Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home Movies

A couple of weeks ago, John came back from his parents' house in Florida with their car and a few boxes. His mom, battling cancer, is now living with his sister in CT. One of the things he brought back was a VHS that I had sent to them...around 20 years ago! So of course, I had to pop it in the vcr; the only one we have is on the little tv in Chelsey's room.
Over the years, I've taken a lot of video, but besides maybe looking at it right then, I don't go back to look at them. So, this was quite a treat. It was Chelsey, back in the day when the world revolved around her. Wow, watching her talk and interact, at what seemed like such a young was like we were watching a genius! :) We kind of forget what other kids can do. Right now, I'm so impressed with Evan's progress. It's not that "I forget" that he's not where a 4 year old should be; I guess I just don't think about it too much. Hey, that's a good thing! :)

Yesterday, day 2 of a nasty stomach bug, and I'm still taking it easy, I started watching videos on our 8 mm that I haven't used in a couple of years. This time, it was mainly Kyle and Matt, 10 and 8. Another, wow. First, hearing their voices at first was so strange; it was like I didn't remember them ever sounding like that. And then, of course, I noticed just how cute they were. :)
The really funny thing was, was that I heard them each say a phrase they both sometimes still say. They were playing with a castle, and Matt said, "You're under arrest!" He still says that at times, although it's progressed to "Get on the ground!" (he likes to use these phrases on our a good way.) Yeah, he likes the show COPS.
Kyle phrase was "I sure wish the gang could see this." The gang, of course, is the Scooby Doo Detective Agency. Yeah, that gang, for years he's been wanting to head out to Coolsville to see them. :)
I only watched about 20 minutes yesterday, and then a little more today. Evan watched it with me today...on the small screen of the video camera. He liked the part where Kyle was playing with trains, but then when it went to another part, he started tapping the screen and sliding his finger on the screen. The modern child. He's so used to watching videos on our phones and being able to stop, start, and go back to videos. He was getting a little frustrated that he wasn't getting the same results with this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best Buds and Evy J

The boys are out for their Christmas get together with their Best Buddies. And I'll say it again, I LOVE THAT PROGRAM! They are partnered up with amazing high school girls. For Kyle, this is his 4th Best Buddy, and she's definitely a keeper! For Matt, this is his third year with the same girl...a completely awesome person who plans on getting a degree in special ed. For these girls, it's not like they signed up so it looks good on their transcripts; they're genuinely wonderful young women. So thankful!

Evan...what to say about Evan!? Well, our nights are better!!! Finally! It only took four years, but I can say with confidence that he is now a good sleeper. He still may not sleep as many hours as many his age, but when he falls asleep, HE STAYS ASLEEP! Yay! Sleep makes such a difference in my life; it feels so good.

Words, we're hearing new words all the time, and it's music to my ears. His latest--new this week--is "yeah." Before when we would ask him if he wanted something, he would respond with "peas," so polite of him. But his "yeah" is so darn cute. He says it almost as a question; it makes me laugh every time! Another recent, and quite appropriate this time of year, "Ho ho ho, Merry Kismas," and the word that every mother waits to hear started this past summer, "Mommy!" He says that...a lot now! He's getting really good at being able to repeat words when we ask him to. It's beautiful, simply beautiful.

Potty trained, completely during the day. We somewhat had it summer of 2009 when he was 3, but then the school year happened, and it slid down on the list of priorities. As soon as summer break of 2010 started, we went straight to underwear. And within a week or two, he joined the ranks of the potty trained. I was concerned about what would happen once school started, but it's been fine. Only one accident, and it was when they had a fire drill. Night time hasn't happened yet, but right now, it's not even a concern. I'm just so excited about how well he does during the day!

And you know what? I'm thoroughly enjoying life with Evan now. Hopefully, that doesn't sound "awful," because of course, I've always loved him more than life, loved being with him, had many wonderful mommy moment with him. It's just, I guess, taking care of him isn't as emotionally exhausting anymore. Having number 4 after the other 3 were considerably older was a bit of a shock to the system. He entered our family when our family dynamics were different. The biggest change, I was no longer a stay a home mom. That definitely contributed to me feeling drained for so long. He doesn't have playmates around the house. Before, not only did I have our 3, but I also took care of a couple of others.
And yeah, getting the positive diagnosis for fx took it's toll on me, even if I was "prepared." Maybe more than any of the other reasons I listed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hello, Blog

It's been a few months, and what am I blogging about? Illness, well, kind of.
Evan is staying home with me today because he's throwing up...again. He had a stomach bug a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and then on Monday and Tuesday of this week, he had a mild stomach bug. But this isn't about how many times he's been sick, because actually, I think he's quite the healthy little boy!

