rowdy over that one. It was fun.

And now I am going to do something I haven't done in....ages....
It's not even 9 PM and I'm going to bed. Hopefully TONIGHT will be different and I can get some sleep.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


While I was teaching yesterday, my classroom door was open. I'm on the end of the building (they tend to keep the noisy ones away from others), so I usually leave the door open unless it's lunch time because the noise from the cafeteria and my classroom tend to compete if the door isn't shut. I was teaching fourth grade, and I glanced up because something caught my eye by the door. I was so sure. I saw my dad. He was walking by with his white t-shirt that had some baseball reference and the big scripted word "Sacrifice" across the front. That split second was more than wonderful. I had that urge to call out to him and call him back in the room. And then in that flash of a moment, it all fell apart. The flood of reality came crashing back in. So this makes the 3rd time something like this has happened.

I saw him standing in line at the viewing, waiting to see himself, apparently.

Last Saturday, I was relaxing in the sand. Gabriel and Chad were trying to doze in the sun. The other boys were off playing with Tony and LuAnn, Chad's parents. My eyes were shut. My head tilted back against the chair. I was trying to doze off myself when I heard Dad off to my left. But it wasn't him. He was talking...but no, he wasn't.

A friend at church had told me she sees her dad (who died when I was a little girl) walking down the streets of Greentown....or in the grocery store.

I hate these tricks my mind plays. It makes the devastation that he's gone choke me.

This week at school is grandparent's week, as if one day wouldn't have been bad enough. My schedule actually managed to avoid the times with the grade levels involved (all but tomorrow morning for about one hour). But today...I had a hard time. I was walking back from another classroom getting ready for my fourth grade Music class when I saw another teacher come out from around a corner calling out that we needed the nurse and someone to call 911. Apparently, a grandfather (with a very recent history of 2 open heart surgeries and a few heart attacks) had gone down, bashing a hole in to the wall about the size of a grapefruit. With the fall came lots of blood. This teacher was followed by the grandson, a third grader, crying hysterically for his grandparent. The images of these visitors in the hallways have stirred up several emotions already....When does Luke have to deal with this? Will he be able to keep his mind off of Dad or will it be a horrible day for him? Dad only got to go to one for Luke. He'll never go to Drew and Evan's grandparents day (other than the one at preschool last year). Gabriel didn't even get a chance....but seeing Erik cry. It mortified me. I wanted to fix it so badly for him. I saw Luke standing there in front of the casket all over again. I heard his cries with each of Erik's sobs. It was horrible.

I know all my posts are so dark....I don't mean them to be. But I do feel better after it's "out" - so I guess for now, please bear with me.

Picture post - Lake Michigan Last Saturday

The kids, Chad, and I went to Lake Michigan to spend the day on the "beach" with Tony and LuAnn (Chad's parents). It was good to get away. Enjoy the pictures.

It's constant. They NEVER stop wrestling. I'm sure it's just the boy in them all.>

Drew (Left) and Evan

More Drew and Evan

I asked Gabriel to say cheese. This is the result.

They had a lot of fun feeding the birds!! Probably a little too much fun. After all the Captain Crunch cereal, the birds wouldn't go away! They got most of Evan's sandwich at lunch.

Gabriel wasn't afraid of the birds at all. I would have been. I kept my distance!

It looks like Luke is actually holding this bird, but he wasn't.

Evan's sand angel

Luke and his daddy fishing: probably both of their favorite things....

Gabriel riding Evan through the sand.

Gabriel and his grandma Lu

The Boys: Drew and Luke are in the back. Evan and Gabriel are in the front.

Drew strikes a pose.

Evan's pose. Neither of the twins are camera shy! That's for sure!

Evan and Chad's Mom, LuAnn

And this was the sunset over Lake Michigan. It was a very peaceful night. I'm glad we went.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Well, I'm proud to announce that with the exception of night time, my family is now 100% DIAPER FREE! :) Way to go, Gabriel! His 3rd birthday is October 21.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I didn't cook

It's really becoming a bad habit...a costly habit...but I didn't want to be home tonight, thinking...about 2 months we went to IHOP.

Gabriel was too cute eating the Kids' "Funny Face Meal" which was one large buttermilk pancake with chocolate chips, whipped cream smile and cherry eyes. He had a blast eating it. What kid wouldn't?

So the trip worked. I felt like a normal family for the first time in a long time. Every one of us was in a good mood. We laughed together over Gabriel's silliness, Luke's growing sense of humor, Drew's uniqueness, and Evan's constant chatter. We learned far too much from the (how do I say this the nice way??) mentally challenged family across from us. Luke held in the laughter (better than my husband did) when they stood to leave and the son's butt-crack was hanging out of his pants. He didn't seem to mind it, as if it were a normal thing for him. We got in the van after paying, and Chad thanked Luke for being mature enough not to giggle at the man whose butt was hanging out. That sparked an entirely new and equally funny conversation. (Side note: Evan is so going to be that kid. The one that crosses right over the line....the funny but gross comments. You know the kind...hopefully it will just linger around ornery and not dirty.)

Later, we headed to the pet store to hook up Tuck the Turtle with a new filter. His was broken and making his tank quite stinky. He is extremely happy with his new set up, swimming through the new floating log with ease. The kids and I watched him for about an hour tonight. Luke even did his homework in front of the tank in Drew and Evan's room on the floor while we watched. It may be a rough morning because they stayed up late, but I won't regret it because it was a near perfect evening for me and the family. There were no arguments, no whining. It was just nice.

...seriously, their butter pecan pancake syrup is delicious...