Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I am certain that a day or two from now I would write something pithy or cute or inspiring or funny.  Two and three days pass while I wait for eloquence to pass from my head to my fingertips, but the days run together and today becomes tomorrow time and time again.

Nevertheless, today begs for words, even if they are too mundane to express the things of today.  Hopeful that they make sense to someone.  Even if it is only me in 20 years.

A fire returned today that had gone cold.  And though I am strong and intelligent and an advocate and stay on top of things, some days I just feel beaten and dragged down and weak and done.  I know Who wins in the end, but sometimes it is dark there in the middle.  Maybe it's static on a TV from the 50s - sort of dark and light at the same time.  Black and white. 

None of this even matters.  I want to photograph my fridge and tell my kids how my head swims when they all talk at the same time and how my heart swells when Mattie tells me he befriended "Jermy" today and won Presidential for doing serious push-ups.  And T who does his math unlike other 4th graders who come up with "30" by adding 29 to 1 but T figures 5,962 divided by 16 minus 342.625 is 30 and Sash plays with her imaginary friend and tells her, "It's OK, noboby likes me either" {  :(  } and Pookie is healed and it's still static but it is clear.  I have to write this blog.  Life isn't hi-def.  It's full of static.  But these words - though they are senseless - are sometimes everything we have to bring in the channels more clearly.

Thank you God.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 12: 2.05

It has been 12 long days since, starry eyed and full of hope and anticipation, we crossed the threshold of St. Louis Children's Hospital for Pookie's cath. I might say it's been 7 long days. The first five or so were more of an adventure.

The first few days we took walks to the garden and scoured the gift shop. Pookie finished homework and watched tv for fun.

These last few days even the glitter of hospital life has worn it's welcome for her. The garden is there and the gift shop is blasé. Homework is boring and so is tv.

But this morning, as I trudged past the nurse's station with my frozen mocha in my hand and two four cheese souffles in my bag from my now-habitual early morning run to Bread Co. right off campus, I asked with no regard for hoping, "are the results back?"

The nurse's smile was untelling...but in retrospect, it existed, which had to be a sign. "2.05," she crooned.

The numbers meant everything to us in these last two weeks. The numbers inside her heart that we came to fix. The numbers inside her blood that indicate how soon we can go home. Numbers.

We leave today without knowing much though many have asked - and I really do thank you for your continual prayers and messages. Pookie's opened all her cards now - and pretty much thinks she's a rock star.

But again, in terms of what we know, the message is unclear. With all due respect to the system here at the hospital - and let me say again, our experience has been stellar - there are a lot of cooks in the pot and we have purposely chosen to talk to our Head Chef. We see him on Wednesday, and I will update as I am able at that point.

What I know for now is that we are going home today, as soon as the white coats lay eyes on her. We are packed and ready to go. Pooks is calling all her friends to let them know and I am looking forward to a beautiful fall weekend. At home.

Thanks, and God bless,

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A katydid.  That's, apparently, what these bugs are called.  I called Pooks out into the garage one afternoon to show her this amazing creature that God made for us to see.  "I wonder what it is," I marveled.

"It's a katydid," my daughter responded without hesitation.  "I read about it in a book."

That is one of the things I absolutely adore about my kids.  They love science.  They love to read every book they can get their hands on that teaches them about weather, nature, the earth, the stars ~ life beyond themselves.  It's one thing that majorly frustrates me when my son's second grade teacher announces at curriculum night that they will be studying only 7 chapters from their very expensive, super thick science text books filled with lots of amazing facts to discover.  But less than half the material will be covered in the book.


Whether it is our life or life beyond ourselves, it is a precious gift.  I am reminded of that this week while I wait here in the hospital with Pookie to go back home to our real world.  A world where we don't spend all day watching TV and dealing with blood draws and being woken over and over all night long and fearing what the future might bring.  No.  I want to go home where we can study the various critters that fly into our garage and make too many batches of pancakes with chocolate chips, strawberries, and whipped cream.  I want to go home and live our lives.

