Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Reunions

When I was a kid, we used to go to the Steiner Center in Wadsworth for a Pavkov family reunion every year in December.  Grandpa and Grandma Pavkov's kids and grandkids would all be there and we would have an unforgettable day swimming with our cousins, then getting out of the pool to play with the foosball tables, pool tables, maybe even sometimes play a little ball in the gym.  There were always games, a pinata and, of course, FOOD! 

It's funny how you can remember specific things from your childhood as if it were yesterday.  My memories of Steiner Center Christmases are at least 30 years old, and yet they are so very clear in my mind, right down to the sting of the chlorine in the pool to the smell of coffee brewing in our big gathering room to the taste of Aunt Janet's Saurkraut Balls!

When my cousin, Traci, e-mailed all of us to see if we would be interested in a family reunion, we all jumped on that idea!  What fun to introduce OUR kids to the fun we had at our reunions! 

So, today was that day.  We met in Mansfield at the Comfort Inn where we rented a conference room and had the use of their Splash Harbor mini-water park for six hours.  Oh my!  What fun we had!  The cousins enjoyed playing together in the water while the parents and grandparents enjoyed being splashed as the kids came down the slide.  The parents also enjoyed the adult-only hot tub, too!  We had games and gifts and FOOD!  Hot food, yummy food, and way too much food, but that's what Christmas family reunions are all about.  Aunt Janet's cheese balls and crackers and her saurkraut balls showed up, too!  We told stories about Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Janet.  We talked about all the cousins who weren't there.  We caught up on each other's lives and promised that we would do this again soon. 

The day was far too short, with our measly six hours together, but we're taking advantage of the time we had together and are showing our love like we never have before.  Unfortunately this week, a young man, known to many of us (and mostly my young adult nephews and niece) was tragically killed and the brevity of life has been staring us in the face.  We took time today to hug, to voice words of appreciation, to look each other in the eyes and to love each other as if it was our last day together.  The range of emotions today went from the lows of mourning a dear friend to the heights of enjoying family time. 

It was a beautiful day here and I'm so thankful that our family knows and acts upon the love of Jesus.  My memories of today will be cut deeply and I will cherish them. 

Family reunions.  There's nothing like them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Helpers

I love when the boys help me with fun jobs like vacuuming and watering the garden and helping to stuff Christmas envelopes.   Really, I do enjoy it.  There are other jobs I DON'T really want help with like decorating the cookies or counting the cash after a Watkins open house and Cookie Kitchen sale or actually addressing Christmas envelopes.  Really, I don't enjoy that.  But tonight we had fun.

Timothy, my little computer guru was helping me to get the Christmas letter just right this year.  He fixed the margins, adjusted font styles and sizing, printed the letters on the Christmas paper and then helped me tremendously by folding each letter with the Christmas card and then stuffed them into the envelopes.  We were having such a good time sitting at the kitchen table together, laughing, talking, commenting on the people on our list, etc.  The other boys were watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in the other room, so I thought they really had no interest in this activity in the kitchen. 

Then Stephen came in for a popcorn snack and saw us working.  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe went off and he plopped himself down at the table and started putting address labels on the stuffed envelopes.  We were all working so cheerfully and peacefully and then "The Question" came up:  "Mommy, are you going to pay us for this work?"  WHAT?!  This is FUN stuff, not work!  Haha!  I had a good laugh at that one as I got up from my chair, walked to each boy, gave them a hug and a kiss and said, "Yep.  You just got paid.  Thanks for helping me!" 

Believe it or not, they smiled back, returned my hugs and went right back to work.  End of discussion.  (Whew!)

Unfortunately we didn't get to finish before bedtime, but I was promised help that would continue as soon as they get up tomorrow morning. If you get a card from us this year, remember that they were all assembled with a lot of love and laughter and dialogue tonight.  I love my Christmas helpers!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm Here! Really, I Am

When I first started blogging, I was so excited!  I had so many ideas of things to write about, so many activities that I wanted to share, so many pictures I wanted to post!  I had to hold myself back from posting too many times in a day because I thought that I really should just keep to one per day (some unwritten rule in my head, I guess).  Now, here I am several years later and days, weeks, and yes, even months go by without a post anymore.  I'm so sorry to all of you faithful blog-checkers.  Don't take it personally.

I guess I kind of lost my steam.  I do love to write, and I love to tell stories and I do miss blogging, but it just seems like this whole change-of-life stuff that goes on when you're in your mid-40's (or beyond) has just sucked brain cells from my head.  Half the time I can't even finish a sentence that I'm speaking to my kids so to sit down and try to remember what I thought was so pertinent to share on a blog just doesn't happen anymore.  I could write things down so that I don't forget, but if I go to all the trouble of doing that, I may as well sit right down and type it onto the blog because otherwise I'd probably forget where I put the paper that I had written down my that I wouldn't forget.  Those of you who are right here with me in life, you get what I mean. 

Shel Silverstein wrote the most hilarious poem that the boys ask me to read on a regular basis.  They think it's funny.  I think it's reality.  It goes like this:

The Loser
from the book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" (1974)

Mama said I'd lose my head
if it wasn't fastened on.
Today I guess it wasn't
'cause while playing with my cousin
it fell off and rolled away
and now it's gone.

And I can't look for it
'cause my eyes are in it,
and I can't call to it
'cause my mouth is on it
(couldn't hear me anyway
'cause my ears are on it),
can't even think about it
'cause my brain is in it.
So I guess I'll sit down
on this rock
and rest for just a minute...
And of course, he sits down on a "rock" which is really his head.   The boys crack up at this every single time I read it, yet this is how I feel many days.  I hear that once women pass this stage of life, they DO regain some of their brain function back.  I'm looking forward to that day!
So my dear, faithful blog-followers, don't give up hope!  I'll be here!  I'll try to be more consistent and faithful in posting anything because I know you do care.  Do me a favor, though.  If I post and you read it, feel free to comment so that I know I'm not just writing to cyberspace alone.  It's always nice to know that someone is on the other end reading what I've taken the time to write.
Until the next inspiration hits.....go with God, and be thankful for your day!  I'll be back soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

He Cracks Me Up!

This morning I told the littlest boy that he had to change into his clothes before he was allowed to use his computer time.  He looked up at me with a giggling face and he said, "I have a surprise for you!" and he proceeded to pull down his pajama pants right there in the kitchen.  Underneath were his jeans from yesterday, complete with a new hole in the knee from crawling on the stiff carpet at church and powdered sugar smears from the mini-donuts he had at Lotsi Unkle's funeral.  His eyes never left mine as he jumped up and down with pure joy, giggling uncontrollably as he shared his "secret" with me!

