Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baking....sweet baking

Christmas baking in our house is a big event. BIG. I learned somewhere along the way about a 6 day baking process which we have cut down to 4 days, which works really well for us. We make about 100 dozen cookies, many of which will proudly have their pictures displayed here in a few short days. Here's our 'sane way to holiday baking' breakdown. First of all. TAKE NOTES! It's important to know how many cookies you made last year, what kind, what worked and what didn't. We always make the tried and true favorites, and then we always add a few new varieties to the bunch. Some of the new ones stick around, and some...well, let's just say they're not so lucky!

This year, the tried and true varieties making their returns are corn flake wreaths, cranberry/orange/walnut cookies, peanut butter blossoms, Russian tea cakes, raspberry thumbprint cookies, and strawberry jelly sandwich cookies. The cranberry, thumbprint, and jelly sandwich cookies, were all new once but now have become Christmas staples. The cranberry are our favorite cookies of all! After I've started the baking, I'll share some recipes with you. Perhaps they'll be 'new' at your house next year!

OK, this year for 'new' cookies I'm making peanut butter balls (I found a recipe without rice krispies, even though my husband insists they should have them...yuck!), chocolate Swedish spritz cookies (because I am the proud owner of a new cookie press compliments of my daughter :), carrot cake sandwich cookies (oh my gosh, I'm drooling just thinking about these...more on that later) and finally kisses chocolate chip cookies. These are chocolate chip balls with a kiss inside, drizzled with chocolate. We might call them 'death by chocolate' instead!

Now, back to the carrot cake sandwich cookies. A few weeks ago I toured an inner city Chicago School when I was at the school board convention. This school had an award winning culinary program. They gave us these MOST delicious carrot cake sandwich cookies AND the recipe. The cookies had almonds, pineapple, carrots, and coconut. They were filled with cream cheese frosting. Simply delicious! Sadly, I promptly proceeded to lose the recipe. Soooooo....I had to find the school, contact them, feel foolish, and ask them if I could please have another copy of the recipe. They did indeed fax me a copy. I searched google high and low and there were no recipes similar to that one. I cannot wait to make a wonderful batch of those. I know that they will not be on the 'new' list for long.

Enough about that, now on to the system. Now that you know to take impeccable notes...the next part is easy. I keep a 'cookie folder' in my cook book cabinet, where all my cookie notes go. When it's time, all my recipes and information are safely stored in one spot. Here is our 4 day process.

Day 1: review notes, recipes, yields, decide what you'll be baking, add a few new recipes. Make a list of what you'll be baking. Make a list of recipients (if you give cookies for gifts as I do) Figure out how many dozen will be required.

Day 2: create your shopping list. I make a list of all ingredients, i.e. butter, flour, eggs, sugar, etc., and then stroke tally how many cups of each I'll need. I convert this into my shipping list and shop. Don't forget things like cookie tins, parchment paper, and any tools that need replacing. For example, last year we broke the 1 tsp. cookie scoop. I got a terrific new one at Walmart this year. They now carry Wilton...(I have a tremendous crush on all things Wilton by the way)

Day 3: make all of your dough. Most dough performs better if it has been refrigerated. Roll it up in plastic wrap and label the outside with temp and cooking times with a sharpie marker.

Day 4: BAKE!

Optional Day 5. Day 5 may be required if you have cookies that need to be decorated. In years past when I made gingerbread men or cut out cookies, we would decorate on a separate day, when we were fresh and not tired from baking. This year we're using the cookie press instead of cut out no day 5 for us!

At the Ruchus, we have day 1 and 2 complete. Tomorrow is baking day. Here's the real kicker. Every year about this time I remember I only have one oven rack. Every year I swear I'm going to remember to order another. Every year I don't. So....baking is truly an all day thing here, with my one lone oven rack. We will start by locking the pets in a room and scrubbing the kitchen...I despise pet hair in the cookies personally...If we have lots of energy, we may begin baking tomorrow.

Now...I'm going to share my final trick. Listen closely...I do not like crisp or crunchy cookies. Yuck! I know some of you do...I do not. So, you know the easiest way to keep your cookies chewy until delivery day? Store them in zip lock bags with a slice of cheap white bread in each bag. I don't remember where I learned that tip from, but it works like magic. Truly!