This is just some frustration being let out that he can't tell people that he's not feeling well.
His note from school yesterday said he had a "rough day." He missed playtime because he wasn't cooperating for activities. It just makes me kind of sad to think about the frustration he must feel, not only in that situation, but for so many times in life when he's frustrated, can't control the situation, and can't verbalize his feelings about it. He's had other "rough days" at school, and most of them have preceded being sick (I think it's almost safe to say all of them), whether it's his stomach or the start of a new cold.

So that's it.

I'm staying home today. MAYBE, I'll get back on here so I can update all the progress he's made! This really is the only place where I keep track of milestones, besides the occasional facebook status. ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Just Different

I'm taking care of an almost 5 year old and a 7 year old this evening for a few hours. Even though I'm with kids all day during the school year, it's different having them in my house. I mean, different in the fact that I'm not used to hearing conversation in my house from young children. Different because the one who is almost five (9 months older than Evan) has asked me over 2000 questions in a 2 hour period (at least it feels like that many). Different because they are running around the house playing good guy/ bad guy. Different because they use the phrase, "I'm bored." Different because they aren't content to sit and look at a book for long periods of time...or at all (at least not while they're at our house where everything is "new" to them). Different because the WANT me to play games with them (we just finished BINGO).
Just kind of funny. Evan can be such a handful, but I'm reminded tonight that "other" kids....they're kind of tiring, lol. I mean, I knew that already.
It's just different.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Fish Tale

He's the smallest fish in the fish tank.
Like the rest of the fish, I don't have a name for "him," in fact, until recently, I never really took note of him.
A couple of days ago, though, he got my attention...he was in the bubble tube. I got really nervous, because he looked like he was distressed...fighting his way down through the bubbles, panicking because because he didn't know how to get out. I called John in from outside because he's the fish tank supervisor; I had no idea had to get the fish out.

John opened a few things, pulled out the air bubbler thingy, and then fish gradually swam to the top of the tube and with only about a 1/4 in of water clearance, made his way out. Phew. Crisis averted.
...until about an hour later. The little fish did it again. Apparently, there's a little plastic piece that broke off of the top of the tube thingy, and he's so little, that he's the only fish we have that could fit through this new opening. Once again, I felt a little panicked, but not as much as before. Once again, John got him out. And once again, okay, several more times over a two day period, this fish ended up in the tube. Each time, I felt I had to rescue him (I paid attention to the rescue operation John had performed so that I now could perform it.)
So I wasn't at all surprised today to see the fish in the tube, only as I started to take things apart, he showed me that maybe I was rescuing someone that didn't want or need to be rescued. He quickly swam to the top of the tube and made his way out the tiny space that he had entered through before I had a chance to take things apart. Hmmm....maybe he's not so helpless after all....
But now there's a new dilemma, or at least I perceive it as being one. As the kids and I stood there watching him (it is entertaining), he kept struggling more and more going against the bubbles, trying to reach the bottom, which in hindsight, is what I think he's been working towards the whole time. And reach the bottom he did...and more. He "disappeared." He went "under" the tank.
Once again, panic set in.
Chelsey got her phone (also known as an emergency flashlight) and opened the doors to the cabinet.
And there he was.

He was below the plastic bottom that is below the gravel. Now, in this underneath world, there's very little room for movement. There's pockets of water among "ick" and rocks that have slid under there . He can't freely swim or turn around. I thought I was going to have to somehow disassemble the flooring to free him.
He proved me wrong again.
He wiggled, scooted backwards, and made his way back into the tube. I thought for sure, he was now as panicked as I had been and wanted out. So I again removed the air tube to assist him in getting out, which he did slowly, and I wasn't sure if this was a sign of how tired he was or if it was a sign of his reluctance to come out.
Phew, he won't do that again! Wrong again. After a 10 minute break, he went right back in, and forced his way to the underneath world.
Now, here's the thing. The piece where he's entering should be replaced. But, yet, I'm so "proud" of his perseverance...I've never seen such a purposeful action from a fish. He's having an adventure, although this adventure could end his life.
Fix it, and he goes back to his hum-drum life of swimming in the water. Leave it be, and he continues his dangerous, thrill-seeking ways.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Qualifying for the Brickyard