Thankfully, it sounds like that's exactly what we get to do.  Tomorrow.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your calls, your emails, your instant messages, your Facebook posts.  Pookie and I have enjoyed reading every last one.  {She thinks she's a pretty big deal ;)}  The ballooning that was attempted in her heart did not quite work the way we'd hoped.  That doesn't mean it won't work entirely, it just means for now we haven't made a lot of progress.  And it means that Pookie still will not be allowed to run.  Or ride her bike.  Or participate in PE (to be honest, she's not too bummed about that last one.)  And it does mean that she will be having open heart surgery.  Number 7.  (I told her I may have to rename the blog.  And have another kid, if 6 wasn't going to be enough for her...)  The question will be in how long we wait.  For more answers, we go back to the cardiologist in 2 weeks.

In the meantime, we go home and covet the gift of life just a little bit more than we did last week.  And we thank God for the outpouring of love we've felt this week.

We are truly blessed indeed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Two Worlds Collide

Normal Life.

Heart Life.

Yesterday my little girl worked things out on the playground.  After a year of struggling, Momma stepped in and talked to Momma.  The girls decided to speak together alone.  They demonstrated respect, responsibility, and maturity.  I pray that it leads them in the right direction.

Tomorrow, the doctor will work things out in the operating room.  After months of struggling.  Momma stepped in and talked to Doctor.  He decided this needed to be done.  He demonstrated wisdom, experience, and compassion.  I pray that it leads her in the right direction.

Will you join me in praying for my pookie today?  Her heart has not been healthy and the doctor feels that widening her aortic valve can alleviate her symptoms and allow her heart to function better.  She will be admitted today to run preliminary tests.  Tomorrow, via the cath lab, they will be ballooning her valve.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Birthday Post of the Year {I promise}

We let birthdays play on and on and on around here.  At least it feels that way sometimes!  My man and I went for a run/bike ride tonite and I took a very deep breath in and out, then said, "I am so happy this weekend is over!" 

It's not that I don't love celebrating with my kids.  And it really isn't that their parties even require too much work anymore.  It's just...stressful.  I don't know why.  Probably the pressure of the time crunch more than anything, I suppose.  Peppered with a nagging fear of the real potential for chaos (not a fan). 

Yet, both evenings went off without a hitch - the boy's party Friday night and the girl's Saturday.  All said and done, 10 hours allotted for each due to early morning prior engagements for us to fulfill (certainly adding their fair share to the over-all feeling of being crunched for time!!!).

Nevertheless, Tommy's version of a 10th birthday party, complete with Domino's bacon pizza and Pokemon cake, as requested:

I love the dimmed light, cake on fire photo look:

Actually, I think half the boys at the table breathed out heavily just to save Pikachu's li'l plastic nose from melting.  And yes, I really did re-light the candles because they spontaneously blew them out too fast!  (See the worried expression over there?  What are you doing, Woman?!  He'll burn! Oh the humanity!  ;))

I consented to having the boys bring their DS game systems to the party.  We let them play them during a portion of the evening  ~ Tommy was super thrilled!!!  And the boys were quiet and well-behaved all night. 

I always love the 'whole room' shots...

We topped off the morning with pancakes with strawberries, chocolate chips and whipped cream, bacon, sausage, OJ and milk. 


We are seriously blessed to have these boys in our boy's life.

On to Pookie's party!  Her friends arrived to pizza and cake, as well.  But, Pooks is more of a fluffy and furry girl vs, lightning bolts and fighting Pikachus:

She insisted on Hello, Cupcake's pupcakes, just like Sashi had at her first birthday.

I even taught the girls how to make these li'l puppers themselves!

Again.  Yum!  ...And the obligatory dimmed light, candle lit photo, cuz I really do just love them:

OK, I actually didn't completely lose the Pikachu tail-burning phenomena, did I? 

Pookie's wish was to watch Soul Surfer with her friends.  She is a HUGE fan of that movie ~ we can't wait for A Dolphin Tail to come out later this month!

It was a classic slumber party, with girls up watching TV til way too late at night.  Whereas all the boys were up and ready to eat in the wee early morning hours, these girls had to be called twice three times to their breakfast (of pancakes, chocolate chips, strawberries and whipped cream, bacon and sausage, OJ and milk ... ... it's down to a science, ladies.)