What's a mom to do with a six-year-old who thinks he just came up with the most brilliant idea in the whole world?!  Well, I guess just what I did!  I threw my head back and laughed and laughed and gave him a huge hug and a tickle and a pat on the bum ... and then made a mental note that I'd better stay on top of things a little more when he's getting his pajamas on in the evening!

That kid just cracks me up!  What a joy he is to this family!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation 2012

(Ok, I have NO idea what is going on with these pictures on here!!  As you'll see, some are completely out of place and some are WAY too big and some are repeated.  I have no idea how they got on there and I have no idea how to remove them so please ignore them and pretend that I know what I'm doing.  Some day if I figure out how to fix them, I'll do so, but in the meantime, oh well.)

We had a busy, busy summer this year!  Nothing new in that, but it just seemed like we never had a dull moment in this family!  This post is mostly just to capture some of the highlights with photos for the benefit of the boys who like to go through my blog and look at pictures and remember the good times!

Here's to our summer 2012, boys!

Main Corn-Husker, right here!

Working on 5 dozen ears of corn

On our way to Virginia, we were stuck on the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, ON.  To our joy, we had to stop RIGHT beside the International Boundary Line where we always joke that we are in the middle of nowhere.  Just HAD to take a picture of it (since we had about 10 minutes to stare at it anyway.)

In the middle of Pennsylvania, we pulled off an exit to get gas and saw this church across the road that was holding an outreach carnival that day.  We were invited to participate and the boys got to play a bunch of carnival games and then trade in their tickets for FREE STUFFED ANIMALS!!!  As if we needed one more animal in this house!  They were so excited to pick out a 'new' animal to take along with them.  We also each got a free hot dog, drink, popcorn and snowcone, so everyone was happy with this little diversion in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Camp wouldn't be Camp without time spent in the Game Room.  This year Daddy got to challenge the boys to ping pong quite often!  Fun, fun, FUN!!

And then there were the weddings...Erik and Rosilda on August 4 in Kitchener and ...

Eric and Emily on August 12 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (And look at my beautiful nieces, Stephanie and Melissa!)

Summer ALWAYS includes some time at the cottage and this year Uncle Henry took the boys fishing for the first time!  Timothy was very patient waiting for that big bite!

Stephen concentrated hard on his fishing skills.

...And he was the first one to catch a fish!

Kayaking was a highlight at the cottage as well.  There were many choppy days where the kids couldn't go out on the water with the kayak, but you can be sure that on the calm days, they were begging to go!  So glad no one captured the moment when Auntie Jo and Mommy came back from a kayak trip and Mommy fell out of hers while she was trying to climb out of it! 

 So these are just a few highlights of our summer.  Now that the weather is turning colder, I thought I'd better post some HOT summer pictures to warm me up a bit.  Good by, Summer of 2012.  We really enjoyed you this year!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And What Did YOU Do Today?

So, what did YOU do today?  Same old, same old, or something out of the ordinary?  Well, I did something today that I've never done before and may never do again, but it was totally worth it!

This year, the International Plowing Match is held in Roseville, Ontario.  That's pretty much right down the country street from us!  I've been seeing signs for it for months now:  Official Site of the International Plowing Match, September 2012.  Hmmm.  Whatever.  Who wants to go watch fields being plowed? 

But then I started checking into it because curiosity got the best of me.  It started to sound like a lot of fun, kind of like a typical Ohio fair, but maybe even better!

I showed Fred the website and thought that maybe he would be interested, but no.  He kind of dismissed it completely when he heard that it would be $17.00 per adult and $5.00 per kid.  "Not worth it," he said.  Oh, I was terribly disappointed, but I knew that if it didn't hold any interest to him, we would certainly not be going.  Sigh.  A once in a lifetime opportunity to go to an International Plowing Match down the drain.

Over the weekend, we got to talking about it again after our prayer meeting and Corina mentioned that she and her girls were going to be volunteering at the IPM so they would be going every day!  They live in Roseville, so it's quite convenient for them to be there.  Then Rick mentioned that maybe he could get a free ticket for me, if I would be interested.  If I would be interested?!  You bet!  WooHoo! 

He shared the free ticket with me and guess what?!  I went this morning!  And oh, what a morning it was!  First of all, there had been thunderstorms overnight, steady rain early morning, and now it was time for me to go (by myself - no husband, no kids!  Best way to do it, in my opinion, so that I could see what I wanted and at my own pace), and it was still raining.  I drove down New Dundee Road to the official parking area and was directed up a very muddy hill in a field across the road from the Tent City, as they call it.  I parked, jacket pulled up close and umbrella already in full use.  The other attendees and I clambored aboard the trailer of a tractor that drove us down a very muddy hill, onto the road, and then down into another very muddy, very hilly, very scary field.  Unbelievable MUD everywhere and so very thick and sticky.  There were no seats on this trailer, so we stood, holding the rails and holding our umbrellas as we drove the 30 minute path to Tent City. 

Sparing you details, let me just say that I have never seen so much mud in my life!  Little boys in rubber boots were having a hay day (there can be no pun intended because there was NO hay - only mud at this point).  Fashionable women were having coniptions because their beautiful shoes were getting sucked into the muck, and the dear elderly attendees were trying so hard to walk without slipping and sliding in the ooze.

I had limited time, so I zipped through as many tents and displays as I could, considering I was slipping and sliding through the ankle deep mire as much as everyone else.  It was not an easy trek and it was actually more of a workout than a leisurely stroll, I'll tell you that much!  Soon, my time came to an end and I headed back to the gate to catch an out-going tractor that would take me back to the van.  I was (un)fortunate enough to be a solo rider on a trailer with a young driver who I think wanted to show off his tractor driving skills.  He warned me to hold on as the ride would be bumpy and then he took off!  Oh.My.Goodness!  It's been a long time since I've been so terrified for my life as I was today!  This guy was trying to go fast so that he could gain momentum on the deep-muddy hills and he was just was I!  My shoulders were killing me from holding on so tightly and my thighs were burning, just trying to keep my balance and my feet from slipping.  Many times my feet even left the floor of the trailer as he plowed right through the muddy ruts!  A few times he glanced back to see if I was still there, I guess.  I couldn't even respond to him because I was just holding on for dear life and not able to even breathe at times!  All I could think about was all those elderly people who would have to ride these wagons back to their cars in this horrible, horrible situation. 

We finally pulled up to my stop and I let the driver have it, politely of course!  I told him that if he wasn't careful when he brought the elderly people back, he'd be dealing with some serious injuries or even worse!  He apologized and said that he hoped they would have a better plan in place by the end of the day.  Sheesh!  My legs are still hurting me from the torture I had to endure on that wild ride back to the van!

