Friday, June 26, 2009

I guess we're not sweet enough to melt...

or else we definitely would have by now. It is so stinkin' hot. 10 degrees above normal all week means we have broken 100 daily. It takes 1/2 an hour to cool down the car as your back sweats and your kids complain and you lose your mind.

It is 6:30 AM here and I just went outside to water some flowers. After being greeted by the curtain of death I decided I better change into my swimsuit and try again later...when the hot breeze begins to blow. When the swimming pools feel like bathwater at 9AM, you know the only relief is to just stay indoors.

We are doing just that. We've been spending time coloring under the fan while the A/C blows full blast.

Check out these new color rolls my aunt made for the girls.

I'm sure she has a much cuter name for them, but that's what is coming to my mind at this fine summer hour. Stay tuned because when she gets her website up and running, she's planning on doing a giveaway here. She is so crafty...these little color rolls are a work of art themselves.

We've also been practicing new hairdos. My poor children were born to a hair challenged mama. You know your husband has embraced this fact when you find him trying to fix your 4 year old's hair with a stack of Wikipedia pages next to him entitled "How to Braid Hair". God love that man. I sure do.

I did manage to get Jade's locks into a little pony. Meet Bam-Bam.

Bam-Bam has been a wonderful observer all week at Lily's swimming lessons.
As far as news on that front. Hmm...well, she's the oldest one of the four and the only one with previous swimming lesson experience. Yet, she's without a doubt the most behind. I like this coach though and going every day versus once a week is giving me a glimmer of hope. I'm still sticking to my guns though and giving myself a break from lessons after this session.

This session has been fun though...there are twins in our class and then a private lesson with triplet girls going on next to us. Makes me thankful I don't have identical triplets of Lily...I seriously can't imagine swimming lesson stress x 3!

Well, I'm off to enjoy a heat advisory with a side of ozone alert...make yours a good day too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Glutton for punishment...swimming lesson style.

Remind me, what are the purpose of swimming lessons?

Oh, yeah. To learn how to do that "s" word. Swim? No, swim wasn't actually the "s" word I was thinking of. Survival was the word on my mind.

We have survived two 8 week sessions since January and I am feeling like a glutton for punishment by enrolling her in yet another session. Obviously I don't have a future swim team member on my hands here, but I would like her to be able to survive if she ever accidentally fell in some water deeper than 18 inches. 16 lessons later and we still aren't at the point of flipping over and swimming to the side.

To Lily's credit, she has overcome a lot of her fears and will on occasion put her face in the water. It is in a quick plunging manner though that has caused us to have our first bout with swimmer's ear...kind of odd for a non-swimming kid.

Also to her credit, we haven't exactly had the perfect coaching situation. We've experienced 4 different coaching changes over those two sessions which is enough to confuse any child I'm sure.

Remember this post? Well, we started out with a guy so young that I swear his mother must have been dropping him off to teach the lessons. So I made a change to a young mom who was excellent. Lily started to build a rapport with her and things were on the up and up. See these pictures? She is actually off the step and in the water...big improvement over this.

It takes a lot of effort to float on your back and keep your ears out of the water at the same time.

Then the club abruptly changed instructors which brought us to another guy who was easy on the eyes but not so great on the lessons. Yet again another staffing change delivered a sweet grandmotherly woman who Lily simply didn't respond to. Sadly, 4 months of dragging two kids to the gym for lessons at the crack of each Monday dawn didn't produce many results.

Although I'm not asking for prayer for her swim coach like I did in January, please keep us in mind as we try another venue this afternoon and hopefully stick with the same coach for these next two weeks of daily lessons. Third time is the charm, right?

And if it's not? This mom is thinking of a "d" word. No, not drowning....just DONE...I plan on being done with swim lessons regardless of how all this turns out...until it is time to put Jade in of course. Notice how I wait until they are old enough to do it on their own? Mommy and me swim lessons just do not sound fun. If I'm going to be dealing with a screaming and kicking child, I'd prefer to be humiliated while fully clothed. Thank you very much.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Surprising Dad

Let's face it. December birthdays are not the best. My dad is blessed with one such birthday...a whopping two days before Christmas.

As hard as we try to separate the two occasions, they often blur together as one celebration. I'm not a fan of giving him combo gifts and always make sure to find some birthday paper amid the sea of red and green Christmas wrapping that is going on. Sadly though, even with different paper and putting the gifts as far from the Christmas tree as possible, his birthday never seems to get enough significant attention as its own meaningful event.

I was determined to make that different when he turned 60 last December. But as the holiday rush and madness hit, coupled with our trip to Disney World, my determination waned. Plus, how do you squeeze a big birthday bash in among all the other holiday parties and expect it to be well attended?

I now have an answer for that. You throw a surprise 60 1/2 birthday party 6 months later. I guess you could say the surprise part was pretty easy...who would be expecting a party in June for their December birthday?

Needless to say, he was shocked. And after the initial blow was just setting in, he went around the corner to find 3 of his siblings and a couple of their spouses who had traveled down from Wisconsin for the event...something that would have been hard for them to do in December.

He basically spent the whole evening in utter amazement of how we pulled it all off without him catching wind of it at all.


The cake was ready.

The food was ready.

The paparazzi were ready.

He finally came in the door. (My sister got a great pic from her angle...hoping to switch it out soon ;) hint, hint!)

Video of his entrance, his first question? "Who cut the grass?"...classic dad.

