Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Written Word..

I recently had an email that wasn't supposed to be meant the way it was written. In the past few weeks I have had a text message that struck me the same way and I am hoping wasn't meant the way I took it either. The problem with the written word is the lack of communication. The communication of tone, of intention, of emotion. Sometimes there is too much emotion in the words that are written. No matter how the writer felt, the reader can't help but read it with their own emotions, whatever they are. And once on paper, you can't really take it back. It is there, in the eye of the reader, in their mind and memory in the manner they took it, wether you meant it that way or not.
How easy it is to spew forth with words of hurt, or anger. How easy to vent on whoever happens to read it. How easy to put down on paper something our conscience might hesitate to let come out of our mouth. How much easier to not be in audience as the words sink in and the reader shows the emotion caused by what you have written. How easy to be absent from the consequences of your words. An apology for something said seems to be easier to accept than one for something written and sent to someone.. via email or snail mail. Damage is done much deeper it seems when it is written. Wounds seem harder to heal.
I try to be careful of that here. There are things I have posted here and elsewhere that may seem harsh, but I wrote them willing to take responsibility for those words because they were how I felt, and my intent was clear. I did not and do not regret writing them. That is the choice we make when we write. To own what we put down, good, bad, or indifferent.
I have things saved from over 25 years ago. One I would like to think the writer regrets. I also have love letters from Brian, notes from my children (good & bad), journals I wrote in a different place and time. Watch what words you say, and write. Once out there they have a life of their own..

Round Three

Well, Hunter is now throwing up. The upside is, (LOL) with this virus, that usually only lasts a couple hours. The fever is the part that won't let go. The twins seem to be on the mend. I am keeping everything disinfected and squeaky clean to hopefully prevent any further outbreaks! Can't think of a better way to spend the Holidays... NOT!

Christmas at the Shores'

Christmas Eve we had Terri, Dwight, Savannah, Jessie, Greta, & Randy over for an Italian dinner and to do the Christmas thing. It was fun. Brianne & Justin stayed over Christmas Eve and helped me wrap presents and put things together. I was just setting out the last Christmas stocking at Hunter's door when I heard that he was awake. I had to dash to my room and barely made it before he came in to say Santa had been here! That was at about 6:30 am. We tried to hold off on getting everyone else up but it didn't last long. With Alexa being sick it wasn't as chaotic as it would have been. She just sat in the chair with me and looked pathetic. The boys would bring her presents and she would say she couldn't open it, it was too big. Even her excited face was sad.
We had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Since we had a turkey & ham for Thanksgiving we decided to do something different for Christmas. I fixed a standing rib roast, loaded mash potatoes, and fresh green beans with leeks and pine nuts. I had 7 layer cookie bars and pumpkin pie for dessert, but everyone filled up on everything else.
It was a good day. We got the kids a puppet theater to share. The Teddy Ruxpin we ordered never came in, but they had enough stuff to not even miss it. They all got Leapster 2 game systems, and clothes. The boys got Star Wars and Indiana Jones toys, Potato Heads, puzzles, books, and several other things. Alexa got princess dolls, fairies, and lots of girly stuff. It was scaled down alot from last year. Alexa's doll bed and pram stroller for her dolls was back ordered, so we may save them for her birthday if they come in by then.
It was a good day. We take those good moments when we can get them and appreciate every one. It seems easier to look back and remember. Not less painful, but I think I am getting used to and accepting the pain rather than fighting it. The remembering is painful, but pleasant as well, so I focus on the pleasant part and let the pain come. We are making new memories and want to enjoy these times and moments as well.
Hope you & yours had good moments and good memories. Hallalujah, the holidays are over!

Sick & sleeping Christmas Day

Tristan was sick the week before, and then Alexa woke up with a fever Christmas morning. This virus seems to run 4-5 days and the fever is stubborn. Brian & I spent yesterday stripping all the beds, washing all pillows and blankets and disinfecting the whole house. Brian has been sick with a cold and Hunter has started what seems to be a cold as well. We were supposed to go to Greta & Randy's for a family Christmas/ Birthday get together yesterday and to Disney with my sister, Robyn, & her grandkids today & tomorrow. But with everyone sick it just wasn't happening. I had a dizzy spell in the early hours of Friday morning when I was in the kitchen getting Alexa some medicine. I passed out and hit my head on the floor. I thought it might be the virus the kids have had, but other than a headache I was fine and haven't felt sick or had any other symptoms. My blood pressure and sugar levels have been running low, so that was probably it. We are using alot of lysol & antibacterial gel!
They have been so sick and miserable they are just now getting to enjoy their toys. We have been taking it easy and sticking close to home. At least they were out of school anyway and didn 't have to miss any days other than Tristan missing the last day before the holiday break.

Bri & Justin

Bri & Justin
Originally uploaded by mommanana
This was at Bri's company Christmas party. I have posted more pix on the photo gallery, click on any pic to get there and enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hunter's 8 years old!

Hunter's 8 years old!
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Our baby boy turned 8 today. Note the wrapped left arm.. it is a hard splint to protect what they think is a cracked growth plate in his wrist. He fell off a bunk bed ladder and landed on his hand while at his Nana's house yesterday morning. He failed to tell her about it because he didn't want to have to leave. Later at home he went to do something and said he couldn't because his hand hurt. Off we went to the ER and he sees his orthopedic specialist on Friday. In the mean time we have to keep him down to a dull roar since he has a very high pain threshold and could make it worse if he reinjured it before they hard cast it. Never a dull moment!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Something to talk about..

When the kids hung ornaments the other night Hunter wanted to hang one of Kierra when she was about a year old. The twins asked who the baby was and Hunter told them it was their Mommy Kierra. That seemed to satisfy them and they finished hanging the other ornaments.
Later I caught the tail end of a conversation between Hunter & Alexa. The part I heard was Alexa asking him "Will Mommy die driving her car?" He quickly told her "No, God wouldn't take both your Mommies away." She accepted that and they moved on to look at another ornament.
I debated bringing it back up, then decided to wait. I asked Hunter about it when I was tucking him in. He said Alexa had asked him where Mommy Kierra was and he told her she was in Heaven. She asked if that was far away. When he told her yes, she asked how she got there. He told her she died and when Alexa asked how she died Hunter told her she died in a car crash when she was driving her car to work one day. That is when I caught the end of the conversation. Hunter asked me if it was wrong to tell her. I told him no, I just wondered if she was old enough to understand. We agreed if it comes up again we will all talk about it together. I thanked him for reassuring her and for being such a great big brother.
I have thought countless times what it would be like to tell them. I wondered when would be the right time. I didn't think of it being part of a simple conversation between 2 children. I forgot how matter of fact Hunter can be, and that I always tell him to be honest. I think he handled it very well. I hope I can handle it as well when they start asking me questions about it.

All I Want for Christmas..

I have been asked several times what I want for Christmas. Honestly, truly, I do not want anything. I know like us, many people are on a tighter budget this year. What I would really like is the gift of your time. I don't want much, or even immediate use of your time. But maybe give me a call and let's meet for coffee, or lunch, or a walk in the park. Let me know if you have a day when you can go to the barn with me, or go kayaking. Maybe go to a movie. I really miss spending time with the people I care about. We all get busy, I am the first in line to claim being guilty of being too busy sometimes. But I will commit to making time for you if you make the commitment too, okay? You don't have to wrap it, or fuss with a bow.. see how easy it is?

Alexa 12.18.08

Alexa 12.18.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
She was all dressed up for her Christmas show at school, click on this pic and go see the other pix in the gallery. She was a Christmas present for the show. You should have heard them singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer", "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth", "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer", and my favorite, "Hooves, Belly, Antlers, Nose", which was a version of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" that I had not heard before! She practiced hard and was so excited. Yes, I got it on video!

