Thursday, July 30, 2009

my last days of freedom

I only have 10 days of freedom summer left. What are my big plans you ask? Well I'll tell you.

**I want to sleep in until at least 8:00 every morning. Well except for Monday. That day we have to check in at the hospital at 6:30 for Nate to get botox injections in his hamstrings. But all the other days, I want to sleep in.

**Remember the summer list? We did almost everything on the list. Our camping trip was cancelled due to temperatures over 100 degrees on the one weekend we planned to go. Maybe we'll go this fall.
I'm hoping we can feed the ducks and go on a bike ride this week.
That will pretty much complete the list, I think.

**I'll be spending some time at the school getting my classroom ready for all the excited incoming third graders. This not so excited third grade teacher has lots of work ahead of her!!

**I'm hoping I can get to some thrift stores for some good finds for my classroom. I'd like some lamps, maybe a bar stool, and whatever other treasures may find me.

**I have a couple of sewing projects I'd like to get started on. After all, I now have the perfect workspace.
One is a dress for Delaney. There's a blogger who makes and sells these dresses on etsy, but as soon as she lists them, they are gone. Just like that. So I guess if I want one bad enough, I'll have to resort to getting out the ol' sewing machine. Here's an example of the dress. If you have a chance, read a little about this blogger. They lost their baby girl earlier this year after a very brief battle with cancer. Such a tragic story, but this mom and dad are a true inspiration.

I also want to make some onesies for Nate. He really needs them to keep his diaper on but I can't find any that fit. I'm thinking I want to make some that also have a little pocket for his g-tube so we don't have to unsnap him for feedings.

My last project is some more bibs for Nate. I'm thinking I can find some cute "big boy" fabric and back them with flannel to help with absorbancy.

So there you have it. My list for the last 10 days of freedom...ahem....summer.

This post has been part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

back to the zoo

We bought a zoo membership this year so we've been trying to take advantage of it. Jeremy and I took Bri and Delaney to the zoo and had a nice day, other than all the sweat covering my shirt...such a pretty sight!

Delaney really liked the turtles and birds. She'd point to them and say, "Oh!" So cute!

We took a boat ride, which I'd never done before.
Unfortunately, Delaney decided to have a meltdown and cried pretty much the entire 20 minutes. Not so relaxing! I felt like I should refund the other passengers' money or something.

Summer is really winding down.
It makes me sad.
We've had a really nice summer. It's been fun documenting it here and I hope you've enjoyed keeping tabs on all our day to day activities!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

camp...week two

Allison had a great time last week at church camp (other than all the rain).
She got home last Friday and then headed out again on Sunday to be a junior counselor at the elementary camp.
She is very excited about this opportunity.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

long lost vacation pictures

We decided to spend one day at Crown Center during our vacation to Kansas City and it was surprisingly fun! We had a great time at the Crayola Store.

It was great to watch the kids work on something together. We kept the picture they made and I'm going to hang it in my classroom.
Then we found a neat lego display.

These were all made entirely out of legos. What a cool (and time consuming) hobby!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

terror on two legs

This is what Jeremy {so fondly} began to call Delaney after spending an afternoon on parental duty.

I recently spent a day toddler-proofing the house in order to minimalize the damage she could do. One of her favorite, newly found toys is Nate's formula. We keep in it the pantry and if we forget to shut the laundry room door, she finds it.

One afternoon I found Delaney in her bedroom doing this:

At least she entertains herself!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

more good eats

As I'm feeling a bit uninspired this morning, I thought I'd share a yummy, super quick, super easy recipe that everyone (that's important, ya know) in my family likes.

Smothered Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
garlic powder and seasoned salt to taste
1 T canola oil
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 c. shredded mexican cheese blend (I use cheddar)
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. bacon bits

Flatten chicken to 1/4 in. thickness (I just buy the thin chicken breasts). Sprinkle with garlic powder and seasoned salt. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil for 4 minutes; turn. Top with the mushrooms, cheese, green onions and bacon. Cover and cook 4 minutes longer until chicken juices run clear and cheese is melted.

That's it!! It's so quick, you need to have all your side dishes ready to go before you even start.

I got this recipe from Taste of Home. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

thrifty thursday...revisited

A few weeks ago I headed out on a mission to buy CHEAP furniture. My mission was successful and I was very proud of my thrift store purchases.

Well I finally finished the project I started and wanted to share the results.

The only seems that Jeremy has taken a liking to my personal workspace.
I guess I need to pull out the sewing machine.
That should scare him away!