First of all, I just put all the pictures from my phone onto the computer, and my brain was flooded with the images of the past year as they quickly downloaded. "Only" a year, but already, they're memories. At least one of those memories will make it to my blog...
The Brickyard!
We went to this race 2 days ago. It was the first race for the boys and for us. Yeah, John and I aren't what you would call NASCAR fans, but because of the boys' extreme interest in this sport, I guess we kind of are. I mean, I do have two favorite drivers...Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya. How did I pick them? Not sure about Jimmie (maybe just because he's good), but with Montoya, I just like the way his name sounded, lol. Really, though, that's why I picked him. So imagine my excitement and the bragging rights I had the day before the race when we found out that they were starting in the first and second of them was going to win, right? Hmmm....
Let's back up, way back, like 9, 10 years ago. I'm not sure exactly when, but sometime around this time, Kyle, master of the remote control even at a young age, was flipping through channels.
And he made one of his greatest discoveries, NASCAR. Immediately, both of the boys were fascinated by these cars that were whizzing around the track. Really, before this time, I'm not sure if John or I could have named more than 2 drivers. Kyle quickly changed all that for us. So what would be the logical thing to do? Bring them to a race, of course...not. There is no way that they would have been able to handle the crowds, noise, duration, etc. So we started out slow and brought them to a practice.

I think the year was 2001, Kyle would have been almost 10, Matt, almost 8...I think. Oh how I wished I journaled back then, because I don't remember a lot of details. My biggest memory is that Chelsey was in a non-talkative mood and sat away from us, lol...yeah, she would have been almost 12. I also remember that it was a fairly quick visit.
I don't think that we brought them the following year, and maybe not even the year after that. But the past few years, they have gone. After last year, I was kind of regretting that we didn't go to the actual race...they were ready!
So this year, it was a "must." We were all going to go (minus Evan), but I waited till the week before to ask my mom to watch Evan; she couldn't. We don't have babysitters for Evan. We thought of a few that could possibly watch him, but Chelsey, who isn't all that into racing, graciously offered to watch him. I felt really badly about this, but she insisted it was ok. sigh
We asked a boy in Kyle and Matt's class if he wanted to go with us. He's someone who Matt likes to joke around with, and I was fairly certain he was into NASCAR. It was also his first trip to a race.
Summed up, it was GREAT! They had a really good time. Our seats were in the shade (YES!), we had backs to our seats (YES! although my back still screamed), and we had a good view...across from the pits but with a good view of one of the turns. This isn't to say that there weren't times when I wanted to take I nap, or that I wasn't very annoyed by the 3 smokers in front of us, but THEY loved it!
Oh, my drivers? For whatever reason, when they introduced Juan Pablo Montoya, we were surrounded by BOOS! What!? Did they not appreciate how cool his name sounds? Jimmie had a mixed review from the crowd. Matt was loving this part, because he's all about razzing.
And then when Montoya crashed, pretty much all by himself with only 14 or so laps to go, after having the lead for a huge portion of the race, they cheered.
The nerve.

Now that it's over, Kyle's choice of conversation...The Poconos this weekend. We won't be making that day-long drive.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today, we went with the all the kids to Flavors Coffee place. John and I often go there on Saturday, but without all the kids. We tried once this past winter bringing them...didn't go so well for Evan. The noise of the blender had set him off, and he wanted very little to do with the place.
But, time has passed, and he's improving with dealing with noises. For example, we don't have to take him outside when we vacuum anymore! I just tell him that I'm going to vacuum the floor, his eyes get really big, and then he heads to the computer room and shuts the door until I'm done. Much improvement.
So, we head into Flavors, not too many people in there, and we order our food. Chelsey and I got a blender drink even though I knew it could mean trouble. To play it safe, Evan and I went into the bathroom where it could barely be heard while the drinks were made. He didn't exactly like hanging out in the bathroom, but he was ok.
We went back to the table, and we were able to stay there enjoying our breakfast for quite a while, actually, longer than the amount of time John and I spend when it's just the two of us.
AND, someone ordered a blender drink halfway through our visit. He got a little upset, but quickly composed himself when they finished making the drink.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Going to Try, Again

