Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank you to those of you who have checked in to see what we know about whatever is wrong with me. I met with the neuromuscular specialist yesterday and heard the excellent news that it is not neuromuscular so that rules out ALS, PLS and MDA (SMA).

The bad news is we still do not know what is wrong.

However, the good news is a wonderful Christmas present as that was my greatest fear.

We will continue to wait. Upon seeing my records I learned that there are strong suspicions on the part of my neuro that this is Multiple Sclerosis and if so, time will tell. In the meantime, I am thankful that I can still walk :) and do not have a neuromuscular disease!

Many thanks and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!! We plan to have an awesome one here!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not Me! Monday

This week I most certainly did not tattle on a rude clerk to a manager in a store, especially not in front of my six year old. After all, I tell her not to tattle so much all of the time! I also did not consider finding the rude clerk while she was at her lunch break (in the mall food court) to share my thoughts on her poor customer service skills.

I did not "lose" my temper with several people this past week during the PMS week from h*ll, right?

And I did not tell my mother that I was wearing a hat in a restaurant because my hair needed to be washed and was stuck to my head. I also did not tell her no when she told me to take it off and comb my hair and then proceed to tell her that I LOVE my hat and this is my style. She did not look at me like I'm a nut :) I'm in my early forties and very mature, right?

And my daughter did not request a cookie cake for her birthday instead of one of my delicious homemade cakes (see previous "not me" Monday posts in my blog for pictures). I did NOT feel great relief upon hearing that I didn't have to bake it, either, right? Further humiliation is always fun...not...

Thanks for stopping by!!!! And click the "not me Monday" above to read more not me's and visit the home of not me's :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Next week I am planning to post pictures of my children "then and now" and do some real blogging on the loves of my life but today something is just crying out inside of me to be shared. I really do not mind if no one but me ever reads this but I need to get it out.

I am a sensitive person. I have been told this all of my life. How do I overcome that or should I? Isn't it sensitivity that helps us become in tune with other's feelings? Contribute to our sense of altruism? Keeps us from become selfish and uncaring and insensitive?

But being sensitive has not helped me in many ways. When in a job and I find out that co-workers are talking about me, it hurts and is hard to ignore and yet almost impossible to confront in a professional manner.

In families, little things are said or done and it sticks with me. It hurts. With friends it is the same way and sometimes I find myself ending friendships because of it.

I am sure that I have wounded, especially with words. I am also quite certain that most of the time it was completely taken out of context and I probably do the same exact thing.

So IF anyone reads this and has some ideas on how I can overcome this overly sensitive personality/disposition, please share.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas shopping-gimpy style

I have lost track of how many times I have attempted to finish my Christmas shopping but my legs do NOT cooperate. After hearing from several relatives that I need a cane, I am finally convinced I will try it.

I am officially stubborn.

No shocking intakes of breath?


Everyone who knows me already knew this?? Okay, I get it....nothing new here.

So this weekend I am going to have to ride in one of those wheelchair thingies. Yep. I am going to do it so I can finish shopping.

First Randy will have to drive me to another city so I won't see anyone I know. Other cities have better stores though Target.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So proud~

Last night was our boy scout troop Court of Honor and Christmas party celebration. I am so proud of John and Josh for the time and effort they have put into their troop, their merit badges and the leadership qualities they have shown! I believe that so many things they learn and do will help them in life and I hope that they stay involved. Right now they are choosing which Eagle Scout project they want to work on and get approved. Time has flown!

I am also so thankful that my husband is so involved and that our leader and his family give to the troop so unselfishly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

not me!

NOT ME! Monday again and being the very imperfect person that I am I love to blog about the nutty stuff I certainly did NOT do.......

I did NOT wipe the new puppy's derriere with a baby wipe (huggies even) whenever he pooped outside before bringing him in.

I did NOT get caught by another mom at the school while doing the act in the sentence above and she did NOT exclaim, "Wow! You are ...ummm...NICE!~"

I did NOT buy myself more than one (cough) venti peppermint mocha twist from Starbucks for every Christmas shopping trip I made this week!

I did NOT bribe Rachel with snacks so that she would smile and act great during her photography session this past Tuesday.

I did NOT drive around for hours to get aforementioned new puppies this past week and get lost..several times....not me. My kids did NOT know their way around better than I did!

I did NOT have to ask them if the light was red or green because they have better vision than I do. After all, I am the driver, right?

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Both puppies are doing well and seem to enjoy each other's company. The funny thing is that Max, the cocker spaniel who is about a quarter of the size of Leo, the labradoodle puppy, is seemingly taking the dominant lead. I was worried about him being bullied but if the last 12+ hours are any indication, no worries there.

The best part is seeing Rachel and Liz enjoy them. It is so cute and I am determined to get some pictures this weekend.

The kids all had their last week of school this past week. Lindsey is concerned about one of her classes but I think she did fine and now we have around three weeks of no necessary long trips in the car. Rachel had her award ceremony at Daisies (girl scouts) yesterday and received numerous prizes and badges. Her favorite was an inflatable chair for selling so much candy!

Monday night John and Josh have their scout Christmas party and I have baking and sewing (badges) to do to get ready for that. How I love this time of year!

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas bliss is a puppy...or two.

Santa is just crazy. He brought us a cocker spaniel puppy and tomorrow he is bringing a labradoodle! He couldn't carry them around on the sleigh and they were ready for homes.

We are typically "rescue" dog people and have done it many times. We've had mutts, labs, cocker spaniels, etc. and unfortunately we've had bad experiences with them being sick (worms a few times) so we have decided to go a different route this time. We wanted dogs who would grow up with the kids and be around for a very long time hopefully.