So, there you have it....the Ruchus baking system. Stay tuned for pictures and recipes...and if you're lucky enough to be on the list....yummy cookies!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let the competition season begin...

My big girl has begun her dance competition season. Yesterday, after finishing class I headed to Schaumburg to watch her compete. They ended up getting second in pom (I missed that one so no pictures) and second in hip hop. They were 1/2 point from qualifying for state, but they have 4 competitions to go to qualify. It was such fun watching them! My big girl is on the far right.
Except for this pic where she's second from the right...
It's nice to see that all those years of dance lessons paid off! Bust it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter wonderland and other beauties...

The first real snowfall arrived today. I walked out my front door to a winter wonderland...
How beautiful is that? I actually had left the house, realized I forgot my camera, decided to go on without it, but then realized I had forgotten my snow scraper, and there was no way I was heading anywhere without that! So...back home I went to get the snowscraper and the camera :) I often wonder if my neighbors think I'm stalking them...especially when I stop the car, roll down the window, and take pictures! The roads were actually very clear and I was able to do the speed limit all the way to work. The only hazard was the large mounds of snow left by the plows often in the intersections, oh...and...the hazard to the mailboxes. Ours didn't fare too well... I actually consider this a small price to pay, since it took my husband a looooong time at 4 AM to get the drive and walks shoveled and snowblowed. He even scraped my car and put it in the garage to warm up when he was done. What a lovely bonus that was!
Other very beautiful things I have had the joy to experience lately are 1) more time with this little one...

who is just getting bigger and sweeter every time I see her.
Time with this little one...
who was so excited to get her first advent calendar from her Grammie!
And then there's these two...
Finally, a good picture of them together...teasing and poking fun at each other (as usual). My big girl and her Gramma.
I'm off to study for finals finish a few school projects and then enjoy a month off school and two weeks off work. Only 7 days to go!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis the season...

For Christmas Concerts! My precious one had her choir concert on Tuesday...
The house was packed! They did a great job and I was SO impressed with the singing and solos from this group of young people. They did one number that recognized a variety of celebrations and cultures. My precious one was a Svenska Flicka... or....little Swedish Girl...for you non Swedish speaking folks :) I whipped up this Saint Lucia dress on Monday night for her. Her Gramma Bee and Poppy would have been so proud!
Thursday night it was band time...
I am so glad to see such interest in the music programs. Our district does a good job promoting the arts and my artsy fartsy kids are living proof! Kristina plays the trombone...that's her down the second seat.
Next week is filled with High School Christmas activities...stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Do you ever pray for clarity? Are you ever grateful for clarity? I read Kelly Epperson's column in a very small local paper in my town. She is wonderfully known as a spreader of joy and I went to high school with her. I recall reading one of her articles recently that reminded me to list things everyday that I am grateful for. It has been a tough few years...grad school, tanked economy, j-o-b challenges, raising adolescents, finances, yada yada the list goes on and on. After reading Kelly's article I was driving down the road the other day (where most of my thinking takes place) and I began my gratitude list...I'm grateful for the blessings and challenges that are my children, I'm grateful for medication that makes MRI's a little less daunting, I'm grateful that my husband is there...and knows me...and knows when I need support...and lets it be ok that I don't wanna talk...and just a whole host of other things, including being my best friend. I am grateful for my own and my mother in law; what an awesome example of motherhood they give me...I'm grateful for talk to one, and to be one...I'm grateful for having the most wonderful job...two of them actually...and as I was listing all of my gratitudes...the word clarity came to mind. I am grateful that in the midst of it all, God sends me clarity so I can see things in a light of gratitude. I have friends battling chronic illness, terminal illness, loss of their husband, loss of their child...UGH! I am grateful to have the problems I have...the children challenges, the stress, the craziness, and most importantly the blessings...of which I have an abundance.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

It's been a busy two weeks here at the Ruchus. Last week I spent 5 count them 5 days in Chicago. For me, that's about 4 too many ;) The first two days were at the Illinois State Board of Education Non Public School Conference. Because I love the people I work with and they were was ok. I learned a lot: that's a plus! The last 3 days were at the Illinois Association of School Boards conference where I also learned a lot.