Monday, July 20, 2009

nate...part 3

If you haven't read parts one and two, you can go back and check them out.

Before I continue though, I want to back up for just a moment.

We had hung out at the NICU at the hospital long enough to know a few things. First we knew there was no McDreamy or McSteamy at this hospital. However we did meet our share of McScaries and Dr. Poorbedsidemanners. Second, we knew the routines, which was huge for me. The people that buzzed us in knew us well. The nurses let us talk on cell phones at bedside. And we knew there were special conference rooms for parents to meet with doctors. We knew we definitely never wanted to be called into one of those rooms. (Can you feel the foreshadowing?)

Yes, we had our "meeting" with the neonatologists and neurologist and they told us they'd like to transport Nate to Kansas City to the children's hospital, where there was a geneticist on staff. Up until this point, the doctors had been consulting with geneticists about Nate's case.

So on a rainy Thursday in April, Nate and I headed to KC in the transport ambulance. Only one parent could accompany him and Jeremy had classes, so I went and my parents drove up separately to meet us up there. Nate rode in the back, of course, along with a respiratory therapist and a nurse practitioner. I had the pleasure of riding up front with a driver that totally sucked at small talk. That was one.long.ride.

When we did finally arrive, they whisked Nate away to get him settled in his room. The NICU was full, so he was admitted in the PICU. I had paperwork to fill out and I wanted to find my parents. So I grabbed my cell phone and let my mom know where I was. Before I had even hung up the phone, a guy, filling the vending machines no less, scolded me for using my phone. Apparently, they have a "no cell phone usage" rule anywhere in the hospital. Remember, I was used to using our phones at bedside at the other hospital.
Well that just put me over the edge and I broke down and cried. I'm sitting in the waiting room outside the PICU in a strange hospital where I know NO ONE. My son is on the other side of the giant locked doors. My husband is miles and miles away. And I just got yelled at for using my dang cell phone.

The day got better though. I was able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House, which would become my new home for the next several weeks, and Jeremy met me there late that night.

Jeremy stayed in Kansas City from late Thursday night until Monday afternoon. Would go home for classes on Tuesday and Thursday and then return again for the long weekend. We got into a good routine. We had several visitors. People we knew. People who were friends of friends. Relatives I didn't even know I had. My best friend Amy even came up and stayed several nights with me, which was so nice. You know who your true friends are when they are willing to have a sleepover at the Ronald McDonald House!!

So back to Nate.
He saw every specialist you can imagine. And they did every test they could think of. Everything led back to one decision. He needed a tracheostomy and feeding tube. By this point, we were just ready to do whatever we needed to do to get our baby boy home.

Then Nate tested positive for RSV. He was placed in isolation and we had to wear a gown and mask to visit him. And we were told he could not have surgery for several weeks. Fortunately, after the culture came back, we learned that he'd had a false positive so surgery was back on.

One of the scariest days in Kansas City was the day before his surgery. Not because of my fear of my child going under anesthesia. Not because of my fear of the unknown with his care. But because of tornadoes!
We started noticing the nurses running around, dropping off blankets in the rooms and asked what was going on. We found out we were under a tornado warning and the storms were headed straight for us. When I asked where they take the patients, the nurse told me that they take most of them to the hallway. But Nate was on the ventilator (yes, they had put him back on the vent the day before to allow his body to rest prior to surgery) so they would cover him with blankets to protect him from breaking glass. Now this was not something a mother wants to hear!!
Thank goodness the storms completely missed us.

Nate's surgery was on May 5. In addition to the trach and feeding tube, the doctor also performed a fundoplication, which prevents vomitting, which in turn would help with the aspiration.
It was amazing how much better Nate looked after the surgery. His coloring was better. His heartrate was lower. He was awake more often.

Following surgery, Nate was on the ventilator and was gradually weaned off it and oxygen. The surgeon performed the first trach change and then we were finally moved to a private room. We were taught how to feed Nate and do all his trach care. We took a class in infant CPR.

And finally it was time to head home. So we packed up our car with all the usual baby necessities, suction machine, pulse oxymeter, portable oxygen tank (just in case) and all the other medical supplies we might need. We could barely fit the baby in the car for all the medical equipment.

We had finally made it home!! After 7 and a half weeks in the hospital, we had Nate at home with us.
And knowing we could never fit our whole family and Nate's medical equipment in our current vehicle, we bought a mini-van the next day!!

wednesday great deals!!