Tristan & the North Pole, AKA Puking & other tidbits..

I think I am almost done with all the Christmas decorations. I have added some snowflakes outside and have hung some large ornaments in the archways inside the house. The only thing left to do is finish putting the ornaments on the tree. The kids did some of them, but there is more to do. At night when the lights are on it looks great, but in the light of day it looks like an oversized version of the Charlie Brown tree!
Tristan walks around and thanks me for all the decorations almost every day. He and Alexa would also point out (before it was up) they couldn't thank me for the tree because it wasn't up yet! They can be too smart sometimes. We put together a box to send to Alex in Iraq and we put in some candy that was called reindeer food. Tristan said maybe it would help him fly home fast like the reindeer can fly with Santa. Alexa looked at him so seriously and told him it would have to be flying camels, because they didn't have reindeer where he was, just camels!
We also put together a box for their new little sister, Hayven. Alex told us when he called last week that he & Dawn had a baby girl in September. I reassured him that it was great news and I would get Tristan & Alexa big brother and big sister shirts and take pictures for him. I think he forgets we are such an extended blended family already, what's one more?! I imagine that makes it all the more difficult for him to be deployed again. I have the shirts, just have to take the pix. I will post Hayven's picture soon.
Tristan has been running a high fever since yesterday morning. They rarely run fevers. To the extent that I had to dig up the 2 thermometers we had and both had dead batteries. I had to run to the store to get a new one. He threw up some yesterday afternoon, but that stopped last night. Now he has a fever rash in his groin area. He seems to be feeling better, but that fever is hanging on.
Greta was having Hunter over for a sleepover tonight and ended up taking Alexa too. She asked Hunter if he minded sharing his night and he said Alexa could go. She had gotten very upset that he was going without her. I thought Tristan would be upset at being left home alone, but he wasn't bothered at all. Now you know he is sick!
So I am baking 7 layer bars, and trying to get the motivation to finish the tree. The breakable ornaments are going higher on the tree and I guess that is my job. This may all be done just in time to take it all down and put it away again! The kids love it and that is what counts. Personally, I think it looks like the North Pole puked all over the house!

Right in Front of Me..

Songs play on the radio,
Images flash on the TV,
Everywhere I turn, it seems,
You're right in front of me.
I can hope there will come a time
when this all gets easier to do,
yet deep inside my heart I know,
I'll never get over losing you.
Some say you are in a better place,
that doesn't ring true for me.
Better than here with your babies
is something I just can't see.
We can't go back, this I know.
We can't undo what has been done.
So we try our best to nurture
the lives you'd just begun.
They smile your smile
and it's so easy to see,
every time I look at them
you're right in front of me..
mjs started 11.3.08
finished 12.18.08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hunter & Bri on Lenny 12.14.08

We went to a pot luck lunch at the barn and got to take the kids on a ride. I rode Tortuga, but I think all the people and noise were too much for her... me too! Click on this pic to see Tristan and Alexa on Lenny too. I'm always adding new pix to the photo gallery!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kid's Movie List Update

Here is the movie list, if it is crossed through, someone has committed to getting it for them. I figure this way they don't get more toys they don't need! If you see something you want to get them, or have gotten them, please just comment on here and I will update it. Thanks!

Kung Fu Panda
Space Chimps
Horton Hears a Who
Narnia- Prince Caspian
Veggie Tales, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
Star Wars Clone Wars
Polar Express 3D version

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Where Are You Christmas?

I have been trying to get all the Christmas decorations up. I am not feeling the whole Christmas spirit no matter how many decorations I drag out and hang all over the place. I do it for the kids, and they really enjoy it, so I wll keep doing it! I heard this song on the radio and it sounded alot like how I feel. I am still working on finding it, so bear with me if I am a little Grinchy!

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

Thursday, December 04, 2008


School Pic all 3
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Okay, let me explain this photo. I was not going to post this picture because it is not what I consider a good picture of them. My sister, however, said I have to post it because it is so them and shows what craziness I deal with everyday. Alexa had already taken her pix and the ones with Tristan. She was so done and refused to smile. Hunter had waited patiently while the other pix were taken and made the most of finally being in the limelight. And Tristan was bored with the whole thing and just along for the ride! Now realize that this was the BEST shot out of four taken!!


I figure it was a sign when I took a break from filling out my Christmas cards and checked my email. I received an email about this website set up by Xerox to say Thank You to our soldiers who are away from home for the Holidays. This seems like a more direct way to send them than the other option I posted. So take a moment to go to the site and say Thanks. And for those who do.. Thank You!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thing 1 & Thing 2

Alexa's Pre-school took these when they did Alexa's school pictures last month. I love this one. There was one of Hunter with them, but by that point Alexa was mad and both boys stuck their tongues out, NOT a good picture! I have posted Alexa's pictures in the photo gallery, they turned out really good as usual with her. Tristan's school picture wasn't good, he looked totally bored and uninterested. I should get Hunter's today. I will send some out with Christmas cards. I think Hunter's is just a proof so we have to order them. I am not sure if we will get them in time to send them as well, or if I will have to send them seperately.. I guess you will see when you get your Christmas cards!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kid's Movie List

Here are the movies I have intentionally NOT gotten for the kids, so if you feel you must get them something, comment on here what movie you are getting them so everyone else can know what is left, They REALLY don't need more toys, I still have some unopened from last year in their closets! Or a Sear's gift card since Alexa is now wearing size 5 slim, and Hunter outgrew his 6 slims in a matter of weeks and now needs 6 Reg. Which means of course Tristan won't be far behind Alexa with his next growth spurt! There isn't really much else they need that we don't get as they need it.

Kung Fu Panda
Space Chimps
Horton Hears a Who
Narnia- Prince Caspian
Veggie Tales, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
Star Wars Clone Wars
Polar Express 3D version

Surfing the waves..

I have had such mixed emotions about the 13th of November, the 3rd anniversary of Kierra's death. I have not really posted much about it because it is a bit complicated to explain and I am not so sure how best to do that. Words on paper are mostly void of emotion, or perceived differently depending on the emotions of the reader. Although my emotions may be similar to yours, it is hard sometimes to convey them.
I did not go to the site of her accident this year. Brian put flowers there. I drive by it, but have not stopped there in a while. I don't think I intentionally avoid it, I just don't make a point of going there. I think of her and "see" her in so many other places, on so many other days than the day she died. I am not sure what meaning I want to give to that specific spot, so for now I give it none.
I also mentioned to a friend that I resented that day this year, but not just because of her death, I resent that every hour of every day. It has seemed as though, on most other days, people tend to tell me to not dwell on it, to try to move forward and not let it drag me down. To find a place to set my grief aside so I can enjoy my children, my friends, my life. I do try to do that. Yet on that day, the "anniversary" of her death, it is expected, almost encouraged, for me to give in to it. It is expected for me to be inconsolable and best left alone. Like one day is all I need to purge my sytem, to heal my heart. I know that is not how it is meant, but for some reason, that is how it felt. I am a control freak, yes, I know. So, to not have control of how I feel can be quite frustrating.
I have waves of emotion (as Nancy has described it for me) and I am not a good surfer! I had a hard time the day I had events at Tristan & Alexa's schools for Thanksgiving. I could not stop myself from crying when I was on my way to Tristan's Rodeo. I wanted her to be going, I wanted her to be the one they called Mommy and ran to when she walked in the door. I wanted her to be the one they showed off proudly to their classmates. I let it out and got through it with smiles for them, but it was hard. I did not expect the onslaught of emotion and could not stop it until my tears had run out.
Brian & I were heading to the movies to meet all the kids yesterday afternoon. We had a great day together. When we got in the truck a song by Gloria Estefan came on about "Until I had You, I didn't know I was missing out" I think it is "Christmas through your eyes" about her daughter. We both had to change the station and we talked about some of the hardest parts of missing her. It was like being hit by a 2X4. It knocks the breath out of you. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, we are powerless to stop it.
So I don't know how we will handle the rest of the Holidays. Of course we will celebrate and do things for the kids. They deserve to be happy and enjoy the whole Christmas thing. We will keep riding the waves and do our best to quickly reach the surface when one takes us under. We are becoming stronger swimmers, and someday I may be able to ride the waves and stay on the board. For now I have learned to just hold my breath and swim like hell!