There are 85 thoughts I want to put down here that are all in a jumbled mess, so let me be brief..

~My very first career goal was to be an attorney. I went to beauty school instead. (Similar I know)

~I soon will have two Master's Degrees and really do not anticipate going to school any more.

~I am fascinated with Special Education Law and cannot tolerate when children's rights are violated

~If I ever get another degree...perhaps it will be a law degree.

Pretty concise huh? OK, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Nothing really, I just had to say it. L-A-W Degree...maybe? Who knows. How the heck long does that take anyway? Sheesh, I'll be 108 and still in school at this rate.

Anyway...a definite plus to the weekend was the fact that the Holiday-miracle mile kick off parade was happening while we were there...
Mickey Mouse was the king of ceremonies...
Chip and Dale were there...along with many other Disney folks...
I loved the big tethered balloons. It was the first time I had ever seen these and I especially loved to watch them bump into things ;)
The parade was followed by fireworks...
This picture is a bit phenomenal...
My sonshine has Autism and a pretty healthy dose of sensory integration dysfunction to go along with it. What that means to the lay person is that he HATES fireworks. In fact, I am most certain this has been the first time in his life he has seen them, not from a building or a car and without earplugs. I mostly stood and watched him and not the fireworks. Finally the lights and the smell, and the sound got the best of him. He sat down in the middle of the enormous Chicago crowd and took a break.
He is the reason why I am such an advocate for kids. He has been such an inspiration to me as I find myself learning constantly from him. I find kids with Autism to just be amazing and awe inspiring.
After a busy weekend, we headed home and Sunday afternoon I was in the 'Light the Parks' Parade. I was so thrilled to have my little friends be able to join me...
Can you even believe how big Zoe and Jason are getting?!? Check out the picture of them over yonder on the left side of my blog...Amazing! Anyway, I had not seen them in so so long, so it was a great time having them with me. We rode on a school bus... and threw candy out to all the kids that were lined up to watch the parade. Jason yelled "Happy Hanukkah!" at the top of his lungs (and no he's not Jewish) While Zoe tried to ensure that every child got a piece of candy. We had so much fun...and I was SOOOOOO pooped by the time the weekend was over!
Finally...on to Thanksgiving...True to form I took several before and during pictures of the turkey...
but no after's becoming a regular tradition around these parts.
We brought back an old tradition... Fudge stripe turkey cookies. My Gramma Bee used to make these when we had Thanksgiving at her house...It was nice to have a part of her with us :) We had Aunt Ruth's Cheese ball and Uncle Leo's prayer..."Good Food, Good People, Good God, Amen"
After dinner, Aubrey tried on Honey's (that's what she calls my husband) shoes for size...
Those are some big shoes to fill precious girl!
We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on Tivo...
and enjoyed the newest member of our family...
Finally, we all took part in a Turkey Induced nap...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The best $5 you'll ever spend...

Are you sick and tired of the absence of photos on the ole blog? I'll tell you what, SO AM I!

Over here at the Ruchus, it's been one fiasco after another. First the virus, then the antivirus that removed the internet drivers, then the repair shop (my wonderful brother), then of all the absence of my computer I had put away my camera usb cable so as not to lose it while I wasn't using it know what happens next...I LOST IT!! So, I finally have a beautiful camera, a fixed computer, a thousand pictures and no way to share them. What's a picture if you keep it to yourself I ask? Well, today I could take it no more! I just happened to be at Target and thought to myself..."Self, today is the day you find a stinkin new cord for your camera!" So, I was looking all over for a cord, none of which was to be found of course, but then I stumbled upon this...

Now, I for sure didn't know what it was, but it seemed like I could use it to transfer pictures without a cord and by the way it was only $5 so really, what did I have to lose? Can I just say that I am happier than a pig in mud? So happy in fact that I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees with spic and span tonight? I'm not really sure what being happy has to do with me scrubbing the floor, but let's just say that floor hasn't seen hands and knees and far too long! I was downloading pictures, scrubbed some of the floor, edited some pictures, scrubbed some more get the picture (boo hiss, bad pun I know) However...I am now fully able to share such pictures with you such as this... My beautiful daughter and her boyfriend at homecoming. I know it looks like they were in Sears, but really...we were at the park and the background is real...

