Saturday, November 28, 2009

Decorating the Tree with 5 year olds

Lily: Rachel, do you celebrate Hanukkah?
Rachel: No, my mommy and daddy went to Iowa State.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Welp, the washing machine seems to have broken down...not to be repaired....but that's the bad news! No, we did not go shop for a new one on Black Friday, as we perhaps should have...

The good news is Lawrence won his unemployment hearing! We aren't exactly sure what that means, but they found in his favor, and the letter came today and we both held our breath when we saw State of Oregon on the envelope - (and truth be told I hid in the kids room looking for pj's while I saw him opening it!)

Yay, thank you so much for all the support, love, and prayers!

And I thought I was thankful yesterday ~

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, MckMama, you do make me laugh

Remember when we all prayed for Stellan a few weeks ago? And it was a miracle, his very risky ablation worked? And how we all cried tears of Joy for this mama whose heart was on her sleeve?

Well, I just LOVED her post today, I LOVED reading that things like this happen to us all. HAHAHAHA. Oh daddies, you are so lucky to have us...and it's okay if we are the only ones who know it! Maybe that's the way it should be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dude, that's romantic

So for the last year, I've been getting us to budget more for things that could and do go wrong, so that if the car needs repairs or we have to replace a household appliance, we don't have to go into panic mode or worse yet, *gasp* put something on the credit card.

One thing on my list of replacements was a vacuum. Lawrence didn't know why it was there, "we don't need a new vacuum, just some new bags and a belt", he'd say. Okay, so he bought those a few months ago. And what with the joblessness and all a vacuum hasn't made it to the to budget for list...

So he rolls over in bed the other day to say, "I think we need a new vacuum, do you want to get that for each other as our Christmas present?".
Uh, no.
"Okay", I say. "We have needed another one for a while."
But what about the ski tickets you want and the BREAD BOX I want...??? (seriously I've been asking for a bread box since LAST year on my bday...)

So don't you be jealous of me when Santa leaves me a vacuum under the tree in lieu of a gift from my husband.

Be jealous of Lawrence. I guarantee you NO other man out there will be getting a Bissell Cleanview Helix Vacuum Cleaner for the holidays!

True Romance at the Herman household. True Romance.

Ladies, nothing says, "Thank you sweetheart for giving me a son" like a Bagless Upright.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Potty

Okay, well, the unemployment hearing is over and we hear in 2 weeks. Lawrence doesn't have a great feeling about it, but it is the judges job not to show one way or the other. So now it is out of our hands. I can't leave that post up much longer as the most recent because it makes the lump bigger!

So let's talk about the POTTY! Nothing lightens to mood more than typing poop many times in one blog.

Or as Addie calls it, the "poppy".

Many of you have asked me how it is going with the potty training. (and the room sharing for that matter...unfortunately somewhat linked). Well, it's going pretty well, actually.

Addie is in Panties and has been for 2 weeks. The first few days she had one wet accidents and 2 or so BM accidents. OR she would not have a BM accident but wait until she got a pull up on for nap time or bed time and go then. Sometimes 3x at bedtime.

She was using that as an excuse not to go to bed. Poop was her get out of jail free card. So we just made her go to sleep in it, and then would change her right after she would fall asleep.

That seems to have worked for the most part.

In the past week there has been only one pee accident, one BM accident, and NO ACCIDENTS on outings, so we are risking it and keeping her in panties when we leave the house.

She still continues to poop at bedtime if she is crazy and running around in there before crawling into bed and going to sleep. Lawrence changes her most nights as it is pretty awkward for me to lift her out of the toddler bed.

For those of you who don't have her bday memorized, and even for those of you who do, she will be 2.5 years on New Years.

I think on her worst day she had 3 BM accidents and one wet accident. I said exhausted as I wiped up a mess in the bathroom, "Addie if you keep going poopy in your big girl panties, I am going to throw your Dora panties away, mommy doesn't like cleaning poopy out of them!" (I realize this is kind of mean, but it used to work with Lily, she'd crumble to pieces thinking I might really do it. Nothing phases Addie, ever! And lucky for me, no exception here...) Do you know what she said??!??!??!?!

"Dat okay mommy, my have more".

True enough, the girl makes a point!

