Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mid-week review

So my first week of my spring break was busy but productive. I got the quilt top done for the silent auction, and yesterday I got the signed back back from the marching band. Now I just need to sandwich it all together with the batting, quilt it on my machine, and bind it off. I guess the kids (and the director) really liked it, so I am pleased. I hope it raises a goodly amount of money for the trip.

I have lost another pound, for a total of 7 so far. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't more, but I have to give myself credit for continuing to lose steadily at a healthy rate.  Despite my wish for magical numbers, I know that slow and steady is healthier for me, and easier to keep off. I am still struggling with planning dinner menus, because the kids haven't been terribly thrilled with a lot of what I have been making for the most part (although as Eric has pointed out, meals get made and if they don't like it, they can fend for themselves). I just struggle to figure out what to make each evening that is within the point values and still is tasty.  I will give WWs credit: they do have some tasty recipies. It's just planning ahead to be sure all the ingredients are on hand. I don't mind cooking; I just hate the planning that goes into it sometimes.

Tonight is the visitation for June, and Liisa, Tony, Jesse, Jim, and the little ones will be going to pay their respects to the family. My heart is there with them. It's gonna be a hard night for the family, and my prayers are with them. I hope all goes well tonight. There had been some strain between Liisa and June's daughter (and another girlfriend too), so she is a bit apprehensive about going, and yet she feels in her heart it's the right thing to do, and I agree. Liisa wrote the most beautiful note to her friend and I hope it helps with healing process.

I have had a couple of charming visits with my Mpls grandbabies over the past few days, including being serenaded with multiple rounds of "Mary had a little lamb" this morning. I am also enjoying baby Skye of late. She is so responsive and loving! She reaches to be picked up, she shows a preference for various people, and she "sings" and babbles so nicely. When she is in the jump-up, she launches herself up and down with vigor, and squeals with delight. She loves going for walks in her stroller, and smiles broadly at everyone we pass. She is such a wonderful baby!

Eric is working his short week this week, and has his longer one next week.  We are really looking forward to his parents coming next week for a visit, and his brother and wife are coming as well. It will be fantastic to see them all again. I miss them too when it's been awhile between visits! They are all coming into town to celebrate Grandma Hap's 101st birthday. We owe her a visit as well, as she enjoys seeing the baby. His first week back in class has gone ok. One class is a repeat, to make up for one he failed. Hopefully it will go better this time around! I always felt like repeating a class was easier because some of the work has already been done once.

The kids are doing ok, although we have strep here. Patrick got sick first, and when he got his throat culture, he mis-read the antibiotic label and only took his med once a day. He has since realized his mistake and is taking it better now. Then, Rei got a bad sore throat, and when I took him in his test results were inconclusive, so they decided to treat it anyway. Now Brie is having a sore thoat and congestion, although she went to work today despite trying to call off. I hope she goes and gets a throat culture too, because I would hate for the baby to get sick too. Aurora is also hoping to NOT get sick as well, so we are all using lots of handwashing and staying away from the sickies. Patrick has been told he can't go back to work til he is done with his meds because he had been working while sick and they didn't approve. Brie tried to call off today but wasn't able to because they were short staffed. My hope is that she is careful because strep and food-service sure don't go well together.

I am hoping the weather starts to improve soon. We got almost 6 inches of snow early this week after a weekend in the 80's and my rose bushes are branching out, the lilacs have buds on them, and the forsythia is in full flower. I am concerned about the cold hurting them. They were talking about freezing last night, and although it did get to 32 (I believe), when I walked the yard today everything looked good still. Spring needs to come faster!  I am so tired of grey skies and gloom!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To lighten things up a bit:

My grandson Justin just called me to share that he lost his first tooth all by itself (remember, he knocked out his top two front teeth when I was in Minneapolis after a fall and hitting them on the cement step at my mom's). He was eating a "hard apple and it camed out all by itself" and he swallowed it!  That was ok though, because he made a paper tooth for the tooth fairy, so she isn't sad. I told him I wanted a picture of his new toothless smile.