Or new beautiful baby great-niece Ashlyn...oooooohhhhh is she sweet. She's already become quite accustomed to the flash of my camera ;)

Then of course there's this...It can't really be autumn without at least one beautiful picture of the maple in my front yard...and this year with my new Digital SLR, the photo is more beautiful than ever (if I don't say so myself!)

And then finally there's this... My big girl turned 17 last month. Can you believe it? Where has the time gone? I just got a peek at the proposed school calendar for the 2010-2011 school year and [gulp] there in black and white is my big girl's graduation day...oh dear, let me breathe a minute. Whew, I think I'm ok now. There'll be no more speaking of the G least for a few months. point is...if you don't own one of those whos-a-ma-jig-its...and you want a super convenient way to transfer your pictures...get yourself one of those! It's the best $5 you'll ever spend! Until next time...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What an awesome place the library is...

First of all, please excuse me for ending the title with the word is. It doesn't sit well with me as I'm sure it doesn't sit well with some of you...but that is the way it is today.

I have discovered...that I really must get out more. I mean really. It has also occurred to me that I have missed so much being in graduate school for what seems like forever. Between the 3 jobs, the internship, and the first round of graduate school...there are things in life I missed. Like being at home.

Today's post isn't about being at home however, it's about going out. Tonight the big girl, the sonshine and I went to the library, then to Big Lots, and then to the pet store. I, for one, could fart around (not literally, ok, maybe sometimes literally, no not really, well maybe, not) ANYWAY, I could wander around endlessly in stores and look at stuff, and marvel at how cheap the prices are at the Big Lots, and how I thought this pet store went out of business, but lo and behold, here it is in a new location in a mall, and I could REALLY marvel at all the goings on in the library...families playing games, youth groups in the computer lab, classes going on, families with young children reading and checking out books together, local history...I was amazed! Evidently it had been MUCH too long since I had been experienced the splendor of the library. It was a wonderful day to stop and smell the roses, or the books if you will. I'm so glad not to have missed it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Help from the blogosphere is needed...

For those of you that have read my blog for some time, you know that I lost my pastor earlier this year. You also know that it has been clearly the most difficult loss I have faced to date. Firstly, it was so unexpected...secondly, it was something that I had never,in my wildest dreams, prepared myself for. I always envisioned Pastor Kerr, old and gray, presiding at my funeral. Along with my personal struggle, I know that his family continues to struggle as well, and I continue to pray for them daily.

One thing that I may or may not have shared with you through all of this, is that my Pastor's son William and my big girl were born on the same day, at the same hospital. They were raised in our church family together...and on Monday they will be 17. Here's where you come in. I want to share a letter with you from William's mom...

Hi e-mail buddy's :o)

The 26th of Oct. is my son William's birthday (he'll be 17). I worry about him this year for many reasons, so I need your help. I want to do something special for him but he's a guy so he says "no way". I would like to surprise him by giving him a Birthday Card party. Please send him a funny birthday card and please send this e-mail to ANYBODY in the world. I would love to see him get cards from all over the world (it won't matter if they're late). I know I'm thinking kind of big but I'm a mom who loves her son and I need to do something. All of those "first" this year have been very hard on us just as any family who has lost someone as important as my son's father. So please help make this a day that he will remember, a day that people cared.

William Kerr
4522 Galleon Dr.
Loves Park, ILL. 61111

Thank you from a Mothers Heart,
Debbie Kerr

So there you have it....Please send this to everyone on your blogrolls and your email contact list and lets see if we can't get this boy thousands of birthday cards from around the world. Send your today. I'm counting on you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Please stay tuned...

I know it's been the longest blogging break in history for me...but here's the thing. The computer wizard is coming to town this weekend (Thank God his grandaughter is having a birthday) and I should be back up and running! Thanks for your patience

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The computers are winning again...


Computer Issues.

Our current status includes the following...

One computer out for repair...needs a hard drive scrub, but has hundreds of pictures on it I need to remove first.

One computer has my beautiful new camera software but no internet.

One computer has no software but internet

One computer is a laptop and is doing the best it can.


Still no pictures.