If that weren't bad enough, it was still raining at this point, so the parking field was now a parking mud pond.  I tried to back out of my parking space and got totally stuck in the mud.  I tried and tried on my own, but to no avail, so I set out in search of someone to help push me.  I asked the volunteers standing there if they could help push my van out of the mud and was told, "I'm sorry.  We're only volunteers.  We're not allowed to help you."  Oh.  Then who can?  "Maybe one of the security people."  And they would be where at this point?!?!  Plan B:  I flagged down one of the tractor drivers who kind of looked at me bewildered because I wanted to talk to him.  I asked if he could give me a good push to get me out of the rut and he said, "Sorry, ma'am.  We were told we can't help anyone, but I'll let them know at the gate that you need some help."  Oh yeah, right.  As if I would be willing to wait around to see if that would actually happen. 

I was left to move on to Plan C.  I jerked the van into reverse, shoved one foot out the door and as ladylike as I could, I pushed with all my might into the now calf-deep mud and revved my engine with the other foot, all while the volunteers and the tractor driver stood by watching.  I'm proud to say that I got myself out of the mess and couldn't get out of that place fast enough! 

Despite the rain and the tractor ride of fear and my volunteer audience watching me dislodge the van from the mud, I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the International Plowing Match!  It was totally my type of event and I loved it!  I wished many times that Mom and Dad and Grandpa could have been there, too, but on a much nicer day, of course. I also wished that I didn't have to leave early due to another appointment, and that I could have had a pass for a few days so that I could see it all!  It was so worth the free ticket and the mud and the experience.  I guess I'm just a country hick at heart.

And that was my day.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The BEST Bean Salad

I love bean salads!  My grandma made the most amazing bean salad ever and she knew that I loved it so she would make it especially for me sometimes.  That always made me feel loved by her, because she knew how much I loved her bean salad.  It was very simple, but so delicious.

Grandma's Bean Salad
1 can green beans
1 can yellow beans
1 can kidney beans
(or any type of beans can replace these 3)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, chopped

1/3 c. oil
2/3 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar (In my handwriting on this recipe card I have "TOO MUCH!  Even 1/3 is too much!)
1 tsp. salt.

Mix dressing ingredients with onion and pepper until sugar is dissolved.  Add rinsed beans.  Stir and refrigerate overnight. 

So, that WAS my favorite bean salad, and don't get me wrong, I still love, love, LOVE it!  But I was introduced to another bean salad two weeks ago and since then, I think I've made it about four times already!  It is my newest BEST bean salad!

This is from Connie's dad who, I'm told, kind of just made it up on the spot. 

Connie and Robert's Bean Salad
(This is mostly the recipe that I received from Connie)

1 cup dry white navy beans soaked in 3 cups of water in the fridge for 24 hours (the longer they soak the less gassy for you).
Simmer the beans in clean water for 60-90 minutes until tender. Rinse in cold water.
In a bowl add:
3 ears of corn, cut off cob
approximately 2 cups of cooked navy beans (or all of it for a larger salad, in that case you will need 4 ears of corn)
about 1/2 medium onion finely diced
about 1" ginger finely diced + or - depending on your taste
several splashes of apple cider vinegar
a splash or two of olive oil
several shakes of herbamare
sprinkle of cayenne pepper + or - as you like
a few shakes each: ground coriander seed, dried basil & parsley (although fresh basil / parsley would be better) (cilantro might be nice also)
Mix into the beans and corn and let sit to marry altogether for at least 1/2 hour.

I personally did use fresh cilantro and no coriander seed, fresh basil and fresh parsley.  I also tried something different with my ginger.  I had purchased extra because I knew I'd be making this salad often and I put the extra ginger in the freezer.  When I needed it, I scraped the skin off with a sharp knife and then used a hand grater with small holes and grated the ginger into the beans.  This was so easy to do!

Try this!  I'm sure you will no doubt fall in love with this just like I have!  It's my newest source of protein staple that I keep in my refrigerator all the time!  I love it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Introspection and Empathizing

There's a lot of introspection going on inside of me lately.  I find myself examining my thoughts, my motives, my actions, my reactions.  I question whether or not I've made the right choices, said the right things, performed the best actions.  I immediately regret the wasted time, thoughtless words, and unnecessary frustrations.

There has also been a lot of empathizing going on inside of me lately, too.  I'm putting myself in others' shoes and wondering how I would be handling their situations, wondering how I would be reacting, dealing with life, both present and future.

Because I don't know who all reads my blog these days (probably no one anymore since it's been ages since I've written), I am going to be very vague in my details, so as not to disclose information that may not want to be divulged, but I want to tell you what has caused me to be quite reflective these days.

There is a woman in my sphere of influence who is my age and in a similar family situation as I am.  She has children my childrens' ages and is going through the same life stages that I am.  For the sake of giving her a name as I write, I am going to call her Lisa. 

As I said, Lisa and I are very similar in our circumstances, or I should say, WERE very similar in our circumstances until this past spring when she found blood in her urine.  Hoping that it was just a typical UTI, but feeling that it was probably not, Lisa sought medical attention.  Her greatest fear became fact.  She was diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer ... and the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes and her lungs - Stage 4.  Obviously this news was shocking to her, her family and those of us in her circle of influence, and thus began the wave of appointments, tests, consultations and treatments. 

Lisa's friends have set up an account for her at which is a website designed to create calendars, schedules, contact information and well wishes for people who find themselves in situations where help is needed.  I am on Lisa's list as a support person as are many, many others.  As I've participated in providing my helping hands to Lisa and her family, it has caused me to think about my life and my family as well as pulled me into empathizing with her and wondering how I would be handling life if I were in her shoes.

* Is my relationship with the Lord as close as it could be?
* Is He really my rock and my refuge?
* How strong is my relationship with my husband? 
* Would he be ok if I were to die?
* Have I said everything I want to say to my boys? 
* Did I teach them everything I could so far?
* Does that pile of wadded up socks under the bed in their room really warrant barking from me?
* When is the last time that I told my dearest friends how much they have impacted my life?
* Have I chronicled enough memories of the boys when they were younger?
* Have I helped build up my husband so that he is strong enough to handle the future alone, should that happen?
* Did I tell him where I hid the combination to the lock where I store the boys' toys when they "lose" them?
* Do I have ANY accounts unsettled in my life?
* Am I ready to meet my God?