Santa has other gifts designated for the kids, too, but both Liz and Rachel were longing for a pet other than Bubbles the fish who, while wet and energetic, is difficult to cuddle without definite demise.

Other than our two days of supplemental classes for the older kids, someone is almost always home. I will probably take them with us when we go to school most days as there are plenty of parks and places along the way to hang out and Rachel loves being outdoors anyway.

We are excited!!!! Aren't we silly?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me!

This week I did NOT allow Rachel to watch Christmas movies BEFORE doing her school work (we homeschool). Just because I LOVE the excitement she shows around this time of year and fear that this will be the last year she believes in Santa does NOT mean I would reverse work and play, right? Humph.

I did NOT go back into the same department store and buy multiple items of the same kind (but different colors) because of a huge sale. The department store people did NOT become giddy because I was spending money in their store over and over. I would NOT buy male relatives the same gift for Christmas partly because of a huge deal, would I NOT? :)

I did NOT spend an hour reading various blogs when I could have been resting with this awful cold.

I did NOT cry in the doctor's office again when she put her hand on me and told me she was praying for me. Surely I can keep it together better than that!

I did NOT stand around, kids in tow, and observe a guy dressed in drag and then proceed to stay there to observe the reactions of OTHER people when they realized he was a guy dressed in drag!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I love visitors! If you have a second, sign my guest book and post a link to your blog so I can visit!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today I was thinking of a friend who died. She was a very good friend. We lived near each other and hung out and had kiddos similar ages. She had a GREAT laugh and disposition. When things became stressful or insane, she would just laugh....and laugh...Sometimes I thought she was bordering on hysteria but that just made us both laugh more.

She died. I won't go into how...actually they don't really know the cause. It was some sort of flu like episode. This has been a few years and her husband remarried. Her husband was our friend first and I am SO VERY happy for him. His new wife seems very sweet. But when I look at his picture I think of her. When I look at her kids' pictures I think of her.

I know people need to move on, I know they deserve happiness and love but I cannot believe that someone can be here one minute and gone the next. Just like my uncle, my cousin's brother, my grandmothers, my nephew and my friend.

I want to know where they are. Where are they really?

Gratitude List:

birthday cake with chocolate butter cream frosting
kids here for a birthday party...all but one who is studying for finals
a warm house
lots of food
tons of love

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How embarrassing that would have been- if I cared.

If I cared I would have been embarrassed. I almost fell. Everyone in our section of the restaurant looked up. I have lost count of how many times this has happened now. Most of the time what transpires is that my body, with the exclusion of my left leg, continues moving in the direction that my mind is going. It's hard to describe but happens mostly when I stand up or turn. I have absolutely no warning and next thing I know I am struggling to stay vertical.

I'm not even sure why I do not care but what people think of me being a klutz is just not anywhere in the top 1000 on my priority list.

It's been a bad health day but a good day otherwise :)

Gratitude list:

1. My family..this is a list in and of itself :)
2. My five senses.
3. My doctors
4. Air
5. Sunshine
6. Music-my preference right now-Christmas
7. Christmas decorations everywhere
8. Each day
9. Holidays
10. no pain at the moment

I picked up my records today to take to the Neuro-muscular specialist in 19 days (if I were counting). Here is what he typed "Patient has hyperreflexia (with a bilateral positive Hoffman's and a jaw jerk) and a family history of Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Remaining considerations include primary lateral sclerosis, demyelinating disease or other structural or inflammatory disease of the brainstem."

They feel they have ruled out the brainstem stuff with the last MRI. I still think this is just transient and one day I will wake up and feel normal again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What is up with this?

Today I took three of my kids to the mall which is a very brave thing for me...or crazy? I go to the mall about three times a year at this point, if that. I enjoyed their enjoyment and it was definitely worth it but why are people getting right in our faces now and trying to sell us stuff from their booths??? Why are the malls allowing this? This is so annoying. I had to tell the same people at least three times NO. Why can't any of them speak English clearly either?

Monday, December 1, 2008

More not me revelations

I did NOT sweet talk two sales people into two huge savings this week.....nine dollars off of a triple chocolate cream cake and half off of a purse...not me!

I did NOT spend some of the Christmas money that my mommy and daddy gave me on a huge new black purse and three bags in various animal prints and a new wallet and a new cell phone holder! I did NOT squeal with excitement as I organized my new purse and bags and show everyone who would even glance my way. NOT ME! How immature!

I did NOT let my kids eat pecan and pumpkin pie for breakfast the day of and the day after Thanksgiving! Aren't pecans and pumpkins healthy?

I did NOT threaten to tape my twitching eye shut, cut off my eyelashes or hold it open with a toothpick.

I am NOT counting down the days until Christmas :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Christmas Gathering

Last night was our first Christmas gathering with my parents, brothers, their wives and families. All of my kids were there including my daughters' boyfriends. My parents went overboard, as always. They just love everyone so much and love giving to those they love. We received some amazing presents, Santa shouldn't even bother coming to our house but I know he will anyway.

My favorite present was one large and two small framed beautiful needlework pieces of ART that my mother worked laboriously over when I was a teenager and she had a full-time job and an aging mother living with her, not to mention two other teenage boys and a husband and a home. She started it because it matched my room but I grew up and moved away and she continued with it. Now it is mine and it is beautiful and the pattern is so intricate and I am blown away that she gave it to me.

I recently started collecting needlework. I've done a lot of it myself but I usually do it as a gift. If I go to an estate sale I buy any halfway decent needlework, particularly those that are already framed. I visualize someone sitting and concentrating hard on making it, never knowing the ultimate fate but lovingly stitching away....What were they thinking or feeling? How much time did they put into it? Did they watch their children play as I do, sitting outside or inside, chatting away while counting or keeping track of the pattern? I know some people feel this way about quilts and honestly, I do, too, but there is something even more special about needlework of any kind to me. Mostly it is the idea of time. It takes time and dedication to make a beautiful picture and it takes commitment and persistence. That is the truth of so many things though, isn't it?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not Me! Monday!