My granddaughter Alexis, not to be left out, informed me she still had all her teeth.  When I told her baby Skye had one tooth, she asked where, and when I told her, Justin hollered (I was on speaker phone at their house) that she had the one he "losed"! Gave me a giggle. Then, Andrea said she had a few cute outfits that Alexis had long outgrown and was thinking of sending them this way for Skye, but Alexis didn't care for that idea at all, saying she would be sad if her clothes came to Grandma's house for Skye.  Again, it was worth a giggle.

Oh how I miss my little ones!  They make me smile!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ponderings and prayers

I have had a lot on my mind this week, lots of deep thoughts on a lot of subjects. Today I read a couple of things that are offering perspective.

The first was a blog by a young woman in her mid-twenties, who is living in a poor community in an African country, and she has adopted a number of girls who call her "mommy". She went there originally (if I am understanding her back story correctly) on a mission trip, and fell in love with the people and their needs. She wants to reflect Jesus' life in her interactions with all, and in the course of that mission has aided the building of a school, the delivery system of bringing medicine and comfort to the ill, and providing food and spiritual support to the people in her tiny village and the surrounding villages. She posted a blog about giving one's all in faith, not knowing the outcomes, because God is gracious and provides, and His love endures. It was something I needed to read today, and I am not doing it justice. The link though is in my sidebar.

Then just about a half hour ago, in checking my emails, I saw I had a caring bridge notification update. A friend of Liisa's started that blog for her mother, who was diagnosed in December with pancreatic cancer that had metastisized to her liver. The update said that June was brought home from the hospital and hospice was instituted because she has entered end-stage renal failure and it's now just a matter of time. Three months to go from ignorant of the cancer diagnosis to being in the final stages of it.  She is more or less my age, and I know her daughter fairly well. My heart is breaking for that family. My heart is breaking for Liisa too, who knew and really like this mom.

As a mother it begs the question for me of "how do you say goodbye?" My mother is still healthy and vital at 73. Eric's mom is equally healthy and vital, as am I. But things can change so quickly, sometimes in a heartbeat, as I know from losing my dad, my first mother-in-law. And there is so much to say, to teach, to instill. I don't feel like my job of being a parent is anywhere near to being done, and I know that there is still so much my kids need me for, even if there are sometimes hundreds of miles between us (physically, and at times emotionally). My mom has been there for me through so many of life's ups and downs, and I see her getting older, getting tired more easily, seeming to be a bit more fragile. I am not ready to give her up yet, nor am I prepared in any way for becoming the matriarch of my family, as I became in Jim's family after his mom's passing. I feel like there is so much that I have taken for granted in both directions. And this makes me stop and think.

There is so much of life that is out of our control. The weather, other people, the whims of fate; I have come to accept that I can be a perfectionist over many things, and that I have control issues: I want to know, I want to understand, and I want to have a plan. Sometimes though, nothing goes as scheduled. There are other factors at work, other motives and needs in play, other perspectives that need to be taken into account. It isn't always about me and what I want or think I need. And I need to give it to God, to trust in His plan, to know that He does provide sufficient grace for each day no matter how much I have to struggle thru or with. And my job is to trust in Him, in His goodness, in His vision and direction for my life. Because the reality is, there is little I can control on my own except for my own beliefs, my own thoughts, my own reactions to things. And that it's okay, and will be okay, because I am not alone. God is with me. Just as God is holding June in His hand as he prepares to lead her home, and he holds her family in His hand as He provides comfort, strength, and peace to them.

In the good times, the comfortable times, it's easy to walk in faith, to proclaim God's grace and goodness. In hindsight one can see God's goodness and grace in action during those times of trial. It is only in the here and now that it's hard to walk in faith, when things feel upside down, when things are not necessarily following my personal script, that I need to turn to God anyway and say "thy will be done." Even when it's so very hard to do, because I don't like ambiguity or change, no matter how necessary. For those who read this blog, please understand, things ARE going fine here, and there is nothing specific that has brought me to these mental ponderings. It is more an accummulation of little things that are swirling in my brain, and sometimes I need to wax philisophical as I try to find order and direction.  My heart is heavy for June and her family, her husband, children and grandchildren. I have also been feeling strongly that I need to spend some time back in Mpls visiting family without an agenda, to spend some time with my mom, my kids, my grandkids. Added into the mix is grey, gloomy skies, snow this morning (and more predicted for tomorrow), a fussy baby who does NOT want to nap today but needs one desperately, and it all contributes to me feeling heavy today.