And I wonder:
* How is Lisa's marriage?
* Is she feeling overloaded with information about her own situation that taking care of her family might be overwhelming?
* Is she scared?
* Does she cry when no one is around?
* Does she feel pressure to do 'everything' before she can't do anything?
* Does she pray?
* Is she saved?
* How deep will she let me go with spiritual topics?
* Does she wonder how much more time she has?
* Is it awkward for her to talk about her situation?
* Does she hear and see 'death' everywhere?
* How will she tell her children the truth of her sickness?

Lisa is on my heart and mind constantly.  Today her children spent the entire day in our home and I struggled in keeping back my tears when I saw them playing as innocent children.  They do not understand the scope of the situation as it is too broad for their young minds.  They were enjoying life here, not realizing that their mom was at yet another treatment session for this ugly cancer that is stealing her life away from her.  I prayed today that her children would feel safety, stability, security and love in our home.  We don't know what the future holds, but I know that I want them to know that this home is a place of refuge for them, no matter what may happen.

There's more going on in my mind, but I don't think that I've even been able to put it all into words for myself.  I am affected by the events in Lisa's life and I am drawing closer to the Lord as I realize that it very easily could be me and not her.  These things are hard.  They are not pleasant to go through, but they do refine and strengthen, don't they? 

Please pray for Lisa, her family and her support group as we all walk this road together with her.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Candy Sushi Making

Stephen, Timothy, David, Jonathan hard at work making their candy sushi.
Picture courtesy of Andrea.
Uncle Bob was the hero tonight!  After our family barbeque, he pulled out the trimmings for candy sushi!  He had all the kids working, making their own custom made sushi and wow, was it a hit!  Uncle Bob's friend found it on Pinterest and forwarded it on to him, knowing that he is a real sushi lover, and Uncle Bob just couldn't resist sharing the joy with all the nephews and nieces!

Green colored Fruit Roll Ups
Batch of Rice Krispie treats
Gummy worms or licorice sticks
Gummy fish

Flatten the batch of Rice Krispie treats into a rectangle, or if you are in a hurry like the kids tonight, no need to bother with this step.

Place a gummy worm or licorice stick on one end of the rectangle and roll it up.

Cover the log with the green Fruit Roll Up and add gummy fish if desired.

Slice the log into little sushi bites and gobble them up!

Unfortunately, we didn't get any good pictures of the final products as they were snarfed down almost immediately, but here is a blog from that has a great tutorial and pictures of what they should have looked like.

Lots of sticky fingers and green tongues after this project, that's for sure!  I skipped the gummy stuff and the Fruit Roll Ups and just enjoyed the Rice Krispies.  Try this with your kids!  They'll love it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Florida Part II

 Well, since so many of you have been asking about my Florida Part II post, I thought I'd better deal with it already!  Today was a hot and sunny day here and it put me in a Florida mood so I figured, why not!  Here are a few highlights of the second half of our Florida trip back in March.
Timothy LOVED building his sand castles!  He had a slew of them on the go at any given time.  The only problem is that despite my attempts to constantly slather him in sunscreen, my poor son STILL got charred from all of his time on the beach!

The boys diligently worked on their sand castles.  The sand on Sanibel Island was perfect for building!

Where's Christopher?  Oh.  There he least part of him!
We were blessed to spend some time with Uncle Russ and Aunt Adena in Ft. Meyers and the boys just had to recreate Magic Kingdom and Epcot with ALL of their Dominoes, Uno cards, playing cards and whatever other game pieces they could find.  They had quite the amusement park created there!

I love this picture of Stephen finding his first shell!  We came home with so many shells because they had to keep collecting "just one more."

What a treat to be able to spend a few days with Liz and Laurel, too!  We got to watch the sunset at Vanderbuilt Beach.  How absolutely gorgeous!  We tried watching for the green ring, too, but I missed it. 
After a long trip, we still managed to squeeze all three kids into one queen bed in the hotel.  We won't be able to do that too much longer!  This peaceful scene was at the end of a struggle for blankets and pillows and foot room claims.  I wonder what they'll remember about this trip?
So there is the quick version of our trip to Florida!  Thanks to Dad's love for snapping pictures, we have hundreds more to remind us of our memorable time together.  I would do it again in a heartbeat with all the same people, and more ... and if I had the time and money to do it as well. We still talk about our Florida trip on a regular basis and I'm pretty sure we will for a long time to come!

Mom?  Dad?  Where do you want to go next year?!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Memories of Florida Part I

At the end of March, Mom and Dad came with us on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Florida.  We hopped on a plane in Buffalo and flew to Cleveland to pick up Mom and Dad.  From there we flew to Orlando and started our wonderful vacation together!  One day at the Magic Kingdom, a day at our hotel, and then a day at Epcot and another morning in the hotel pool ... great way to begin that memorable time together!
Let the Memories Begin ... and they did!
First sight of Cinderella's Castle was amazing!  The boys were in awe, as were the rest of us!

Grandma and Christopher were partners in the Buzz Lightyear adventure.

Splash Mountain!
What can I say?  We LOVED it - at least most of us did.  Stephen wanted me to sit in the front seat with him because that was the one that would get drenched!  We sure did, and it was worth every moment of going on my son's first roller coaster ride sitting next to him!

Our hotel pool was fantastically warm!  We loved spending time in there, and if were up to the kids, we wouldn't have gotten out - except to go to Epcot.

And go to Epcot, we did!  There was a beautiful flower and garden exhibit going on while we were there with some amazing floral creations.  The boys wanted their picture taken with Donald Duck.

This ball always amazes me.  Fred got such a good shot of this on our way out.  We had a fun and very tiring day at Epcot, but it was way too short!  If we ever go again, we'll skip Magic Kingdom and spend more time in Epcot!

Here's another one of those fabulous floral creations. Christopher wanted to be next to Mater and Lightning McQueen.

Monday, April 9, 2012


My friend, her husband and her 80-something-year-old mother-in-law were travelling together across the country via the friendly skies.  My friend and her husband were sharing a brownie, when the thought occurred to her that maybe her mother-in-law would appreciate some, too, so she broke off the last piece and handed it over to this little old lady. 

A few minutes later, my friend glanced across the aisle at her mother-in-law and about burst into fits of laughter ... and embarrassment!  Dear MIL had eaten the brownie and then had popped her teeth out and was licking the rest of the brownie off of her teeth because she had enjoyed it so much!  Not sure just how to respond, my friend stifled her laughter and tried to block the view of her mother-in-law licking her teeth from the rest of the plane.  Once they were licked clean, they were popped back into her mouth and no one was the wiser! 