I don't know why I let so much time go these days between getting on here...
Evan's potty training is going GREAT! Last summer, we were doing well, but I knew that sending him to school and to my mom's was going to be tricky...and it was. So potty training throughout the year was hit and miss; BIG miss at school.
But this summer, it's been wonderful, and he will be going back to school without a diaper!
His vocab is still very limited, but luckily, it's not to difficult for him to say, "pee," which he says for both, very convenient.
Other vocab? "No Deal!" Yes, he's been watching game shows with his brother this summer, plus Matt has that game on his DSi. Other than that, he still really isn't putting words together. His biggest vocabulary comes when we're identifying animals....still. Yep, loves his animals. I know more about wildlife from watching Animal Planet than I ever have in my life!
The older boys are doing well. Tonight, they are going to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game with Matt's Best Buddies. I adore Matt's BB, she goes above and beyond...a true friend with a huge heart.
That's it...I just really want to get back into this...I know I've said that before! lol

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trip To California

Recently, my Mom, Chelsey, and I spent a long weekend in California for my niece's wedding. The wedding was in Berkeley, we stayed in Oakland, and we visited San Francisco.
The last time I was in CA (Monterey for 6 months), was a little over 20 years ago! I don't think I appreciated the beauty of it then.
We arrived in SF late Friday afternoon. The first adventure was finding the car rental place at the airport...I wasn't expecting it to be so far away!
Next came the driving. The van was in my name, so I was the only driver. And what was one of the first things I had to do?? Cross a very long bridge! I've never been a fan of going over bridges, but I do much better when I'm the driver. And after going over a few very long bridges several times, I kind of like them now! I was actually sort of fascinated by them. Yeah, sounds kind of corny, but let's remember, I've lived in the middle of the corn fields for 18 years now!
After a quick stop at the hotel, Chelsey and I went to Sarah, Zachary, and Quinn's
house...which was only minutes from our hotel! And to top that off, we were met there by Vicki, Joel, and Holly!
Unfortunately, due to how long it took to make our way out of the airport, the visit was kind of late, so the kids were a bit more than the other. ;-)
But wow, how awesome it was to meet them! I started this blog because my daughter had one...that was it. I had never thought I would get the opportunity to meet some incredible people who happen to have a flaw in a gene in common with our family.
Anyway, the visit was great, yummy pizza and wonderful people to visit with! It was a long day, with the Dramamine making it a little longer for me (even the less drowsy version knocks me out a bit).

On Saturday, we hung out with my brother (father of the bride), saw some sites, and just enjoyed being there.
That evening was the beautiful. The reception was unlike no other I've seen; I loved the change.
Sunday was more sight seeing, SF and Berkeley. The weather was a bit uncooperative (rainy and chilly), but it was still a good time.

Of course, how could we go to SF without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge!?

This bridge is so long! And there were cars above us; that's a bit freaky for one who has a little fear of bridges....

Yeah, we don't have hills like that in Indiana...didn't take much to entertain me.

My brother and Chelsey

Great time, would love to go back!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recent Stuff

I really want to get my blog going again because I want to print this stuff out for a "journal"'s another attempt at it!
So I guess I'll start with Evan updates. Last weekend, I went to California with Chelsey and my Mom for a four day weekend (for a wedding--that can be another post!). Before I left, his version of his name was "E--en" or "E--e" (short "e" sound).
John and the boys picked us up from the airport, and on the ride home, I asked him what his name was--just because he loves to say it and he's so cute when he does. To my surprise, when he answered, he said "Evan".......VERY CLEARLY! Yay!
Sleep: he's been doing much better with sleep the past couple of months. He's usually sleeping through, isn't taking as long to fall hour maybe, sometimes less...and he's getting better at keeping the jammies and diaper on! He is also becoming more aware when his brothers go to bed (9), and will ask (in his way) to go too....much better than 10 or so.
Interests: Still loving his alphabet toys and animal books. He can't get enough of his animal pictures! They have to be real pictures of animals, with a preference for safari type animals, whales, sharks, and dolphins. Some of them he can say fairly clearly: cheetah, whale, shark, "jraff" (giraffe), eagle, wolf, seal, deer, zebra, roar (lion ;-), and even elephant is sounding pretty good, while others are getting there. :-)
And just as he's getting to the age where I really shouldn't be carrying him anymore, he can say "Care-cue" (carry you), melts my heart and often gets him in my arms.
A couple of days before I left for California, Evan had a fall at school. Yeah, fell off a platform on the playground and ended up with a good old bump on his head with a bit of a cut. I brought him home and he immediately fell asleep on my lap. Didn't like that. So, I brought him to the hospital to have him checked out. I'm usually not one to rush to the doctor's office with my kids, but this one made me nervous. SO, after 3 HOURS in the ER (probably worse than the fall for him), I got the reassurance from the CT scan that everything was alright. The black and blue is starting to fade, and he has a small scab.
On the topic of playgrounds, he's been loving the playground recently! He no longer sits on a platform to watch the kids run around him; he's all over the place! It's hard keeping up with him, ya know, to make sure he doesn't fall off the platform (he kind of loses awareness of where he is in space when he gets all excited), but it's worth it! I get a good workout, and he has a great time.
As I type, John is outside putting up a swing set we just bought today. I was out there helping, drill and all, until Evan woke up from his nap. Evan and I are on our way out to check the progress. :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010