I DID NOT WAIT A WHOLE WEEK TO BLOG! I am not that lazy!

But since I did not do it, here is what I have NOT been up to:

I did NOT go on a trip with my husband so that I could lie around in our 400.00 per night (not out of our pockets, thank goodness) hotel room reading Eclipse and spending time with him when he skipped his classes. I did NOT join the group just long enough to eat the great meals and drink a glass (or two) of wine and then return to the room to take a long, luxurious bath.

During one of the meals with the other eight hundred or so attorneys I did not give one that was sitting at our table the EVIL eye for talking on his cell phone while a famous speaker was talking. I did not give him an evil, disgusted eye since not only was he talking on his cell phone loudly while the speaker was SPEAKING but he was also cramming his face full of food and talking with his mouth full!

AND afterward my husband did NOT ask me why that man kept looking at me. I did NOT tell him that I was giving him evil, wicked, vampire stares because I was reading the Twilight Series of books by Stephenie Meyers constantly and have begun thinking like a vampire!

I did NOT decide yesterday that I was feeling good enough to act normally and clean ... a LOT...Today I am not having muscle cramps from what I did not do.

I did NOT call UAB and ask them to move my appointment so I could go in sooner (they couldn't-they're booked). I did NOT google my symptoms again. I am not that impatient....

I did NOT go postal on my husband yesterday because of PMS and tell him to get OUT of the kitchen. I did NOT then proceed to continue with the vampire theme and threaten his mortal existence if he did not remove himself from the kitchen.

Lastly, I did NOT eat too much girl scout candy! I certainly did NOT eat the candy I bought to give to friends and reason it with the idea that I could make them homemade fudge and cookies and put it in the tins I did NOT eat out of :)

Do we see a common theme here?? :)

Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This past week I did not DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS ON MY BIRTHDAY! This is way too early, right? Due to my physical issues right now decorating one tree took all day and I needed help. I certainly would NOT be planning to put up and decorate 2 more!

I did not get annoyed with my daughter because she kept calling me upstairs to get her water, another kiss, etc. Surely I have more patience than that!

And I would not go ahead and show my older pregnant daughter the clothes I bought for my granddaughter for Christmas although my granddaughter isn't even here yet and won't be here until March! I would not show Em the present and then plan to wrap it and put it under the tree just because I'm excited!

I did not receive several prank calls yesterday and my husband did NOT tell the guy to report to the police station for making harassing phone calls and he did not give him our friend's name who is a private investigator. This did not happen because we certainly did not want to scare the weirdo but if it had then it would have stopped those calls :)

And lastly I did not talk my dad into going with me to my grandfather's attic to look for my old barbies, barbie house and barbie clothes and then I did not SCREAM about a falling piece of insulation because I thought it was a giant spider when my almost 70 year old father was helping me and almost gave us both a heart attack! I am a reasonable person after all who lives in an old house and is used to strange things in houses. This also did NOT happen right after I told him I would only be afraid of a snake!

thanks for reading and i would love to hear who you are and where you are from!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a picture is priceless

We have lived here over four years and today I finally hung pictures. The walls still aren't really ready but I couldn't help it-I HAD to do it. I have already hung at least thirty of the kids' pictures and am only half finished!!! I realized a few things as I did this.

First, I remember every second of their childhoods. I cannot honestly say that about anything else in my life. I just loved every minute and only one is really still considered "a child" now.

Second, the group shots started with Lindsey and Emily and then one more with each birth until SEVEN beautiful and amazing children but now it is going backwards. I cannot bare it so I usually wait until they are all here. I cannot stand it without all of them in the picture. Of course I do a couple of kids together here, a few there but for group shots, I really want them all in on it!!!

Third, they say time flies. Oh. my. That is the biggest understatement. I am now looking forward to my first grandchild, a granddaughter and I hope my daughter realizes how incredibly fast this time will pass and relishes every single moment. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

They don't know.

They know my brain is okay (hahahahaha)....and they know I am testing positive for rheumatoid arthritis (and those numbers are going UP, which is not good) but they still think it's neurological or neuro-muscular so I have to wait. I have to wait until TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS when the specialist, the big dog of neuro-muscular disorders can see me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not me, no way on NOT ME! Monday!

I am so glad I did NOT cut a piece off of John's birthday cake (picture above) because I was dying for chocolate and then try to cover the spot with icing. The icing was a little hard so I did NOT stick the ENTIRE cake in the microwave! Then the icing started melting in one spot so I did NOT hurry and try to spread the frosting around to the missing piece and did not mess it all up. It was the yummiest yet ugliest cake that was NOT destroyed by me so I did NOT decide to let Rachel cover it in sprinkles so I could NOT say it was decorated by her and luckily she was happy to oblige. Then she accidentally dumped the sprinkles on the cake and then I did not try to spread it around. This still did not cover the bad spot so we dumped more sprinkles around and deemed it a "rainbow cake".

I am horrified but glad I did not do that. And here is a picture of the cake that I did NOT destroy out of gluttony.

And the doctor said it might be WHAT???

I had one guess. If that shows how many people visit my blog, this is sad...haha...but that one guess was hip pain is horrible and I'm at a place where I may have to do something!