Still, we are just as blessed to have these girls' in our girl's life:

And now, on to the last days of summer and beginning of fall....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friends Since Seventh Grade

When I was little, my mom and I lived in a farming/college town in northern Missouri.  My mom was a real estate agent there.  We lived in a big two story house on a busy thorough-fare through town.  We had plum trees in our backyard and wild raspberries.  We used to keep a key hanging just inside the garage door so I could let myself in after school.

At some point, maybe 6th grade, I think, my mom got a job two hours away - in Kansas City.  It was a good, steady job with benefits.  She began commuting there five days per week.  And yes, I said it was two hours away.

I remember during this time setting my old white, buzzer alarm clock for 4:00 in the morning and sitting, dazed, on the edge of the toilet seat with my eyes closed while my mom french braided my hair.  On the days I wanted a french braid.  Then I'd go back to my room, reset my alarm for a more normal hour, very carefully sleep so as not to mess up the braid, then get up again when my alarm went off to get my breakfast and make my own lunch, knowing my mom was almost at the office - me in Maryville and her in Kansas City. 

This went on for quite some time because I didn't want to move.  And my mom never made me.  She just woke up day after day and drove hours and hours to make a living.  It's just what she did.

Then one day my best friend Sara told me she was moving to Cowgill, Missouri.  The next day I told my mom I was ready to move to Kansas City.

I remember my first day at Pleasant Lea Junior High.  I was way out of my league.  The young lady who showed me around - who happened to be cousins of one of my classmates in Maryville! - wore a starched white cotton top with a pale yellow peasant skirt.  And matching pale yellow pumps.  And yellow fashion earrings.

I wore a white romper with tri-color buttons on my shoulders that I'd sewn myself and who knows what on my feet.

Luckily, God had mercy on me that day.  Or, at least, within three days He did.  Because on my third day at my new school, I met Cherrie (pronounced like the little red fruit - "cherry").  Cherrie and I were inseparable best friends every day for the rest of our lives.  Well, at least until we were juniors in high school.  And then we did the unthinkable.  We let a boy come between us.  And then Cherrie moved away our senior year.  But during freshman week at college, we found each other again.  We also found our husbands.  And through the years, we found a kid.  Or two.  Or eight. 

This weekend, Cherrie and her family came and spent some time with us.  I'm telling you.  I am the luckiest girl in the world to have her as my friend. 

Love you girl!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Double Digits

Some kids we know celebrated a pretty significant birthday yesterday.

The twins turned 10.  It really does seem hard to believe.  10 years.  {pause}  "It goes too quickly," quotes the elderly woman in the checkout lane.  We all know it's true.

One of my little people - who isn't little, cuz, you know, he's like 10 now - desperately wanted this day to be something special.  I get that.  I truly wanted to give him that special day, as well.

So I spent four hours Sunday night blowing up balloons (which I threw all over their beds and floor to their rooms while they slept as well as taping them to the door frames) and baracading their doorways:

We took them to breakfast - SURPRISE!  Bread Co.  And then let them open the cards that had piled up over the last week and the presents from Dad and me.

The rest of the day we put them to work.  Did you know when you're 10 you're old enough to pick up the dog doo in the backyard?  True story.

Never fear, however.  It was all in the name of party.  And some of the work was fun.  See?

She did a such great job.  I love that {almost all} my kids love to bake with me!

[And I love that my friends help me eat leftover cupcakes when the two children born of my womb at the same moment (or no more than 1 minute apart, anyway) have such differing personalities as to insist on two separate kinds of cake.  And frosting.  {...who am I kidding?  Twice the Y.U.M.!!!}]

The real fun began at 4:00 when the family began arriving.  Presents presents presents!  That's what matters when you're turning 10, really.  So we didn't wait long before we let them start tearing into their gifts!  {They'd earned it with those smelly backyard bags, anyway!}

Before it grew too late in the day, we gathered on the porch for the obligatory, annual family photo:

These kids are pretty darn fortunate to have some very awesome grandparents!

And then it was time to sing and eat cake.

At the end of the night, Tommy grabbed me in a spontaneous and genuine bear hug.  He said, "Mom?  This was the best birthday ever."

I had to smile and agree.
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