Kyle has always been a fan of trains...especially Thomas the Tank Engine. He started off with the die-cast ones, then the wooden ones, and finally, the battery operated plastic ones. Over the past 18 YEARS, we've gained many trains (and tracks) and have gotten rid of, basically, none. That's a lot of trains!
So when Evan came along, I thought for sure his love of trains would start from the very beginning. For his first birthday, I got him the Thomas Train and he could sit on and "drive" or push. It has the buttons that play the little great. Well, he's played with it a little, but it was never a huge hit.
At our old house, Kyle's room was upstairs, and Evan's was down. This prevented Evan from having very much exposure to the trains set up in Kyle's room. At our current house (a year and a half), both of their rooms are upstairs, and Evan also has mastered the stairs enough where he has freedom to go up and down as he pleases. This summer when Kyle was home, he had a constant track with the battery operated plastic trains set up in his room. Evan did NOT like them! He would scream, cry, etc. It was awful. This stage lasted for a month or so. THEN, he went through a stage of still crying, screaming, etc., but yet, he insisted on standing in Kyle's room to watch them! Of course, Kyle didn't care to have his little brother in there screaming while he was conducting the Island of Sodor. But, Kyle, having the big heart that he does, put up with it quite well. Gradually, he was able to spend time watching the trains for several minutes before the overload and the screaming/crying would start. This often happened before bedtime...not a good way to ease into a good sleep.
Now, after several months, I can proudly say, Evan is a true Thomas the Tank Engine fan. For Christmas, we got a track set for him (to Kyle's relief), and he is becoming quite the little conductor of trains.
I can hear the trains going now. :-)
Peep peep!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Losing Our Dads

Wow, Oct.'s been a while. Before I can start writing about the everyday stuff that happens around here, I need to write this post.
John's Dad passed away on Nov. 11th, and my Dad passed away on Nov. 19. Sometimes it still doesn't seem real.
John's mom and dad were just here in July, and he seemed like a healthy, energetic 74 year old. Then, in September, he started a "cough." At first, they were treating him for bronchitis...that wasn't going away. It got progressively worse. A couple of weeks before he died, they said it was possibly pulmonary fibrosis. He started on a oxygen tank at home on Nov. 6th. On Sunday, Nov. 8th, he went to the hospital because he was having such a difficult time breathing. I think it was Tues. that he was told he had full-blown lung cancer. John had a flight scheduled to go to Florida on Thursday morning; unfortunately, his dad passed away Wed. afternoon.
Cigarettes suck.
He was such a larger than life person. He's greatly missed by out family!

My dad went to the hospital on Monday, Nov. 9th...the day after John's dad had entered the hospital. He was having great difficulty breathing...fluid in his lungs. He was 87, had bladder cancer, and had suffered a stroke two and a half years ago. At this point, he was very weak. He had the health conditions, and he hadn't been eating much. At the hospital, they gave him something to help relieve the fluid on his lungs, an antibiotic, and blood (his blood count was low...he was losing blood through his bladder). He came home on Friday with the hospital bed was set up in my parents living room; Hospice was helping out. He went downhill rapidly. I'm thankful that I was able to be with him during this time--I took off work---but it was also so difficult seeing the process of death. Tuesday morning till around noon was the last time his eyes were open, and he could attempt to say something. Wednesday morning, his eyebrows moved slightly when I tried talking to him. Thursday morning, his breathing was slowing down, and he passed away around 9:30.

I know he was 87--that's considered a long life--but it just didn't seem long enough for me.

I feel like there aren't many people who know our boys...really know them. It's not only hard losing as our Dads, but these men were also Grandpas who loved and accepted our boys for who they were.