I think I first jokingly posted about Addie being potty trained here. ALMOST A YEAR AGO at 17 months! But she was SO interested. When people asked me if she'd be trained by the time the baby was born, I laughed confidently as I told them she would. Insert foot in mouth ONCE again. When will I learn? I was beginning to think that she just didn't recognized the I have to poop sensation. And even when she did, she doesn't have the patience to wait for it on the potty. And I actually think she needs to stand to figure out how to get it out.

This last week I have more hope though. She's been going poo a few times a day on the potty and when she's not it's the after bedtime diaper change, which is a lot better than cleaning it out of panties. Shudder. Another funny side note is that because she is so petite...all of her pants are falling down all the time and she looks so cute when she runs holding up her pants or has her eensy weensy plumber crack showing as she squats down to play!

I've also implemented plan "gummy bear" which is that she gets a gummy bear for going poopy on the potty. In the past I never used sugar to get either of them to go on the potty, stickers worked just fine, but I was desperate for this girl to WANT to wait it out on the potty. And when she goes she is SO proud of herself, confirming that it means she will get a gummy bear NOW!!!

One funny thing she says when you go in to help her is. "My fine". She says that about a lot of things. But it makes me laugh when she says it on the potty. "You out, mommy, my fine".

I always promised myself that I would never be one of those moms who could sit around for hours with other moms talking poop shop. Now not only do I do that (and even more, I'll have another one to discuss mustard seed breast milk poop soon with all who will listen), I also fill full blogs about it. I digress.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A full weekend and a lump in my throat

So tomorrow is the day we have been waiting for/dreading. Since Lawrence lost his job in August, and then got denied unemployment benefits in September, we've been waiting for this hearing. The one that will decide whether we get unemployment benefits denied for the past 1.5 months and whether we have to also pay back the month we'd already received.

It is so hard not to think of this situation and be angry. We are talking about nearly $5000 - all for one day of working and earning $57.50. It's just ridiculous when you look at the facts. And wonder why our system incentives people not to try. Yes, that would be the easy road to go down, and we've both started down it a few times. But we've returned - I think he's gone a bit farther than I have before deciding to be grateful instead.

I am grateful to God who gave me strength and hope and faith to know that this too shall pass - for believing that there really is a plan for us, and change doesn't come easy. I am grateful for our families, who didn't have much to give to help us, but who did just enough to make the difference of sinking or not. I'm grateful to friends treating us to dinner a few times when that was just what we needed. I'm grateful to Sabine who arrived from Germany to live with us the day that Lawrence lost his job, she has been just what we needed in more ways than we could have imagined. I'm grateful for my two sweet daughters. I'm grateful for a healthy pregnancy. I'm grateful for things working out, even when they don't on paper. I'm grateful for others who are struggling and share those struggles so that I can remember just how grateful I should be. I am grateful to my friends who have prayed and comforted and loved me and us. I am grateful that through this, I was able to see very clearly, it is only a house, it is only a car, and as long as I have Lawrence & Jenny, Lily & Addie, & baby Bryson and healthy...I will be okay. I wish this was the hardest trial anyone had to go through. Compared to so many others, this is just...a bump, a hill maybe, but not something that ripped out my heart, stole my dreams.

I am grateful that no matter what happens tomorrow, that Lawrence found a new job, that he loves, that will provide for us, and where most importantly he will be happy. That he got this job by being willing to do work that wasn't ideal. That he reminded me what a great man and provider he really is. Through all of this my respect for him has grown, and so has my love and my belief in the strength of us.

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I'm proud of myself. I'm a worrier. I make mountains out of molehills. I lose sleep and I fret. That's what I do. And yet, I've felt a lot of peace and stregnth and kindness and support, more than I knew I could muster. And I wasn't faking it. I meant it. And it felt really really good.

I will let you know the outcome of the hearing tomorrow, you know after they mail it to us in 2 weeks. If you'd like, please pray for a sympathetic judge, for honestly and wise words for Lawrence, and for us to figure out a way no matter what the outcome is. This will determine how long my maternitiy leave will be for. But another thing I am grateful for is a nice and flexible boss who will allow me to work from home during the time I would have to cut it short.

