Sunday, March 30, 2008

Friendships .... not for the faint of heart.....

A dear friend of mine just lost her father. He was only 61 years old. I never got to meet him but I have heard enough to get an idea of what kind of man he was. I know that he helped to shape his daughter into the friend I know and love. Because she has seen me through some not so attractive times in my life, she means a lot to me. We've laughed and cried and become the kind of friends you always hope come into your life when you need them. Which is the point. While it would be nice to pretend that all of our girl dates revolve around shopping and good cocktails (and great Thursday night TV), it doesn't. When our true friends hurt, we do too. Deeply. Enough to wish we could take some of the pain away but knowing that instead, we have a unique role to play. We all know what that role entails. At least, if we are blessed. And hopefully, Marci is finding out just how blessed she is.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Sarah!!!

My very talented friend Sarah is celebtrating her 31st birthday today!!! She and her hubby are anxiously awaiting the referral of Hannah Claire (coming to us from Taiwan). If you haven't checked out her blog, please do - she is witty and so creative. She and Kevin will make the most wonderful parents! We are hoping to celebrate with them next week with some Mexican food. Her blog:

Workin' For a Livin'.......

It's just been one of those weeks for both of us at our is end of the quarter for GE so that means a little more work at home and a little less patience for all of my critical needs (including Taco Bell). A bit of the same for me with "State" coming in to the nursing home and all of us pretending it is this clean all the time. Does anyone think those inspectors really buy that? Don't they have wives at home that spend the ENTIRE day before company sprucing up the house? What a facade. Of course, add to that several new evaluations (hard to do in my 9 hour work week) just to make things look good - and it all got a little frustrating.

Thankfully - I have a new favorite song and video that sums it up pretty well. Huey and Garth are about the best pairing since chocolate and peanut butter ... and if you don't agree, keep it to yourself because I would like to remain friendly with you. Come on, admit it - Huey's guitar and Garth's .... uh, jeans.... what could be better than that? And what would a country music video be without Nascar? The only thing missing is a drunk mama, a train, and some girl in a bikini.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Men Do With Action Figures..............

This just cracked me up!!!

I am trying to get more in touch with "boy humor" lately as it appears the male/female ratio in this house will be evenly matched come fall. Yikes! Emma, Claire, and I are used to having the upper hand - this might get dicey!

I have been doing a little more reading on raising boys - realizing that, many of our friends have mostly girls. I wonder what that is about? It is a large majority for us. I realize I have done it before - but to be honest, Grayson and all his gross motor, gun noises, and affinity for swords all seemed a bit strange to me. Monte always knew it was normal - I just wasn't so sure. I aim to be well educated enough this time to smile through the destruction. Any raising boy book suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Blog - I know you'll come through

I started this blog because extended family lives far away and I just AM NOT internet savvy. Now, it has turned into a way to stay close to friends and connect with all sorts of fascinating people that I would just love to live across the street from but don't. Let us just say my friend Sarah opened Pandora's box when she so patiently taught me how to do this. I don't have time to surf for blogs much but a friend has turned me on to this one. It's about a young family with plenty of hurdles but enough faith and strength to go around. Because I so treasure my friends that read this and know you are an authentic, spiritually gifted bunch, please take a second to check out this family and say a prayer for them. They'll appreciate it - and I know what you all can do!

Things That Make Me Happy This Week

The Rat Takes the Cheese - A darling first grade musical (all 130 of them had speaking parts) that proved that rats and cheese can indeed be friends. And the fact that the cast members brought permanent markers and signed each others' shirts/costumes.

A lime green bathroom for the kids.

Getting the window treatments in the mail for the kids' rooms. They aren't up yet... but it took me a year just to get them ordered.

The pond has thawed and while the fish are not jumping yet, the swans and ducks have returned with their prospective babies. We can sit in our porch swing and watch the wildlife.

Feeling the baby moving... even though it's not our first, it just amazes us each time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Easter (for most of us anyway).....

Hope all of you have a fabulous visit from the Easter bunny and you were able to spend quality time with loved ones! The kids had a ball making "personal creations" that really reflected their personalities. I'm hoping you can see the "stunning rendition" of R2D2 that Grayson made....and I'm pretty sure Claire's "sticker egg" broke the Guiness Book of World's Record for having 88 (yep - I counted) stickers on a single egg. Any sort of art is up Emma's alley so she thoroughly enjoyed herself too - - until she went to bed. Then the stomach flu started. Yep... while nobody else got it.... we were too afraid to take the well ones to church - just in case they would throw up on someone's new patent leather shoes. Emma recovered pretty quickly but we never left the house and had a fabulous holiday meal of chicken noodle soup and toast. Definitely an Easter to remember - and actually a nice family break from the crazy few weeks we've had.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's a ............. (Drumroll please)............

wonder the doctor can make out ANYTHING in these ultrasound pictures. The five of us went to see the OB (who is fast approaching "cupcake status" in my eyes) and he went over as much of the baby as he could to determine if anything needed monitoring, further testing, etc. So good.

