Friday, February 27, 2009


My friends Alycia, Barbie, Gretchen and I spent last night in Chicago. We had tickets for this morning to attend a taping of the Oprah show. (No - I DIDN'T get a car.....but I did get to see Jennifer Hudson perform live, which was awesome.)

After the taping, we went to a great little restaurant called "Silver Cloud" that advertises its "comfort food." I was a little disappointed that chicken pot pie is only the dinner menu, but I made due.

Anyway, as we were getting ready to leave, Gretchen asked our waiter for a to-go bag so she could put the rest of her turkey club sandwich in it. She said to us, "Do you think I could find a homeless person to give this to?"

I should have prefaced this statement -- on the way to the restaurant, we saw a homeless guy with the required homeless-guy sign begging for money. Seeing him, she commented how much seeing homeless people disturbed her daughter, Andrea, because she feels so badly for their plight. Andrea has been so affected by the difficult situation for the homeless that she helps raise money for the Good Samaritan Inn (a local soup kitchen) as well as volunteers there at times. Since Gretchen still had half of a very good sandwich that she hadn't even touched (the portions were big), she hated to see it go to waste if someone who was hungry could have it.

As luck would have it, we DID see a homeless person as we came to a stop light after leaving the restaurant - he had the required homeless-guy sign and everything. Putting down her window, the guy beat feet to the car because he expected money, but instead Gretchen handed him the bag saying, "I have a turkey sandwich if you'd like it."

He pondered for a moment then said, "where's it from?" Clearly surprised, Gretchen stammered for a second, then answered, "Silver Cloud."

"OK." the guy answered. He then took the bag and hooked it on one of the posts of the nearby fence and went back to trolling for change among the cars stopped at the stoplight.

Forget what you've been told. Apparently, beggars CAN be choosers.


Tonight, I had Aleita help me dry dishes, put the dishes from the dishwasher away, transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and take the recycling items out to the garage to the appropriate containers. After we had completed these tasks, she asked if there was anything else she could help me do, and I told her that was it for the night.

She said, "C'mon! Can't we run the vacuum or dust?"

"Not tonight," I answered, "maybe tomorrow."

She pouted a little bit, then said, "OK. But I want to help you tomorrow."

I am recording this seemingly innocuous event so that years from now, when Aleita is older and reads all these wonderful stories that her mommy has written about her, she will know that there was once a time that she begged to do housework. Let it be known.

Monday, February 23, 2009


This past weekend, Chris and I went away with friends to Indianapolis. It was great to have some time with just the "grown-ups." It was great to take a trip where I was able to:

- sleep in

- not have to visit a children's museum

- only have to cut up my own meat at the table

- only visit the restroom when I needed to go

- have a conversation with adults without being interrupted every 30 seconds

- try on clothes in a dressing room without two other people being present who are making crazy faces in the mirror and fighting to sit on the little seat with each other

- visit a local artisan's fair without having to worry about my little whirling dervish taking out half the display

Of course, I was very happy to be back with my kiddos last night, and I could tell that even though they very much enjoyed their weekend at Grandma & Papa's house, they too were very happy to be back home with us. We collected them right after supper last night, and they were pretty tired. After baths and books, they were more than ready for bed.

Whatever lingering separation I felt from shifting from "grownup" to "mommy" came to a screeching halt this morning. I went into both of the kids' rooms to wake them up and get them stirring. Maggie made it up and to the toilet first, leaving Aleita bouncing around the bathroom, holding her bottom, telling her to "hurry up and get off the potty before the pee comes out!" I left them to it and went downstairs to make myself a cup of hot tea. Within two minutes, Aleita had joined me in kitchen, saying to me, "Guess what I'm missing!"

"Your tooth?" I asked.

"Nope." she replied with a grin.

"A holder from one of your braids?"

Again, she answered, "No!" with a silly smile on her face.

"I give up," I said to her.

With that, she lifted up her nightgown over her head and yelled, "UNDERPANTS!!" and then laughed like a fiend.

"Maggie took too long on the potty," she began to explain as she lowered her nightgown back down so I could again see her face.