And YESTERDAY was an awesome, tiring day, from which I have many photos and many stories to tell. Those will go on the never ending blog to do I may get to it, may not. There are bigger fish to fry, but I'm glad for a full and crazy Saturday and a relaxing Sunday with nothing more than floor time with the girls, a nap, and a trip to Trader Joe's.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A safe place

We both just got conked over the head with a frying pan in this picture.
Jeanine and I got our best "wigs" on and went out on the "town" for "drinks" for my "birthday". Unfortunately the waitress made my big birthday "drink", a strawberry lemonade with bloody marry mix rather than Strawberry, so when I gulped a quarter of it down like I'd never had anything to drink before in my life, I almost puked. Hello, HOW MEAN IS THIS!?!?!?! Here I was 33 weeks pregnant and she put horseradish in with my lemonade? Does she not know the rath of prenatal heartburn!!! AND she still charged me 3.50 for the drink, which she replaced and profusely apologized! $3.50 for a non alcoholic /non caffeinated drink, what a disgrace! :)

Am I over using quotes? I'm doing them in the air as I type them too!

Something was wrong with the camera flash, so of course all of the "good" pictures were taken without a flash and this is what were we left with.

Oh well, the visit was wonderful. I happen to be a girl fortunate to have a few BFFs in my life, and Jeanine is definitely one of them. I wish she lived closer, but over the past few years we've managed to see each other several times a year and for that I am grateful. Her kids are getting a little older and travel away from them (or with them) becomes easier for her and Otto, while it is still a logistical nightmare for me. When I think of Jeanine, I think of a person with whom I feel completely safe emotionally. Someone I can share anything with and whose opinion I trust and respect.

We can talk about nearly every topic from parenting to religion, being good wives to being good daughters, loving and hating our childhood poverty, and we laugh and laugh and laugh. We cry and dump and laugh and the time is always too short but we leave feeling absolutely refreshed and recharged. I even showed her that I was still sporting the tail end of the pedicure she'd treated me too back in July...and she loved me anyway! Note to self: must get a new pedicure.

Except for the fact that we were so alike in so many ways, we were unlikely friends from the beginning because we were in SUCH different places in life. We met at 21 years old when Jeanine had an 8 month old baby and a one year old marriage and I had a knack for partying until the wee hours. We laugh now at how I'd come into work in the morning all disheveled and unshowered and hungover, and she'd have spent hours up already with her baby after not sleeping through the night, wondering if "those were my real legs... like without nylons?". Of course I was too insecure to see the beauty she saw in me. And vice versa. She trained me at my job at NYK Line and we just connected, spent every lunch together, both of us broker than the other, bringing in horrid things like tomato soup with a can of corn and bragging at how for the ten bucks we'd lent each other when for groceries for the week. Oh, those were the days. (What amazes me is that SHE was in new marriage, new baby mode, and was going through this and I was so naive to what that would have been like!) When I met Lawrence she drooled with me over the daily and sometimes two-a-day cards he sent to me, complete with heartfelt love letters. She told me he was the one and she was right. We BONDED so closely, and when I moved away from Boise to NJ to get my CPA license, and subsequently asked her to be in our wedding, she thought I was joking. She was just hoping to be invited. She still says it was one of the most wonderful weekends of her life, and it means a lot to me that my wedding meant that much to one of my friends. (Also it was her and Otto's FIRST weekend away since having kids 6ish years before - but I like to believe it was the confessing our undying love on the mountain top that really sealed the deal for her.)

She is a wonderful example of a mother and a wife, and since her kids (now 12 & 9) are turning out pretty darn good, and her marriage is strong despite some serious trials (we all have trials, but you try getting married when you are 21 to a 20 year old boy and see how easy the next 13 years are! Oh and get pregnant 3 months after the wedding, just to spice things up a bit!) I'm glad I've looked up to her all these years. She's doing things right, even though she hasn't always been sure of that. The wisdom and insight she's offered up to me time and again has been priceless for my own life.

I could go on and on and on about how much I love this girl and how everyone should know her and how every girl should have a Jeanine in their life.

Thank you Jeanine for being all you are to me. (Oh, wait, Jeanine's ONE downfall....I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME GET HER TO READ MY BLOG!!!!! :) though she claims she's checking it now that I beraded her for not! we'll see about that...comment please!)