Thanksgiving Lunch 11.25.08

This is Alexa with her Turkey Hat on. I didn't have other pics of her to post because they all had her classmates in them and I am not comfortable posting pics of them without their parent's permission. They put on a little show and we all had lunch together. Tristan had his rodeo right before this so I had a busy morning!


Originally uploaded by mommanana
Tristan had a rodeo at Pre-K before Thanksgiving. He had so much fun and wore those cowboy boots for days! There are a couple pics in the photo gallery so click on this pic and go check them out. He is doing well in school. He & Hunter just started riding the school bus. They love it. I was not so sure about it, but they are the last stop before the school in the morning and the first drop off in the afternoon, so they are only on the bus for 5 minutes. Tristan has to wear a harness seat belt and they sit up front, so I am okay with it so far. It's funny what a big deal it is for me, but they could care less.

Happenings and Hugs

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, emotionally and physically. On the anniversary of Kierra's death, Randy's Dad passed away. He hadn't been doing well, but that doesn't make the grief any less, or the added weight of that loss any easier to bear for them, especially with all they have gone through.
On the 14th, our Jezell gave birth to our Peurto-rican grandbaby, Michael, after many, many hours of labor. She thought he would be born the 13th, but I told her he held out to have his own day! Both are healthy and happy.
Then Brian's Mom came to visit for the week of Thanksgiving. It was a handful with her and the kids to care for. She isn't as mobile as she used to be and needs more help with things. She also isn't used to being around small children and they aren't used to sharing me with anyone else. They all managed and I think she had a good visit. She went home Saturday. Brian and I took the kids to the zoo that afternoon and then thanks to Brianne & Justin, he & I spent most of the day alone on Sunday and then met them all to see Bolt in the afternoon. It is a very funny movie. We all enjoyed it and still laugh when one of us quotes the hamster, Rhino!
So things are headed back to normal just in time to be thrown into chaos again with the Christmas Holidays. I haven't put out any decorations yet. I will have to get motivated in the next week or two. I got some Thanksgiving cards sent out and am waiting for the kid's school pictures to send out the Christmas cards. They should be in this week.
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Enjoy the Holidays and hug each other for me!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jiffy-Pop Pie!

It has been a busy week here. Brian's Mom is visiting for the week and I have had my hands full! Brianne came over Monday to visit with her while I went to some of my appointments and then we did some baking. I have a recipe for Applescotch Pie that we were making and it didn't turn out quite the way it should have. We used some Macintosh apples with the Granny smith and they got a bit too mushy. Add to that the fact we had more apple than we needed. So when the pie was filled it was a bit fuller than usual. We cut out a cute turkey on the top pie shell then baked it in the oven.
As it baked, the pie got bigger and bigger, kind of like the old Jiffy-Pop popcorn you could cook on the stove and the foil would puff up as it cooked. The poor turkey was stretched beyond it's limits and then it happened.. the pie cracked open in 3 places and oozed pie filling all over the place. Thank goodness we put a cookie sheet underneath it! What was left was good with vanilla ice cream and we made sure the second pie wasn't as full.
Bri also made some Orange Blossom mini cakes that were really yummy looking. I am looking forward to trying it when she makes it for Turkey Day. It was great to have time with her even if it was a bit hectic, and we will always remember the Jiffy-Pop Pie!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


That is what number this post is! Cricket texted me yesterday that she knew this was a hard time for me, but after going back and reading the first page of my blog, she could see how far I've come. So I have been going back and reading my blog from the beginning. Some of the blogs are hard to read, they still make me cry, but many make me smile & laugh too. It is good to see how far we have all come, how much we have grown. I had lost track of how many posts I have done. It suprised me when I looked it up. Thanks for sticking with me and reading so many!

Turkey Trivia

I have been cooking stuffing for a meal exchange group I am in and am about to make some apple pies, applescotch pies to be exact. So with the pre-turkey day mood I am posting a Turkey Trivia test that was sent to me.. have some fun and see how you do! Being from Plymouth, Massachusetts I should have done better than I did, but there is always room to learn! Love Ya'll

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blank Check

"A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it."

That statement was at the end of an email story I received. I felt compelled to share it. Chad leaves for basic training January 6th for basic training with the Army. He will be there 9-10 weeks then go to Arizona for a year for Tech school. It is strange to have him going away. It is time I know, I just never thought of him as the military type. He continues to suprise me! In researching info for Chad, Brian came accross some info about age reduction for years served, so he has been looking into info for the Air Force Reserve or Gaurd, I am not sure how I feel about that. I have always, and will support him in whatever he decides, but I am not sure I am willing to make the sacrifices as easily as he is. It is alot to think about and this is already an emotional time for us. We will see what happens in the days & weeks to come. I am not sure I can handle my son & my husband writing that blank check!

Send just one more card..

Update.. Walter Reed may not accept cards that are not screened and have no system set up to do that, so here is better info on how to get your cards out to the soildiers..

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

You can also:
Download and print a free card.

Card Guidelines
Please follow these guidelines when mailing a card to ensure that your card will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families. Every card received will first be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working in one of 16 sorting stations around the country.
*All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.
*Please ensure that all cards are signed.
*Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
*Please send cards as opposed to long letters which delay a quick review process.
*Please do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
*Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
*Participants are encouraged to limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a larger quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope.
*All cards received may be used in program publicity efforts, including appearing in broadcast, print or online mediums.

Where to Send Phone Cards, Gift Cards and Care Packages:
Phone cards or gift cards will not be accepted with the holiday cards. Those wishing to send calling cards or gift cards/certificates should go to, scroll down to "AAFES Community Connection" and click on "Help Our Troops Call Home" or "Gift Cards/Certificates for Our Troops" in order to send such items.
No 'Care Packages' will be accepted at this address. Those wishing to send care packages should go to and click under "Homefront Groups" to find out how to send care packages.

When mailing your Christmas cards this year,take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful, special people who have sacrificed so much would get! When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

* A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001 *

I got this in an email from my sister-in-law, Leslie. What a great idea! How simple and how thoughtful. I hope you take the chance to do this and not only help someone in need, but get to feel the true meaning of giving for yourself! I am sending out several Thanksgiving cards to them today as well! MJ

Moments & Memories

Sorry I went incommunicato for a few days.. thanks for all your support and understanding. I can't explain in words how uncontrollable my emotions can be. Even after 3 years it can hit me like it is that moment again. The pain is just as sharp, the loss just as gut wrenching as it was when she was taken from us. The idea that time makes it easier hasn't happened for me yet. I don't think it does get easier, we just learn to cope with it better. I did do better than last year, but I think I also have gotten better at blocking it out when I need to. I still get really angry and I still feel so devestated at times. It is what it is. We move forward regardless and time still goes by. I think of all the good times and try to replace the image of her death with the images of her laughing and living her life to the fullest. That is the best I can do.
We received a video in the mail from the mother of an old boyfriend of hers. It was of her and him in the slingshot ride at Oldetown in Orlando. She loved it and I couldn't help but laugh as I cried watching her beautiful young face on the screen before me, so alive. So we will cherish those moments, those memories, and keep going. That is what we do everyday. Thank you for your love, support and understanding. We couldn't get through it all without you!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I miss my laptop!