I'm trying to figure out a go-fight-win song, so that I, for a change, can win against the computers. That day is not today...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's windy, can you feel it?

The winds of change are a blowin here at the's time to buckle down, and get some stuff done. In just a few weeks I hope to have photos for you of my scrap room's amazing transformation, from a relativly useless storage space, to MY space. My space to contemplate and to create. I can't wait! Among other things...I have decided October 3rd, is diet day for me...back to Weight is SO time. I've been working ever so slightly on changes in my life and have decided it is time to kick it into full gear. It is becoming evident to me how much growing my kids have done and what a short period of time I have left with them. It is important to utilize every day to the fullest!

My fabulous boss is helping me with one of my primary weaknesses...organization. Everyone marvels at how much I accomplish, but it is usually at a price to me. I have not been sleeping well lately, often waking up throughout the night with the never ending to do list on my mind. My work load is astounding, add to that household responsibilities, a second job, aging parents, grad school, three super busy teenagers and a marriage and wow! Organization is really the key to keeping it all together. As you know from previous posts, I was hit with quite a sever bout of depression recently. For whatever reason it seems to be lifting and the clouds are being replaced with sunny hopeful skies. Thanks for everyone's love and support.

I have some fabulous pictures to share, but I'm still having a few computer issues. I have camera software on one computer but not internet, and internet on the other computer but not software! As soon as we become resynchronized around here computer wise, I'm sure you'll be wowed!

We are super busy preparing for homecoming, fall, the family reunion, and three birthdays the month of October. I've also put together a committee to plan my class reunion yet this year, since no one else stepped up, and it's our 25th! Brennan has his x-rays on Wednesday, has been cleared to wear a shoe, but still isn't able to walk on his foot. Hopefully Wednesday's x-rays will give him the all clear to begin physical therapy and he can begin to move on with the recovery process.

We have had to make some rather painful decisions around here regarding our pets. I have an older dog that has begun having potty issues and I'm pretty sure I cannot deal with that. We've tried doggie diapers but that seems to be humiliating to him and frustrating to time will tell. He has joint issues and is getting quite old. I'm thinking before the weather gets really cold, which is really hard on him...perhaps it will be time...what a great sadness. His beautiful eyes and gentle ways will be so missed. He has been my napping companion for the past 8 years. When I'm really stressed and can't sleep, I call him up onto the bed and with his warm self and snuggles, I almost instantly fall asleep. This decision leaves a definite ache in my heart. I hope by beginning the process now, I'll be able to work through the sadness and send him to heaven in November. (sighs heavily)

It also seems I need to begin letting go of my big girl. With dance, working, social life, and academics, she hardly has time to be helping around the house. Is it time to remove her from the chore list? I'm not sure. PSAE's are coming, ACT's, class rank, college! Where has the time gone? As she transitions out of high school, my precious one begins. I absolutely love that my children are so close together and treasure the time when they will all be in high school together. I think the most special part is because I am on the school board, I'll be able to hand them their diplomas when they graduate. Many tissues will be required on those days!

So, you're a little caught up now with all things Ruchus...oh wait...I was in Arizona last week caring for my mama after her most recent surgery. I am so grateful everyday that I have a wonderful job that need time off? Go! guilt, no questions, just support. When I return there are genuine questions of concern about my mom. Even from our CEO! I know I've said it before, but I am SO truly blessed with the amazing job I have and with the amazing people I work with. When I was praying last year...God was listening and he surely went above and beyond my wildest dreams when I landed this job. God is so good!

The Ruchus is wishing everyone a bountiful fall. Enjoy the crisp air, the beautiful leaves, and try to take a moment to relish in all things wonderful. If you know someone who's suffering (and I know far too many people right now) lend a hand...say a prayer...let them know you care.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A funk so low even Arby's can't fix it...

Yes, I'll have...well, let me see...that, that, that, that, let's just say one of everything on the left side of the a chocolate shake. What's that you say? $402? Let me rethink that a minute...small rootbeer, fabulous turkey sandwich, no onion, no mustard, no cheese, cheese sticks...yes I know I ordered no cheese on the sandwich and oh of those dreamy chocolate shakes with the chocolate syrup stuck on the sides.

