Saturday, September 20, 2014

a day in the life...

Our day began at 3:26am last Wednesday.
And it wasn't in the name of concrete.

I was startled awake to Stella squirming to get out of our bed. Sadly, I was so tired, I didn't even know she was in there.

Tim jolted awake and promptly scurried out behind her.  Before I could get my bearings, I heard the famliar wretching sound.

Poor girl was sick.

After she was settled again,  I laid awake close-by in the still darkness waiting for another spell.  My mind immediately went to the day upon us, and how i would handle it now that it was clearly changing.

Ellery would need to get to and from pre-school,  and then there were the 2 hours of errands I had planned during those blissfully quiet hours, (bc it doesn't make sense to come home)  I  had already promised to take a few extra kids home after school so that there would be a little down time before football,  I was commissioned for mom taxi to and from football practice in the evening... and to top it off, it was the much anticipated turkey day. You just can't drag a sick girl around for all of that.

My day was spoken for, and this little glitch sent my mind in overdrive.

Well, I eventually managed to drift off, and our day began as usual.  The big kids went off to school, and Stella remained on the couch.

By mid morning she was feeling better, I called around and managed to find Ellery a ride to school, I gave up my afternoon expectations... and that's when I glanced at the calendar on my fridge.

Ellery needed to bring in a picture of each of her family members for a placemat craft that day.  I quickly opened up the cupboard that conceals my printer to discover what I already knew.  The familiar blinking told me I was out of ink...which was ironically on my to do list.

I quickly sat down at my computer to throw some pics on a usb drive... and if we were quick enough at Rite Aid,  we would make it back home in time for Ellery to eat some lunch before she was slated to be picked up for school.

While I was frantically going through a summers worth of pictures on my phone and computer, the girls were playing "store" nearby.

Well, they were getting a little wild...too wild for what was turning into a not so sick day, and I was losing my patience with them, my day,  and my life.  Wednesday was hitting me full force.  I had my back to their shenanigans, engrossed in my pics and my own pity party when Ellery starting gagging, screaming, and finally settled on crying.

Holding out a chubby little handful of coins, she could barely squeak out the words in her hysteria.  "I had 6 money's in my mouth, and now I only have 5" she stuttered...."and my neck hurts so bad".

Say what??

All these years of child rearing, and my 5th child puts a handful of money in her mouth at age 4.5 and swallows it?

Well, I took her screaming to be a good sign.  If there was a coin,  she certainly wasn't choking on it.
After consoling her, Stella and I searched the ground for another coin, but didn't see any.   The thing is, I believed Ellery that she knew she originally had 6.  She's quirky like that.

She quickly settled and returned back to her normal self.  Expelling tears only when I brought the subject up.  We hopped in the van and got our photos printed in record time.  I  utilized the ride to talk about what "does and does not go in your mouth."  Quiz her sometime, will you?   I monitored her, asked about her neck, and she seemed to be functioning just fine....only got teary when I asked her about it.

Quite honestly, I had my doubts.  Is it really possible to swallow a nickel that easy?  Did she get it caught in her throat, hence the gagging, and it just hurt?  We cry hard over some little things over here. Did she just think she swallowed it?  Did it start to get stuck and just scare the daylights out of her? Just how seriously do you take a 4 year old?

Well, we made it home in time for lunch and I sent her off to preschool.

After she left, I processed it a little more.  And did what I always do in these situations... talk to Tim, then my SIL, and finally the dr.

The dr. was concerned that she could have possibly aspirated the coin, and it could be in her lung.  A trip to urgent care for an x-ray was necessary to see that it wasn't stuck somewhere it shouldn't be.

My mind went back into overdrive to figure out how to fit this new development in with the after school running... and also preserve turkey day :)

To make a long story a little shorter, it all worked it always does. I managed to get the kids from school, back to football again, go to Urgent Care, and Tim was able to get the boys home from football again.

Have you ever waited 2.5 hours to explain to a nurse that your daughter might have swallowed some money, but you're really not even sure, because you had no idea she had money in her mouth? yes, i was that lady.

And seriously, have you ever shared a chair with your tween daughter with a trapper keeper the size of the titanic spewing papers, trying to do math that you don't even understand, and she has no use for, in a waiting room that is standing room only,  next to a guy that is moaning too close for comfort, and 2 little girls playing a wild game of tag around a lobby, tripping over people's crutches and shrieking..for a couple of hours? Mercy. They should have wine in their vending machines.