Ahhh...what will I be like when I'm 80-something and travelling with my children?  I hope they have a sense a humor and patience just like my friend has!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Canadians and Their Holidays

(Disclaimer:  this post is written by an American who has lived in Canada for 13 years and has established official Landed Immigrant status in this country.  All perspectives portrayed are due to the fact that the author has divided loyalties between Canada and the United States and, due to the country of origin and the influence gained from those first thirty-two years of life, the comments made cannot help but have the slant that they do.)

Canadians love their holidays!  There's pretty much one holiday per month, preferably on a Monday, and if there isn't really an offical one like Christmas or Thanksgiving or Canada Day, why then, there is one that's created just for the fun of it, it seems.  August has no official reason to celebrate, but we have August 1st as "Civic Holiday".  What's that mean?  It just means that we need a day off in August. 

February doesn't really have a holiday either because you can't count on Valentine's Day to have a day off of work or school.  No problem.  Several years ago, Family Day was created and now we have yet another Monday off. 

Family Day is supposed to be a day where families spend time together doing family things.  For some people, that means cleaning out their basements together or sleeping in and maybe vacuuming out the family van.  To others, it means going on a weekend skiing trip or attending a local museum's free Family Day activities. 

This year, Family Day for us meant spending the day participating in a free Family Day skate at an ice rink with some friends and then going to their house for a wonderful visit the remainder of the day.  What fun!  While the dads worked on computers and the kids played outside in the snow fort and Monopoly Jr. inside , the moms sat and laughed together and cooked together and visited like only two moms with little kids can do - interrupted, disrupted, and non-stop!
Fred and Levi sharing some fun playtime together.

Lots of happy, noisy and goofy children!

 We let the kids eat first so that we could enjoy a quiet meal together with just the grown ups.  They loved the "privacy" of eating without parental supervision, as you can tell.
Watching Roadrunner videos
 When they were done, the kids all gathered around the laptop in the other room to watch Roadrunner videos while we had our quiet dinner in the dining room, next door.
 We weren't so quiet, I guess, because all of a sudden, some little munchkin came over and shut the door to the dining room because we were being too loud and they couldn't hear their show!  That, of course, made us parents laugh even louder and harder! 

While I still think it's funny that there had to be a day designated for families so that we could have another holiday with a day off, I sure am thankful for it!  We had a lot of fun with the Boronka family and the laughs we shared were welcomed and binding for our families.  The day was over far too soon and we left with wonderful memories.  What a great Family Day, February 2012 (or June 2003 - depending on what calendar you use, right Irina?)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Code Yellow

Do you know what Code Yellow at Zellers means?  I didn't either, until last night.  Code Yellow at Zellers means "missing child."  Yep.  When your child seems to have disappeared into thin air, you tell the first store employee that you see, they pick up a phone on a pole in the middle of the store and blast "CODE YELLOW" over the speaker system after describing to their superiors that a five year old boy in a black coat went missing in the toy section.

And how do I know this and why am I telling you this?  Why, because it happened to a particular little five year old boy that we know quite well last night, of course!  We were at Dad Weinhardt's last night and after supper, Fred took Timothy and Christopher to the mall to pick up some things while Stephen and I stayed at Dad's.  They decided to stop and check out the toys in Zellers (whose idea was that, do you think?) on their way out.  Timothy and Fred were looking at some basketballs when Fred turned around and realized that Christopher wasn't there any more.  He quickly looked through the toy section calling his name, but ... no response.  He said his footsteps got a bit quicker and his voice a bit louder, but soon realized that Christopher was no longer in the toy section.  He found an employee who called in the missing child report and then announced Code Yellow to the entire store.

Fred said that he checked out the toy section again, but then retraced his steps and went back to the mall entrance of the department store.  There was Christopher, standing at the gaping wide opening of Zellers, about ready to walk and disappear into that huge mall!  When he saw Fred, he ran to him and burst into tears!  He told Daddy that he looked for him and tried, but couldn't find him.  By that point, employees had swarmed from all points in the store (I would have liked to have seen that since I can NEVER find any employees in that store on any given day!).  All was well when Daddy and son were reunited and they left.

I'm telling you, parenthood can really stress you out at times!  Between the Code Yellow experience last night and Stephen's accident at school on Tuesday (that's another story) and all the every day things in between, I'm ready for a quiet week.  But that's IMPOSSIBLE!  It's the beginning of March Break!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Emergency Rooms and Memory Triggers

Yesterday afternoon Christopher was downstairs playing by himself when he started crying.  It didn't sound like he had gotten hurt, but just an overtired, whiny kind of cry, so I ignored it as long as I could.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to check on him and he was at the bottom of the stairs holding a mast from a Playmobile pirate ship in his hand.  He told me that he hurt his eye.  I looked at it, didn't see much damage, so I carried him upstairs and told him that I would put some drops in it just in case, and that he should come up and lie in bed to rest while the drops healed his eye.  He ended up falling asleep (a blessing for sure!) and two hours later was back up and running around like before!

At supper, I glanced over at him and about threw up!  His eye had started to bleed and the white cornea was now bright red!  Oh - my - goodness!!!  It was not a pleasant sight, let me tell you!  Trying not to panic, Fred and I made plans for me to take him to emergency while he stayed here and got the other boys bathed and in bed.  I'm so thankful that Christopher had that two hour nap in the afternoon, because you never know how many hours you're going to be sitting in an emergency waiting room, right?!

We decided to go to Cambridge hospital instead of Kitchener, hoping for a shorter wait time.  After I parked and we walked toward the emergency entrance, I was hit with a flood of unexpected memories.  The last time I had been in that emergency room was ten and a half years ago.  I was two days shy of being twelve weeks pregnant with my first baby, and I was hemorrhaging profusely.  While I was hoping that being in the emergency room would help me, I also knew that I was most likely miscarrying and would lose the baby. 

These were bad memories that were flooding back.  I don't think one thing has been updated in that ER since that time as even the glass on the triage nurses' window made my stomach lurch. That had been where I stood, blood pouring from my body, tears pouring from my eyes, begging for help.  Last night when they called Christopher's name and we walked through the frosted, electric doors back into the emergency department, once again I almost burst into tears.  We passed the bathroom where I had sobbed as more bleeding occured, so many years ago.  Then we entered the very room where I had spent six hours lying on a table waiting until an operating room was available so that surgery could be performed to scrape the remains in my uterus.   There was no longer a baby, but just remnants of a placenta that needed to be removed.

That was the last I remember of that emergency room as I was wheeled off to who knows where after that and only remember waking up in the recovery room.  When Christopher and I left the hospital after he was done, I walked outside into the darkness and a sadness fell on me that once again caught me off-guard.  When I had gone to that hospital ten and a half years ago, my mother-in-law was with me and stayed with me as long as she could.  For some reason, when I walked out and saw the side of the building, I just felt so lonesome for her again.  I missed her terribly.