I am grateful for the blogs I follow because each in their own way offer words of wisdom, sometimes at the oddest of times, and I am grateful for my family and friends, who keep me grounded in love and in prayers. Thanks for walking this walk with me!

Added 26 March, 2011: June lost her battle with cancer early this morning, 3 months and 11 days after being diagnosed with it. She died at home, with her family all together near her, and her passing was peaceful. Please keep her family in your prayers though. She was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, just a few years older than me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring is in the air!

I posted this pic on facebook already where it received many comments from her dad's family. Skye's eyes remain a brilliant blue, her laugh is infectious, and she is trying so hard to crawl. We sat outside yesterday in the almost 80 degree weather for over an hour, while she tried to figure out what grass is, whether or not she really wants to stand in it, and laughing as the wind blew in her face.

The weather is changing as a cold front moves in and we are headed back into more "normal" temps. Gonna miss these lovely days of windows open and sitting out front.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Misty Morning Vineyard

I just finished the border on the outer left half, so I am now trying to decide what section to do next. I am thinking I'd like to finish out the left side, then do the top, work my way right, and then bottom, because I'll need to then switch the side my light and magnifier are on to work the right side (the magnifier does't reach all the way across and this design area is huge!).

Just wanted to share my progress.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

The start of a quiet week--I hope!

Last week was crazy. Appointments every day, things going on, papers and homework to finish... It was nuts!

Spring is clearly in the air, and the weather feels almost humid today. My bedroom feels kinda steamy, and I am like the cats, sitting in my chair by the window while Skye naps on my bed. Brie went out yesterday and bought her a weeks worth of new clothes because she has limited things that fit her right now. She fits well into the 6-9 month size, but has only a few items in that size, so Brie got her a bunch of adorable things for spring and summer in size 12 months. The first outfit I put on her today looks adorable on her, and I admit, I am a sucker for babies in slightly too big clothes.  I had to tease Brie though--she was adamant that Skye was gonna be a tomboy, and NOT wear pink very much; most of what she bought were dresses and skirt outfits, and very girly-girl.  I love it! Plus Skye loves to wear dresses and play with the skirts.

Eric and I had a difference of opinion over the rose garden this weekend. I gave in (fairly ungracefully I might add) because he wanted to cut the roses way back, while I was thrilled with all the buds and branches that were leafing out, but up higher on the branch. In MN I cut back the branches that were dead, and cut back to above where the new growth started, but I let the tops (with all their buds) stay, just to see what they were going to do.  I did the cutting back myself, but I wasn't happy about it. I am sure in the end it will be fine, and I think a part of what caught me off guard was that they were already budding in mid March--in MN I wouldn't see the start of new growth until mid May. We have the crocus all in flower now, and the tulips and the hyacynth are coming up as well.  The maple tree is all in bud with scarlet buds, and the lilac bushes are also budding. I was really worried about the one that seemed to get attacked by something last year (bugs? aphids? the leaves got really funky and chewed looking, but I never saw the cause). The one I was most worried about isn't looking as robust as the other, but it does have buds on it, so I am cautiously optomistic. The forsythia is in full bloom and we are blessed that those are looking good--Eric had been concerned about them too.

I got my paper finished and turned in. I was a little worried about how it would be graded because I had met the spirit of the requirements, but fudged a bit on the letter of it (lost 4 points because of it). I was supposed to interview an expert in child development--a nurse, a doctor, a clinician of some sort--with expertise in prenatal or neonatal development. I chose instead to interview two mothers of children born with rare developmental (genetic) disabilities, including the place development diverged from the norm, what the outcomes look like, and what the experiences were like for these mothers in forming both relationships with their children with the added stressors of NICU involvement (and specialists), AND, the learning processes they experienced in learning to care for children who would develop differently from the norm.  We needed to also discuss best practices as related to research and our interviews, so I took the themes developed from my interviews and applied the literature review results I found to them, discussing implications, as a clinician, for working more effectively with families who have chronic/developmental/challenges so that the interventions are supportive, knowledgable, and respectful.