Okay.. I know this is highly unusual, but I have gone out of town .. and forgot my laptop! Bri & I have gone up to the horse ranch in GA for a couple days with friends and I was so busy getting things organized for everyone else before I left that my laptop is MIA. I am on a hotel computer where we stayed last night. There is a computer at the ranch where we will be the next couple days, but it is very slow and if they are busy it is usually already taken! I will be on when I can or I will be back on Tues. night.. Take care & stay warm.. it is cold here!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Click on the Pic to see more!

Halloween 2008
Originally uploaded by mommanana

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I have been so busy that I just pop on here.. type a quick blurb and off I go again. I can't seem to sleep tonight. My legs won't settle down, I feel like I could go running. Anywho.. let me catch you up on a few things..
Randy- He got his trache taken out a couple weeks ago, almost 3 weeks ago now. He is doing better and is supposed to be released to go home this Thursday! They had said November 1st, but don't want to send him home on a weekend. It has been a long road and still won't be easy for them, but I know it will be a relief for both of them to have him back home. Be sure to keep in touch and I know he would still love to have visitors at home.
The twin's father, Alex, left for Iraq on Saturday. It is his second tour there. He was led to believe if he went into the gaurd then he would stay stateside. May he stay safe.
Chad suprised us today. He is taking the ASVAB next week. That is the miltary aptitude test. He has decided to join the military. He wants to go to college and realistically would have to work 2 jobs to do it, which would leave little time for school. He has been considering it and is ready to take this step for his future. His test score will help him decide which branch he will sign up with. I have very mixed feelings about this. I am proud that he is moving forward and doing something that will benefit his future. He is well aware of the commitment to defend his country as part of this decision. I am proud of him for that too, yet as a mother who has already lost a child, I am hesitant to embrace a decision that may risk losing another. No matter how small the risk, it is still a Mother's worry for her child to be in any kind of danger. It is different from the fear and worry I felt as a wife when Brian went to the Gulf War. I will support him and love him wherever he goes and whatever he does. I will keep you all posted.
Trying to organize and juggle 3 children in school is my latest challenge. I have 3 teachers to communicate with, 3 Halloween parties to send things in for or help with, school pictures x3, school papers x3, school projects x3, field trips x3, and even birthday party invitations x3! I am going to have to get a large planner calendar to put on the wall with color coded squares for them all! I don't know how I managed this before. I worked so I didn't get as involved in their school activities, but the thought of adding dance classes, karate, and/or sports to the mix really freaks me out. I have a new stress addiction.. popsicles. The new slowmelt ones. I have eaten 3 in a row at times in the past week. I tried the sugarfree ones.. but they aren't as good. It is my version of taking a cigarette break!
Brian is working alot of city overtime the next couple months. They are always shorthanded. He gets to grow a beard every fall if he donates to the United Way. I will have to post pics. He was starting it when we took our cruise, but it was just coming in then.. still at the scruffy stage. He has to shave it after Christmas. He is still counting down to officially be a Sargeant. I will let you know when it is his turn.
It'a almost 4am. I am going to try to sleep again. Probably just in time for Tristan to get up early! TTFN

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I thought I would have so much free time when the kids were all in school.. not so much! I am right now watching the clock so I can run out the door in time to go get Alexa. I have about 5 minutes. They had yesterday off for a teacher planning day so it threw them all off, but this is their first "full" week of all going to school. So far so good. They have done well and haven't had any seperation anxiety. I am glad, yet sad as well. It is a milestone for all of us. I am hoping by next week to have us all into the routine and make the best use of my time. (Ok, stop laughing!!)

Proud of one of my four legged children!

Barney placed first in a horse show on Saturday! Alicia (from the barn) has been riding him and retraining him to show for Western Pleasure. He didn't do so great in the first class, the judge looked at them just as Alicia had to put him in "check". But in the main class my boy won first place out of 13 horses! I am so proud of him!
I had to miss it to volunteer at Hunter's school for their Fall Festival, but I am hoping to be at his next show so I can watch him win in person!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tristan, 1st Day of Preschool 10.24.08

He didn't want his picture taken, so I grabbed this one at the end of the day! He has done great and loves it so far!

Hunter & Alexa 10.20.08

Hunter & Alexa 10.20.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
This was her 1st day of preschool. She was very excited and has had a great week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hunter and Alexa Funhouse

Hunter and Alexa Funhouse
Originally uploaded by mommanana
We went to a horse show yesterday then spent 5 hours at the county fair in Callahan. Hunter and Alexa jumped right in and rode everything. It took Tristan awhile to warm up and not be afraid to try things. Click on this photo to go check out the fun they had!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Their masterpieces

Their masterpieces
Originally uploaded by mommanana
click on this one to view them each with their own pumpkins!

The Pumpkin Patrol

The Pumpkin Patrol
Originally uploaded by mommanana
We did manage to get to a nearby pumpkin patch Monday night. They picked out their own pumpkins and we picked out a big family pumpkin too. Brianne even got one for her house.

School days..

I feel like I hit the ground running on Monday morning and haven't stopped since! There is a big fall festival coming up for Hunter's school and I am the room mom for his class. I am a week behind on it and it is the 25th.
Tristan & Alexa were evaluated for a special preschool available at Hunter's school. Tristan tested as having some developmental delays, so he qualifies and will start school on the 23rd. All day, 5 days a week, the same schedule as Hunter. Alexa had some delay in language concepts, but tested at her age range or above on everything else, so she does not qualify. She will be going to a private preschool starting on Monday, the 20th. It really wasn't in the budget to do that, but I couldn't see sending Tristan to school and keeping her home. This way they both will be ready to start kindergarten in the fall. They had their physicals and flu shots today. (That was fun... NOT!)
I already have Thursdays booked to help in Hunter's classroom and will have to see if they need volunteers in Tristan's class. I would like to have a day or two a week for the horses.. and maybe, just maybe I can get caught up and keep up with the housework! We will see!

Flappers & Gangstas Oct 11,2008

This is a costume party we went to with the travel agency group. It was the roaring twenties. Mom won for the best female costume. I will have to post a better pic of her outfit. We all had a great week and a great time.

My Favorite Oct 7,2008

My Favorite Oct 7,2008
Originally uploaded by mommanana
I have scanned the actual photos and posted them on the gallery, so here is a better copy of this pic. Click on it and go see more photos from the trip. I am still playing catch-up with kids, appointments, school projects, etc. I will post more later!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It's Done & We're Off!

I worked through the night Friday night and finished the garage at about 5 am. I stayed up all night last night packing and cleaning the inside of the house and now we are about to head out for a much needed, much anticipated week away! I will update more on the boat! Love ya'll.. MJ

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost there!

I am actually on the downhill slide to the Garage Project! Brianne has been a big help. We went through and emptied 20 boxes yesterday! I have filled numerous boxes for the trash and good will. FYI, I have not gotten rid of anything meaningful of Kierra's. I have weatherproof boxes to store things in and keep them safe until the twins are older and can choose what they want. i am amazed at how much miscellaneous stuff we had out there. it helps that I am in a cleansing mood, so alot of things I used to think were worth saving, are now gone. It feels good and productive to finally tackle it all and get it done. I am pushing through the last of it over the next few days. the POD gets picked up Saturday. I am not sure what time, so Friday night is my cutoff to be done. I have been almost living out there, so it was not suprising to have over 300 emails to sort through! I will catch up on the kids and things soon, I promise!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where did it go!?