I tried hard to be upbeat and happy with Christopher because he was done (in just a little over an hour, too!), and there was no serious damage to his eye, but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with haunting memories of the past.  You'd think that over time, things like this would just go back into the deep recesses of your mind and you won't be affected by them ever again, but that was not the case.  Even now, my throat is tight and my eyes are blurred as I remember that sad, sad day that I lost my baby.  I try to explain it on here now, but even my words are not portraying the emptiness that my heart feels, an emptiness that I thought had been filled and healed.  Maybe, even though God does heal our hurts and binds our wounds, maybe those memories never truly die.  I'm sure there is a reason for that, and I won't bemoan the fact that my unborn baby died, but maybe God wants to remind me that even in those saddest of days, He was there.  He took me through those, and He will take me through future events as well. 

We left the hospital last night and came home to tell Fred the good news that all was well with Christopher's eye.  My sadness turned to happiness and thankfulness, but there is still this little pocket of my heart that is filled with surprise at the response of those memories.  I will give them over to the Lord again and ask Him again to comfort my heart and bring back the peace.  He will.  I know that, because He did it for me back then, too.  He is a faithful God and He can still my soul and fill it with praise...and with MANY more beautiful memories!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Christopher's Hands

This morning Christopher wanted me to help him get dressed.  At five years old, I know that he is more than capable of doing this himself, but for some reason it must have seemed overwhelming to him today.  I said to him, "You do it yourself.  You've got hands!"  He replied with a smile, "I've got hands, but I don't want to use them for this."

(I have a book of quotes and comments that I've kept for Stephen and Timothy since they were little and for some reason - third child syndrome I'm thinking - I didn't do that for Christopher.  The other day we were looking back at old blog posts of when the kids were very little and we were laughing at the things that they said. I told Christopher that I would start writing down some of his sayings on here so that we have them for the future.  Stay tuned for some of his funny lines!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Timothy and Zach

The two older boys are participating in the Sunday School's Hidden Treasures Bible verse memorization contest at church.  They have a list of verses that they need to learn in order and word for word.  They have the opportunity to win a trip to our church camp as well as a cash prize, depending on how many verses they learn by the middle of May.

I found out that the youth group had some members that wanted to partner up with some of the Sunday School kids to help them learn their verses this year, so I jumped at the chance to talk to the coordinator to see if Timothy could have a mentor to help him.  I was thrilled when I found out that Zach wanted to work with Timothy (because he thought it would be cool to take Timothy to Tim Horton's to study!) because Timothy needs someone (other than Mommy) to help him learn these verses. 

Tonight was Zach and Timothy's first official night to practice their verses together.  At supper, Timothy was making up songs for his verses so that he could remember them.  I kind of forgot about that, until Zach approached me afterward to fill me in on their evening.  I guess when they first sat down to start reciting, Timothy told Zach that they should sing their verses so that they could remember them.  Zach told Timothy that he wasn't the best singer, but he'd try.  And then Timothy said, "Ok, go!"  Poor Zach didn't know what to do!  It seemed that Timothy wanted him to make up a song for them to learn and Zach just sat there dumbfounded!  I was laughing hysterically as Zach was telling me about this because Timothy was so very sincere about his desire for Zach to start singing and Zach was just totally thrown off guard.  I guess Timothy eventually sang his song for Zach since Zach didn't seem to be able to make up a song off the top of his head like Timothy could and Timothy was satisfied with that.

I know that the two of them will have a great time learning their verses together and who knows,  maybe while Zach is teaching Timothy his Bible verses,  Timothy will be teaching Zach how to ad lib songs!  In the meantime, those verses will be hidden deep in their hearts and a friendship bond will be formed.  Mentoring is a good thing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Committment Quandary

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but lately I've really had to search my heart and mind about my commitment quandary.  I'm a doer, a worker, a people pleaser as well, to be honest.  I enjoy serving  and being busy (my name IS Martha, after all).  If someone needs something done, they know that they can ask me because, chances are, I will say yes.

Well, lately I've been convicted that I'm pouring my service into the wrong ministries. There is so much that I enjoy doing: teaching Sunday School, going to Gleaners, participating in the Counselling Committee at church, babysitting before and after school, etc, etc. There are so many more ministries that I want to be involved with, too!  I would love to go deeper into the women's prison ministry, be a more active participant in the school council, participate in another small group at church, the list goes on. 

It seems like over the past few months, though, every time another opportunity comes up to be involved in yet another activity, barriers also pop up and unrest settles in my heart until I break down and say "no".  This is not easy for me.  I WANT to be involved!  I WANT to serve!  I WANT to be active in many ways, but I believe even more that God is telling me that it's time to stop.  I thought at first that maybe it was just the momma bear in me wanting to be with my little cubs, and then the self-doubting started and I thought that maybe I just couldn't be as effective any more anyway, and then I was just plain tired (this perimenopause stuff can really throw you for a loop!).

I've been hearing more clearly lately, through miscellaneous comments from friends, family, even the radio announcer today and Chuck Swindoll's program this week that it's time to start saying NO.  No, I can't organize that get together.  No, I'm sorry, I can't be on that committee.  No, it is not possible for me to attend that meeting next week.  No, I will not commit to going there every single Monday for the next six months.  No!  I am not available!

Here's what I've been convicted of:  my ministry right now is my family.  God has placed one husband and three boys in my life and I am the only wife and mother for these people!  If I'm not here for them, no one else can take my place!  Someone else can pick up my knife and chop vegetables at Gleaners, but no one else can console my eight year old boy whose very important Lego piece has fallen down the heating duct, never to be seen again, like I can.  Someone else can drive the women's prison van to take the inmates to their appointments, but no one else can faithfully sit here and read Katy the Caboose to my five year old over and over and over again like I can.  Someone else can chair the committee to decide on Teacher Appreciation Day activities, but no one can cheer on my husband when he's landed a new client like I can. 

My family is my ministry and if I'm so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, how can I minister to my family?  Is it fair of me to be upset with my kids when they are whining and crying during that arsenic hour between 4:30 and 5:30 every night?  They're hungry, but we can't eat yet because I've just run home at the last minute after a day full of ME ME ME activities and didn't have supper prepared!  It's not their fault, it's mine!  I want to be available to take my kids to their swimming lessons, cheer them on and then surprise them with an extra 30 minutes of play time at the YMCA.  I want to be here when they practice their piano lessons and then join them on the bench and sing along with them as they play.  I want to be prepared and organized enough in my day that when they ask me to play a game with them (even the long and boring ones like Monopoly, Life or Clue), I can spare the time to sit and play with them. I want to be here in the evenings so that when Fred doesn't have to do any after hours tapping in on clients' computers, we can sit on the couch and watch a Walton's episode together.

