Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Friday

I forgot to post about one of the most important things that has happened in my life as a mom so far. On Good Friday, we went to church. The "we" included: Stephanie, Jacob, Emma, Jessica, Jacob, Grace, Jadyn, Grant, Madalyn, Delaney and I. We went to Stephanie's church. At one point during the service, they showed a video clip of what Jesus may have gone through on the cross. Technically, we can't know because we weren't there, but I would imagine that whatever He went through was way worse that we could imagine. Anyway, as the clip was playing, I looked down the row of kids and saw Grace bawling. Not just tearing up, or silently sobbing, but weeping openly. I asked her if she wanted to sit by me and she told me she would be alright. After a few minutes though, she was down next to me. She said to me, "Jesus did THAT for me? I never thought it was like that." We just sat there, holding each other, weeping over what Jesus did for us and Grace's new realization of it. It was one of the very most amazing moments of my life.

Tongue and Nose

This morning on the way to church Grant says, "My tongue won't reach my nose. Why?" Uhhhhhh....because it is not supposed to. And THAT is disgusting. I'm just saying.

Jacob's 10th Birthday - Double Digits!!!!

After opening many packages of clothing on his actual birthday, Jacob was very happy to find - hidden in a very large box, stuffed with pillows and blankets - his very own iPod Touch. To date, the thing has not left his hands for more than a few minutes. Geesh. I will admit that this was the most I have EVER seen Jacob smile while receiving a present. I guess making him wait for it, and hopefully, be more responsible with it, was worth it! Yes, yes it was.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jacob is battling strep throat (worst case ever - seriously). This morning I found a note that he had written sometime in the last 3 days. It said, "Mom, I hurt really bad. Help me." That breaks my heart into a million pieces. Pray for my baby, please.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grandpa's Boy

On the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house yesterday, Grant says to me, "Hurry up, Mom, Grandpa NEEDS me." Oh, don't you just know it boy. Don't you know it.

Jadyn's Gymnastics Debut

I still haven't stopped laughing. Jadyn started gymnastics today. She has been wanting something to call her own for a while. We settled on gymnastics. I thought the stretching beforehand was going to be the end of her. She is not really flexible or coordinated. But she looked darn cute in her leotard with rhinestones. She is my diva! Anywho....the next thing they did was a front roll (somersault to you and me) down an inclined wedge - start at the big end and roll to the small end. Well, my sweet Jadyn could NOT do it straight. She rolled off the edge of the wedge every time. So she moved on. The next feat of gymnastics prowess was a front roll on a flat mat. Oh joy! Now remember that this is gymnastics and form is everything. So as we mount up to start our mean front roll....we have to have our hands in the air with our arms touching our ears. So Jadyn is standing on the flat mat, arms stretched above her head, ready to roll, when all of a sudden she just jumps. Jumps? She ended up doing a face-smacking belly flop onto the mat. Oh my word. If I wasn't laughing so hard (on the inside, of course, what kind of mother do you think I am?), I would have been embarrassed. But she was awesome. She just got up, brushed herself off, looked at me (and saw me cheering her on) and tried again. Man, I love her. She is one truly amazing kid. She just kept going. Next station - handstand. Yeah right.They had to put their hands on the floor and crawl their feet up the wall, then stay there - straight - for 10 seconds. Sure, it looked easy, but when my sweetie pie got up there, it was a bit of a challenge. She was everywhere on the wall but straight up. Her feet were mostly spread eagle and never pointed. And, at one glorious moment, she even slid down the wall, sort of worm-like. Again, like a trooper, she got up, looked at me again, and carried on. The class finished on the balance beam. It was tough enough for my girl to do it frontward, but when the coach said they were going to do it backward, I had visions of a broken arm for sure. But she did it. What a girl!!! She made me laugh so stinking hard tonight. I type this, she is teaching me a lesson. She did not give up. She did not cry or quit or pout. Things certainly did not go her way. But she kept picking herself up and kept on trying. I love that my kids can make me laugh. I love even more that they can teach me invaluable lessons.