Somewhere along the way I have lost an entire week! Brian and I were talking about my garage project and our upcoming trip. I fely confident that I would have no trouble getting it done in time because I still had 3 weeks. He informed me that it was only two weeks! I am not so confident and I have too much to do! So if you wonder what I am doing and why I am not online as much.. I am buried in my garage! It is going well and I have gotten alot done, but I still have alot more to do. So off I go to unbox, sort and declutter some more!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tristan & Papa

Tristan & Papa
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Check out new pix in the gallery.. and check out Tristan's first blackeye! His eye met Hunter's knee while they were wrestling. Ice did nothing to keep it down. It was alot darker a week ago!

Foiled Again!

Okay.. the day after the "Pod" was delivered, Chad started dayshift 6 days a week. There went my sitter while I tackled the garage. The other night Bri came over to help me and guess what? It rained, not just a little, a full blown thunder storm with major lightening. She did help me go through and file a bunch of stuff in the office, so it wasn't a total loss.
Today I had Chad take the twins to daycare. I was ready to "git er done!" and guess what.. it is POURING! The dam has burst and I am foiled once again! I am going to get out there and pick my way through what I can, but it would be soooo much easier to move the big stuff out of my way!! I am not sure why I am running into so many obstacles with this project, but I am determined to forge ahead! Wish me luck!

Bears & Mook

There are times when the mornings aren't so rushed that we get to enjoy the kids more than usual. They like to climb up on our bed and we catch their toes and do the "This Little Piggy" rhyme and tickle their toes. Hunter even joins in the ruckus. They giggle and wriggle and it is the best music to start the day. Then they demand their bears & mook. The bears are vitamins, similar to gummy bears, but from the health store so they are more vitamin than candy. The mook is their pediasure. They can say "milk", but it has always been mook, so mook it is. They were very persistent this morning and I asked them.. "Who is going to fix ME breakfast?" and Alexa answered.. "You are!" Then I asked.."Well, where is my coffee?" and Tristan piped in.. "In the kitchen!" They are getting too quick and too smart! You can't get much past them anymore!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

He's Alive..

and that's good enough for me. We don't know where, but it is something to know he has been heard from. He spoke with one of my other brothers by phone. (Not on purpose.. he called my parents and the "other brother" answered, my parents are out of town.) They don't get along so the conversation wasn't pleasant or informative, but I will take what I can get. I am hoping for a more reliable and informative contact with someone else at some point, but beggars can't be choosers. It sucks to have such a dysfunctional family! We won't even go there today, I don't have that much time to blog!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Roy Albert Blomgren II

This is my baby brother. He has always been a wanderer. He goes his own way and does his own thing. But this time feels different. No one in our family has heard from him since the end of July. That isn't all that unusual. A close friend of his had expected him in Alabama over 3 weeks ago to work for him. Roy Albert has always kept in touch with this friend. He never showed up and hasn't been heard from. He travels on his black Harley motorcycle and was last seen in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. How do you find someone if they have a habit of not wanting to be found? Adults aren't looked for as a missing person unless they have a mental illness or foul play is suspected. So Bro.. where are you?? And more important than that.. Are you okay??

Alexa before surgery 9.10.08

Alexa had her ear tubes replaced and her adenoids taken out on Wednesday. She did great and is doing well. She didn't like being on liquids the first day, she kept asking for food even after having popsicles, sherbert, and jello. She went back to regular food last night and isn't complaining of pain. She has been a little more needy than usual, but that is better than being cranky! We are sticking close to home through the weekend and should be back to our normal routine by Monday.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Alexa and her babies 9.6.08

Alexa has really been into playing with her dolls lately. She changes them into pajamas at night and into play clothes in the morning. Yesterday all the kids got up VERY early so I put in a movie for them while I fixed breakfast and got the day started. Here she was getting them ready to watch the movie with her. it is so cute. She is quite the little Mommy.

Why did I save that?!

Have you ever saved something, (or several things!) and later wondered, "What was I thinking? Why did I save that?" I went through several bags and boxes in my bedroom and closet yesterday and wondered that with almost everything I found. I reorganized the shelves in my closet as well as the small bookcase in our bedroom too. I had just piled things up until I had time to go through it all. I decided yesterday was time! I have one completely clean and organized room in my house, our master bedroom. There is a chance it will stay that way awhile. The odds are better than they are with all the other rooms in the house which I seem to be cleaning constantly! I have been cleaning and downsizing the kids toys and clothes in their rooms over the past week. I have Alexa's room to do today. My Dr. changed some of my medications and I have more energy than I have had in months, so I am taking advantage of it while it lasts! I am gearing up to work on the garage and am sure to ask myself why I have saved all that stuff!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The POD Project

I have put a plan into motion that should keep me pretty busy over the next few weeks. I had a "POD" delivered today. (a portable storage unit) It will be here until Oct. 4th, or less if I finish before then (haha). I am going to empty out and organize our garage. There isn't any room to do it any other way and it is more than a one day job. We have 2 garage door openers that have been out there a year and we can't get through the stuff to install them!
I still have the majority of Kierra's things from her apartment. I have gone through some of them, but most of them have been untouched. It has been almost 3 years, I will never get over losing her, but I am ready to get past holding onto the material things. I will keep what will mean something to the children, but most of it is just "stuff".
I am heading into the project with the attitude that if we haven't used alot of what is out there in the year plus that we have lived here, then we don't need it and won't miss it! There will be alot of donations made to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Local Shelters, etc.
My deadline is the 4th, then Brian & I are escaping the 5th-12th of October. I figured that would prevent me from procrastinating!

Recent Randy update from Greta

(For the address and room number please email me or leave a comment and I will send it to you. Thanks! MJ)

Randy was transferred back to Heartland Rehab Wednesday night. He had a blood infection and they did a heart test Wednesday and it did not affect the heart or valves. He has another 10 days of IV antibiotics and he should be done. He is feeling much better. He is ready for the therapy part so he can come home. His mind is in the right direction for the final stage of his recovery. Thanks to all of you for your support through this. If it weren't for you all where would we be? Randy loves the company and it brightens his day when he gets a visit. There are no set visiting hours. Please pass the news on to those I might not have gotten here. Thanks! Greta

Monday, September 01, 2008

Heidi's Wedding Flowers

Heidi's Wedding Flowers
Originally uploaded by mommanana
These are the flowers I did for Heidi's wedding. Greta & I got there Friday night (I beaded pillows, bags, & baskets all the way there!) and worked through the night and straight into the 2:00 wedding on Saturday to help pull it off. It was beautiful and she was happy.. that is what it was all about. Greta & I crashed at 11 pm Saturday, got up Sunday, packed, loaded, and headed home!

Randy didn't transfer

Randy is still at Shands.. he has a more serious blood infection than they first thought. They want to run more tests to be sure his heart valves haven't been damaged. I will update as I get the info. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Guess what I found?!

I have been rooting through things looking for a heart hole punch I have misplaced. I have been looking through things I have looked through numerous times. But tonight I emptied a small hallmark bag with some recipe cards and odds & ends in it, and there, mixed in with those common, unimportant things, I found a small photo book I lost over 3 years ago! The last pictures in it are of Hunter Dec. '04 and the twins 1 year pix Feb. of '05. I am so excited. There are pix in there that I don't have on my PC or anywhere else.. I will have to scan and post them when I get a chance. (Probably sometime next week!)
I haven't found what I was looking for, but this was so much better! I am trying to get things packed for a trip to NC with Greta to make her & Randy's neice's wedding as special as we can last minute. We leave tomorrow afternoon, wedding Saturday, head home Sunday. It will be crazy, but it will be a good kind of crazy. I don't know if I will have time or access to get online, so if all else fails I will catch up late Sunday night.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Wall Words..

I put up some more "wall words" today. I put these two in our bedroom;

"Real Love Stories never have endings." (in the corner near my reading chair)
"Holding you, I hold Everything." (on a blank wall on my side of the bed)

Then I put this one in our bathroom over our big garden jacuzzi tub;

"Together, a great place to be."