42,812 calories later...I'm still in a funk. It may be time to call in the professionals.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Congratulations, I have officially become a firefighter

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks,spans of time, careers or something else where you discover you have officially gained your self a red truck and an unattractive hat? Welcome to the world of firefighting...let me tell you those California wildfires got nothin on me (Before you get your panties in a bunch, it's just an expression, I'm not downplaying the seriousness of the fires) Now. Seriously. You've heard the expression the best defense is a good offense? Meet me...on the offensive. Tomorrow begins a new day. A day of planning, prodding, and purposeful actions to regain the work, in life, at home. It. Is. Time. There will be a terrific fire fighting party at 8AM sharp. Bring your hoses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Surgical Update

My sonshine had his surgery 9 days ago. In laymans terms, he had about a 1 inch piece of bone removed across the top of his foot that had grown across and fused with other bones that prohibited the moving of his foot from side to side. Add this to his incredible flat footedness and he was in pretty constant pain. He got throught the surgery fine and missed about a week of school. He returned for 1/2 day last Wednesday, then went all day on Thursday and Friday. Friday afternoon we went to the Dr., where they removed his initial packing. He has about 0 range of motion right now and couldn't even move his toes. This week his assignment is to be able to write the letters a, b and c before his next appointment on Friday...we'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We interrupt this autumn to schedule a few more events...

My calendar overfloweth...literaly. I am convinced I cannot schedule one more thing without consulting my calendar. How did it get so full? The terrific part of my calendar is that besides being full with two jobs, three teenagers, a master's program, and being on the school board, it's also filled with A LOT of upcoming fun things. seems the majority of fun things all want to happen on the same weekend. How can it be? Obtober 10th and 11th seems to be the weekend for all things awesome to be happening. I'm already booked to be at a scrap book retreat that weekend that I am SO excited about. I went to the same retreat last year on the river at a bed n breakfast, but it was January and it was ungodly cold. I am so looking forward to unloading all my goodies in the crisp fall air, not the subzero January air. The problem with that niece goes back to work that weekend, so I'm scheduled to care for my two great favorite craft show of the entire world is that big girl THOUGHT she was having her birthday party that weekend, Miley Cyrus concert is that weekend, Taylor Swift concert is that weekend...and...well, I'm not sure what many things can happen in one weekend? So's what I have managed to accomodate...I will go to the scrap retreat, but sleep at home...I will take a 4 hour break to hurry through the best craft show of all big girl will care for my oldest great niece and I will take the baby with me for lots of extra attention from crazy scrapbooking women! The big girl will take the oldest great niece to the apple orchard (oh yeah, forgot to mention we had planned that the same weekend) for her pony ride...and perhaps somewhere in between the madness, I'll get some scrapbooking done.

We have determined that my husband's 30th reunion is the same weekend as homecoming...more finagling there...and I'm assuming my birthday and the big girl's birthday will be the same weeekend as our family reunion. Is there some kind of cloning machine I can use...just for the month of October? Anyone?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Social Worker yes, nurse no...

My sonshine had surgery on Thursday...I discovered when we got there that I forgot to warn him about the IV part. "What? They're gonna stick that in my hand?" Oh, uh, well, yes, sorry to have forgotten to mention that one little thing. So far, the IV has been the most traumatic part of it all for him. Being the recovery nurse has been the most traumatic part for me. Having foot surgery and living in a tri level can be especially challenging. For the most part he stays in the family room, but for some time each day I move him to my room for a change of scenery. It's more sunny in my room, and I am a 'sun proponent' firmly believing one needs a bit of sun every day to thrive. Whenever we change floors, a few things must come with him...cell phone, bakugan, Nintendo DSI, cough drops, medicine, pillows, crutches...well let's just say it's a lot! Once he's settled into his new spot and I'm trying to get something done...the texts begin...can you bring me? I'm hungry (This seems to be the most popular), my foot hurts, I can't feel my leg, can we go to Toys R Us?, please be quiet, my sister is bothering me, can you make Dad go away...and on and on they go. Today is day 4...I'm hoping he will maybe be able to get out of the house today...for a while to go to Toys R Us. I am supposed to go back to work tomorrow, but it seems as if my nursing days will not yet be over, so perhaps a shortened schedule will be in order. In two weeks I leave for Arizona to be a nurse to my Mama for 5 days...then...maybe'll be time for a break...