But fibromyalgia hasn't even been mentioned because of some other problems. Myasthenia Gravis and Multiple Sclerosis have been ruled out....So far my doctor has speculated about "something on my brain" which isn't surprising to me, I knew something wasn't quite right there ;) and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) (which is in the same family with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and Alzheimer's!!!!) OR a form of another muscle disease. Have you noticed that NOT ONE OF THOSE SOUNDS GOOD???

BUT we are just speculating at this point and waiting for test results to come back. Each night I think that maybe I'll wake up the next morning and this will all be a bad dream and my old yet normal body will have returned. How I miss that body! And I took it for granted! Pathetic. If you are reading this and you have been postponing exercising and eating right for another day or time, please don't. Please realize that you have a healthy body and treat it with respect!

On to cheerier topics. I'm wondering if cheerier is actually a word since spell check didn't do anything. I'll have to look that up after this. I LOVE!

Last night all of my kids and their boyfriends and several of their friends came over. It was my son John's seventeenth birthday. He is over six feet tall!!! We all had the best time. Emily's fiancee made dinner and I loved it! I'm thinking this should be mandatory for anyone who wants to marry into the family. I told Lindsey's boyfriend Sean that he is next. He seemed to take it pretty well.

I'm hoping we'll be doing another "Not Me Monday" so check back later if you are interested in the very unacceptable thing I did just yesterday. I'm actually embarrassed to admit it but I will if we do "not me" Monday.

Have a great Monday and remember that each day is a gift-that's why they call it the "present".

Friday, November 7, 2008

Doctor _______________________, what is the diagnosis?

It's just after six in the morning and my legs are already hurting.

If you are reading this and you have ever considered being a doctor then here is your chance to diagnose someone. I'm taking the weekend off but will check back on Monday morning to see if anyone wants to give it a shot AND I'll tell you what the doctor has speculated about so far but these are only his speculations so YOU have the chance to diagnose me first.

Here are the symptoms:

Pain in left hip for over a real rhyme or reason but best time of day (no pain) is in the morning.

Clonus upon doctor's examination -this is also called hyper reflexia

Pain began in neck approximately three months ago. This grows worse with activity.

Muscle twitches all over, sometimes worse than others. My right leg has the most. This is also called "fasciculations".

A couple of weeks ago my left leg began to feel like a limp cooked noodle with jello for a knee. This grows much worse with any attempt to go to the mall, grocery store or walk around the block :(

Muscle cramps, mostly in legs and sometimes in my arms

The less worrisome "come and go" symptoms are brain fogginess and nausea after I eat but this could be stress related. But then, why would I be stressed just because I cannot walk normally? Hmmmmmmmmm

Oh and send me the bill and the check will be in the mail....oh, should I save that for NOT ME MONDAY??

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The future with Obama

You know, I have decided to focus on the positives regarding Barack Obama, our soon to be President.

I was opposed to him mainly because of his abortion stand and concern about a possible reluctance to act in a timely manner in regards to national security. Well, I have a few other minor hesitations but those were my main ones :)

However, there are definitely some great things about him. For one, he is African American. I believe that this is an excellent step for our country!!!

I also think that it is great that we will have a president with young children! He will see, every day, the future in front of him in his children.

I like his wife. I think she is sweet, smart and a loving mother.

Of course I liked Cindy McCain, too.....and Sarah Palin. I hope that we can all focus on the things that we are excited about and move forward.

So my candidate of choice didn't make it, but we do not have a king, we have a president and I am hoping for the very best!!!

I also hope that we can all show our president respect. We may not agree with every decision made but I've heard enough bashing to last a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I have tried hard to avoid the debates in this election. The reason is because usually we debate with people we care about and they (or we) take it personally. I just often wonder if it is truly worth it.

And yet.....I want to stand for what I believe in. That is our right as Americans, isn't it? Freedom of speech.....

When I do share my view I am accused of being intolerant and teaching intolerance to my children. I believe that is a card that is just played when certain things are deemed wrong. I can tolerate practically anyone and their beliefs but that doesn't mean I have to agree.

It would be wonderful if we could simply not become defensive and just respect the other person's viewpoint. But sometimes we simply are defensive which does not allow room for communication and understanding.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Today is NOT ME MONDAY! so I will let you all in on what I did NOT do this week:

I did NOT refresh my browser window repeatedly to see if Stellan was born yet-not me! That could be cyber-stalking!

I did NOT bribe my daughter with fruit snacks if she would do her school work, not me!

I did NOT tell the lady at the doctor's office that she was just jealous and wanted a dress just like mine when she stared at me for walking to the bathroom in one of those flimsy paper gowns.

And I absolutely did NOT fuss at a man for throwing litter in our yard. That might even be dangerous!

Lastly I did not eat some of my daughter's halloween candy although she did tell me I could ;)

The dawn

Updated from below:

The EMG/NCV did NOT hurt. It was just freaky. I have some small information that I will share once some more tests have been done...yes, more...tomorrow.


The still and dark of the morning time forces me to think. Today is the EMG/NCV (basically a muscle and nerve test). This test is performed with needles and electrical currents and absolutely no anesthesia or pain killers (although I will be taking ibuprofein, tylenol and aleve before leaving the house, haha). Sound fun yet?

But it isn't the test I am concerned about. It's after the test. What is he going to say?

I have become quite gimpy in my left other words, no more sexy walking these days :) I start out the day just fine and then wham! My knee feels like it's made out of jello and my leg is a cooked noodle. They don't look much better than that either :(

Thankfully, while I do have the muscle twitches (fasisculations) all over and cramps in both legs my right leg is helping to do the walking.

I received two ideas from people last week that I intend to implement: 1. try to remain as positive as possible (that would be my husband) and 2. from my friend Sherry: "we don't have to accept a negative diagnosis". Both things that were said were not taken really well by me at first. As a matter of fact I believe I said something along the lines of "These are MY LEGS giving OUT...not yours!!" but now I am actually thinking that they are right. I have a lot of things to do in this world and I will not accept gimpy legs!