Well we eventually got contained to a room, and that x-ray didn't lie.   She was pretty nervous to lay on the table, as the memory of me pinning her down for her pre-school shots was still too fresh.

The little girl had indeed "swallowed her money's".  And thankfully, it was right where it needed to be.... below her lungs and on track to be digested. 

As we headed home, I inwardly chuckled/ reflected on the day....that x-ray pic, Ellery's quirky certainty, the irony of how much money it was really going to cost us bc she swallowed money of all things, the fact that I had to explain to Stella no less than 48 times that we were not in the urgent care bc she puked too, and most importantly, the blessing and gratitude to God for His provision that Ellery was ok.  I shudder to think about that coin getting lodged in her throat.

Our silly day was a simple reminder to me.

I often fret about the future, try to control and plan my days out way too far in advance, worry about what I'm going to do with my life aside from being a wife/mom....what gifts has God given me to glorify Him in this world?... the list goes on and on of what I try to control.

Absolutely nothing in my day went according to my plans, and that is ok.  It wasn't charming, or even  productive in a measurable manner.

God has blessed me with 5 beautiful children and a talented husband....and they need me to do just what I'm doing right now, charming or not.

And in the end, tho the turkey cooked for 2 hours longer than expected,  it was still pretty decent. There wasn't time for rolls, but we ate together as a family, everyone was cared for, and we were together.  And that's what matters, right?  Random reflections, yes?  I live a good life.

I added a new print to my lil' shop. And this is the story behind it :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mountain Ma'am

Let's take a moment to reflect, shall we?

Two weeks into the school year, and I can look back oh so fondly.
Only memories of laughter and sand seem to stick :)

Well, we camped more this summer than this former city slicker ever imagined possible.

And I have to admit, I kind of liked it.

A few highlights from some of our camping trips...

We started out by going up to Pentwater for the weekend on the last day of school.  A christening of summer, and hopefully the birth of a new tradition.  I heart Pentwater so much.

Later in June, we camped in Ludington with friends for a week. I had my hesitations about this trip, as Ludington is big, Tim would need to go to work, I've never camped for 8 days ever, and all 5 kids have interests that take them in different directions...none of which is basking in the sun reading US Weekly leisurely on the sand.

I under-estimated my inner Mountain Ma'am.
And aside from my hobo pie "My dad doesn't make me eat black"  dinner fail,  and the lazy raccoon eating cheetos under our table, we mangaged quite well!

Ice cream and Beaver watching on the pier with Uncle Kevin....


Dylan spent hours in this position.

Oh, just trying to keep up with the big kids..

Made it to the lighthouse with this bunch, AND made it up.  Not a small task on my own :) It was so foggy!

The weather was fairly chilly, so we had a great time geocaching and running from mosquitoes.

The kids made kites...

Played many card games..

Their geocache prize...

More ice cream...

Once again enjoyed the reptile display....

Annual Lost Lake hike with Uncle Kevin...

All in all a great trip with friends, and one that I will definately do again with greater confidence.

The next weekend was the 4th of July, so we packed up and headed to Hoffmaster State park for the long weekend.  We did all of our usuals, and drove into town to watch the fireworks.

The log pic I always insist upon...

We hiked a bit...

Biked a bit...

And swam a bit..

All in all, a great weekend enjoyed together as a family.

A few weeks later we camped with dear friends at the CRCG.
The weather was gorgeous, we broke a few rules, and a made some great memories.

The craft barn..

Labor Day we once again went up to Ludington for the long weekend.
Naturally we got a flat tire on the way as we do every Labor day weekend :)
And for the record, Tim had it changed in 12 minutes. (A record to beat next year ).

We had a wonderful time.  The weather turned out to be better than expected, and we enjoyed slowing down and enjoying time with friends.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back at it

The kids are back in school.

And while one half of me is overly sensitive, sad for a variety of reasons... the other half is jumping off the couch doing cartwheels, high fiving the silent air, shortly after the big yellow bus pops over the hill and swallows them up.

Time marches it or not, seemingly quicker every year.

What's that saying?  "Live for today, because you'll never get yesterday back, and tommorow is not guaranteed"  or something profound like that.

It seems I blinked, we camped, and summer is over.

As this new school year begins,  I am keenly aware of how quickly the kids are growing up. Ellery is starting pre-school, we have 2 middle schoolers, and I can count on one hand how many summers will be left with Austin before he is out of high school. Wasn't I just overwhelmed because we were juggling 3 kids not sleeping through the night?