When you think back over the years or now, who is your "safe place"? If you don't have one. Get one. Because we need friends to survive this life! I am blessed with many of them, each so wonderful and special and contributing to the person I am in some great way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I want my SHOT!

If you read my pregnancy blog, or even my facebook status, you'll see that I was having quite the dilemma about getting the H1N1 vaccine for me and/or the kids.

I got it first. I was able to get the thermisol free version from my OB who convinced me almost beyond the shadow of a doubt that I really really needed to do it. A few more objections and I think I may have even had her on her knees begging. She had three patients on ventilators and babies she had to deliver too soon because of oxygen levels and the devastating effects on a pregnant woman and unborn baby. After I got it, I had to rethink what I thought I knew was right for us.

My gut feeling was to vaccinate the kids too. But I wasn't sure because I'd already vowed not to do it. I'm not sure if I would have made a different decision if I didn't have a new baby on the way to the house. But I was starting to get kinda germaphobic about anywhere we went, any one we touched. Then it was in Lily's school, and Sabine's school, and a coworker had it...and I decided to go for it. But then we couldn't find it.

We waited in line with a friend at Tigard High School for 3 hours before getting turned away about 50 people before the building. Lily was SO weird that day. She could not WAIT to get her shot. Sabine was sick, and I was a little worried if she had it or not. (It ended up that she didn't-just an infection - and she got vaccinated 2 days later at a doc appt) She met me with the kids at the soccer field where Carrie and kids were already lined up. I told her not to tell them what we were doing, but she already had. And Lily was fine with it. This is a girl who doesn't want to have her bday because she is so terrified of her shots that follow at the annual check up.

Anyway, she kept getting impatient, "Mama, when do I get my shot?". So when they came out with the mega phone to say they were running out of doses and if we were on this side of the parking lot, we'd be out of luck. Lawrence picked Lily and Addie up, he had each of them over one shoulder. Lily was bawling her head of yelling, "I WANT MY SHOT". She cried the whole way home, "It's not fair, I waited and waited and I didn't get ANY shot". It was really funny. The news station was there, and I wished they'd seen her. Moms with tears in their eyes for hundreds and hundred behind us were a dime a dozen, but...A FIVE year old screaming out like she'd been turned away from bread in the Great Depression...TOO good. I consoled her all the way home, offered up 2 peices of Halloween Candy, and Daddy promised that on Saturday he'd wake at the crack of dawn for the next session. And that he did. He woke up at 5am, out the door by 5:15 for a 9am clinic at Sherwood High School. He was 15th in line. At 6:15 he called me to tell me to get ready because they were talking about starting early, and there would be 1000 doses and we were 15th in line. He was inside, thankfully, because it was raining cats and dogs. We called Carrie and Sean and they met over there too.

Addie and Ian eating some raisins. Notice Addie's hair, when put into pigtails or ponytails, it keeps the same shape until washed next time.
Mama Carrie said that Addie's hair made her day, but I think it was that she was finally getting the vaccine for her children, especially her 4 year old who has had RSV and other chronic breathing problems in her younger years.
Daddy's pockets stuffed with the two bear-bears. We ended up getting the mist for the girls, but we didn't know if it would be mist or shot until we got there so they both had their "guys"
Another cutie of Addie and Ian. She's a day older than him, so she can get away with this hair. And...she did bring him raisins....

Thanks Daddy for being willing to stand in line and do what was best for our family. We are all vaccinated including Sabine and the only person who had to get the mercury in their shot was Daddy. Sometimes I get all crazy and annoyed about the little things, and keeping score, and whose willing to do what for our family...but so many times Lawrence does something selfless and dutiful for us and our friends, and I appreciate so so so much this man that I married.

