Sunday, May 29, 2016


I spotted this little guy as I walked to work on Friday morning. Sometimes you just have to slow down and notice the little things; that's one of the things I really like about walking to work this time of year.

Monday, May 23, 2016


That's our big mutt - Bailey. Or, at least, she was our big mutt... Recently her old age, arthritis, and diabetes just got to be too much for her, so today, we had to say good bye.

It's been hard on Allen. She was his dog really; he discovered her on a Humane Society webpage and it was love at first sight. Originally he thought she had a lot of Berner in her and was hoping to train her to pull a cart, but she never got quite big enough. I don't remember how many weeks old she was when she became ours back in 2002, but she had a long life for a big dog.

The kids have taken it better than I expected; they haven't known life without her. But, they have watched her slowly deteriorate from the playful friend who loved to be plunked down upon as if she were a piece of furniture, to the geriatriclly fragile fourteen year-old girl they had to be so gentle with. It's been a rough night here as they begin to process their grief, but we are trying to remind them that just as their lives were better because Bailey was a part of it, her life was better because of us...

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Some chicken owners use fake eggs to  help show their chickens where to lay, I was just trying to trick mine into laying at all. (They've only been here six weeks and not quite settled in after their stressful move.)

Anyway... Allen printed me some plastic eggs (with his new 3D printer)  that I could use to show the girls that the nest is the prefect place to start a delicious little family, and it worked. Yesterday when I checked the nest, Pong had left this beauty for us...

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pokemon Birthday Party

You may remember that my children are currently in the midst of a Pokemon craze, so of course my daughter wanted a Pokemon birthday this year. I'm quite certain there are much worse things she could be into - Justin Bieber or Bratz dolls to name a couple, but try as I might I just can't seem to get into Pokemon. True, Pikachu is adorable - he's the little yellow guy above - but I can't keep the other ones straight. And forget me remembering whether a Pokemon is a water type, or a grass type, or what their evolutions are. I'm regularly in awe of the stats the kids have memorized. (How is it that kids can memorize a seemingly endless number of Pokemon yet memorizing times tables is such a chore?)

In fact, Miss K had quite a bit of constructive criticism regarding my Pokemon place cards. "Mom, you should have let me help you; then they would have been so much more accurate." She may have found my card creating skills lacking, but the adults at the party appreciated them. 

K loved everything else - especially the homemade Poke Ball pom poms we made and hung from the ceiling. When we take them down she wants to keep them to hang in her bedroom.

Of course it wouldn't be a birthday party without a banner. I found a free one here, but I couldn't get the H page to print. (Instead I snipped each image, pasted them into Word and printed them that way. It actually worked better because each page of the banner was a full page and I didn't want them to be that big.)

As always, Allen made the cake. He's such a trooper; she found the cake she wanted on line and asked him to to copy it. 

Happy tenth birthday K.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Looking Back on Ten Years

When did that happen? Is seems like just a short while ago we were bringing my daughter home from the hospital and now she's 10...

Her birth was a fairly typical one, sure it was a c-section, but it was scheduled and not at all a surprise (her older brother had been breach.) I'll never forget how happy her Grandma was to finally, after having four wonderful grandsons, finally buy something pink! I, too, was happy to be bringing home a little girl; with two little ones - one boy and one girl - my family was now complete.

But we didn't stay happy for long...

K had colic. If she wasn't eating or sleeping, she was screaming. It was such a stressful time. We tried everything. In probably my least-proud-mama-moment I actually laid her down in her crib and went outside for a few minutes. I. Just. Needed. Quiet. I needed quiet or I was going to snap. We were all on edge,sleep deprived and grouchy. 

(That was her happy face.)

We tried everything. Could she be allergic to something? Should I cut X, Y or Z out of my diet? Could she be lactose intolerant? Try soy formula. (I was nursing.) After two months of screaming, we finally realized that when she ate from a bottle she screamed a little bit less. Our lactation consultant suggested that could indicate she might have reflux. The next day we visited the pediatrician and left with a prescription for an acid-suppressing drug.  I'll tell you, after two solid months of pretty much constant screaming I was willing to try anything!

"Either it will work or it won't," the pediatrician said. "Since it won't stay in her body there's no danger in giving it a try."  About 15 minutes after that first dose, she was a different child. We actually saw smiles; she was happy because she didn't have stomach acid eating away at her esophagus any more. It was miraculous.

After that she was fairly typical baby until she hit nine months; that's when she got her first urinary tract infection (although we didn't know that's what it was at the time.) She just got sick: lethargic, feverish and unhappy, but there were no other symptoms - no ear redness, no runny nose, no diarrhea. Finally, after nine days, the wonderful Island nurse said, " I wonder if she could have a UTI?" 

How he managed to get a catheter into a squirming nine month-old I don't know, but sure enough she had a serious infection. It was so bad that they sent us to the hospital in Petoskey. We stayed for three days so she could get IV antibiotics.

We've been dealing with recurrent UTIs ever since, but she's a trooper. I'm always proud of her diligence in following "doctor's orders."

Then, when she was three, she was hospitalized again - that time for a serious eye infection.

And of course, when she was four, it was confirmed that she had nerve deafness in her right ear. And while each of these incidents seemed huge at the time when I reflect upon them today, they don't seem like such a big deal. Compared to the trials and tribulations of several of my friends, my experiences with K were nothing more than little bumps in the road.

Watching her grow and change has been a wonderful journey; watching her change, while at her core she is still herself. The hardest part is knowing there are fewer years of having her home ahead than there are behind.

She is still desperate to legally drive a snowmobile (and to have to body mass to make sharp corners.)

She has always been an excellent student, although her current teacher (a.k.a Mom) regularly comments on both her atrocious handwriting and the fact that there is no first place trophy for completing assignments first.   

And now she's ten: she loves to read, is fiercely independent, stubborn, a talented artist and a wonderful thinker. I'm often impressed by the questions she asks. Sure she is working on being kinder to her brother, keeping her room clean and picking up after herself - but that's what ten is all about.

Happy birthday K.
I love you.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Thinking about my mom today... 

Not sure how many days I am old in that first photo, but I'm sure it's not many.

This one is from about 1972, I think. So much 70s fabulousness is going on in this picture. Thank goodness those lights are no longer with us - though my parents still have that small cube table (under the gray lamp.)

Funny the things we remember about childhood. As I look at this picture, I clearly remember those pink birds on my mom's robe; except I remember them being so much bigger. I thought my mom looked so pretty when she wore it. 

Happy Mother's Day, mom, 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Glutton Free?

At first I thought the cake was free, but when I got closer I realized it was just "Glutton Free." 

Does that mean it's OK for me to order two slices?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's the Little Things

I wonder if the young men who nonchalantly left these notes for me last week have the slightest idea just how much they brightened not only my day, but my entire year...