And as soon as they head back, my sensitive side begins to over- analyze our little 8 week respite. Did I love them enough?  Use the opportunity of unhurried time together to teach them life skills?  Make the most of every day that I had with them?  Did I yell too much and inadvertently tune them out too often?  Did we have enough genuine, quality, "we'll still be talking about this in 15 years", kind of memory making fun?

Gah! We never made it to the airport viewing area, or the library, or to Chicago by train....and the structured chore charts went out the window sometime mid July.  My shameful list of summer fails is a doozy.

And well, now that school is in, papers are being thrown at me faster than I can read and sign, football practices run late, mornings are early, dinner is hasty, we are rushed, and the struggle to cherish all these snappy moments is creeping back in.

Sometimes I think I put too much pressure on myself.

On the flip side...back to school is an audible exhale.

It means not breaking up fights at 10 am, because someone was chewing too loudly... or looking at somebody funny.... or making weird noises.  It means not tattling all day, or running laps around my kitchen tackling each other shrieking until it ends up in tears and something broken every.singe.time. It means not trying to be/help/listen/entertain 5 unique individuals at the same time for 13 hours straight. It's a break.

And let's be honest, there's absolutely no time to be bored now.

Back to school means routine, a new beginning,  brand new crayons and folders, bible study, a bedtime, a feeling like I can get on top of things by day that I've neglected since I gave up after last Spring Break.  Deep down I do crave structure, and some "quieter"  time. (With the big kids gone, Ellery hasn't let one single moment of silence go to waste, or opportunity to play Memory with me 4 times in a row. Love her.)

It's all so bittersweet, but move forward we must.

My prayer is that I cherish these moments.  Even if that means doing homework in the van at 7:34pm on a Tuesday amidst the sounds of little girls singing along to the tv and the smell of over processed food lingering.

And grace.  May I extend love and uderstanding when the kids can't handle these snappy moments either.

Enough of my ramblings, the 2014-15 back to school pic.  7th, 6th, 4th, 1st, and 1 soon to be happy little pre-schooler this year.

And if pics could speak?  A much searched for Patriots t-shirt, an Elsa braid, a buzz cut and athletic shorts that both stay up, and come down to his knees,  a new skirt "that's cute, and long, and matches my dog shirt"  and a princess dress.

Love 'em

And hey, maybe soon I will make the time to blog about our summer :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


We're settling into our first week of summer vacation.

We bolted out of the starting blocks last fall, and in the blink of an eye made a blurry mad dash to the finish line. 

It was a busy and fruitful school year. 

Austin eased into middle school, and enjoyed playing football, basketball and track.  He also participated on the science Olympiad team this winter, and really loved it!
Sydney and Dylan gave 3rd and 5th grade their best, and also enjoyed sports as well.
And after a tentative, nervous start to the year, Stella flourished in kindergarten!

Since i noted the first day of school about 4 posts ago, I thought it would be good to go back and highlight a few of the focal points in our year, in no particular order.

Last Day of school pic...

Stella rocked DeeDee Deer in her end of the year kindergarten program...

Bound and determined, this one set out to master the cube and succeeded...
Last day of elementary school!

How we spent our fall and spring.
This years never-ending winter will fondly be remembered as the one with 11 snow days, and also "that one year we had an ice rink before the lawn went in"

Mothers Day...
Sydney was a gunsmith for 5th grade Coloniel Days...

3rd grade field trip to Dutch Village....

Snow Day toruture.... 

Austin participated in the school spelling bee...


Sydney's first band concert!

A short trip to Las Vegas for the World of Concrete Convention....


Celebrating Dylan's 9th birthday with lunch 
A trip out to frozen Lake Michigan.

Enjoying my days hanging out with this girl while the kids are at school...

We found a new family hobby.

 Austin ran track for school!



Target practice.

110metre hurdles.
You know, grading the lawn.
Father daughter banquet at school...

Celebrating Tim's birthday...

We surprised him with a new dirt bike...

School rollerskating party...

Austin learned to ride a dirtbike...

Some days get long, and you fall asleep on the floor...

Tim poured a new driveway this spring. The kids enjoyed the sand for a bit.
Last day of kindergarten.

Spring program.

Gems and Cadets derby race.

Stella turned 6

The kids played basketball for school.


Sydney turned 10!

So we went skiing!

Easter in Chicago.


We ran the Calvin Classic together, and they all kicked my butt.

We celebrated my birthday too :)

Phew, and now moving forward. Stay tuned.