The minute we walked in the door from gymnastics, Grant has all his clothes off, save for his underwear. Next thing I see? He is fighting with Jadyn, trying to pull the stinking Hannah Montana leotard with the rhinestone belt off her. Oh.....I forgot that I didn't tell you that he dressed himself yesterday. He came downstairs ready to start the day, in the very same aforementioned leotard (complete with rhinestones) on top of Jacob's baseball protective cup. I thought I would pee! I wish I would have been less shocked so that I would have taken a picture. That could have been worth some money.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saturday I had a nice day, sitting at the hospital, waiting for Steve to be released. Julie had a flat tire on her van, so I was going to take her up to pick up Steve. Well, as is sometimes the case with hospital discharges, it took a while. I know I left my house at 10:30 am and I returned home sometime after 4:30 pm. It was a long time, but I had a nice (quiet) time, sitting in Steve's room working on my computer and being part of their family. When I got home, I was tired and knew I needed to take a nap, as I was supposed to pick my sister and her friend up from the airport at 11:30 pm. Fast forward some in the day and the flight plans changed so that they were not coming in until 12:54 am. Oh joy. So, I went to bed at 8:30 and set my alarm for midnight. When I got up at midnight, I was refreshed and ready to go (thank You, LORD). My loverboy had prepared coffee for me so all I had to do was wait for it to brew. While I was waiting, I decided to check the flight status. Oh was I unpleasantly surprised to see that now the flight was not coming in until 1:24 am. Great, and I am now wide awake and could have slept another 45 minutes. Oh well. I picked them up, dropped Kristie off at her apartment, took my sister to my mom's work (to pick some stuff up and, of course, visit at 2:45 in the morning) and was back in my bed by 3:30 am. I woke up instantly at 7:41 am and swore. I forgot that I was making Sunday dinner and I was supposed to put it in the crockpot when I got home (at 3am). Crap. I decided to put the roasts in the oven. I ran to the pantry to get the french onion soup, only to find that I had none. Joy. I went and threw on some clothes and ran to Meijer. Dinner was on, everyone was up for church and Grace had a migraine. (This is, in my humble opinion, another one of those irritants for our own good.) Her headache meant I stayed home with her and we both slept. Heaven knows, I needed it.

At 1pm, it was time for Grant's nap. What a happy occasion that it was thunderstorming then too. So, I went and got in bed with Grant. We laid there listening to the rain and the thunder, and all I could do was smile. In fact, my cheeks actually hurt, I was smiling so much. I love a stormy afternoon nap. I love it more than words can say. In fact, it is one of my most happy places. That, combined with a good cup of coffee in a pretty cup, and a good book. That is my happy place. So, I laid there praising God for the storm that I knew was just for me. I finally fell asleep and slept for 2.5 hours. Ahhhhhhh....I think I needed that. I know I did. It was my reward for a long, busy, somewhat sleepless week. Thank you LORD for your blessings. Blessings that are new every morning!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I don't even know where to start.

I got a call Tuesday morning from my friend, Julie. The first thing she said was "Can you help me?" I thought to myself, of course I can but before I could even say anything, she told me she would have to call me right back. Five minutes passed and as I was starting to get concerned she finally called me back. Then she proceeded to tell me that the reason she initially called me in the first place was to help her locate her husband. Huh? Then she told me the rest of the story. Earlier that morning she received a call from a man (whom she did not know) on Steve's (her husband) phone. The man called her by name, then asked if she was Steve's wife. To which she replied that she was. The man went on to tell her that he found Steve lying on the ground, in a semi-unconscious state. He had called EMS and they were en-route and were taking him to HVSH. She immediately got dressed and went up to the hospital. When she went in and said she was there for her husband, they told her they had no one there by that name. That was when she called me. She wanted me to call other hospitals to see if they had taken him somewhere else. When she finally called me back, she said that as soon as she got on the phone with me, someone stepped out and asked for her. So he was there, PTL!!!!