That finished off decorating our bedroom, I still have to decide if I want to do anything else in our bathroom.

Just a few little things, but it was productive not to just buy them, but to put them up!

Randy Update from Greta..

Randy was transferred to a Jacksonville Rehab Facility on Saturday, he wasn't feeling well, but it was chalked up to the transfer and he hadn't been feeling well for a while. Sunday night he was taken to Shands Jax after another day of not eating and not feeling well. Here is the recent update from Greta.

Randy is doing much better and will be transferred back to Heartland on Normandy Blvd tomorrow. (if you didn't get the room # via email.. call me, MJ) He had a blood infection which they are treating with antibiotics. They think it was caused by the pick line in his arm. They are looking at replaceing it. It has three ports so they can give iv fluids, meds, and pull blood. That way they do not have to keep sticking him. It has been in over six weeks. He is also getting over a cold, not pnemonia thank god.

I am going out of town this weekend for a very quick trip for Heidi's wedding in North Carolina. I will be leaving some time tomorrow and returning on sunday. for those of you who are in town if you get a chance to stop by Heartland and see Randy I would appreciate it. Jennifer is staying behind to look after her dad so I can be with Heidi.

Randy's attidude has improved greatly and he is ready for the challange of physical therapy so he can go home. It has taken some talking to get him where is is mentally. He made phone calls to all his brothers and sisters last night and it was great seeing the smile on his face being able to communicate with them.

Our love to you all and thank you so much for all the prayers and support. It has been the only thing that has helped me keep my sanity.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by mommanana
This is for my hubby.. who works harder and longer than he should. After one of his long days he took over with the kids, let me hide in our room to watch a food network show I wanted to see, AND put them to bed while I took a long bubble bath. That is better than a dozen roses!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Okay Mada.. hmmm, hi there, I got it!

Yesterday was the "anniversary" of Mada's passing. Strange how I hesitate to call it Mada's death. Yet with Kierra it is a death, a killing, so to say she "passed" seems trivial to me. But Mada did not "die" in the real sense of that word. At least she didn't think of it that way. She had more faith than the holiest of preachers. She did not fear dying. She looked forward to heaven. She would have made one hell of a Televangelist!
I digress.. what I meant to talk about was when I spoke to Nancy yesterday morning we talked about the "messages" we get from our girls. I had left Nancy a voice mail the night before because a commercial came on TV. It not only played the song "I Can Only Imagine", (which is one of the songs Mada chose for her own funeral) but the CD they were selling was titled that as well. The CD was full of songs of faith. Mada's message to me was two-fold.. Hey MJ.. call my Mom.. and by the way.. here's your sign! Similar to when she met Cher in person. Mada gave her a bible. Cher thanked her and admitted she didn't have one of those. Mada's mission wasn't just to meet her favorite singer, it was to give her a taste of faith.
That commercial was Mada's version of giving me a bible. No I did not order the CD.. Keep working at it Mada.. maybe someday. That song came to me several times the morning Kierra was killed. No matter what station we turned it to, that song came on. Lisa & I commented on Mada saying hello because we were camping without her. Now I know it was Mada reminding me she was there, maybe to let me know she was there when Kie got there.. if indeed there is a Heaven.
Wow, I digress again.. not everyone believes in those kinds of messages, or any messages from the ones we have loved and lost. Whatever works for you. I have experienced it even before we lost Kierra, so I have my own opinions and beliefs. I told Nancy that I am sometimes a bit resentful of how strong & clear Kierra's messages can be to others. I get them , but not as much as I would like sometimes. I see solitary dragonflies often, at the strangest of places. One flew in to the office where Alexa has speech therapy when we walked in the other day. It was huge, and would not leave no matter how hard we all tried to coax it back out the door. Anyway.. those are the coincidences that soothe me. That no matter how chaotic I am feeling.. that will bring me a moment of "hmm.. hi there.. got it."
So take a moment now & then to notice those moments. You never know who is trying to say hello!

Randy is one step closer to home.. literally!

Randy has been transferred to a facility in Jacksonville! He moved yesterday. I don't have all the info yet, but will email it out when I get it. It will take a few days for him to adjust, but I know any visitors will be welcomed and are much needed to get him back on track. Change is hard and his road to recovery is still a long one. Everyone's prayers and support have been a big help and are still needed. Greta can only do so much. There isn't AMS staff in Jacksonville and Randy definitely does better when he is not alone. So if you have any time to give, let us know.

Cop For A Day

Brian sent me this and it really says alot. Check it out.. Cop For a Day - Baltimore Police Department Official Web Site - City of Baltimore, Maryland I don't want them to quit either!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away!

We are in day 3-4 of Tropical Storm Faye. The winds have been off & on, but the rains are pretty constant. We have been fortunate that our powerlines are underground, so trees and winds can't knock them down. Over 70,000 people are without power. We lost ours for about an hour in the middle of the night Wed. night/Thurs. morning, but have had no problems since then. When we moved in we had the whole house put on a surge protector provided by the electric company. It costs a few extra dollars each month but is more than worth it. Greta was without power from 11pm last night til about 6 am this morning. When the power came back it surged through the house and burnt out all her electronics, tvs, computer, etc. She is having issues with the back end of her house still without electric, probably something to do with the breakers/fuses. I am too far south to do her any good until the weather clears. One of her trees came down accross the neighbors screen porch and some branches have come down on her roof, but so far there doesn't seem to be any roof damage that she can see.
Our trees are young and small, so that isn't an issue for us either. We are starting to see some standing water in our side yard, the rain doesn't stop long enough for it to drain. The kids play house blew accross the yard early this morning but didn't damage anything. So for us the hardest part is being cooped up inside for 3 days! They expect rain throughout the weekend, but hopefully the winds will die down sometime later today. Now we are having tornado and flash flood warnings. Our street seems to be draining well, but I am not going anywhere!
Brian is essential personal so he worked from 6 am until 8:30 pm yesterday and was back at work at 5 am this morning. He won't know when he will get to come home until they clear them to leave. There are alot of flooded areas and wires down. I can't believe people are going out in this stuff. We are staying put. I figured I would update everyone in case we do lose power again. Hope you are all staying safe & dry.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Chad!

And this 7 inch marshmallow man started the whole nostalgic toy hunt that got us fru-fru too! This was one of Chad's toys when he was little. It is from the first Ghostbuster movie. Brianne found this and a t-shirt for his birthday. She got him the shirt and I got him the Stay Puft guy. He thinks he still has his original in a box somewhere. We got it because Chad was a very chubby baby and he had so many wrinkles he walked like him too! Now he is a very tall, very skinny bean pole! Who'd of thought?

fru-fru (Kierra's Childhood Toy)

I thought I was so ahead of the game when I found this toy on Ebay. It was listed as a "Popple" which was one of Brianne's childhood toys. It didn't look like the other popples listed, but it looked familiar to me. When it came in I showed Brian and he reminded me that this was Fru-Fru.. one of Kierra's childhood toys. Alexa saw it and that was that, it is now her childhood toy! And yes, she calls it Fru-Fru.

I wonder sometimes how I can forget things like that. I worry how I will remember all the things in her life. It isn't such a big thing really, but it is something I didn't realize I had forgotten. So I worry what else is lost in my scattered mind...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chad, Me, Bri, & Justin 8.17.08

Here is a group pic from our weekend. There are a couple pics from the log ride you'll get a chuckle out of, so click on this pic and go to the photo gallery and check them out!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sheikra 8.17.08 Busch Gardens

This in no way shows how truly huge this ride is. That little car full of people at the top?.. is hanging suspended there before it plunged down that almost straight drop. It was awesome!
I took Chad, & Bri (& Justin) to Busch Gradens this past weekend as a birthday gift for them both. We rode this 3 times.. the 3rd time we were in the front row! We had a lot of fun. It was good to spend time with my older children, I don't get to do that often enough. Brianne is 24 now and Chad will be 22 on Thursday. They grow too fast.. I won't say they "grow up" since they acted like little kids most of the time! It was a blast.