Now...let's talk about my favorite subject...fall. Can you feel it? Since it is 46 lovely degrees here in Northern Illinois in August, I know too well that fall is just around the corner. The apple orchard opened yesterday. I stopped in Michaels for a short moment yesterday to pick up one thing and had to run...I kid you from the store for fear of incurring the national debt. The miriad of beautiful things they had there were quite honestly beyond my comprehension, and I found myself totally unprepared for the arrival of fall. I love fall: the smells, the colors, the cool crisp air, craft shows, the is by FAAAAAAR my favorite time of the year. It's also the big girl's and my birthday...did I mention she'll be 17 this year? Who on Earth said that was ok? 17 sounds very old and makes it virtually impossible for me to continue telling people I'm 29. Oh wait, I digressed...this year, I am challenging myself and you too...after such a busy summer, to take a break and take it all in. If you live in a part of the country where fall is not the most beautiful time of the somewhere. Smell the smells, eat the apple crisp, wonder over the splendor...and give yourself a break. I know I intend to =)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 1, Day 2

The first part of this post has to do with Day 1...of school that is. The second part has to do with Day 2...of Ashlyn's life.

This is the big girl and the sonshine on their first day... Do not ask me why Blogger is making this photo so small...then there's the precious one on her first day...
Do not ask me why blogger made this photo so big?!! I'm sure somewhere down the road there'll be a comment like..."You always liked her better!" Kidding! I'm kidding!

Ok, and finally for my family far and is day two of baby Ashlyn's life...what a miracle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The anticipation is killing me, and we ain't talkin ketchup here...

Today, my two oldest started school. The precious one starts tomorrow. Since I have always been a working mom, the first day of school has always been special to me. I've always taken the first day of school off work and this year is no different. (Actually this year I have the first week of school off ) -- In the past I've always had a special treat waiting for the kids when they got home. This year however in our quest to keep food on the table, there will be no special treat, but the mama will be here...waiting anxiously and ever so patiently for them to get home and for the stories to flow...guess who's in this class, guess who's in that class, this happened and that happened and you know how it goes...that is, if you're lucky enough to have the first day of school off work =) I'm trying hard not to crane my head out the front door and look really obvious, but anytime a car goes by I'm hoping it's the big girl pulling in the driveway. The clock tells that in 6 minutes, the sonshine should be home...Although I'm sad to see the summer end way too soon, I'm very anxious to hear all the stories...and to welcome them home on from their first day of school.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What a difference a year makes...

I've had a pretty rough go of it lately...sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you try you just don't seem to get ahead you know? The analysts say the economy is turning around and we see it ever so slightly at my husband's business, but it is slooooow going at best. Add to that, that one year ago today, I buried my children's Poppy. The approach and apprehension leading up to this day has been challenging at best. I used to go to church to take comfort in the fact that my pastor could usually say the right thing to help me get through the pain a little easier. He passed away earlier this year and I think I've said before that his passing is the toughest loss I've endured to date. Along this path there has been a glimmer of hope...a new baby...due any day.
When my niece texted me last night at 8:40 that the baby still wasn't here, I texted her back saying I was secretly hoping the baby wouldn't arrive until today...August 23rd. (not that I wished for 4 more hours of labor for her or anything) -- Last night when I went to bed, I had gotten the last text that it would soon be time...shortly after that my cell phone battery died. When I got up this morning, I ran and plugged in my phone to see if the baby had was the text...Ashlyn Rose arrived at 4:20 AM 10 lbs. 4 oz., 21 3/4 inches.
Today...August 23rd, no longer a dark this day is shared with a bright glimmer of hope...sweet Ashlyn Rose...
I have been blessed over the past day to have my niece Aubrey with me who is Ashlyn's big sister...we have waited patiently for her new baby sister to arrive. We have talked about it, processed it, missed Mommy and Daddy, wondered why Daddy is at Mommy's work (Aubrey's Mommy works at the hospital) and played a lot along the Aubrey got to meet her new baby sister... for the first time...
I can only say...what a difference a year makes.
Kristina and Aubrey on their way into the hospitalMy precious one, with the new precious oneAshlyn Rose