Arby's is having Freebie Wednesdays this summer and I thought you might want to check it out! My mother-in-law first told me about it. I have to admit I was a little skeptical. But last Wednesday I bit the bullet and headed to Arby's. And I was quite relieved when I saw the advertisement for Freebies on their sign. Here's a rundown of the conversation at the drive-thru window:

lady - Welcome to Arby's. Can I take you order?
me - Yeah, is there a limit to the number of regular roast beefs I can get for free? If I order 3 drinks, can I get 3 roast beefs?
lady - Ma'am, you can order 50 drinks and get 50 roast beefs for free.
me - Ok. I'll take 3 roast beefs, a small Sprite, a medium diet Dr. Pepper and a large Mt. Dew

So I bought 3 drinks and got 3 regular roast beefs...FREE!! You can't beat that! Here's the schedule of freebies for the rest of the summer:

  • July 22 - Free Roastburger with any soft drink purchase
  • July 29 - Free FruiTea with any sandwich purchase
  • August 5 - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase
  • August 12 - Free Roast Chicken club with any soft drink purchase
  • August 19 - Free FruiTea with any sandwich purchase
  • August 26 - Free Regular Beef 'n Cheddar with any soft drink purchase

I felt guilty just buying small drinks, like I was taking advantage of their generosity. But trust me, on August 5, I will be buying only small drinks when I get my free roast beef sandwiches!!

Then after you enjoy your freebies, you need to watch Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. There's really nothing funnier than watching people get smacked by giant foam balls!

Here's to a happy Wednesday!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

impromptu trip to the park

After our last minute plans to take Delaney to the zoo fell through, we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably pleasant weather and take Delaney to the play park.
You see, we have so few pleasant days in Kansas.
It's either too hot, too humid, too cold, too rainy, too windy or any combination of these.
So I really wanted to enjoy the day...OUTSIDE!!!

She was NOT giving up her place at the wheel, no matter how many little boys tried to persuade her otherwise.
That's my girl!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

prayers needed

For once, I'm able to ask for prayers on behalf of someone else. It was such a comfort for us during all the times that Nate has been sick or hospitalized to know that we had faithful prayer warriors out there.

Please pray for Megan and Ryan. They are very dear friends of our family. I've known them my whole life and I have many wonderful memories from my childhood of our families being together.
Their dad, Rod, passed away yesterday, just 5 months and 1 day after losing their mom to a long and difficult battle with early-onset alzheimer's. They are so young to have lost both parents. Please pray for them as they deal with their grief.

Pray for Jansen. She is a young woman I met on Her husband, Zee, just lost his battle with cancer. They have a son, Braedan, who is Delaney's age.

Pray for Patrick. He is Allison's age and they've gone to school together since elementary school. Patrick had seizure like symptoms last Friday and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is home now, but is unable to talk, but he can communicate by typing. The doctors have been unable to figure out what is going on. Pray for complete healing of Patrick.

My last prayer request is for a sweet little girl named Kate. You can visit her caringbridge page. I read about Kate on two other blogs I follow. She was having hand tremors and doctors found a malignant brain tumor. She has had surgery and will begin chemo next week.
As if having a 5 year old daughter undergoing cancer treatment isn't enough, their young son has a growth on his vocal cords. Please pray for Kate and her brother Will for healing, as well as their parents and family. What a trial they are going through.

As I was doing my bible study this week, I kept coming back to this verse:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16-18.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


My grandpa.
What can I tell you about my grandpa?
He's a tough old bird, that's for sure.

Grandpa grew up during the depression in Severy, KS, where his dad was a farmer. He had to walk to the one room schoolhouse (uphill in 3 feet of snow, both ways...HA!) and help with farm chores. He was drafted into the army during World War II and he served his country in Europe.

After the war, he went to work on a farm in Leon, KS, where he met my grandmother at church. She was only 17 (by a couple of weeks) and he was 8 years her senior when they married. I think she was only 15 when they met, which really freaks me out considering Bri will be 15 in December! My how times have changed!!

Grandpa just celebrated his 85th birthday in February.

When I think of my grandpa, I remember the man who had a huge garden in Eureka, KS.
I remember the man who dressed up like Santa and passed out presents to all the grandkids at Christmas.
I remember the man who taught me how to crack open and pick out black walnuts.
I remember the man who took me fishing for the very first time in my life.
I remember the man who always pretended to drop my cup when he handed it to me.
I remember the man who sang louder than everyone else during the hymns at church.
I remember the man who gave himself insulin shots through his shirt at the dinner table.
I remember the man who pulled out his dentures just to see our reaction.
I remember the man who loved to tell stories.
I remember the man who took me to the Father-Daughter Banquet for Brownies because my dad was out of town.
I remember the man who played Solitaire until he wore out his deck of cards.