Idol Audition Registration 8.11.08

Idol Auditions 8.11.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Every year I commit to do whatever the "Birthday Boy/Girl" want sto do for their birthday. This year Brianne asked if she could get 2 days. We were up and in line about 5 am on Monday for the registration process for Americvan Idol. Then on Wednesday the 13th (Bri's birthday) we were up an inline early again for the actual auditions. She didn't really expect to be chosen, but really wanted to be able to know she tried instead of always wondering "what if?" It was on her birthday, which was actually her day off as well, so no loss, just a fun time and a chance to make new friends. They said they liked her energy and she had a good voice, just not what they were looking for this season. They did alot of taping for the Jacksonville part of the show, so who knows, we may still end up on TV! I am very proud of her for trying out. I am very proud of her for that and so much more! We love you Boog!

Hunter & Pop-Pop 8.10.08

Hunter & Pop-Pop 8.10.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Hunter & I went to Gainesville so he could visit his Pop-pop. It is hard for children to understand when someone is sick and they can't see them for such a long time. Hunter was glad to see him and now knows he is okay and getting better.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Randy Update from Greta 8.14.08

I just talked to Randy's private duty nurse and he said that Randy had a great day. He did another cap trial on his trach tube today and lasted over 4 hours. This is helping progress to removing the trach totally. Hopefully by next week as well as he is doing. He also walked 22 feet today with his walker. This is his second time walking this week. He is really moving by leaps and bounds. I am very proud of him. He can be Onery at times but i can't imagine being in his shoes. I am going back up for the weekend on saturday am thru monday am.Randy also did another swallow study and they changed his diet again.We are working on getting him placed in a rehab here in jacksonville next week. they project it will take another 2 -4 weeks of therapy and then he can come home. i can't wait!!!!! A special thanks to my sister Robyn for flying in from Nashville to help me with Randy and to Terri Cole for placing the private duty CNAs in his room 24 hours a day. Without all those things in place I do not believe Randy would have progressed as much as he has done. THANKYOU

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A quick trip

Brian & I went to Niceville (west of Tallahassee) to attend his brother Alan's Air Force retirement ceremony. It was a quick visit, but we enjoyed seeing them and being able to be part of it. Alan incorporated some really personal touches that made his ceremony unique and showed what a considerate, loving person he is. He presented special coins to his wife & children and thanked them. He thanked and acknowledged his brothers, Dad, Uncle and Grandmother for inspiring him too. It was very cool. I posted a photo in the gallery, so go check it out. (click on the kids pic below this post and it will take you there.)
Brian & I enjoyed the time together. It is a shame life and schedules keep us from seeing the people we care about more often. So is you can't hug those you love today, give them a call and let them know you are thinking of them!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

An Update from Greta today..

"I just spoke to Randy's personal sitter and she told me that the feeding tube was gone and Randy ate his first meal in 7 weeks. He had Cream of Wheat, Scrambled eggs and juice!!!!!!!!! Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love progress. He is still on the vent but doing well with his time trials. I will call her later today after the other therapists have come in and get another update. A very dear friend who owns a medical staffing agency has placed someone to be with Randy for both shifts on the days i can't cover him. This just started last night. This way he does not have to be restrained and he can get the help he needs right away for his personal needs. The catheter has been removed but he still needs help with the toilet issues. I can call Randy's room at any time and get an update and i can also have the phone put to his ear and he can hear my voice. As soon as he can talk i will send out the phone number so you can all talk to him personally. That won't happen until they downsize the tube in his throat. I will be with him tomorrow from 7 am to 7 pm and will get to meet the therapists myself. Keep the prayers going. I actually slept last night since he had the sitter in his room. i only called her three times. hahaha. I went to bed at 10:30 and got up with the alarm @ 6 am."

P.S. They did downsize the tube in Randy's trach today and he ate a real lunch too! Talking is still hard but these are major milestones for him.. and for Greta too! Thanks to everyone for their continued support!

Monday, August 04, 2008

It's Brianne's fault!

It really is! It started with finding a nostalgiac gift for Chad's upcoming birthday. Then I decided to look for size 4 slim jeans for Tristan And I did find, bid on, and win 4 pairs for him at really reasonable prices! One of them ended in a last minute bidding war, and I was determined to win! Now I didn't bid the moon.. it ended at $5.50. But the idea that I may lose to a sneaky last second bidder drove me nuts. I must admit I was a tad bit competitive!
I had not been on Ebay in over a year. I hadn't even updated our address. Now there are several items I am "watching". One or two of them I plan on being that sneaky last second bidder that jumps in and gets the prize.. it's all Brianne's fault.. it really is!

The news for now & How was your day?

I thought Friday was just a bad day for me. It seemed everything I tried to get done turned into a mess. Several things that were supposed to come through didn't and it seemed it was just a funky day. I have spoken with several people who also had a rough day on Friday. Maybe the moons were crossing Jupiter or something! How was your day?

Other news and updates;

Alexa is having new tubes put in her ears on Aug. 27th. She is still having a hearing issue in her right ear and her left ear keeps building pressure and shows signs of fluid again. It will be an outpatient procedure so she will come home the same day. Last time it only took a couple hours for us to be back home. I will let you all know how it goes and how she is doing.

Tristan has another recheck for his ears tomorrow. He has passed all his hearing tests with flying colors and seems to be doing well. I will let you know if they find anything else tomorrow.

Hunter has had some side effects to his ADHD meds he was on for the past year. They have changed his meds and he should level out and be back to himself in the next couple weeks. They aren't sure why he had issues after taking it so long, but his new meds have much fewer side effects to worry about, so far so good.

Chad is working delivering pizzas for a place that used to be open near the old house. They had a fire and decided to reopen north of where we live now. Brian & Chad know the owner. That worked out well!

The horses are doing good. I got to ride Tortuga last week. We started seperating her and Reese so they have calmed down a bit and are easier to work with. Barney & Lenny aren't so keen on having to share me, but they will all adjust. I just need a few more hours to my days, that's all!

Randy is breathing more on his own which will help alot toward his recovery. Some days are better than others, but he is more alert and becoming more active. Greta is running herself ragged, but it is a priority for her to be with him as much as she can. Our sister, Robyn, is coming out for the weekend to help so I hope she is able to get a break. I can only help in spurts and it doesn't give her much relief. Terri & I are working on a way to give her more peace of mind and more help, so we'll see how it goes. Keep the prayers and support coming for them, the road to recovery is still a long one!

Hunter is excited for school to start. We are still working toward the twins starting preschool at his school. Just waiting for the school board to do their evaluation. Seems to be a hurry up and wait thing with them.

That's the news for now. I am sure there will be more tomorrow, there always is!

Friday, August 01, 2008

How do I??

It is quite odd sometimes to have a thought and then happen upon something that is about that very same thing. I have had a very hectic day. Several things have gone awry and I was feeling stressed and frustrated. It was storming and the kids were wide open. I could feel my blood pressure rise, (which has been a health issue for me). I tried to decompress and thought "How do I change this about myself? How do I change my stress level and how I deal with it? How do I change such a big part of myself? How do I change my life?!
I was changing the channel on the TV to find something for everyone to watch and caught the beginning of Oprah. I think it was a repeat. She had Maria Shriver on. She has a book out called Just Who Will You Be? It is about her realizing at 51 years of age that she had been what everyone else expected her to be and had no idea who or what she wanted from herself. She lived a busy, hectic life and wanted to be "gentler" with herself and everyone else. She was always rushing around stressed out and chaotic. She was being supermom and superwife and the good daughter. But she had no idea how to be Maria. She was amazed at that age to have no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was very down to earth and mirrored alot of things I have been thinking today. I will have to read her book!