If you decide not to vaccinate your family, I get it. I agree with you, and I don't have any judgement one way or the other. I honestly believe that if you go with your gut feeling, you will be right, we all have different guts because we are in different circumstances and different risk situations. Do what you feel is best to protect your family, do your homework, and then rest easy in your decision. That's what I'm trying to do. And if you change your mind after you were SURE you were on one side of the fence, then go easy on yourself and trust that your gut probably changed for a reason. Also, careful about judging others and their decisions, that's not your worry. Everyone is having a hard time with this decsion, so go easy on the people who choose something different than you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Bday to me

I wrote about my 33rd bday a few days ago HERE. Everyone loved the tribute to my mom, especially her. It was nice to remember and reflect on the special person she is in my life. While she was here visiting over the weekend we really had a nice visit and I remembered to remember it all. Often in the busyness of the kids and getting stuff done around the house and taking advantage of the extra help, I don't take time to spend with her. But we crammed a lot into the weekend, including a quick shopping trip and lunch, just the two of us on Saturday during nap time. I hope my girls love me and share with me as much as I do my mom.

Lawrence made me an EXTREMELY yummy bday steak and mashed potato dinner and along with the kids he made an ice cream cake/pie that was also yummy, and as a family we ate and desserted and it was such a fun day all around. I loved this video of the kids singing because it is like Lily is singing and Addie is doing back up. Oh, my dolls!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Too funny not to post

My cousin Suzy sent a box of size 24 month costumes with my mom. They were new with tags and her boyfriend had gotten them from the Children's museum, they were left over from Wal-Mart donating.

Anyway, Lily had to SQUEEZE into hers (since she is a size 5T-6!)...but she made it work, and Addie's was a little big. The girls had a great time playing "doggies" all around the house.

Mom: Hey girls, let's get a picture of you both so we can send Suzy a thank you!!! Okay Mom!

But then, Addie did this..........

And I could not believe I was lucky enough to have the camera in my hands.

Lawrence and I are still rolling on the floor laughing. I'm not sure if this is appropriate to post or not, but it is just WAY too funny not to!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend of Goodness

I have a weekend of goodness to post about. I have photos like crazy to organize and post. I have a husband and children I am through the ROOF in love with. I witnessed an amazing wedding of a cousin and his lovely bride. I have two children that I am entirely proud to be a mama to. I have a great job that allows me to find some semblance of balance to be the mama to said children. I have a baby kicking wildly in my belly. All. the. time. And even though it means I got up and peed six times last night! I'm happy to have this reassurance at 34.
5 weeks pregnant that my little boy is growing strong in there.

I'm huge and swollen and uncomfortable and sleep deprived...and yet I'm overflowing with all the good things in my life.

I don't really have time to post on any of these things in length, but I also don't really want to remain silent either.

I will find the time, someday, maybe when I don't have as much goodness. So for today I'll be grateful I don't have time to write more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'll admit that I'm becoming somewhat of a blogaholic. I don't watch much reality TV, but reading mommy bloggers and their stories is so captivating for me. There are a few non mommy bloggers that I read too, especially my good friends, my interesting friends, and a few people I love.

My good friend Jenn writes a blog with the best title around: "And then I was like..."
One of my favorite of her regular blogs is her "Little things" where she simply writes a list of things, inside jokes, personal moments to remind her of the goodness in her life. An extra special boost is when I've seen Jenn, and there is a little somethin' about ME on her little thing list. Love that! She also answers Sex in the City questions, writes about ridiculous skymall products, ponders her goals, writes letters she'll never send, and the list goes on. It's a great blog.

She's had a very busy life lately. She's finishing up her thesis for her masters of directing at U of Portland. She has an internship going at a hip theater downtown. She's in an elite ensemble. And she's on EVERYONE's list for the best of the best for anything Portland improv (or any city for that matter!)

I have written about Jenn before here, when I first saw something she directed and was blown away and proud to know her.

Anyway - the other day I see she has updated her blog and I'm excited to read on to find out what's new. She calls the new blog The Extra Mile Award. I can't wait to keep reading.

Imagine my surprise when I'm reading along and then she gives the award to ME! ME??????!!!!! Complete with a cute pic of my family. It felt so good, like such a gift.

From this gal, it's a true compliment. I'm touched, honored, and shocked. To been seen this way from someone I respect and admire so much is truly touching!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanks Mom!

Crazy Sleepy Pregnant Brain

This crazy thing has been happening to me, that while I'm asleep, but I think I'm awake, I have these NUTSO blogs written in my brain.

So one of the ones for last night was about Reflections, Birthdays, and my Mom.