With a sigh (anticipating cleaning up a mess) I asked, "Did you pee your pants?"

"No!" she said indignantly. "I just dribbled a little bit."

With that, she headed back up the stairs, all the while singing into her new light-up Hannah Montana sing-a-long microphone that she brought home from her grandparent's house this weekend.

Ah yes - - definitely back in the mommy role.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


For those of you who don’t know, I teach the Jr./Sr. High Sunday School Class at my church. This past Sunday, we were reviewing some of the lessons that we had done over the course of the past several months. I had set it up like a trivia game, with my students answering the questions.

One of the questions I asked was, “When the Hebrews were wandering in the desert, what did God send them so they wouldn’t be hungry?” Before fully listening and realizing what I was asking, my student Allison blurted out, “MOSES!”

I couldn't help it - - I started laughing at the shock of the thought of the Hebrews cannibalizing Moses. All I could picture was an old man with flowing robes, running through the desert while being chased by the Hebrews yelling, “DON’T EAT ME! EAT THE MANNA!! EAT THE MANNA!!”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I know it has been awhile since I blogged, but truth be told, my heart just hasn’t been in it lately. The past several weeks have been trying ones for me and my family. With everything going on in our lives, my motivation has been seriously lacking.

In early January, Maggie was diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy. In mid-December, Chris and I became aware of these “spells” she was having in which she would be in the middle of having a conversation or doing something, and all of a sudden, she would freeze and just stare off into space for about 10 -15 seconds. When it was over, Maggie wouldn’t even know she had done it. In fact, most of the time it was so subtle, that we chalked it up to her just having a “spacey kid” moment. However, after the spells started to become more frequent, something clicked with me and I realized she was having petit mal seizures - - except most doctors today call them “absence” seizures - - pronounced with the end of the word rhyming with “sconce” because everything sounds better when you say it with a French accent.

To make a long story short, after an EEG confirmed the absence seizures, Maggie met with a neurologist who put her on anti-seizure medication. The episodes have lessened but are not gone entirely. She is also having some difficulty with the medicine because it makes her sick to her stomach, as well as makes her sleepy. We are meeting with a different neurologist tomorrow, so hopefully things will improve more in the next few weeks.

The good news is that these type of seizures only occur in children. In all likelihood, she will outgrow them as she gets older. However, there is a possibility that they could develop into more serious, severe seizures as she gets older (which are now called “tonic clonic” instead of “grand mal” because apparently somebody decided that rhyming words make epilepsy much, much cooler.)

I thought that the year started off on a bad note, and that things would get better from here. However, just as we felt we were starting to get a handle on all this, our family experienced another major shock a few weeks back. My Aunt Linda, my mom’s sister, was diagnosed with brain cancer. She had been having some health issues over the past several months for which she had not been able to find any answers - - then a seizure that left her left side paralyzed sent her to the hospital in an ambulance, and a CT scan revealed the problem.

After an operation to remove the tumor, the doctor seemed pretty optimistic about the whole thing, and our family breathed a sigh of relief --- even with her left side still paralyzed, she had made it through the surgery, and the doctors seemed pretty positive that strong radiation and chemo pills would take care of the rest. We rejoiced, thinking that physical therapy could assist with the paralysis, and feeling so grateful that the cancer was at least treatable. However, a few days later, the more detailed pathology came back, and it showed Glioblastoma - - a very rapidly progressive and lethal form of brain cancer, already in the last stage. We could hardly believe it when we were told that in all likelihood, she would have 6 – 12 months to live. The elation we had felt just days earlier suddenly turned to grief and disbelief.

One of the other factors that makes Aunt Linda’s situation even sadder is that my cousin Teresa (her daughter) is pregnant and due in two months with their first grandchild. Teresa is one of those pregnant women who just GLOW - - she has been so happy and excited about this baby girl she is carrying. What should be the happiest time in her life has now become one of the saddest because she is racked with grief about the thought of losing her mom.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are funny things that the kids do or say, or something comical that will catch my attention, and I think, “I should write about that….” but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I will return to blogging soon. Right now, writing about the day to day is just too hard with such a heavy heart.