I think you get my point.

I'm still working hard at saying no.  I'm not very good at it yet, but I am working on it.  Someday my children will not need me any more and I'll have more time with my husband, but for now, I want to fill my life with the ministry of wife and mother first!  Then in my free time, I can participate in other activities IF they don't interfere with my other, most important jobs!  I am thankful that God is still allowing me to participate in some of the activities that I greatly enjoy, and I know that if there is something that I really should be doing, He'll shuffle things around so that I can add it to my responsibilities, but I certainly don't need to heap on the guilt and be active in every last thing that is thrown my way. 

For now, Proverbs 14:1 is what I'm meditating on and trying to consider with every new opportunity presented to me.  The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. (NKJV)  I want to be building my home by making this my number one ministry!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Stalling Tactic

The boys love to use whatever excuse they can to delay bedtime, but tonight I heard the most outrageous stalling tactic ever!

I was up in the bathroom with Stephen.  He had just brushed his teeth and I was trimming his nails when we heard a CRASH and a whimpered, "Oh brother!" from down in the kitchen.  Since the other boys were already in bed, I knew that had to be Fred.  Stephen was ready to bound down the stairs to see what had happened, but I made him sit still while I continued to work on his nails.

I cautiously called down to see if everything was ok and Daddy replied that he was fine, but when he was putting the apple juice bottle back in the refrigerator, it fell and spilled all over the floor.

(Side note here:  at the supper table just tonight we had a little conversation about the importance of always putting the lid back on the apple juice bottle because at our house, the potential of knocking it over and spilling it was quite high.  I received a look that I interpreted to mean, 'I know what I'm doing; you don't need to tell me what to do.' so I dropped the subject.)

Meanwhile back upstairs, Stephen is having conniptions because he wants so badly to go downstairs and see the mess.  I am trying to convince him that he doesn't need to worry, Daddy is taking care of things and he still needs to get his nails finished before he goes to bed. 

Stephen responds, "Fine!  I'll finish my nails, but then I'm going down to see that mess!  I can't believe you won't let me go now!  This might be the only time in my life that I will ever see a jar of apple juice spilled all over the floor and you don't want me to miss it, do you?!"

Ha ha ha!  Can you believe that one?!  Well we didn't fall for that excuse!  Are you kidding me?  In our house those chances of seeing another jar of apple juice spill are so high that that excuse is quite lame!  My response to Stephen was just a loud and hearty laugh and a little putz on the bum as I guided him into his bedroom, promising that the next time apple juice spilled, I would let him see it -- AND wipe it up himself!

These kids crack me up!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mother's Boys

My grandma, Helen Pavkov, was an amazing woman.  Unfortunately, I only knew her through the eyes of a child, but after reading many of the poems that she wrote over the years, I am catching a glimpse of the woman that has had such an impact on my life.  How I would love to sit and talk with her now that I am a mother myself!

Aunt Peg sent the family an e-mail the other day and shared a poem that she just found and had never seen before.  This e-mail has sparked some very encouraging and interesting e-mails that have gone back and forth between family members since then! I would love to know when Grandma wrote this, how old Uncle Ken and Uncle Russ were at the time she wrote it and what kind of conversation or event triggered this cute, but honest poem!

Mother's Boys

Yes, I know there are stains on my carpet,

The traces of small muddy boots,

And I see your fair tapestry glowing,

All spotless with flowers and fruits.

And I know that my walls are disfigured,

With prints of small fingers and hands,

And that your own household most truly

In immaculate purity stands.

And I know that my parlor is littered

With many odd treasures and toys,

While your won is in daintiest order,

Unharmed by the presence of Boys.

And I know that my room is invaded

Quite boldly all hours of the day;

While you sit in yours unmolested

And dream the soft quiet away.

Yes, I know there are little bedsides

Where I must stand watchful each night,

While you go out in your carriage,

And flash in your dresses so bright.

Now, I think I'm a neat little woman,

And I like my house orderly, too;

And I'm fond of all dainty belongings,

Yet I would not change places with you.

No! Keep your fair home with its order,

Its freedom from bother and noise,

And keep your own fanciful leisure,

But give me my splendid boys.

Helen R. Pavkov

Ah yes, give me my splendid boys!  I made the comment to all in the e-mail link that I had both laughed and gotten choked up when I read this poem because just a few moments before, I had barked at the boys about slamming the recliner into the wall yet again when they jumped on it, putting another dent in the wall!  One of the e-mails that came back to me said, "There is something so simple, but loud about little boys that endears them to their moms forever more! Have a wonderful day! (A little spackle and paint will repair the hours of fun on your wall! :)"  How true, Aunt Bonnie, how true!  However, I do think that I will wait another ten years to repair this wall ... again ... because I would rather have my sons' hearts warm toward me than to have a perfectly painted wall!

 Grandma had a way with words that proved to us all that she was a normal housewife, mother and woman who wanted nothing more than to be the person God wanted her to be.  Her poems, although written decades ago, could have easily been written yesterday with the reality that they portrayed.  She was blessed by having her poems published at the age of 93, and I am blessed by reading them and gaining godly wisdom from that amazing woman that I called Grandma.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I grew up with popcorn.  Dad always loved his popcorn and I can remember having it as a staple in our home growing up.  Sunday nights seemed to be popcorn nights a lot, as well as nights that we had a babysitter.  Mom used to use her Farberware skillet to pop the corn and we loved hearing the popping kernels bang away on the lid, steam seeping from under the lip.  When it was done, the warm popped corn was dumped into the large, green Rubbermaid bowl and then salted.  Sometimes we had the treat of melting bacon grease and pouring that over the top first.  We are all convinced that Dianne made the best popcorn and somehow talked her into making it for us all the time!

I guess traditions like this don't change much.  Our family today is growing up with popcorn, too!  One of my favorite Christmas presents every year is a 12.5 pound bag of popcorn from Dad that he gets from Dannemillers in Norton.  That usually lasts us until spring when we somehow have to get another bag from him.  Around the middle of July we get another bag that we try to make last until Christmas again.  It's not always easy, but seriously, there is no better popcorn than Dannemillers so I try not to run out of this precious commodity.

Since I babysit several children after school, one of their favorite snacks to have is a huge bowl of popcorn, too!  I usually just use Watkins Butter Salt on it, but unfortunately, it's been discontinued, so I'm just getting the generic stuff from Bulk Barn now.  When we want a treat, the boys will sprinkle Watkins Seasoning Salt on theirs or maybe even cinnamon sugar, but my all-time favorite lately has been to sprinkle Watkins' Jalapeno Dip Mix on mine!  OH YUM!  It's sooo delicious, and no extra calories.  Bonus!