I try not to think about the man who lives in the nursing home.
The man who depends on someone else to help him eat and get dressed.
The man who sometimes doesn't recognize me.
The man who struggles to carry on a conversation.
The man who gets confused and frustrated.

I am so glad I have the wonderful memories of my grandpa. He is a great man!!

This post has been part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

summer school

Yesterday Allison and I paid Nate a visit at school (Bri is away at church camp this week). I think he was surprised and excited to see us.

One of his favorite things to do at school is hang out in the ball pit. Yes, he was at school, not at McDonald's Play Place.

Nate was working on an art project. He has to pick the color he wants by touching it or vocalizing. It was neat to see him making choices.
Summer school will be over next Thursday. It's been a little different this year. All the students have multiple disabilities like Nate. Most are in wheelchairs and do not communicate with speech. In the past, he's been in an early childhood summer program where he had the most significant needs.
It was a great opportunity for Nate and hopefully we can continue some of these programs as he enters kindergarten in the fall. The plan for right now is that he will be fully included in the regular classroom with an adapted curriculum.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Delaney and Hayden are just 5 months apart in age. We get to see Hayden about once a month, sometimes more. What a cutie!!
Hayden is very laid-back, happy to play with toys.
Delaney is constantly moving, which means I'm constantly moving.
Before long, they'll be able to play together. But for now we just make them pose for cute pictures.

Jeremy seems to have made a turn for the better. I forced gently encouraged him to stop taking the Lortabs and try to get by with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. That seemed to make all the difference. They were making him feel worse all over and he still had a sore throat. At least now he's not all druggy and I don't think his throat feels any worse. I even took him on a big outing yesterday...I drove him to the recycling center and then he got a movie from Redbox. Not bad for the first time out of the house in 5 days!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

pool party!!

Well it wasn't exactly a party. But it was a lot of fun!!

Our next door neighbor has a pool. All her kids and grandkids are grown up. So she lets us swim in it. She's so generous!! And since our dear friends live across the street, it's the perfect place to meet for some pool fun.

Amy and I took the kids. They play so well together!

Delaney wasn't crazy about the water. She preferred to walk around the pool picking up toys. But eventually she let me hold her in the water.

It was hot but overcast and the water was chilly. Hopefully we'll get to enjoy the water again (on a sweltering hot day) before summer is over!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

watermelon and crawlers

I bet that title caught your attention!!

Cruellers (which we pronounce "crawlers") are one of our favorite summertime meals. We eat them with watermelon, which makes us feel so much less guilty for eating deep fried bread!

This is an old family recipe from my dad's side.

The first time my mom had them she was at my grandparents' house. My grandma served watermelon and cruellers and my mom thought it was an appetizer or snack. Can you blame her? So she just ate a little, saving room for the big meal to come. Oops...that WAS dinner!

So here's the recipe, just in case you decide you want to try some "crawlers".

4 beaten eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. melted shortening
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
1/4 t. nutmeg
Beat eggs and sugar til light; add milk and cooled shortening. Add flour sifted with salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Mix until smooth.
( It should look like this.) Chill.
Roll 1/4 inch thick on floured surface. Cut in strips; twist or form into knots (which I don't do).

Fry in deep hot fat (375 degrees).
Drain on paper towels. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Dinner is served!

This is such a great summertime meal because you don't have to turn on the oven! I'm always looking for skillet and crock-pot recipes for hot days. It is a greasy mess though, hence the apron (which I made my senior year in high school, thankyouverymuch).

Friday, July 10, 2009

this and that

Did you notice my new blog layout? I changed it to a 3 column format (thanks Kristine!!) so that I can cram even more crap cool stuff onto my page!!
On the right side bar I've added "Good Things" which are just links to fun places to go or things to do. I only have one link on there now. It's to a coffee house in Winfield, KS.
I had lunch there yesterday (yes, while my dear hubby was writhing in misery trying to sip water and swallow jell-o) and it's just the cutest little place. She has turned a bungalow style house into a coffee house. She serves all sorts of coffee and tea and has a wonderful lunch menu.
And in the summer she has live music on the lawn on Friday nights.
Oh and did I mention the owner is my grade-level partner's sister? So it's an annual tradition to head down to her place for a summer lunch.
Thanks Blenda for the yummy food!
When I took Delaney out to swing earlier in the week, I noticed these hiding behind my rose bush.
They were laying down on the ground so I thought I'd better cut them and bring them in the house to enjoy. After all, I didn't even realize they were there!
The lady who lived here before us did a wonderful job with planting flowers. I have all sorts of flowers that pop up year after year.
The smell of star gazers remind us of hospitals. After our car accident (10 years ago) when I broke my neck, my hospital room was filled with enormous flower arrangements, some with star gazers.
Isn't it weird how smells can bring you back to certain events in your life?
Every day I'm reminded of elementary school when I walk by the school cafeteria. The smell of school lunch never changes!