The man who found Steve "just so happened" (OK you know that was God's providence) to be an Army medic, with his entire medic bag. He was able to care for Steve and take his vitals while they waited for EMS. (AMAZING) Praise God! And what the guy saw was Steve drop as if he had been shot. That's why he turned around and went back.

On Monday of this week, my friend, who does a load or 2 of laundry a day, told her kids (she has 6, but we will get to that later) that they were going to have a "laundry day". This day consisted of 14 loads of laundry, but also ended with them having all clean clothes and no dirty laundry, so that when they had to not be home for a week there were no clothing issues. (AMAZING) What a awesome providential outpouring of God's love!!

Julie and Steve have 6 kids. They range in age from 14 to 3.5 months. In yet another act of God's marvelous working, their 5th child was in Florida with Julie's parents. This sweet girl is high maintenance. She is very needy of her momma and a little jealous of her baby brother's attention, I think. She is also a worrier. So for her to be enjoying Disney World, instead of worrying about her dad and wanting her mom was incredible. (AMAZING) This is not to say that it was better to have her gone, but it did make things a bit easier. And in this situation, every bit of easy was something welcomed and cherished.

The first diagnosis for Steve was a stroke. Multitudes of tests revealed that this 37 year old man was in total good health. There was NO REASON for him to have a stroke. Therefore, more testing ensued. The stroke happened in an area of his brain that controls motion and balance. This part of the brain is the one place that also can recover COMPLETELY after having a stroke. (AMAZING) This additional testing revealed an even bigger issue. He had a blood clot in his brain. Oh Praise God! And isn't this just like Him to allow Steve to have a completely unexplained stroke to uncover a potentially deadly blood clot. (AMAZING)

While Steve was in the hospital, he had a doctor that was assigned specifically to him. Not 14 other patients like most doctors, but one doctor, one patient. (AMAZING)

Thursday, when Greg got home from work, we piled in his big van and drove to where Julie's kids were staying that day. We were going to take them up to see their dad. So, we were in the big van - Greg and I and 8 kids. We were driving along a back road and there was this car in front of us that was going so slow.....I mean REALLY slow. I urged Greg to pass him, but he thought it would not be wise to do that in his van. When we got into downtown, we made a detour down a side street in an attempt to get ahead of this car. Guess what? He ended up in front of us again! Seriously? I wanted to get these kids to see their dad. I did not want to sit idly behind this freaking slow car! About 5 miles further down the road, the 3 cars in front of the freakishly slow car were in a huge accident, that we watched happen. That would have been us if we would have passed. (AMAZING)

When we got there with the kids, we walked into the room to find Julie crying. She proceeded to tell us that the clot was very serious and they were planning to take Steve by ambulance downtown to a neurosurgeon to have surgery THAT night. Wow. That was something I was not expecting to walk into, especially with all those kiddos. I asked Greg to step out into the hall with me and we started formulating a plan. He was going to take all the kids home and put them to bed and I was going to go downtown with Julie. I was not going to let her go alone. We went back in and started talking about this plan and the doctor walked back in. The doctor proceeded to tell them that she had talked to the neurosurgeon and he felt that they might be over-reacting a little. What? The neurosurgeon was going to review Steve's films and get back to them with what he felt they should do. So the plan changed. We would leave their kids there to spend time with dad, and they would call us when they heard. Then, if they had to go, Greg and I would go back up and he would take the kids and I would go with Julie. We went home and I told Greg I was going to lie down for a little while in case I had to go. I just laid in bed, fully clothed, praying for them all. By 8:30 when I still had not heard anything, I texted Julie. I didn't want to bother them, but I HAD to make sure they were taken care of. She ended up calling me back a few minutes later from home. I was glad that she was able to go home - that also meant no surgery. She told me that they were going to change Steve's medications and that the neuro team from downtown was going to come to Steve in the morning. (AMAZING) To not make him leave.....there were just no words. God is unbelievable, yet oh, so totally believable!!!! That was Thursday.