The kids were less than thrilled with the quality of the ultrasound photos and despite my earlier warnings about "listening to the doctor" and "being respectful," Emma stated "It looks like a frog." In her defense, that particular shot did sort of resemble a .... OK, frog.

He asked them if they wanted to know if it was a boy or girl. They all nodded silently (hard to enunciate clearly when you have dum-dums stuffed in your mouth - I think it is the doc's subtle way of keeping them quiet).

When he announced it was a BOY, all three of them were suspicously quiet. No sobs or loud complaints from the girls - no fist pumping "YES" from the boy. Hmmm....not what I expected.

So, on the way to Dunkin' Donuts for a celebratory something, I asked all of them "How did the doctor know it was a boy? No response.

"What do you think he saw that made him think it was a boy?" Finally - Grayson's eyes lit up. "I know - the baby had a Power Ranger action figure!" Nope. Well, sort of.

I tried one final tactic to clarify this important distinction. "OK - when you take a bath - what does the boy have that a girl doesn't have?" Silence in the car for a moment - then Emma's face got all scrunched up - like when she sees a mushroom. "EWWWWW." I knew she'd gotten it.

"The doctor can see the baby's _________?" "Yes," I say, feeling relieved that I hadn't completely failed as a parent.

"You mean the baby is naked in there?" Sigh.

So - it is a boy - healthy looking so far - we are very excited - and obviously have some educating to do around here =).

By the way, if you can't decipher the picture - I'll describe it to you as the doc did to me. "On the left is the buttocks. Top and bottom are the legs. In the middle is "the brain." Or, as Claire puts it, "the wenis."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy 10th Anniversary to Us!!!

Wow. A whole decade. I am sure you all want to know how we celebrated tonight so I won't keep you in suspense any longer. After our impromptu flight to Paris, France for dinner and a romantic evening at the Eiffel tower, we jetsetted home in time to eat some cheese pizza from Walmart, take four kids to the dollar cinema to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, and host Emma's friend over for a sleepover.

Ladies, put your jealousy aside - it just isn't attractive =).

Seriously though, we did visit the doctor this morning (the whole troop) and got some fun and exciting news about the baby.

For those of you who do NOT wish to know, don't log on tomorrow. . . and don't worry - there is only one! Stay tuned............

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Kindergarten Blues....

Well, it's official. Grayson is registered for the big "K." Gulp.

I waited to register him until his spring parent teacher conference at Preschool. You know, just in case. Turns out, they still feel he is more than ready to go. The jury is still out on my opinion.

Academically, he is ready. Socially, MORE than ready. Fine motor wise - hmmm... He's come a long way... but still feels pictures are best adorned in a single color. To his credit, if he REALLY feels divinely inspired, he IS able to stay within the lines - most of the time.

So, with a little bit of trepidation, I turned the forms in and warned the secretaries that although Emma and Grayson are siblings, they are NOT the same children. They have been warned.

He is excited yet a little nervous. After all, it is a big school with lots of hallways and many more kids on the playground at recess. I've assured him he'll be just fine. I'm just not sure about me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Celebrating Xu Bing!

I know today is St. Patrick's Day... but honestly, besides green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and slightly creepy little leprachauns, what is there to blog about?

So... I am turning attention to our friends' blog - we met them when our plans included adopting and were thrilled to learn they lived pretty close to us. They are a great family and we are thrilled their plans changed and they have accepted the referral of a gorgeous little guy from China.

Rebecca's blog is lots of fun (they have four children already) and she is one of the members of Blogovers With Love (another member did my blog for me). If you are at all interested in starting a blog - they do this to raise money for adoptions and to help children in orphanages. I can refer them without hesitation. If you have a minute - check him out! He is just CUTE and I think he will fit into their family wonderfully....

The link is to the right under Links and Blogs I Like to Read. It's the China Blessings One.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday Emma!!!!

I can hardly believe she's seven..... yet I can't remember much of my life without her. She's strong-willed and opinionated.... arts and craftsy.... creative.....dramatic...... deep thinking....and wholly empathetic. We still watch her sleep sometimes and wonder how we chosen to be parents to this particular little spirit. What an awesome responsibility.... but she makes us earn it.

We celebrated today with a party for about 11 of her girlfriends at the YMCA - a day complete with rock wall climbing and swimming. I meant to post this last night ... but being responsible for thirteen little lives doing perilous activities took the life right out of me and I went to bed pretty early!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I can't believe it has been an entire week since I've posted. I feel like I have aged a bit more than that. Updates from the most recent....