So there we have it. I am going to be positive AND I won't accept anything but hopefulness.

I hope your Monday is wonderful and I plan to come back later and do Not Me Monday! if MckMama is up to it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Emily

Dearest Emily,

You were and still remain a gift to me. You are priceless. You are beautiful inside and out!

On this day twenty years ago I was VERY excited, ecstatic actually. The night before I hardly slept because it was so much better than Christmas!

We were at the hospital around now, ready for induction which was a miracle since my amniotic fluid had been leaking since 19 weeks and they had stopped my labor many times.

My labor with you was easy in contrast to my first because I was not at a navy hospital. Before I felt any real pain they gave me an epidural! After a very short labor you eased into the world, peacefully and quietly and just looked around to see what was going on. You were and are so very sweet, loving and gentle.

When you were little you just wanted lots of hugs, snuggles and smiles. I was happy to oblige. I just wanted to sit and hold you and stare at the miracle of YOU!

Mark came along and you two became like twins. Sometimes I noticed that the two of you seemed to be communicating silently, through "eye language". As I have told you, you were very observant but were saying very little (after all you had to compete with Lindsey for speaking time) until one day I heard you burst into a song with all of the lyrics completely correct, singing an "I'm Sorry" song to Mark when you accidentally bumped him.

You also showed us how brave you were. You were in children's choir and couldn't have been more than 2.5 or 3 years old. This was your first time to sing in front of a church and this was a fairly large church AND it was packed that day! There may have been 500ish people there. Every one of you were nervous. All of your eyes were huge as you whispered your song. Miss Lynda kept motioning for you all to get louder. Suddenly one little voice rang out, like a solo with back-up singers. It was YOU! My best friend and I were in tears. Everyone came up to me after church and said, "Was that Emily? I've rarely even heard her speak before this!"

As people I am certain that some of our qualities are "nature" and some are "nurture" but somewhere along the way we choose. And I am so glad you have chosen to be a loving, committed, compassionate person.

Remember, your life is a book and so far only a few chapters have been written. The rest are empty pages, what will you write?

I am very proud of you and being your mom has been wonderful. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!


Monday, October 27, 2008


Unofficial therapy for bloggers!

I did not, would not, could not, consult Dr. Google regarding every symptom that I have been experiencing to find out what I may have. I would not resort to the Internet for a diagnosis. NOT ME.

And I did NOT skip a meeting tonight so I could blog. That's ridiculous.

NOT ME. And I did not get enough pumpkins for the kids to carve one each (and me)...Nope. NOT ME.

Lastly, I did not respond to a local political ad that invited people to email to get more information on the local political environment and the candidate's opposition. I did not! Not me ;) And said candidate did not write back and tell me way more dirt than I ever needed or wanted to know. Actually it's not a "not him" so yes, he did. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

If it weren't so disconcerting, it could prove times...well, maybe. Each day seems to hold some new odd symptom with the exception of today. Just the usual muscle twitching and a little cramping and pain in my knees and feet. I want an answer but am in no hurry except for when my legs just don't want to cooperate by either getting up from sitting to a standing position, climbing the stairs, walking normally or speeding up. Otherwise, I'm okay. I am okay. I have a PMA. Probably just a pinched nerve :)

Today was a good day. A friend of ours became an Eagle Scout. It was very moving and it was so amazing to watch the power point slide show and remember how he used to be. He has grown up so much and we are very proud! He is also our daughter's boyfriend now :) Now if they just won't want to date until she is 18, we'll be good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

why am i so weird?

Currently we are going through the "Aw Shucks" cycle as a friend of mine calls it. Each test that we go through that comes back "clean" means another level of testing. We are going through the process of elimination first and then it's the tough stuff...

So those tests I was dreading....well, looks like I'll be having them. My neurologist has ordered an EMG and NCV. He says it's necessary at this point. Basically they are going to stick needles into my muscles and test my nerves to see what is going on and another MRI, this time on my lower spine.

He started me on Baclofen due to muscle "fasciculations" (twitches) and cramps. I was up for close to two hours last night with ONE thigh cramp. Then my knees felt like noodles today (and I mean the cooked kind).

Everything else is good. I'm ready for life to return to what it was-pain and symptom free.

Thank you for checking in! Enjoy your health :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not me Monday

This week I did NOT wipe the glue off of the table with my jacket sleeve because no wipes, towels, or anything else could be found at the Daisy Girl Scout meeting-not me!

I did NOT figure out exactly how much more candy and magazine subscriptions Rae would need to earn all of the badges, the teddy bear and the inflatable chair and order them myself, deeming them Christmas presents for others-not me!

I did NOT eat fried snickers, cotton candy AND caramel apple slices at the pumpkin patch! I'm on a DIET for Goodness Sake so...NOT ME!

I did NOT cry over nothing because I needed to purge. Nope, not me! I'm not a cry baby!

And last but not least I did NOT edit this post to say that I did NOT do this right, surely I did link correctly and I did link you to this beautiful family's website and did NOT forget, okay?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Presents/Presence-Take your pick!

This week has been so FULL! First I had yet another doctor's appointment and will be taking even more tests....which I am actually undecided on at the moment. Then three of my children had an assignment for school that I was honestly dreading.

They are all three in Spanish I. We've been doing PowerGlide Spanish for years but needed more "immersion" so I signed them up for classes. They love it! This particular day they were to make a dish from a country where Spanish is the primary language. This meant a recipe, a grocery list, and of my least favorite things. But do you know how you sort of dread something and then you do it and discover that it was actually GREAT? This was one of those times.