The second shock of his siblings in the next room.

Here is a slide show of the rest of the pictures. If you're interested in captions, run your mouse over each picture. If you want it to go faster, just click the + sign.

A special thanks to Kim for hosting it at their house and keeping it a secret so well. She did a wonderful job! And of course it was extra special to have that many people traveling down from Wisconsin for the party...thanks so much y'all!

We love you dad and can't think of a better way to have spent Father's Day weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dell, you are swell.

Just to give you an idea of how overwhelming life has been these past few weeks, (more to come on why, later), this gorgeous new baby of mine sat in her box completely ignored for almost a week.

I am so in love with my new laptop. She is so shiny that I just hate getting my fingerprints on her. Which is why I had to steal a fingerprint-free photo from Dell's website.

I had made it clear to Jerry that this was going to be mine. I knew he had taken me seriously when he made me do all the setup. Looking for new drivers and updates? Huh? Hopefully I did everything I was supposed to.

Oh, how I've missed having a laptop. When mine crashed a couple of years ago, my mom was kind enough to let us have her old desktop. I can't believe that dinosaur lasted as long as it did. I may have had to euthanize it if it had held on much longer.

I feel my bloggy desire coming back, so watch out. And I'm sure this is going to do wonders for our marriage. Does surfing the web side by side on the couch for hours each night count as quality time?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reason to Celebrate!

Have you ever looked forward to a doctor's appointment? I can honestly say that today as Lily and I ventured to her Pediatric GI, that I was completely excited. Excited to brag on Lily and how well she is (finally) doing with her GI issues.

I will honestly miss seeing him. He is the kind of doc that serves more as a counselor/friend type...a parent in the trenches with similar aged kids. He was genuinely proud of her and she just ate it up.

When we left his office over a year ago, we had a plan, medicines to try, and a stack of play therapist cards. We were told not to come back until she was having no problem going potty on her own all of the time. Then we could return to get a plan from him to wean her from her medicines.

12 weeks into play therapy, medicines, and sheer frustration, I honestly thought I'd never reach the day when I was sitting in his office with such good to make a discharge plan.

But 13 months later there we sat...reason to celebrate for sure.

I told Lily we could go to a special restaurant afterward. She was thinking Chick-Fil-A.

Mommy was thinking Cheescake Factory.

I should have gotten my own slice of cheescake. That girl can hold her own.

I couldn't think of a tastier way to test one's GI tract.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fun in the 4x5 bathroom for 45 minutes

I was taking a much needed snooze upstairs when my hubby awoke me with news of tornado warnings.

The girls were already in the tiny "central" downstairs bathroom, and when Jerry and I joined them there I knew we were in for some fun. They were in hyperactive mode and loving our "adventure".

As the winds picked up and the lights flickered we uttered prayers to our God in heaven and hunkered down.

Then the playing continued.

Zipping and unzipping the sofa cushions as well as flashlight play were the top two faves.

Lily even took a potty break in the midst of us. Thankfully it was just a little tee-tee.

Soon enough we surveyed the damage and found several limbs down, potted plants overturned and broken, and patio furniture blown everywhere. I was surprised to see that our little "roller coaster", which locks together, was separated and blown throughout the yard.

Most notably though we lost about 40% of the siding on our chimney.

Thankfully I haven't heard of any injury reports and everyone is resting soundly in this house anyway...lulled to sleep by the soft rain.

And this mama is about to see if it can work its magic on her as well.

Goodnight, folks!


Wow. The only word that is coming to mind right now is exhaustion...physical, mental, and spiritual.

We have spent the last several days celebrating my stepfather's life. Visitation, funeral, interment, and multiple meals. And if I am tired, I can't imagine how my mom and his children are feeling.

Everything was very well attended. His life was definitely honored and remembered well.

It was only the fourth funeral I've ever attended. And the first time I've ever stepped foot in a funeral home or been a part of a funeral procession or graveside service.

As expected as his death was, all of these events and the planning of them was still very difficult. I could not stop thinking about how those who suffer a tragic or sudden loss even begin to get through the preparations much less the actual events themselves.

Only by the grace of God I imagine.

Anyway, I'll quit my rambling and leave you with the poem printed in Charlie's visitation program.


Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God has chosen for me.
I took His hand when I heard him call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I've now found peace at the end of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;
Oh yes, these things, I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
Look for the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life's been full, I've savored much;
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seems all to brief;
Don't lengthen your pain with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now-He set me free
Author: Shannon Lee Moseley.

Rest in peace, Charlie. You will be missed.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Charlie went home.

Just a little over a year ago, my step-dad suffered a major stroke.

I contemplated his frustrating loss of speech in this post. It has been a difficult year of seeing him slowly decline and watching my mother care for him in a tireless and selfless manner.

Over the past week it became apparent that his time with us was drawing to a close. Charlie passed away around 5:30 this morning. While we were very sad to let him go, it is a true joy to know that he is no longer suffering. I can once again hear his voice in my head as I imagine him walking the streets of heaven and chatting with everyone in his path. Walking and talking...two things he hasn't been able to do in so long.

I covet your prayers as we walk along side my mom during the funeral planning, visitation, lunch, internment, etc. I don't do any of those things well. Does anyone? Thankfully I don't have much practice under my belt in this area. I just want to be supportive and encouraging to her during this difficult time...trusting that the Lord will show me the best way to do just that.
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