We just got home from Claire's ear tube surgery. It was a little rougher coming out of the anesthesia than they would have liked so we stayed a bit longer. We were still home in two hours so all in all - everything is OK. She's a little mopey but eating and drinking and complaining. Does my heart good she is getting back to normal. The most traumatic thing to her was the hospital gown. It was itchy - TOTALLY the wrong color - there were dogs on it instead of kitties - AND it didn't go with her pink necklace she brought along for the occasion. To think I had worried about pain.......

Entirely too many of you remembered my birthday. I've gotten your email and phone calls. I just haven't responded yet. You are too kind (well, most of you were anyway).

Grandma's funeral was Monday. There are two things I know for sure:
1. She is at peace and in heaven, finally knowing all the answers to the questions we ask ourselves and the situations we struggle with.
2. I have the best friends ( and spouse).

My Sunday was brightened considerably when a vanload of great friends drove two hours each way just to bring food and their smiling faces. They have no idea what their friendship and gestures mean to me on a continual basis. You all sustain me. Thank you for being the authentic and truthful friends that you are.

As always, my other half contributes his sort of quiet and evolving wisdom that I am grateful for.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Remembering Grandma

.........and the things that were important to her.

Quilting, travelling, family, friends, community, treats, faith, dancing, overnights at her house, tea and popcorn before bed, reading, silk pajamas, afghans, mysteries and romance novels, ice cream for great-grandchildren, lunch at Angelos, yogurt from Arthur's, college visits, nicknames, rose scented lotion, and costume jewelry.

Loving and missing you,

Amy, Monte and the kids

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Call

This morning we got the call that everyone fears. My grandmother has passed away.

We shared a deep connection and I fiercely loved her. I am heartbroken beyond words.

She had been ill for a long time - much longer than she cared for. She was ready to go and had said so many times. I know with absolute certainty she is now at peace and pain free.

The conflicting feelings I have now are about "the call." It's just not the way I planned it to be.

I have known very few certainties in my life. From the time I knew Grandma's time was short, I knew THIS was the way it was going to go. She would decline - and the staff would call in her family. We would all arrive, encircle her, and she would pass peacefully - knowing her family surrounded her.

I also, KNEW without a doubt, that when she passed, I would know. I would sense it. No matter what.

It didn't happen that way at all. We didn't get the movie ending and I sleep through the night without any awareness or premonitions.

I guess I assumed we would somehow, someway find our way to each other to say goodbye.

Turns out - I am not the only person who has felt this way. No fewer than three people (just today) have shared their stories with me that are eerily similiar to mine. Our consensus is this: For whatever reason, God felt it necessary that our loved ones make that final journey without us. But, as an incredible hospice nurse put it "Without us maybe, but never alone."

I've found incredible peace in that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Time to Announce........

that we are indeed adding another member to our family! Some of you know this anyway (it is fairly obvious if you have seen me lately) and we have been to the doctor enough times to make it official. Most of you know we were going to adopt, having completed various paperwork, etc. We both felt called to do this. Imagine our surprise when we learned God had other plans for our family. In my life, I am starting to sense a theme. I have this great plan. I mention it to God, He chuckles, then reveals His plan for me - which obviously trumps mine every time.
Being somewhat of a slow learner, I am getting it - His plans are for the best - I just need to trust it every time.

So - baby is due to arrive mid August. Yep, right when Emma is going into 2nd grade and Grayson is venturing into Kindergarten. Claire will be in 3 yr old preschool. Can you think of a more hectic month to have a baby? via C-section? Not being able to drive for a few weeks?

We just told the kids - expecting a wide range of reactions - fearing most the one from Emma. We were really pretty pleasantly surprised. Claire has made it fairly clear that she will be ordering a baby sister, Grayson wishes for a baby brother (who can blame him with all the estrogen going on in this house), and Emma - thinks God will give Grayson a brother since she already got her wish with a sister. Gulp. I didn't give her enough credit.

I was apprehensive about the whole doctor thing - since MINE in Morton was just perfect for our family. I still tear up thinking about having a baby without him. I actually considered driving to Peoria for the delivery. I know.... I know... but who else can deliver my babies to Jimmy Buffet tunes and then bring me dinner?

However, God is good and led me to a man who is as close as you could get without the giant parrot head. He even has the same first name. Is that a sign or what??? He is a smart aleck with a dry sense of humor and a razor sharp wit. I am telling you, if I could introduce docs Tom and Tom to each other - I just know they would hit it off. I love them both.

Did I mention he is a high risk doc? Since I am now officially a geriatric pregnancy, I get to go see him. That is OK since I am one of the younger ones in his practice !

So... there you go. Fifteen weeks and counting. More to come... I just wanted to wake you up this morning.