Some artwork by Nate:
Nate is in summer school and this is the first piece of artwork that he has actually done all on his own. Melissa, his nurse, usually holds his hand and helps him with whatever art projects or crafts they are doing.
I would've actually kept the original, except the glitter was making a mess on everything.
So I decided to snap a picture of it. And this way, you all get to enjoy it as well!

Jeremy update:
We are on day 3 which I've heard is THE WORST. So far, he's handling the pain like a WOMAN! Ha!! He knew going into this, that it wouldn't be a piece of cake, but he's not been a complainer at all!
Yesterday he ate some scrambled eggs, mac and cheese and had 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream (courtesy of our Sunday School class, delivered by Kristine...thanks, again!!)
One of his biggest discomforts is his tongue. It is swollen to almost twice the normal size. I gave him Benedryl last night, in case it was an allergic reaction. This morning I called the doctor's office and they said it is most likely caused by the retractor used to hold his tongue down during surgery. It's not common, but happens with some people.
It isn't impeding his swallowing or breathing, but I know it is uncomfortable. Hopefully the swelling will go down soon.
Thanks to everyone who has been praying for him. I think he's a much better patient than I am nurse!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

my girl has skills

Allison made this pillow!
She knitted it with knitting needles. (I don't even know how to knit.)
It took her close to a year to finish. But she stuck with it and look at what she accomplished!

And in the spirit of giving, she gave this to her future aunt whose favorite color is "rainbow".

So talented! She makes me proud!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

what a trooper!

We are home and Jeremy is doing great. The surgery only lasted 15 minutes and we were leaving the surgery center just 3 1/2 hours after first checking in. Absolutely amazing! The nurse was able to get his IV started on the first try, which was his biggest fear. After surgery, when the nurses took me back to see him, Jeremy was joking around and talking. I know he's in a lot of pain, especially when trying to swallow, but he's being a great patient.

Dang...I was hoping to get to play the "poor wife card" for awhile.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

back on the wagon

When I stepped on the scale last week and saw that number rise higher than it had been in over 6 months, not to mention the fact that I'd gained 5 pounds since school got out, I knew it was time to get my butt in gear!

So yesterday I started a "biggest loser" challenge.

It's an online challenge. Remember how I said a lot of my friends live in my computer? Well, I have this whole group of friends on We all have April babies (or were at least due in April 08). It's so fun to experience pregnancy, delivery and motherhood with women who are at the exact same stage as you. I mean who else really cares about your daily food cravings, baby poop, weight gain, weight loss, breastfeeding, sleep issues and all the other glorious things that come along with a new baby?

So we have an April '08 biggest loser team. We get points for following a food plan, exercising, drinking lots of water, eating breakfast, posting points and providing support for our team.

I decided that I didn't want to "diet" so I'm going to try to watch my portions and eat more fruits and veggies and exercise. Notice how I didn't say exercise more. I just need to exercise. Period.

This morning I went to the zoo with my mom, Alli and Delaney and walked all over that zoo pushing a stroller or holding Delaney. Then this evening I decided to walk to Walmart to return our Redbox movie rather than drive the 5 minutes down the street. I really have to make a conscious effort to NOT be lazy!

In other news, Jeremy's much anticipated dreaded tonsillectomy is tomorrow morning. Please keep him (and me) in your thoughts and prayers. He is really nervous about it. He doesn't do well with needles or blood. And I'm not always the most sympathetic wife around. I'll let you know tomorrow (Wednesday) how it goes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

family photos

My brother Scott and his fiance Erika asked me to take "family pictures" of them with their new little baby, Rosie.
I was excited! I need all the practice I can get.

So then I asked Jason and Molly (my other brother and sister-in-law) if I could take pictures of them with their baby, Hayden.

What good looking families! Those boys must have a gorgeous sister! Ha!!