Over-all I was very pleased with the paper, and I was especially thrilled with what I learned in doing this, as I interviewed two mom's I know personally (one far longer than the other), and have an emotional attachment to both of the children (ok, they are teens now). There were perspectives I thought I knew that were validated, and there were also things I had just assumed, and was completely wrong about. I am so grateful to both of these ladies for letting me pick their brains about a time in their lives that was so stressful and overwhelming in many ways. There are parts of it I wish I could have expanded more on, but given the constraints of time and length, there is much I didn't address, or only lightly touched on, but talking with each of them was an experience of laughter, of shedding tears, of sharing commonalities, and of relating on a different level. I have no regrets about diverging from the letter of the requirements because I gained more than just a good grade (got an A on the paper, and an A for the term).

With the exception of sewing the border on it, I have the quilt top done for the silent auction at the school.  I will get those sewn on today, and get the backing trimmed up to match it. Then I will send it to the school (or hand deliver it to the teacher) so that they know what I want on the back (the top is just so the kids can see what it looks like, and to perhaps generate some interest in advance). Once I have it back I will machine quilt it, and bind it off. I figure I will cut it close, but if I give just a few days for them to have it at the school that should still give me time.

I continue to have slow but steady success on my WW's plan. Tomorrw is weigh in day for me, but I have lost 4.6 lbs so far. Eric too has lost about 7 lbs, and he too is pleased. It's gonna be a process for me because of my thyroid issues, but if I stick with it, I will be satisfied with my results as time goes by. I am committed to getting a bike too for me, and have been looking at them and pricing them out. Liisa and I were laughing but I am serious about using the bike to get Skye and I to the pool this year--good exercise, good sun, and fun! (which also means buying a bike cart too--one of those meant for babies/little kids).

I am dreading heading downstairs. The dogs got into the trash after (I am guessing) the kids left for school. When I went downstairs to make Skye a bottle and get coffee for myself, there was trash, coffee grounds, spinach stems, and fast-food cups and wrappers all over the kitchen floor, as well as dragged around the laundry room and sewing room. And Po peed on the counter in front of the sink, a major flood that can't be missed.  I was so upset I was ready to open the back door and invite them to run free!  Honestly, I would never, every really do it, but man I was furious this morning!  I'll be going down and cleaning it up after Skye wakes up, but she was fighting her nap and when I tried to lay her in the crib she got way upset. She finally gave in with her bottle, but I didn't want to move her off the bed once she was out. She cannot be trusted to be left alone any more though because she rolls, she squirms, and she scoots.

I have some concrete goals for myself between now and April 11th when my new term starts (Adolescent Psych this coming term), and I suppose I can start on some of the things I can do quietly in my bedroom while the baby sleeps...  Time to move forward!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A semi-sunny Saturday!

It has been a busy week. It was Eric's long week at work, there have been lots of things on deck, and time has just gotten away from me.

The baby went to the doctor's yesterday for her 6th month checkup and she now weighs 18.5 lbs and is 27" long. She was very good, and got her 4 month shots (Brie had some confusion over the time of the 4 month physical and missed it), and will get the 6 month injections on the 31st. She is running a low grade temp today, so I gave her some infant ibuprofen. She is sleeping as I type, right next to me on the bed. Poor little one is doing better after shots this time around--doesn't seem as sore--but the fever has her glassy eyed and cuddly.

Brie is at drill all weekend, and Eric is working, although he took tomorrow off to go to Aurora's final bowling match, the top 24 bowlers of the district, which she qualified for. It's in Cahokia (whereever that is) and we have to have her there before 9 am. Gonna be fun with the time change overnight. We'll all be overtired and crabby tomorrow!

I started Weight Watcher's online with Liisa about 10 days ago. I had lost 3.6 lbs as of Tuesday's weigh in. We'll see if that trend continues when I weigh again on this coming tuesday. It's going well--I am not finding myself struggling too badly, although there are times my craving certain things tries to get the best of me--like chips or chocolate...  So far so good though! As I have said before, my goal is to be healthy, not necessarily model thin.  I just want to look and feel good about myself!