I also make several popcorn snacks for the kids that we all love and I'll rotate them to make everyone happy, but usually, just a plain bowl of popcorn makes everyone smile!  I think I am making popcorn at least five days of the week, if not more, and we never get tired of it.

Here are some of our favorite recipes.  Feel free to share yours, too, because chances are, we'll try them!

Cinnamon Popcorn
4 qts popped corn
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. Watkins cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix ingredients together, pour over popped corn and toss.  Bake at 300F for 10 minutes.

LuAnn's Party Mix (I have no idea who LuAnn is, but I love her recipe!)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
3 qt. popped corn
12 c. Crispix cereal
6 c. tiny pretzels
1 c. peanuts
Candy corn or M&M's optional
Mix together and bake at 325 for 5 minutes or microwave 2 batches for 1 minute on high.

JELL-O Rainbow Popcorn
8 c. popped corn
1 c. peanuts
1/4 c. butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar (or white)
1 pkg (4 serving size) JELL-O strawberry or lime
Over low heat, cook butter and syrup in small saucepan until butter is melted.  Add sugar and gelatin; stir until completely dissolved.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Pour over popcorn, tossing to coat.  Spread into foil lined pan.  Bake 10 minutes, cool, remove from pan and break into small pieces.

Baked Caramel Popcorn
1 c. margarine
1/2 c corn syrup
1/2 t. baking soda
2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
20- 24 cups popped plain popcorn
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil stirring often at medium heat. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn which has been placed in a huge bowl. Stir until well coated. Turn onto 2 large shallow baking pans. Bake at 250 for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes while baking. Pour into a bowl and toss once in awhile while it cools so that it is not all stuck together.

Store in a airtight container.

Mom's Caramel Corn
6 qt fresh unsalted popped corn
2 c sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. boiling water
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c salted, skinned peanuts (optional - added to corn before pouring syrup on top)
Mix sugar, tartar and boiling water thoroughly.  Over moderate heat, boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, cover pan.  Uncover and continue cooking w/o stirring, but watch closely until syrup takes on a bright caramel color.  (If too dark, it will have a bitter flavor.)  Remove from heat at once and stir in butter and soda. Mix thoroughly.  It will be foamy.  Pour immediately over the top of the popped corn, covering as much corn as possible.  Quickly lift and mix until all corn is covered with the candy.  Spread onto waxed paper to cool.  Do not press together.  When cooled, break into smaller pieces and store in a closely covered container.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


All I did was cough!  That's it!  Honest.  I coughed a few weeks ago because I had a cold, one of those really bad ones where you cough and cough and cough until you just can't cough any more... and then you cough again.  I think it was one of those 'again' ones that did it to me.


Something really, really hurt in the vacinity of my ribcage!  Within a few hours, I couldn't sit, lie down, laugh, sneeze, or cough!  To be honest, sometimes I could hardly even breathe!  It hurt so very badly! 

No, I haven't seen a doctor.  No, I haven't gone for x-rays.  No, I haven't gone to a chiropractor.  I HAVE taken ibuprofen and I've iced and heat packed it.  I've also "Ouch! Yow! Eech-oochie-oh"-ed my way through all my tasks as well.  That seemed to help the most.  If I could express the pain out loud (mostly when I was alone because, seriously, who wants to hear all your gripes and moans and groans anyway?) then it seemed to be easier to endure. 

Now it's been two full weeks of this and I've had a hard time sleeping because I can't lie on either side, can't lie on my back and for sure I can't lie on my stomach!  I struggle sitting through a day at church because the angle of the pews is just a tad bit off and the pressure is too great.  I can't sit on our couch, recliner or rocking chair.  I also found out that I can't really go skating with a five year old who is still learning to skate!  I can, however, stand and walk with no problems whatsoever!

I've heard that these types of injuries can take a long time to heal.  That's not good, but I am thankful that I'm feeling better now this week.  I still can't sneeze without screaming in pain, but I can at least bend over to help pull on a stuck boot of that same five year old and I can catch a deep breath every once in awhile.  I can sweep my floor again and I can carry the laundry basket upstairs.  I was kind of hoping I'd be able to get out of shoveling the snow because of this, but hey!  We haven't had any snow to shovel  anyway so I'm already getting out of it!

I'm not sure how long this will be a pain in the side for me, but I'm so thankful that it's not worse than it is.  If you think of me, pray that it will heal fast.  It's hard for a mom to be slowed down by things like this!  Oh, and try not to make me laugh or sneeze in the meantime.  Thanks!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kaitlyn Clarisse

Kaitlyn Clarisse Weinhardt December 14, 2011

This is my newest niece, Kaitlyn Clarisse.  She was born on December 14 to Fred's brother Henry and his wife, Jo.  She came early and captured all of our hearts and certainly all of our attention for the sixteen brief days that she was with us.  I'm so thankful that I got to meet her when she was only 2 days old, but unfortunately, she had just come out of surgery and I wasn't allowed to even touch her beautiful baby hair.  Katie doesn't know it, but she was used as an instrument of God in her short life.  She has taught us all so many lessons: total dependence on God, the power of prayer, the importance of practical support during a trial, the freedom of peace from above, the healing practice of rejoicing with those who rejoice and of weeping with those who weep.  Katie has had more of an impact on many of our lives in sixteen days than most people have in a lifetime!  My book of a thousand gifts is FULL of thanks from those two weeks that she was here with us.  God is good, even when there is deep sorrow.  God loves even Kaitlyn, even Henry, even Jo, even Elyssa, even all of us.  God is good ALL the time!
Jo, Henry, Kaitlyn

December 30, 2011 
It is with deep sadness that we share the loss of our dear Kaitlyn. She died peacefully in her mother’s arms and daddy’s hands at 4:50pm today. Her 16 days with us were each filled with all our love and already we miss her. In our sadness we also have joy knowing that she is now completely well and someday we will meet her again.
Her life was a precious gift to us for which we are truly grateful. We are also thankful to you all for your love shown in so many ways.
With all our love & gratitude,
Henry, Joanna and Elyssa

Mommy was right there to comfort her!

Kaitlyn peeking out at Daddy

Mommy singing during a special cuddle time

 Kaitlyn had to endure so much in her short life.  She was dependent on machines and monitors and respirators and tubes.  She even had surgery!  She endured much, but she gave much and we will be forever changed because of her life.  Thank you, God, for blessing our family with your precious little princess!  What comfort to know that she is now in the hands of the Great Physician!