Friday the neuro team came and visited with Steve and the diagnosis was a "dissection of his artery". What this means is, first of all, there is no hole in the artery. Therefore, the clot can be treated with anti-platelet therapy and, hopefully, dissipated. Second, this means that the layers in the artery have separated from each other and blood has filled the gap. So if the clot is "dissolved", there is not a hole left to "bleed out" from. (AMAZING) They have not ruled out surgery entirely, however, they are going to try this medication course of action first. We are prayerful and confident of God's plan. Also, this medical team said that Steve was able to go home the next day - Saturday! Woo hoo! But the most awe-inspiring thing of all was what the neurosurgeon told Julie. He said there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASONABLE EXPLANATION why Steve had the stroke. The stroke and the blood clot are completely unrelated! Well.....we know why. We serve an (AMAZING) God, who sometimes uses irritating smaller things to protect us from dangerous bigger things. He is so (AMAZING)!!!!!

The other thing I encountered through this journey was the (AMAZING) outpouring of love from the people at our church. They are truly (AMAZING) and a real testimony of Christ's love in action. There were times that my phone rang non-stop for 2-3 hours, with people wanting to help Steve and Julie in some way. It was overwhelming - in so many ways. I felt like I lived on the phone, but with every new call, I was re-energized. I was so blessed to help my friend. I love her and would do anything for her. (I guess I would have to since she moved her whole family in with me for a week when I broke my leg) But seriously, I would. I wanted to make sure that her needs, and the needs of her kiddos, were met. The (AMAZING) thing of this is that it was not a "me" thing. It was the body of Christ, working together, to get the (AMAZING) done. I was so excited when people came up with neat, and different, ways to help. I definitely have so much to learn. But I have (AMAZING) teachers.

An instance of this, was shown on Friday in lunch. A lady from church, RT, was planning to have lunch with another lady from church, CC. RT was making and bringing the lunch to CC's house. When RT arrived with lunch, CC was amazed because there was so much food! It was supposed to be just the 2 of them, but RT made an entire roaster pan of macaroni and cheese and had different salads and sandwich makings. Well, wouldn't you know...Julie called CC (because she lives close to the hospital) and asked if she could take her boys. They were fighting and driving her crazy. Isn't that just like God, to have more food ready for those unexpected guests? (AMAZING)

Steve is not done yet. He has a long road of recovery, but he is home. God is good all the time, and definitely has a plan for Steve - that much is sure. We serve a truly (AMAZING) God!!! All praise and glory to Him forever and ever!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sacrifice in the Name of Love

I was reading this morning in Philippians (Ch 2) and Paul was writing about sending a messenger back to the Philippians. This man brought money and help to Paul while he was in Rome, but then became sick and longed to be home. Paul was finally sending him back and finished speaking of him with these words,

So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. (vs 29-30)

To make up for the help you could not give me? Could not, or would not? What about us? Obviously, this is talking about missionary work (taking the gospel of Christ to those who have not heard), but I was thinking about it differently.

Yesterday, my plans changed because my friend's husband was in the hospital. I took her lunch and sat with her. To some, this would appear as a sacrifice, but to me, it was not. I love my friend and I WANTED to be with her. I wanted to support her and care for her.

Then as I was thinking about this this morning, I realized there was another sacrificial love taking place. My parents. Of course. I am so truly blessed. They had already kept my kiddos overnight, but when I called to tell them I needed to go to the hospital, there was no complaining or grumbling. There were words of encouragement and telling me not to worry about the kids and to take the time I needed. There is sacrificial love. Oh, I know that my parents love my kids (and me) and would do anything to help. But Grandpa is always caring for one of my kids (Grant) and Grandma just got off working all trust me....there was sacrifice involved. But, and here's the point......I don't think they looked at it that way. Same as me with my friend. They love me and my kids, and would just do anything to help. Even if it messed up whatever they had planned for the day.