I have one more week of class stuff for this term, and then it's on to the next one. I think I am going to stay with one class at a time for the nonce. It's working out well for me generally. I just need to revamp some timing stuff based on Brie's schedule and all the babysitting I'm doing.

Today is a decent day for a change, although it looks like the clouds are coming back.  It was so nice to see sunshine this morning for awhile! I need to go check on the bulbs out front again, and the maple tree in the back is budding in scarlet right now, so lovely to see!

One of the kids downloaded a nasty virus onto my MY desktop. I worked with the antivirus company we use to remove it, but it corrupted a bunch of files and now nothing is working right on it. I am locked out of any repairs I can make myself (at least this far); I think a trip to Best Buy is in the offing to have them diagnose it and see what we need to do now.  It's not that old (I think somewhere around 2 maybe?) and we paid a small fortune for it, so this is really pissing me off!  I hope the fix isn't too costly.  Stupid kids anyway!

Enough ranting. Time to get back to infant development.  That is the assignment due today!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another cute picture!

Skye was all dolled up, complete with spring bonnet, for our day trip to St. Charles when Liisa was here. The bib says "my grandma never says no", which is a complete lie! I promise! I say no a lot (although maybe not to Skye)
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Happy baby has met new milestones this week!

Skye has started sitting up without supports, and is oh so proud of herself, and her first tooth has erupted as well... She was sucking on my knuckle the other day and bit down sharply. Sure enough there is now a tiny bright shiny tooth instead of a swollen lump in her gum. She feels much better now!
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Small signs of spring!

Eric planted a bunch of spring bulbs last fall in our quest to have year around (or as close as we can get to it) color in our yard. These, I believe, are the hyacinth bulbs starting to show their spindly leaves in the midst of the old growth and drab soil. We are watching their arrival with anticipation!
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March First!

Wow, where did the last  month go? It went by so fast!

I am finally feeling better.  The cold is resolving into sniffles, the cough is miniscule, and the antibiotics have generally taken care of the other nasty bugs in my system.  So nice to feel human again!

Schoolwork is progressing. This is Eric's last week of classes for a few weeks, and we are both looking forward to his having some down time. He resumes a day schedule at work this week, and we can hopefully find "normal" again to our daily routine. That, and get some regular sleep!  I have three weeks left, and it's going well. I love being a student!

The weather today has beein wonderful. Sunday night the temps climbed into the low sixties and we had thunderstorms and tornadoes at midnight. We were out of the danger zone by a number of miles, but a funnel was spotted over Mascoutah that touched down in St Alban's (where we turn off to go to the winery). We had a bit of lawn furniture blown over, and the hail and light-show from the lightening was pretty intense. We actually gathered in the main floor living room (out of bed) just in case because the sirens kept blowing and the weather forecasters showed us the storm was on top of us...  They actually got it right! As I said, we were fine, although there were other communities not too far away who weren't so lucky.

Brie had a nice time in Oklahoma, and "Little Bit" was glad to be home. She has had a nice morning with Eric and I and just fell asleep on my bed. She started sitting independently the end of last week and she is so proud of herself--has finally found her center of gravity! The rest of the kids are doing fine; I think they too are getting over their colds, and so forth. I am having some ups and downs with my son right now, and prayers would be appreciated for patience and strength on both sides... 

I have started Weight Watcher's online today, with Liisa, and possibly a girlfriend of mine. I have been pondering it for awhile now, and decided the time was ripe to do something for me. Eric is fully supportive of it, and as he wants to lose a bit too, he is going to follow along with me. My sister has done fabulous on it, and I was successful using the program in the past, so we'll see if I can stick with it this time! My biggest issue, if I am honest with myself, is I love my carbs, and I love to eat what and when I want. I need to be more cognizant of portion sizes and eating more fruits and veggies. And for sure, I need to up my movement quotient--I have become a couch potato deluxe! The nice weather is coming though and I enjoy walking, and I think I would like to get a bike too.  So I have a plan!  We'll see how it goes!

That's the news from down here for today!