It wasn't the cooking that changed my mind. It was the time together. They are such great kids, and I say this humbly because so often I believe it is "in spite of me", not because of me. We just had a wonderful seven hours. Yes, 7 hours from the time we chose the recipe, went shopping and cooked the dishes. Later I will post the details. This morning I have somewhere to go.

I am going to the SMA walk. You can read more about it here: and here:

I am walking in honor and memory of my nephew who passed away at 9.5 months.

And that brings me to presents and presence, the title of this post, can you guess why?

In life we often wonder "why" these things happen, illnesses and deaths in particular, whatever the cause.

But I decided that I am going to try to live life like it's Christmas morning. Remember when you were a child and you ran to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning? Remember opening the presents and being amazed? I don't remember a single Christmas where I sat and felt bad that Santa had left something off of the list. I wasn't a perfect kid, not by a long stretch, but I was so amazed that I had all of those things, whether it was three or ten, large or small and then what was the best part? After opening those presents, one of us remembered the stockings!

We took each thing out of the stocking and looked at it, marveled at it and took bites out of the edibles, enjoying every second.

What else did we do? Well, we yelled for our siblings to see and even our parents. Remember that Santa brought it so they had not seen it yet!

Then one of us remembered it still wasn't over. There was Grandmother and Granddaddy's house. There were more presents there! But better yet, there were the cousins to play with all day!

So I'm going to look around for the presents today. Whether it is a hug, a cute thing a child says, a lone flower, or a meal.

I am also going to cry today. We will see children and families affected by SMA. Families that have to say goodbye to a small baby long before "time" and yet we will know that our small baby is in heaven! And yes, another present to look forward to at the end of this journey!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What do I do?

A poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot
Do The Next Thing

"At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not just a miscarriage.

Today would have been my due date. Of course I highly doubt I would have made it this far as I have only made it to my due date once and that was with my first but why am I even going there? That is neither here nor there; the baby was not meant to be. However, that doesn't make the pain of the loss any less. A friend who had a similar experience told me recently that she didn't like the label of "miscarriage" because we actually LOST a baby. A baby died. Babies we both wanted.

Instead I am going to be a grandmother :) And life goes on. I hope to be a wonderful grandmother and I want my grandchildren to KNOW me and I want to know them.

And I am so thankful I have been able to spend more time with my children these last few months. They are amazing people and I am so very proud of each of them.

I've also had the opportunity to meet some pretty great moms lately. Where my older kids take supplemental classes there are several activities that Rae and I have gotten involved in. Many of us have similar interests and our lives revolve around our families and I find that VERY refreshing. I am many years older than several of these moms and I hope to be an encouragement to them as they have chosen to stay home in a world that generally negates that choice. And yet they will not regret it. I want to be what many were to me, a supporter.

On a sad note, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy and now they've found more cancer in a lymph node. It is a very aggressive form, too, and I am so very worried about her. This is my Dad's oldest sister. Life is short, no time to waste.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Okay, I am crying so I thought I would write in the hopes that I would feel better. I am so, so, so sad that I lost the baby. My due date would be any minute now (since I always go early). I was officially due on the 27th of September. I see pregnant women, little children, young mommies with children and I am mostly okay. Not, not today. I wanted that baby. If you do not know, it was in my tube and my tube was about to rupture. I kept convincing myself (with a little help from my ultrasound tech who also thought she saw the "halo" making it an embryo)....that it was in the RIGHT place so every other day we went for blood work and ultrasounds and then one day the cramps started....I KNEW because almost a year before the same thing had happened. That time it had been a complete miscarriage and we never knew exactly where it was. We were suspicious that it was in my tube. This time it WAS in my tube and I had started to hemorrhage. Surgery was necessary and my only tube and my (last?) little baby were both gone forever.

Cherish your little ones. I know I am IMMENSELY blessed (or lucky, whatever your word of preference is) and yet I am so miserable today.

These past few weeks have flown by. My children are going to a very unique school. The classes are small with student/teacher ratio at approximately 9 to 1. I love this! Unfortunately it is an hour away. I would love to live there but R loves it here. Actually I would love to have a huge yacht and travel the world with R and the kids. Change is good. Adventure is what keeps life interesting.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In a moment

Good news and bad news.

First, the (what I consider to be) good news. I'm just getting older apparently. My MRI showed degeneration....some in the chest wall and some in the spine....I haven't done a follow up yet because of the bad news.

My Uncle T passed away. He was 52 and so much more of a brother than an uncle. His daughter turned 15 the next day. His wife is my age.

One week ago today my uncle passed away. I spent the night before at hospice. The only way to get my dad, aunts and other uncle to go to bed was to promise I would sit and watch him. I watched him breathe, stop breathing (be still my heart, too) and continue breathing. I counted each breath. It was sort of noisy and shallow until about 4 a.m. and then became very shallow. I left around noonish and came and went until that evening, when exhaustion overcame me and a massive headache set in. Then I went home and took some medicine and laid down. Even after days of no sleep I still could not sleep. My mind was racing, memories were making it difficult to stop crying. Just as I was about to drift off the phone rang. The family was asked to return. I had R drive me as I had taken a sleeping pill. When I got there he was gone. Uncle B met me at the door and told me that he had gone to heaven. I had to see him. We gathered as a family around him and talked a bit then went to the chapel to meet with hospice. We prayed and cried. It was too early. We weren't ready for him to go. We were, however, relieved to know that he was no longer suffering because one of his greatest fears was to linger like that, in a coma, with his daughter and wife and 95 year old father watching.