Decorating 8.1.08

Decorating 8.1.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
This is something I put together to finsih off some empty spaces that bugged me. I put one between my bedroom and the sliding doors, this one near the boy's hallway, and one in the front entryway. This one is a bit smaller than the other two so I only used one cattail, the other have 2.. I know that will bug me, so yes, I will be getting another one to make them all even!

Finishing Touches

I have been trying to finish up little projects around the house. These are wall quotes that I found and really liked. The top one is on the wall in our kitchen dining area. It has been up for a while. The lower one I just put up in our front dining room over the window. They really finish off the rooms. Someday I'll be done!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yum-A-Setta Recipe

Another blast from the past. I promised Nancy this recipe a while ago and just came accross the recipe box it was in. My notes say the recipe is from Edna Miller from Mount Hope, Ohio. It is an Amish recipe with a couple shortcuts..enjoy!

2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz. pkg of wide egg noodles
8 oz. of shredded cheese (your preference)
2 tblsp. brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef with salt, pepper, brown sugar, & onion. Add UNDILUTED tomato soup to meat mixture. Set aside. Cook egg noodles per package directions, drain well. Add UNDILUTED cream of chicken soup to noodles.
In a casserole dish, layer meat mixture, then 1/2 the cheese , then noodle mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Lunch with Rick 7.30.08

Lunch with Rick 7.30.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
What goofballs! This was the best photo out of three I took when we had lunch with Rick yesterday. We all had a great time. Thank You Rick!

A little house holds big memories..

I was driving home from my horse lesson on Saturday and happened to notice a few houses along the drive. Nothing big or fancy. In fact, they were rather small and a bit shabby. I wondered what the people who lived there were like. What kind of life they had.
When Brian & I were first married I found a little house on the outskirts of town. It was a small, shabby house. I didn't just see a run down, neglected, empty house. I saw a house that could be a home. A house we could fix up and care for. I found out who owned the house and set about convincing them to rent it to us.
That was our first "house". Since leaving my parent's home I had lived in trailers and apartments. When Brian & I first married we shared a basement apartment with his friend, Tim. That little house was a big deal to me.
It took alot of work, and alot of love, to fix up that little house, but it was some of the happiest times for Brian, Kierra, & I. Brianne was conceived the first week we lived there (after months of trying). It held good times and great memories for us. I think back to those times and can't help but smile and laugh over some of the adventures and mishaps we experienced way back then.
We took the small backyard full of overgrown, dead tomato plants and made it a green, grassy space for Kierra to play in. We repaired and painted room by room. We changed out light fixtures and faucets one by one. We made it ours. It had huge lilac bushes on either side of the front door. You could open the windows when they were in bloom and the scent would fill the house. I still love the smell of fresh lilacs.
I sometimes wish for the simplicity of our lives back then. That house wasn't much bigger than an efficiency apartment. But it was enough for us. We lived paycheck to paycheck on meager military pay. But it was enough for us. We have lived in many places since then. Yet none of the houses we have lived in ever felt as much like home to me as that little house in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I don't have dreams about going back to New Mexico, or New York. I sometimes dream about our house in Swaffham, England, but I dream most often of Wyoming.
It seems nothing is simple anymore. I find myself snowballed by so many things to do and not enough time to do them. My "to do" list is never ending. So it is not so farfetched that when I see a shabby, simple little house, I daydream about a little house in Wyoming that stands there still. I daydream about a life that was simple, and safe, and held so much promise for us and the family we had started. I daydream about lilacs and green grass, about sun and snow. And for those few moments my heart smiles and my life is simple again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Still learning!

Terri went out of town for the weekend and couldn't use her riding lesson for this week so she gave it to me. I took the lesson yesterday and am still feeling it today! I tend to sit more English when I ride and that seems to give me too much movement when my horse decides to run amok. So I took a lesson on how to "hold my seat". The posture is completely different and boy does my butt and lower back hurt today! The instructor said it hurt because I was still holding my posture, not relaxing, so I will have to work on that. It was a very informative lesson, Thanks Terri! You never know so much that you can't learn more!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Randy has moved to Gainesville

Randy has been transferred to a specialty hospital in Gainesville. (email me privately if you would like the address) I spent yesterday with him then grabbed a quick dinner with Greta when she got there. She is staying the weekends and then one night midweek. He was more awake and responsive when I got there than he has been in weeks. He stayed awake for a couple hours, then slept for 5. They are setting up his therapy schedule and seem to be on track to get him weened of the vent and on his way to recovery. It has been a long road and it is far from over. I think he is in the best possible place to get the job done. He had a tracheotomy done before he left the hospital and can't talk so it is harder for him to communicate. They are working to get him breathing on his own again and get that removed, but right now it is keeping him going. He is frustrated and ready to go home, so some days he fights more than he helps himself. I can't say I blame him. Keep them in your thoughts & prayers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catch me when you can

I have watched a series for a while now called "Army Wives" on the Lifetime Network. This season has hit close to home. One of the main characters lost her daughter in an explosion. It has been pretty realistic so far. The other night it dealt with going back to where her daughter was killed. She had helped a grieving father who lost his son in Iraq. The man said he wished he could go to the spot where his son was killed because that was the last place his son, Roger, was Roger.

She had been dealing with going back to where her daughter was killed and in the end of the episode she and her other daughter went there. It was very emotional. For me too! I can't help but think of where the last place "Kierra was Kierra". But I so much prefer to remember the last time I saw her, or any of the thousands of memories I carry with me of her. The show is almost too realistic. Not over dramatized or too trite. They have portayed grief from several perspectives and relationships. It is almost as good as therapy!

If you have not experienced such a close loss it can be hard to understand how I can still be so affected after almost 3 years. Why I am not "over it", or able to "move on". I will never be over it, and I think I have moved on, moved forward. I have had no choice. Life hasn't given me the luxury of being able to wallow, or dwell on it to the point of just staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

I am not as social as I was before, but I think it is more due to the responsibility of 2 more children than it is that I am emotionally unavailable. Of course my perception is from the inside looking out, not how others see me. If you invite me to do something I will try to make it happen. That is the best I can do, but I can usually work it out. When I am able to do something I try to call and see who can join me. But often I am too busy with too many things to think much about being sociable. So if you want to get together, give me a call. I don't bite (not lately), and I don't have any contagious diseases at the moment. It's just a matter of "catching me when you can!"

I ain't no Rachel Ray!

I have been trying to fix fresh and healthy meals all this week. Last night I tried one of Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals from one of her cook books that I have. If I don't count the extra 30 minutes from the power going out when I was just starting dinner, then it really did only take about 30 minutes. I fixed Pasta Carbonara, her healthier version, which was good, but Brian missed the creamy richness of the old fashioned version.
I did realize however that there is a primary difference between Rachel & I.. she does not have 3 small children, an older child, a husband, and dogs all around her while she is trying to cook! I felt like I had run a marathon once I was done. She also had reccomended Broccolini, a cross between kale & broccoli. She said it is so great because the stalks are tender and you can eat the whole thing, whereas most people only eat the florets on regular broccoli. We were excited to try it.. until I found out it is almost 5 times more expensive than broccoli! A bought a large head of broccoli for $2.50. The same amount of broccolini would have been $12.00. Not cost effective for our large family.
A bonus this week: I discovered Ziploc Zip-n-steam bags. You can steam almost anything in them. You just put your food and seasoning in the bag then pop it in the microwave. We have been using them for fresh veggies. Even the kids have eaten them up. There is no added water, just the moisture from the veggies. The flavor is fantastic!