When I was young we didn't have much money. I sort of knew that at the time, but not really. I knew I couldn't have everything I wanted, I knew my mom stressed about about where we stayed or what we ate on vacations. But we went on vacations, so I didn't really know. I knew clothes were hand me downs or yard sale specials, but I was actually kind of proud of that, I didn't realize it was because she was struggling to makes ends meet.

One thing that she ALWAYS did was make a HUGE deal about my birthday.

So much that as I got older I was tired of hearing "On this day 9 years ago...15 years ago...19 years ago..." you changed my life. Yep, I want to slap that little ungrateful brat of myself who was annoyed when her loving mother doted about the life changer that she was. Alas, it would be a wasted effort, because it took growing up to learn to respect all that my mom was and all she provided for me and my brother.

On the year that happened to be "27 years ago..." I got to spend that birthday with my mom my new 3 week old baby girl, and I finally understood, at 28 years after I'd celebrated Lily's first bday, I TOTALLY understood. I finally got why today is just about my mom as it is about me.

Today is the anniversary of my mom becoming a mother. The role that would ultimately define her life, provide her most of her important successes and relationships, and give her the opportunity to change her little piece of the world through me, through us.

She always seemed to find a way to give me something that I really wanted on my bday. And I always always had a LOT to open. Sometimes it was packs of gum and packets of hot chocolate along with the toys and games, but there were always many gifts to unwrap. I so loved that. She also let me start planning my party, months in advance, she suffered through TOO many tweenie slumber parties with WAY too many girls sleeping over. She made a homemade cake, bought ice cream, she made tacos or spaghetti, and that was that. She didn't have to spend a lot of money to make me feel very, very, very happy and special on my bday. And she never really complained about being kept up all night from giggling girls (or fighting ones) and pulling bras our of the freezer the next morning!

In some ways, after I left home, birthdays were never as special with out my mom there to dote on me and tell me that this was the biggest day of the world. Even if I got to do something really cool, I was always disappointed to unwrap one or few gifts. My mom's box always arrived a few days late complete with the wrapped gum and International Delight Coffee tin, but it wasn't the same as having it on my bday morning. My roommates and boyfriends always thought it SO strange that I got smoked oysters and shelled nuts to "make the box shake", that it was all wrapped in a shoe box or cereal box or whatever else she had lying around. A box is a box. This is my mom's fabulous eclectic way, and I secretly always loved that they thought it was so weird.

Today - This morning, my 33rd bday, was kind of funny because I had a gift from Lawrence, Sabine, Lily, Addie, & Bryson. Then I had a PLETHORA of little crafts gifts made this week by Lily & Addie. Lily had wrapped each one. So I had what felt like a million presents to unwrap this morning. I loved it! It was so great. My daughter has my mom ideals about the more you unwrap the better, regardless of what is inside! :) And I even got the card from my dear mom on time! That's a big feat for her, and I know that, and it meant a lot to me. She sent gift cards, that I asked for, but she has also been replaced by mega gift giver, Lily! So, as I love, I had a lot to open.

Before I was a mom, I never understood why my bday was so important to my mom. Why she wanted to recount the details and talk about the exact time I came into the world. What the doctor said to her, how she felt. I didn't get it.

But now, I see. I owe so much of the good person I am to her, to her sacrafices and her kind heart. Her selflessness and her generosity. Because of her decsions and hard work. I'm happy to share my birthday with my mom who 33 years ago brought me into the world at 7:31am and the doctor told her I was the most beautiful baby he had ever seen...and she agreed...and she's always always made sure I knew that...

Thanks, Mom. Happy my Birthday to you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It worked

Thank you to all who prayed today for Stellan.
It worked. It was the home run they were praying for but didn't think was possible.
Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

And yet.

His heart is repaired. There was only a 20% chance of this. I don't remember the last time I felt so happy for a perfect stranger. Maybe when they got baby Jessica out of the well? Seriously, I feel like something good happened to me! So happy for that family.

I promise I will post something about my own children soon. I'm just so touched, and blessed, and grateful for all we have.