My memories of Uncle T go so far back that I cannot remember not knowing him. There was one house between my grandparents house and ours for most of my growing up years. Uncle T was still living at home most of that time, too. He had a purple bedroom which I imitated in a lavender shade. He had eight tracks which he let me listen to anytime. My favorite was Rod Stewart. I learned how to play some of Rod Stewart's songs on his guitar.

He walked a lot and I joined him when I saw him. He drove me around whenever I asked and he always had a "cool" car. He treated me like a friend, a sister and a niece. He loved me and I loved him.

He was the baby of the six children my grandparents had. My grandmother passed away the day I went into labor with Rae. As a matter of fact, I went into labor just hours after I was told she passed away. My grandmother would not have done well watching my uncle die. I am glad she was already in heaven waiting for him. I know they are having a great time. Wonder if they have circus peanuts in heaven?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

fleeting moments

None of us know how long we have.

Over a decade ago, on the Friday before Mother's day-I was told I might die or the alternative, I would need a heart transplant. Maybe one day I'll tell the long version but the shorter one is that obviously neither happened. For many, many years I was feeling incredibly good. I had a whole new perspective on life and felt like a cat who was given another life. Lately things have not been so great but I thought it was just aging (yes, I'm officially middle aged). However, last week I went to the doctor over something very minor and am now facing a brain MRI. So far we are not hearing such good things. I hope to come back and change this post in less than a week.

None of us know how long we have.

We recently lost a loved one. I wish I had known him better but I knew enough to confirm my belief that people should not all be made like so many cookies-with cookie cutters. How boring that would be!

I do not define my spiritual beliefs with a denomination affiliation but I believe in God. For many years I thought I had to earn God's love. I viewed God as a big, rather strict, Father in the sky who was mostly unhappy with me. That has changed completely. God is LOVING. I don't claim to know it all, as often and as much as I have read the Bible, I just basically have a confession: I really don't get it. I choose to live and love completely and try hard not to intentionally hurt another person.

So back to the story. I am so thankful that the doctor's prognosis was wrong and I didn't die but many people that I love did. My nephew died before he turned one. Both of my grandmothers passed away. I lost an old boyfriend (and dear friend) in a plane accident.

Get to know the people in your lives that you have been thinking are too different or that their lives are too different from yours-whether it is the church they go to, their social status, their appearance, whatever. We are all human and God loves us ALL. By getting to know them you may learn something. You may find your own world is too "cookie cutterish".

If someone has hurt you and you haven't forgiven them, do so now. Give them a chance.

As Marianne Williamson says in her book Return to Love, "
Forgiveness is the key to inner peace because it is the mental technique by which our thoughts are transformed from fear to love." Choose love.

None of us know how long we have to live.

None of us know how long the people we love have to live.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

this old house

Here is our lifelong project-or unless we go crazy before that. It was built in 1835 and remained in the same family- generation after generation - until we bought it. I did briefly meet the last couple in the family that lived here and loved them!

The wife was the one whose family had always owned it and the husband grew up in the house my ex-husband and I were renovating when we first moved. They stopped by one day and requested a little look around "to remember". The wife told me where they lived.
So almost a decade later when R and I were looking at houses we drove through the city and saw this house for sale.

We knew right away that this was the best house for us. I asked the realtor about the couple and she confirmed that it was indeed the same couple. Sadly they passed away and their children could not move back here so sold it to us. They expressed their pleasure that we wanted it so badly and that it had some sentimental value to me as well...that I had even met their parents.
There is a painting of the house (I'll post a picture another day) that I saw the first day, and although no one can tell me who actually painted it, in the lower right hand corner is my birth month and birth year. That actually gave me chills! I teased R that it was destiny :)

So we have put our blood, sweat and tears into this house and I mean literally. I have had to have stitches from a screwdriver that I accidentally drove through my chin while working on the kitchen window shutters. I pulled the tool out myself but had to have my teeth and chin worked on. Then I landed in the hospital with what they believe was bacterial meningitis after scraping tar off of the floor (they used it to hold down vinyl tile) . Always wear a mask, always wear a mask and always wear a mask. We've found snake skins, dogs in our cellar (live ones thankfully), heard horror stories about a caretaker who lived here who died in the house and whose body was found days later, etc. But everyone in this area loves this house and we often hear how much it means to people for us to be fixing it up. We love it, too...when we aren't pulling our hair out over it!

Monday, August 11, 2008

i have this need to tell you...

I stayed home with my children for a very long time. As a matter of fact, we had the amazing chance to live a very "wholesome" life in the middle of the Mennonite community in a house built by Mennonites! They taught me how to make bread from scratch, can fruits and vegies, attempted to teach me how to sew (not a pretty sight, I'm very clumsy) and so many things that we loved. That was quite amazing because well, I will never live down what I told my parents when they told me I needed to learn how to cook. I said, "No, I will eat out all of the time." Yeah. And three decades later I still sometimes get teased about it. Anyway, we loved living there. The kids listened to the radio instead of watching television (!), they played outside in a beautiful yard with fruit trees. I even hung the clothes out to dry (still had a dryer) and they ran in and out of the clean smelling sheets. Then we moved.

Eventually I went to work for regular paychecks again. My first marriage ended around the same time so all of the things that I had thought would happen (happily ever after, be "home" forever, etc.) didn't work out.