THAT is what I mean by sacrificial love. You sacrifice your plans for the sake of someone else, but because you love them, it is not really a sacrifice it is what you WANT to do. Does that sound like anyone else? Especially coming off Easter....His name is Jesus. And He sacrificed because He loves you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


While in the grocery store with all 4 of my kids, Grant came up to me and said something I could not understand. After making him repeat it about 4 times, I realized what it was.

"Grace was not by you. That man almost stealed her."

I love that he knows why he needs to stay with me. I love my kids!!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recent Happenings

Never a dull moment around here. Last night Grandma called me and said she was coming over to get Grant to spend the night. I obediently obliged, got him out of bed and started packing his stuff, then I thought.....what the heck? Doesn't she even have to ask me? I mean I always had to ask for things when I was not the adult, but now here I am the adult and my own mother is not even asking MY permission to take my kid. Overnight. Oh well...I quickly got over that (because she bribed me with mint chocolate brownie ice cream) and was so thankful to have parents who WANT my kids overnight. It also really helped me out for this morning. Grant was more than thrilled to go. He got to go to a "nut farm" with Grandma and Grandpa. And if you know Grant, you might think he took THEM there, but it was vice versa. My aunt and uncle recently purchased a nut farm and my parents were going out to deliver some equipment and check it out. Grant got to go too. Apparently while he was there, he was some sort of big shot. He talked with the "big kids" (my cousins), shook Phillip's hand and told me about the other girl (my cousin) who "ate a bug". When I asked him about the bug eating he told me that "she didn't do this" (putting his hand over his mouth). What that meant was that while they were on the golf cart, she was talking without covering her mouth and a bug went in. He said this as if it was just everyday common knowledge. I guess for him it is. He spends almost everyday on some sort of equipment. Later in the day, he told Phillip that he knew how to use the chainsaw. You just turn this and pull this and then you can cut. Seriously? The kids is 3 years old. I guess I shouldn't mention that he can drive - blinkers and all. Geez.

A short while ago I received a phone call from the mom of one of the players on Jacob's basketball team. She asked if she could come over and give Grant a present. I thought it was weird, but she is a very nice lady and well, what the heck. When she got here, she had a hooded baseball sweatshirt for Grant. She said it was too small for her youngest son and her husband thought Grant HAD to have something to wear to Jacob's baseball games. That was because Grant was the unofficial mascot for Jacob's basketball team. He ALWAYS had a basketball jersey and shorts on, his basketball shoes and a warm up suit. He was one of the big guys. He still thinks he is. Every time Jacob gets ready for baseball practice, Grant goes and changes his clothes and says he is ready for his baseball game.

As I was lying in bed with the girls, our conversation turned to Grace's upcoming field trip. I asked her who she wanted to take (obviously sure that she would pick me). First she said Dad (Greg). What? I told her he couldn't go because he had work and he was already going on a field trip with Jacob. Then she suggested Grandma. WHAT??? What about Mom??? Hello??? Can you see me??? She asked to call Grandma, so we did and she asked and Grandma said yes (of course). Then Grandpa said he wanted to go and THAT made Grace even more excited. Now she had both of her grandparents going on the field trip. I started playing sad. Jadyn (the lover of the bunch) crawled onto me and told me SHE would pick me for her field trip. It would go "Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa...." What about just taking Mom. Really....where am I going wrong. The straw that broke the camel's back was I was leaving the girl's room Grace says, "Don't take this the wrong way, Mom, but you are old news. Grandma is NEW news." The wrong way? I mean, is there a RIGHT way to take that? THANKS Grace. Thanks a lot.