Praying for Stellan

Please pray for MckMama this morning if you feel touched by this. She is a fellow blog mama that I don't know personally but whose story is touching. She is an amazing mom, has four children, and the youngest (one-year-old a week ago) is in Boston this morning having heart surgery. It was scheduled for tomorrow - after a scary week in the PICU at their home hospital - but they had to rush it all today because when she took him off of the meds yesterday to prepare for tomorrow, he crashed. So she is there, alone, waiting for her husband to arrive. Pray for Stellen's little body (particularly his valves and nodes behaving the way they hope and staying strong), MckMama's peace, the older three children understanding and care, and for Dr. A & his team's skills and wisdom.

Once again, my heart is heavy to hear the burdens of a mother I don't know, and a little boy fighting who I will never likely meet. Reading about this roller coaster they are on is hard, but her openness and faith is inspiring. Please, God, I beg along with her to let Stellan live!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

A sister is a piece of your childhood that will always be with you...

As a mother, it's easy to look at your children as your success or failure.

They sometimes define what you've accomplished, or the lack thereof.

Usually it's a good time, but sometimes, undesirable behavior is hard to separate from personal failure. And you wonder, am I doing this right?

But then...

You have these days where it's just so sweet that you can't BELIEVE these are your kids. It is so wonderful that it is overwhelming. In October, I had lots of these moments. I've already posted a few. Halloween, the pumpkin patch, our amazing family photos...

But the moments are plentiful - here are a few more examples of the biggest blessings I've ever known...

I created two people who love each other this much, with God's help, I gave them to each other, this wonderful life long friend of a magnitude I will never know. And soon I will give them another sibling to love and to share their lives with, forever.

So sometimes I think...I must be doing something right....and I remember why I am doing it again...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Salmon Spawning

So Salmon are's the scientific rundown...

They are born in the stream, they swim to the ocean when they are teenagers, they live their life in the ocean, then when it's time they swim back to their place of birth to lay their eggs and die. All the while they are readjusting between salt water and fresh water living. Seem amazing? It is. Now build dams and fish ladders and don't expect that to interfere with their "natural" intuition of which way to go. I kept thinking, how the hell do they know that that next "pond" (made of concrete and wood) that they are wildly jumping for is the way to their birth place???

After the Pumpkin Patch on Oct 18 we stopped at Bonneville Damn Fish Hatchery at Cascade Locks to watch the Salmon do their thing. We had a picnic lunch and it was so awesome watching them jump strong, high, and crazy up the ladder, knowing which was was The Way! Again, the girls and Rachel were so cute, I could barely stand it. Running in rain boots is always so funny...and they were very intrigued by the fish!

Pumpkin Patch - Hood River, Oregon

On Sunday, Oct 18 we drove to Hood River to Rasmussen Farms to pick pumpkins. There are lots and lots of places within 15-30 minutes that we could have gone to, but we our friends have a family tradition of going to Rasmussen and we wanted to go check it out. We had such a wonderful day. Rachel (Powers) and our two girls had so much fun together, so did the grown ups and we even brought Sabine and her friend Hanna. So everyone had a buddy and it was just great. Somehow in figuring out how Rachel and Lily could ride together, Shawna and I hit the jackpot. I rode with her with Sabine and Hanna (who spoke in German most of the ride), and DADS got all the other kids in one car! Score. Seriously. An hour of grown up talk with one of my besties! YAY!

It is quite funny that Addie now considers Rachel as one of her friends as well (Lily and Rachel have been best friends since 5 months old when they went to the same daycare). Addie calls Rachel "Wheat-wheel" (or something to that effect) and now gets excited when she's coming over or we will be doing something together, and cries together with her sister when she leaves. Unfortunately it makes it hard for the big girls to do big girl stuff. Good news is, Rachel desperately wants a little sister and happily welcomes Addie to join in and Lily also likes that she has a little sister who Rachel wants to join in. So far, 3 isn't a crowd. Tho Josh overheard Lily give Rachel "big sister advice" in the car after Addie wouldn't stop grabbing Rachel's arm when she was trying to color. "Rachel, when you have a little sister, sometimes they are REALLY annoying, and you just have to deal with it.". Good advice, huh? :)

Day 2 of 7 - I tried using bloggers new uploading feature and it did not go well. Some of the photos and all of the captions were lost, but there are a lot here and I think you get the idea!