When my kids were little I never really thought of my life as "missing" anything. I did not dream of anything "glamorous" but opportunities did present themselves. I can honestly say that there is NOTHING I love more than my family. There isn't an experience on this planet that I feel I "missed" by being with my children full-time BUT during the time when I worked "outside the home" I missed many moments with them! Yes, it was necessary. Yes, it may be necessary again. I am not passing any judgments on anyone else. I can only speak for myself. I am so glad to see them more now! I still "work" but for myself. Eventually that may change back. I haven't a crystal ball :) However, I have seven children and I am not so good at doing my best as a wife/mother at the end of a very exhausting day (or week when traveling). I like to give THEM my best and it always seemed I was too tired to give much else.

so the flashback....I enjoyed working in offices for a while. I started my first job at the age of 16. I worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield half of the day. I went to high school in the morning and then rode w/ a friend to work and my Dad picked me up at 5:00. One day we were riding home and a song came on the radio that I didn't even realize that my dad knew. I guess I thought he couldn't hear "my songs"? But he said, "Listen to these lyrics and always remember this." He told me how important it was for a mother to be a mother....and my dad KNEW. He was the principal of an alternative school. I had wonderful parenting role models-my mother and my grandmothers and my father.

Why do I remember this? My dad was and is one of those people who never said/say a whole lot because he typically thinks through what he is going to say first. Wouldn't it be GREAT if we all did that? So anyway, I remember just about everything that he told me. Unfortunately I didn't always follow his sage advice. What he was saying is that there is nothing in life that is more important than family...nothing the "world" holds and can give that compares to real love! Here is the link:

Never Been To Me

Sunday, August 10, 2008


This is our baby, "Rae". She will soon be six years old. She has an uncanny ability to learn lyrics and melodies, loves to play the wii, loves to play with her Pokemon figures and stuffed animals (especially Webkinz) and be at home and is very secure and happy in all of our love!

Every child is a miracle.


This is "Iz". Again, her personality shows in this picture and she is going to say "MOM! why did you use that one?". Well, it shows her, um, true colors :). She's fun, dramatic (and I mean that in a good way)...and quickly becoming my " back up memory". She helps me attempt to be organized! She loves photography, animals and socializing! She is also very bright (notice they all are, well, they are, what can I say?)...


Here is my fifth child and third son, "JS". A very interesting fact about JS is that he is the 5th child born on the 5th day of the month at 5:45 a.m., weighing 5 lbs 15 oz in room 5!!! At the rate he is growing, I'll bet he is going to be 6'5"!

JS is also very inquisitive and talented. He recently taught himself how to play the keyboard. He prints out very complicated musical pieces and then learns them on his own or with a little help from a friend of his!

He is also very helpful, especially with computers!


This is JJ, now 16 years old, clowning around when we did family pictures last year. I chose this picture because it shows his personality. He likes to find the humor in life but is motivated, caring, a hard worker and inquisitive. Many times he is the first to volunteer to help!

First Born Son-"MK"

This is my oldest son. He just graduated from high school. "MK" has a gift of being super intuitive. He can read my mood with a glance and others as well. He is very kind, great with computers (especially games :)...great with people and wise beyond his years.

Second Daughter-"Ms"

My second born daughter (I'll call her Ms) is very sweet as well. She is also smart, loving and "industrious"---a clue to her name because it is actually the meaning!

My oldest-"Lnz"

This is my oldest daughter and her boyfriend. She'll graduate from college this year! She's very mature, insightful, responsible and practical. We love her boyfriend, too! :)

My husband

Right: My husband and youngest daughter helping Granddaddy (my husband's father) walk after his stroke in August 2004.....

My husband, whom I'll call "R", is very intelligent, has a great sense of humor and is very, very dependable which gives all of us a sense of security that is rare. He is an Eagle Scout and is the assistant scout leader in our sons' scout troop.


I am a fanatic. I love new words, looking up the meanings, and adding to our (mine and my children's) vocabulary lists. How do you define yourself?

Most people define themselves by their career or occupation or their religion or their social class or economic status or who knows?....But what really matters? Well, there is an easy way to figure that one out. In your mind...go to your death bed, pretend it is today or tomorrow and ask yourself what you would or would not regret. What truly matters? I say: family.

As a mother I find these acronyms humorous: SAHM-stay at home mom; WAHM-work at home mom; WOHM-work outside the home mom...and I am sure there are many others I am not aware of. I find those humorous NOW but not always. There were the times when friends (who were WOHM when I was a SAHM even though I didn't stay at home and worked non-stop-just not for pay)...back to the point.."friends" said things like "must be nice to stay home and bake cookies all day". What?? Who bakes cookies all day? The keebler elves? But I was, in truth, defensive. And so were they. Later on in life I had to "go" to work, for pay. I remember running errands on my lunch hour and seeing moms with little children and thinking, how lucky, if they get to spend the whole day with their child/children, how great that is! I sometimes stopped them and told them. I also told them what I believe, that there is NOTHING in life more important than being there. Right there...

I consider myself to fit into all of those categories (SAHM, WAHM, WOHM) but the key word is "MOM". I chose to be a mom. My children did not choose to be brought into this world. They are the best gifts in the world to me.

When our daughter was born prematurely and with reflux, we were suffering from sleep deprivation in a big way. My husband and I were taking it out on each other by being crabby, impatient and basically, not very loving. But one day when he was at his wit's end with me and my hormonal ups and downs-having just given birth after all- he looked down at our sleeping (peacefully at that moment) daughter and said, "This little baby is the best gift anyone has ever given to me." I don't know if he remembers that, but I always will.

Give a gift today. Give yourself. Give your love. Give it to your spouse or your child(ren) or to your parent, sibling, friend, grandparent, cousin, etc.! Better yet, give to all of them! Don't forget to love yourself, too!


It is just a fact that blogs tend to be narcissistic. Of course we are writing about ourselves and our lives.

I want this blog to help others realize and appreciate the gift that we all have-time. None of us know how much time we have. We may have decades or years or merely months. But time is a gift....a gift of the present...And what is the greatest gift we can GIVE? To be present for those we love and who love and need us.